Illustrate A Peacock

Illustrate A Peacock

  • Software: Inkscape (or Adobe Illustrator)
  • Level: Advanced
  • Subject: Peacock

Peacock Workshop [Hide/Show]

In this tutorial, we would do a walkthrough of illustrating a vector artwork of a peacock. Much of the techniques mentioned in the other peacock tutorials here would be used.


Illustrate A Peacock - 00

I used GIMP to do a rough work, but you can use any other tool that you find comfortable sketching. See Drawing A Standing Peacock for a detailed tutorial.

Illustrate A Peacock - 01

After we get the form of the peacock, a little work on the details is done to get the idea of how much detail we want to put into the vector artwork in the end.

Illustrate A Peacock - 02

Basic Form

At this point in time, I import the PNG file into Inkscape and get the rough outline form of the peacock. If you had done the sketch/lineart on paper, you can scan it in using a scanner and import into Inkscpae.

Illustrate A Peacock - 03

Make further shapes, to block out the different areas and depth using the lineart as a guide. Take extra care to layer them from back to front. A little bit of planning goes a long way when the amount of detailing is going to be quite complex.

Illustrate A Peacock - 04

The blue outlines are at the same level. The green outlines, three of them are layered one over the other.


Illustrate A Peacock - 05

After giving some basic flat color and gradient to the whole body, zoom in towards the center and use the pen tool to draw details of the plumage.

Illustrate A Peacock - 06

Further apply gradients to these detail shapes. If the form feels flat, create shapes of lighter blue color and change opacity to 10% or 20%.

Illustrate A Peacock - 07

Head and Beak

Apply gradients to the blue outlines with a pale yellow-brown color and you get the head detailed.

Illustrate A Peacock - 08

There is no need to give a lot of attention to this part, as the area is quite small. In full view, much of the details would be lost.

He looks a bald due to lack of the crown feathers – we will be adding that later.


Now we get to the identifying feature of a peacock – his exhuberent feathers. Have a look at Peacock Feather Vector Art post that has a detailed walkthrough on creating vector art of a single feather – we will not be going to that amount of detail, but it helps to know.

Illustrate A Peacock - 09

As mentioned above in the basic form, this particular angle has three layers of the feathers. Start with the lowest layer.

Illustrate A Peacock - 10

Get the basic shape fo the feathers end that looks like an exotic eye. Concentric blob like shapes, with colors ochre (yellow), orange, cyan and deep blue will be the template.

Illustrate A Peacock - 11

Reduce the opacity of this to around 20%. Since it is the lowest layer of feather, we make it dull by reducity the opacity (increasing the transparency). You do not need to draw them all, just make copies of them, rotate and scale to get them in the required positions.

Illustrate A Peacock - 12

Its feathers have sparkling highlights. Even on the lowest layer, they would be visible. Use the pen tool to mark out couple of these in each section.

Illustrate A Peacock - 13

You can even put in some stray strands of the feathers and merge them with the main shape, to give volume to each layer of feather.  Thsi makes it look less flat.

Illustrate A Peacock - 14

Cut (not copy) and paste in place the remaining green outlines and start detailing the same way as you did the earlier layer. Make those eye like shapes 40% opaque this time.

Illustrate A Peacock - 15

Take a little more time when doing the upper layer. Add darker shadows to make the highlights standout more than the other. Increase the opacity of the circular patter to around 60%.

Finishing Details

Illustrate A Peacock - 16

Draw a couple of the crown plumage. Make copies to create the full set.

Illustrate A Peacock - 17

For the rest of the body, add some stark highlight shapes.

Illustrate A Peacock - 18

You can download this artwork as a desktop background over at – Peacock Wallpaper.

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  1. Moggie’s avatar

    Wow, that’s so cool! I love how you detailed the tail feathers, it gives them a lot of depth and volume.


  2. Vyoma’s avatar

    Thank you, Moggie!


  3. Bimalendu’s avatar

    This is a great tutorial. Thanks !!


  4. Vyoma’s avatar

    Bimalendu, you are welcome!


  5. sreedharan’s avatar

    wonderful stuff…great job..mind blowing,
    you opened a new horizon in my inkscape life.
    thank you very much.
    all the best, expecting more from you.


  6. Vyoma’s avatar

    Thank you Sreedharan – you have an amazing portfolio yourself.

    If you have any specific request, do not hesitate to drop me a line. ;)


  7. john’s avatar

    I’m somewhat new to Inkscape and have been looking hard for a solution. I have photoshop CS2, gimp and inkscape on my laptop. I have that because i read Gimp is the easiest way to export to photoshop CS2.

    What i’m looking for is a way to store inkscape vectors possibly in photoshop, without loose vector form. it seems the program may rastize the vectors, i’m a bit confused with this. As i’d need to keep vector form for the internet, also i’d like to have quality coloring.

    Could you offer me some help. Thank you


  8. Vyoma’s avatar

    Hello, John. I think I understand your issue – but I actually do not know how Adobe stores the PSD format.

    Adobe is a proponent of SVG format, so I think it should be able to import it without any issues. Not sure how easy that is, but if that is not possible, you save your vector illustration in Adobe Illustrator format. (Do a save as, and choose the file format at the bottom left).

    It terms of would Photoshop CS2 rasterize it or not, I am not sure. Perhaps someone with more knowledge in that software could chime in.


  9. john’s avatar

    Thank You ! I’m one who got suckered believing Photoshop CS2 makes vectors and it doesn’t. I have Inkscape doing my vectors and am looking for a good way to save them on disc now. (Svg, eps)

    Thanks again and sorry for this late reply !


  10. phoenix’s avatar

    i love this drawing ilove `the way you sketched the peacock its better than any other drawing `here :P


  11. phoenix’s avatar

    the one who did this drawing’s other drawings are cool too but plz can you make a dancing peacock just like this one plz


  12. Nicky’s avatar

    I’m totally new to Inkscape, and wanted to ask which tool you used when you say lineart?



  13. Lucy’s avatar

    This is amazing. I love the shape of the bird, and will paint it on canvas and use acrylic paint. Thanks for this – I will have to give credit to you!


  14. berti’s avatar

    very nice drawing. i cannot follow in details of the plumage. could you explain how to get several shapes from the first blue shape by drawing the details ? i only get separate lines. thank you.


  15. Sifiso’s avatar

    Big up dude, awesome stuff, informative, created different artwork just by learning your ish!


  16. shanthkumar’s avatar

    very nice work sir i have learn from you a lot in this :)


  17. leila’s avatar

    hi…I’m a student for learning English…and I am director and writer…and I enjoyed your art…and i want to know about difference between “illustrate and ” draw” and “trace” and ” sketch” …not to words…in picture…can you help me?


  18. Tanaam’s avatar

    I know I’m probably several years too late, but I’m very confused about how you created the gradients and shapes on the wing. I’m trying to replicate it, but it seems like I’m going about in a very round-about manner and it doesn’t quite look right. Hopefully, someone (if not yourself) can still get back to me on this matter.

    Other than that, I’m really enjoying this tutorial. Very helpful, thank you :)


  19. farah’s avatar

    i’m new with Inkscape and just saw this tutorial out of nowhere. It’s a great work, great tutorial! thanks for make it. and you just awesome :D



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