How to Draw a Bat
Bats get a bad rap for being a bit spooky, but we think these nocturnal animals are just misunderstood.
Many people are afraid of bats because they're known to carry diseases, but they don't carry more diseases than other animals. There are simply so many distinct species of bats that there's a higher diversity of pathogens that they can transmit.
Of course, there are also the old wives' tales that bats will make nests in your hair or suck your blood at night. Another superstition is that it's a bad omen if a bat flies into your house. Funny enough, in China, bats symbolize good luck.
There's so much that we don't know and appreciate about bats, and that's exactly why we wanted to do a drawing tutorial on these fascinating nocturnal creatures.
So, let's look at why bats are awesome!
Guess what the smallest mammal in the world is? Yep, a bat. The Bumblebee Bat, or Kitti's Hog-Nosed Bat, is the mammal with the smallest body and skull. This once-endangered species is just over one inch long and only weighs about two grams – less than a teaspoon of sugar!
Bats pollinate some of our favorite fruits, such as bananas, avocados, and mangoes. They help spread cacao seeds, so we have them to thank for chocolate, too.
And no, they're not rodents or marsupials with bird wings. Bats are part of the Chiroptera family, which are winged placental mammals (meaning that they don't have pouches and give birth to developed pups). Bats live for a few decades and only have one pup per year (kind of like us humans).
Bats are incredibly social animals. Whereas the biggest beehives will grow to hold 60,000 bees, the largest bat colony in the world holds millions of bats. The craziest thing is that bats don't have a hierarchical social structure like bees and most other animals do – they just seem to know how to get along.
Their astonishing echolocation abilities help bats navigate in the pitch dark and ensure peace and harmony with no mid-flight collisions.
Our favorite thing about bats? They keep bug, spider, and scorpion populations in check while we sleep.
Even though bats are associated with Halloween, we think they're worth celebrating all year round. And when you think of it, they're actually pretty cute.
Vectornator designer Aysel brilliantly captures the charm of the bat in this drawing tutorial. Look at the adorable little guy!
Want to learn how to draw a bat like this one? Fangtastic!
All it takes is following a few simple steps. Watch the video above or follow the step-by-step guide below to get started.
• Apple Pencil
• The latest version of Vectornator
• How to import your sketch into Vectornator
• How to adjust Layers
• How to use gradients
• How to use the Pen Tool
• How to use the Shape Tool
Magenta Black #03000C
Midnight Blue #592FC7
Neon Orange Tint #FFDD8A
Platinum Purple #9400FC
Dark Pink #FF00D5
Import Your Sketch
You can always freestyle your drawing inside Vectornator, but for this tutorial, Aysel imported her own pencil drawing as a base.
Her drawing will act as a guide that she will draw on top of to trace the basic shape of our bat.
If you're starting out with digital drawing, check out our tips for drawing on an iPad.
Take some time to sketch a bat character on paper. Remember, you want to make subtle lines and avoid making textural lines – this preparatory sketch will be a guide for your finished drawing. Pay special attention to the sizes of shapes so that you get the proportions right.
Once you're happy with your fanged friend, it's time to add it to a new canvas in Vectornator. To do this, simply import it into Vectornator using the Camera Import option.
Alternatively, since we support iCloud, you can also import sketches you've created in another drawing app, like Procreate.
Select Your Colors and Adjust the Layers
You can use your favorite colors to make your bat color palette, but if you want to create a midnight-blue bat like Aysel's, set up a linear gradient with the following hex codes: #03000C - #592FC7.
Next, lower opacity on all layers. Doing this will make it possible to see your base sketch throughout the entire drawing process.
Trace the Head Shape With the Pen Tool
Now, it's time to draw the bat's face.
Select the Pen Tool and start tracing the outline of your sketch.
Just draw one half of the face, and remember to close the shape. We will complete the entire face in the next step.
Duplicate and Flip
In nature, it's unlikely to find a perfectly symmetrical body. It’s called biological symmetry, or just bio symmetry for short. However, for today's practical drawing lesson, we'll show you how to create a perfectly symmetrical illustration and save time while getting the proportions right.
Select the shape you just drew and duplicate it. Then, flip it by tapping the setting in the Arrange Tab. Next, activate Multi-Select, and unite the two shapes into one.
Refine the shape using the Node Tool, so there aren't any unwanted nodes where the two shapes are joined.
Adjust your gradient using the Gradient Handle so that the lightest color is at the top of the bat's head.
Draw the Eyes
Create a yellow, radial gradient for the iris of the bat's eye (#B7840F - #FFDD8A).
Draw one perfect circle using the Shape Tool and duplicate it for the other eye.
To draw the iris, duplicate the circle again and resize it, so it's smaller than the first circle. Place it in the center of the eye and give it a deep purple radial gradient (#03000C - #592FC7).
As Aysel explains in the video, yellow and purple are opposing colors on the color wheel. This means they complement each other and create a beautiful contrast.
Next, draw two white circular shapes with the Shape Tool and a moon shape with the Pen Tool. These are the reflections in the eye.
Duplicate the iris and reflection shapes and arrange them over the other eye.
Now you're starting to bring your bat drawing to life!
Draw the Nose
Now, draw the nose shape with the Pen Tool and fill it with a pink-purple radial gradient (#9400FC - #FF00D5).
You can do this the same way you drew the head – draw half of the nose, duplicate it, flip it, and create a united shape. This helps to keep it symmetrical.
Use the Node Tool to refine the shape.
Add the Nostrils With the Oval Tool
Draw two oval shapes with the Oval Tool and fill them with black.
Draw the Mouth
Trace the contour of the mouth using the Pen Tool.
Change the path stroke from Regular to Brush mode. This is a clever way to achieve precision in your shape, while still keeping the tapering quality of a brushstroke.
In this tutorial, Aysel uses a custom brush she created herself. It's wider in the middle and thinner towards the end.
You can also create your own brush, or select a brush style from our preset brushes.
Learn more about using the Brush Tool in Vectornator.
Draw the Bat Fangs
Draw the two fangs with the Pen Tool and fill them with a linear gradient (#B7840F - #FFDD8A).
Move both teeth under the mouth layer.
Draw the Fur Around the Ears
Select the purple gradient you previously used for the eyes (#03000C - #592FC7) and use the Pen Tool to draw the fur around the ears.
You can freestyle this part to create a jagged shape that looks like tufts of hair.
Draw the Ear Ridges
Now for a fun detail. You'll notice ridges on bat's ears if you search for a reference image.
Aysel explains that these ear ridges give them the ability of echolocation. See, we told you bats were cool!
Use the Pen Tool to draw a few darker, curved lines over the ears.
Rather than duplicate the ear for the other side, repeat steps 10 and 11 so that the two ears are slightly different. This gives your illustration more interest!
Bring Up the Opacity
Finally, turn the opacity to 100% on all layers to reveal the true vibrant colors.
You're done! Conbatulations!
If you want to add a body and wings to your amazing bat drawing, go for it! You can draw the simple shapes with the Pen Tool or draw them free-hand using the Brush Tool.
Make sure to share your bat illustrations with us on social media.
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