A Closer Look (or, How to Draw Whimsical Insects)

The other day I got the idea that it would be fun to do a post about insects. Not just any insects, you understand, but whimsical ones! And where better to find whimsical insects than in whimsical gardens…

Most of you have already seen the full versions of these pictures, (if not, you can check out my very first post, Whimsical Gardens.) In this post you will see close up details from various larger pieces, and you will see how easy it is to draw insects if you don’t have to make them look real. (If you have to make them look real, this isn’t the blog for you! You should probably look on National Geographic for that…)

One of the easiest insects to draw is the standard ladybug. This is also the formula for the standard turtle (right).  Yes I know turtles are not insects, but they kind of count, since they too are denizens of whimsical gardens!

Caterpillars are handy because all you have to do is make a bunch of circles with one kind of offset for the head, and give it a smiley face. Note the ladybug below the mushroom. (Apparently their heads don’t even have to be attached to their bodies.)


You don’t have to stress about how many legs caterpillars have. Just make a lot of little lines on the bottom of the circles. Hint: Make sure to leave enough room under the circles for the legs so their bodies aren’t sitting directly on the branch or leaf, (or whatever it is they’re sitting on.)


As you can see here, caterpillars can be climbing up or down, right or left. They can be on leaves, stems, mushrooms…basically anywhere. In this picture you can also see what happens when you draw a ladybug body but you don’t leave enough room for its legs underneath it.


Above is a detail from a drawing called “Bees and Pink Flowers”. Besides the caterpillar in the center, you can also see the standard and flat versions of the ladybug. You’ll notice that my spiders do always have eight legs, probably because I actually know how many legs they are supposed to have.


Spiders are pretty fun to draw, because you can have them hanging from just about any corner of your whimsical garden. They can be any color, but I notice that mine seem to be mostly gray or black. You can outline your spider webs with a metallic silver or gold, just to make it more realistic. Wait, did I say realistic? I meant whimsical. But you have to admit, it does kind of make it look like the webs are glistening in the sunlight when you do that.



You can also add a worm here and there.


Snails are also super easy to draw (and yes, I know they’re not insects either…at least I hope they’re not!) All you have to do is make a spiral, add a rectangular shape to the bottom and figure out how you want its head to be. You can have their heads kind of separate from their “foot” like the one above,  or you can have them be all one piece like the snail below. Plus you can make them crawling up a fence.

snailsBees are also pretty easy, when you remember that you only need the standard insect body, kind of rounded on the bottom if they are flying, with yellow and black stripes. The wings are just like two flower petals on their back, if you want to think of it that way. You can also see the similarities in the two flowers below. Just change the shape of the petals and you have a whole different kind of flower. Also, with the same basic insect body shape, you can draw a ladybug or a bee.

Sometimes it’s fun to make a “coloring page” with a drawing before actually coloring it in. This is especially fun if you have kids, grandkids or students who like to color.


Next we will discuss dragonflies. They aren’t too hard, but you have to remember their bodies are made of several segments, and they have multiple sets of wings. How many I’m not really sure, but remember, this is whimsical art so  you don’t have to worry about it.

dragonfly a.jpg

There is no end to the whimsical insects you can draw if you use your imagination.


If you’ve read The Way of Things, you’ve seen this one. But did you look this closely at the individual insects? Now that I see him up close, I think the spider turned out pretty cute.


So now you know how to draw whimsical caterpillars, snails, turtles, bees, ladybugs, and more! And you’ll see there also is a whimsical cat.