Draw a Jellyfish with Me!

procreate Sep 05, 2021
How to draw a jellyfish

I love drawing sea creatures. There's so many to choose from and they are all oh-so-beautiful, mysterious and majestic. For today's step-by-step tutorial in Procreate, I'll be showing you how to draw this fun, fluorescent jellyfish that will have your entire canvas GLOWING. Let's dive (see what I did there?) right in but first, let me tell you what brushes I'm using. Might be helpful, right?








 Wanna watch the tutorial instead? No big deal.



Step 1: Prepare Your Canvas

Make sure your canvas is vertical and tall enough. Remember, the longest part of the jellyfish is on the bottom - the tentacles and the oral arms. They will take up most of the space on your canvas, so make sure you make it big enough. I'm using 12" x 16" at 300 dpi. 



Step 2: Pick Your Brushes

You know I love experimenting with different brushes to see what sparks my creativity. I'll be using the Ultimate Acrylic set by Trailhead for this one. You can grab them for yourself as well (they are samples from REAL acrylics - how cool?), or use any other brushes you like. 




Step 3: Sketch!

Grab your favorite sketching brush and let's get started! I prefer imperfect shapes so I'm going with something quite lose for the bell of the jellyfish. Don't get too hung up on the colors you're going in with as you can always change them later.




Step 4:  Add Another Color

Let's create a bit more definition by adding another color to the bottom part of the bell. Make sure to keep it on a separate layer as we're going to be adding texture later.




Step 5: Add Depth

Here's the fun part. I am all about working indestructibly, which makes the clipping mask tool my best friend (or at least one of them). This will allow you to draw whatever you add and it will stay within the shape of the layer underneath it.



Pick a brush with an airbrush effect and choose a color similar to the main part of the jellyfish's bell, but a bit different in hue and saturation.




Now, start adding texture to the outside of your jellyfish. This will create a soft feel that we will later make glowy. 



Grab a darker color and add a light shadow to the edge to create more definition. 



I decided to go in with some red as well to add even more punch to the edges of the bell. This helped me really define the texture.




Step 6: Create Transparency

Go to your base layer and start erasing some of the color. This will create an effect of transperancy that looks so dreamy.




Step 7: Add Details to the Bell

I'm going to grab the Fine Detailer brush and add some details to the bottom of the bell. This will create an imperfect edge that will make the whole jellyfish look a lot more organic.




Step 8: Add MORE Color

Same as we did with the top part of the bell, we will add a bit of interest and shading to the bottom by throwing in an extra color that's just a little bit different. Add this stage, don't worry if your color choices don't make sense - you can always change them later! This is the fun part about playing around with colors in Procreate.




Step 9: Play with the Hue

Try out different hue options for the bottom part of the bell. 



And if that doesn't work, try changing the hue and saturation of your other layers.



This step is all about playing with colors and figuring out what works best for you!



Step 10: Add Shadows

Grab a darker color and let's add some shadows. This will really make the bell of the jellyfish stand out on the canvas.




Step 11: Add Tentacles and Oral Arms

For this step, you will need a pressure-sensitive brush. Start drawing the tentacles and the oral arms of your jellyfish from the bottom up to create a nice change of width.



Vary the length to create a natural look and feel.



And throw in another color for some extra contrast!



You can stop here, but I'm going to throw in a few extra squiggly lines that are wider and shorter than the rest. This will make your jellyfish really come to life.




Step 12: Texture, Texture, Texture

By now you would have realised how much I love texture. Well, it'll be no surprise that I will be adding MORE texture in this step by going in with a Large Grain Stroke brush in one of the last layers with the fat lines.



Pick a section you want to add the texture to and go in lightly. You will quickly see how much of a difference this makes.



Don't worry about being precise! As long as you've got your clipping mask on, you can be more free with your strokes. Experiment by trying this technique on different layers to see which you prefer.



If you end up liking the texture on multiple layers, you call always adjust the saturation or hue of your colors to make them stand out more.



...you might even end up changing the color completely, like I did. The choices just don't ever end!




Step 13: Change Background Color

Time for some more color play! You can either try out different background by selecting the background layer and moving about on the color wheel, or create a separate layer and drop the color in.



Step 14: Make It Glow!

Grab a lighter shader compared to you background and let's start creating the gloooow. Make sure you're using a separate layer for this step.



You will need a textured brush to achieve this effect and set the grain to be quite big.



Try to keep the edges smooth and loose, follow the shape of your jellyfish.



Once you're done, add some Gaussian Blur - this will make your canvas light up.




Step 15: Add Floating Orbs

Bonus step - add another layer on top of everything is, grab the lightest color you've used and start adding some tiny orbs around the jellyfish. This effect will make it look really magical.



Aaand you're done!! How FUN was that?

Please make sure to tag me @thepigeonletters if you end up sharing your cute jellyfish because I would absolutely loooove seeing your color choices. 


Little bonus: since you made it all the way through this tutorial, here's a little swatch of the entire Ultimate Acrylic brush set so you can see it in action.



Well that was a lot. Why not pin this blog post for later?