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Holly Drawing: Easy, Cute Cartoon Instructions

In the world of winter drawing ideas, holly drawing is at the top of the list to deck the halls! Get ready for an easy, cute cartoon tutorial that sparkles with festive holiday spirt.

As background, I’m an artist and teacher named Ms. Marshall who hand-draws each and every illustration on this site. This lesson is part of a big round-up of all my Christmas drawings for your enjoyment. Ready? Let’s go!

Holly drawing black and white
We start our holly drawing in black and white.

Holly Drawing

As I explained with my candy cane drawing tutorial, please feel free to modify or change any part of this art lesson. Creativity is all about building confidence in your own choices!

1. Start with a pencil sketch.

I highly recommend starting this art project with an erasable pencil sketch. Why? The holly leaves each have “U” shapes and pointy tips, and as we found with our umbrella drawing (which features similar lines), getting those points spaced out in a pleasing manner takes some experimenting.

2. Decide how many berries your holly drawing will have.

Typically, holiday holly is drawn with three red berries in the middle of two or three pointy green leaves. I decided to mix things up here and draw five berries, layered on top of one another. I’m not sure if it was the right choice, because the top two berries now kind of look like ears, and the side leaves like the wings of our bat drawing!

Add holiday colors.
Add festive red and green.

3. Ink in holiday colors.

What’s nice about drawing holly is that it is already in red and green Christmas and holiday colors! (Since the opposite of red is green in the RYB color wheel, this also makes for a pleasing complementary color contrast.)

You’ll then need to play with what your background color will be (I chose yellow-orange to create a warm, cozy glow), and whether you’ll have decorative words like our Santa drawing. I chose the word “MERRY” to fill the empty corner left by the angle of the leaves.

Holly drawing
Our holly drawing is complete!

4. Be careful with shading and highlights.

Shading the berries is easy, because you just follow the instructions of our snowman drawing to add highlights to the middle and darker shades to the bottom and edges. The leaves, however, are a different story.

Why? If you look at photos of real holly, there are a number of different ways the highlights look. For the most part, holly leaves are flat and shiny — but to add interest here, I put in more of an undulating texture.

5. Create some sparkle.

The holidays are all about the sparkle of cozy lights, as we saw in our Christmas tree drawing, so go wild with adding golden dots in the background! As you can see, I also opted to change the letter shading from purple to classic holiday colors, to make the piece look more coherent.

VIDEO: How to Draw Holly
See the time-lapse video of my art process here.

Holly Drawing, in Sum

I hope this easy holly drawing lesson was useful and fun! for further artistic inspiration, check out my tutorial on drawing a gift! What else should I illustrate and teach? Do share…

Want more? Check out my Christmas ornament drawing instructions, and the links below for my big round-up of all my holiday drawing tutorials and free printable coloring sheets! Easy, fun activities.