How It Works

Shark Week: How to draw a great white shark


Shark week is here and our sister magazine World of Animals is celebrating by showing you how to create a great white shark in your very own home. While it takes 15 years for a great white to reach full size, this video tutorial shows you how to draw one of the ocean’s most feared predators in less than three minutes.

Nail the tail
There are several key features your drawing will have. Firstly, like all sharks a great white has an asymmetric tail. The upper portion is much longer than the lower half, and as each half is different this type of tail is known as heterocercal. Fish such as tuna have homocercal tails, where each side is identical. The upper lobe of the tail is an extension of the spinal column. A larger upper lobe has a larger surface area to support muscle and gives the shark more thrust when swimming. It allows the shark to cruise at leisurely speeds and suddenly burst into top gear when necessary.

Fin position
It’s important to get the position and size of the fins correct on your drawing. Shark fins are designed to keep the fish stable when swimming and as such enormous animals they are subject to forces like drag. The dorsal fin is on the shark’s back and it can reach 60 centimetres (two feet) in height. It stops the shark from rolling sideways in the water and acts as a centreboard to keep the shark on track. The pectoral fins on either side of the body prevent the shark from pitching up and down or spinning in a circle. Without these fins sharks would have extreme difficulty swimming and catching prey.

Draw the jaw
When a great white opens its mouth all the way its teeth flare outwards. The change in the angle of the jaws make the teeth behave like pincers that can be used to inspect objects. Though it sounds strange, sharks can be delicate with their teeth. They are curious animals and without hands can only study unfamiliar items with their mouth. In your drawing pay close attention to the mouth, and even add more teeth of you want to. Post your drawing on our Facebook page or tweet @WorldAnimalsMag with your creation.