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How to Draw Yoda: Step-by-Step Tutorial

Matt enjoys writing drawing and animation tutorials as well as video game walkthroughs.

The iconic Jedi Master

The iconic Jedi Master

Yoda is an iconic member of the Star Wars franchise, recognizable to fans and casual watchers alike. It's no surprise that the little Jedi Master is the subject of millions of drawings and sketches.

When Yoda goes from screen to page, as simple as he may look, it's important to make sure he looks right. This article will cover the details needed for a basic, shaded sketch of Yoda, as well as tips on making him look even more detailed.

Head and ears

Head and ears

Step 1: Head and Ears

Yoda's head is irregularly shaped compared to the average human head, tapering off at the top like an eggshell. His ears are highly mobile and add a lot to his personality, so position them in your wireframe sketch according to his mood. If he's happy or interested, they'll likely be raised. If upset or bored, they're more likely to be slightly drooped.


Step 2: Facial Features

It's important to get the geography of Yoda's skull mapped out before you get too detailed. His skin is not smooth; indeed, it's closer to that of a reptile, with soft, bumpy brow ridges running from the tip of his head to his eyes. Make sure his features are slightly exaggerated compared to a human's, with a sloped, protruding chin, big, heavily-lidded eyes and a slight overbite. The only exception is his nose, which is heavily-furrowed and short.



Step 3: Wrinkles

Yoda's 900 years old—he's accumulated a few ridges. Litter the sides of his face with strong, deep lines that establish the curvature of the skull underneath. The rounded creases around his eyes in particular help establish an aged look.



Step 4: Creasing

To continue the aged look, Yoda's skin should have an overall crinkled texture. Line his edges with slight, uneven bumps, particularly along the ears and mouth. Don't go too far, however, as he still retains a sense of spritely youth that can easily be eliminated by turning his skin into a folding mess.

Eye creases

Eye creases

Step 5: Eye Creases

Yoda's creases are most prominent at the sides of his eyes, expanding out into a small field of cobwebs near his temple. Keep these lines soft and flowing, like the curves of a river. Don't go overboard!



Step 6: Shading

Yoda really pops when properly shaded, lending him a gravitas and slightly-sinister air that this quick sketch somewhat lacks. In particular you want to emphasize the edges of his creases and brows, creating a strong contrast between dark and light. In general, the top of Yoda's head is going to look a lot lighter than the bottom, though that depends on the direction of your light source. Don't be afraid to ignore prominent wrinkles along the neck when shading, as it's much smoother than the rest of his face.

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Step 7: Hair

Probably the most-overlooked aspect of Yoda's face is his hair, which is ignored when included yet makes the entire face look wrong when it's missed. Yoda is prominently bald, with only a smattering of wispy hair tucked behind his ears and ringing the back of his head. Use a very light touch to create this hair, utilizing fine, thin strokes. Avoid angles when drawing his hair.

Practice, You Must!

All done! Your very own Yoda. If you want to draw the rest of his body, wrap him in coarse woolen garments that are both simple and light. You won't see much more of his skin, though what is visible—hands and feet—should be weathered and thick. Think 'age' and you've got Yoda.


rcorcutt on October 20, 2013:

Thanks. This was really helpful. I am thinking about buying a canvas and painting a Yoda for my living room now.

AdriatiX on May 04, 2013:

Yoda is my favourite Star Wars character. I will try to draw him for fun. :)

Rina Rinard from Herrenberg Germany (today) on January 14, 2013:

Yoda is, by far, my favorite green character - second only to Kermit. :)

Geekdom on January 03, 2013:

Just wanted to give you props for you drawing. Nice work.

Matt Bird (author) from Canada on January 02, 2013:

More how-to drawing things are forthcoming. I apparently have nothing better to do with my days than to draw sketchy Jedi and cartoon characters. Thanks!

Chace from Charlotte, NC on January 02, 2013:

Cooooool! Yoda! I never realized how creepy his hair is, though, 'til I saw it in pencil form.... Voted useful and AWESOME 'cause Yoda rocks and so do your drawing skills.

Matt Bird (author) from Canada on January 02, 2013:

Thanks! The shading still really bugs me, though. I should have used softer techniques, not hatching. Will probably go back and re-shade him quickly.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 02, 2013:

you sure are damn good at drawing! I wish i could draw like that ! Artistic and awesome. Voted up