how to draw paisley

Learn how to draw paisley in 7 easy steps!

In this step-by-step drawing lesson you'll learn how to doodle whimsical paisley designs like the one you see on the right.

This lesson is an excerpt from Draw Groovy, my 64-page book containing easy step-by-step lessons on how to draw cute, whimsical images decorated with fun patterns and colorful designs!

Draw Groovy is available on Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, and other fine booksellers!

How to Draw Paisley

You can also download a free PDF of this paisley drawing lesson near the bottom of this page!

There are a lot of different ways to draw paisley, with various details you can add to the basic shape, and limitless possibilities in terms of making your paisley unique.

In this lesson you'll learn one easy way to draw paisley, and I'll show you several additional paisley drawings that all use the same basic shape, so you can see how you can customize your paisley to look unique.

There are so many possibilities for creativity, so let's get started!

What is paisley?

Colorful Paisley Tie by Thaneeya

Paisley is a popular shape that frequently appears in trendy patterns, mehendi hand designs and groovy doodles. Sometimes it seems like paisley is everywhere! The basic paisley shape looks like a teardrop or raindrop with a twist at the top.

Paisley gained popularity as a pattern several centuries ago, when European explorers and traders transported shawls woven with paisley patterns from the Kashmir region of India to Europe, where it became extremely fashionable. Paisley experienced a revival in popularity during the hippie years when it took on a more modernized appearance with psychedelic connotations. These days, paisley's popularity continues, with paisley appearing on diverse products such as iPhone cases, journals, and clothing and accessories for all ages and both genders.


Drawing utensil(s): I'd suggest using a pencil to draw your basic shape/design - that way you can easily erase mistakes - and then color it in once you're satisfied with the design. After you gain some experience with drawing the basic paisley outline, you can try drawing the basic paisley shape using a marker, colored pencil etc and coloring as you go. (Or you can try both ways to see which you prefer!)

After you draw your paisley, you can color it in with any medium you can think of: markers, gel pens, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, pastels, crayons, paint, or whatever you can get your hands on!

Surface: Any type of paper will do - drawing paper, printer paper, cardstock, watercolor paper, etc. You could also draw on canvas or wood and paint in the colorful details!

How to Draw Paisley

Step 1

Draw a long,continuous curved line like the one below:

Paisley Step-by-Step

Step 2

Without picking up your pencil, bring the curve back up.

Draw Paisley Step-by-Step

Step 3

Curve your line so it connects with the very beginning of your drawing. You've drawn a paisley outline! Now the fun really begins - it's time to add more shapes and patterns!

Basic Paisley Outline Shape

Step 4

Begin to decorate the inside of the paisley. Start with a raindrop shape in the big part of the paisley and a circle in the small part.

Drawing Paisley with Thaneeya


Step 5

Add more patterns and shapes, such as flower petals.

Add patterns and flower petals to your paisley

Step 6

Draw a line around the outside edge of the paisley's big bulge.

How to Draw Paisley

Step 7

Add more details like lines, stripes, waves, flowers or whatever you can think of. Then once you're satisfied with the design...

How to Draw Paisley Step-by-Step

Color it in!

Learn how to draw paisley

Other Examples of Paisley

Here are a few more examples of paisley that were created using the basic shape as described in Steps 1-3, then decorated with different details and colors. See how different they can be, even though they start with the same shape? Let your imagination run wild and see what you can come up with!

Colorful Paisley Patterns

Tips for Drawing Paisley Patterns

  • If you want to cover your whole paper in paisley, rotate your paper after each shape to draw each paisley from a different angle. This adds variety and fun to your pattern!
  • Use a pencil first to doodle ideas. When you're satisfied with your sketch, then use more permanent materials like markers, colored pencils, ink or paint to outline your paisley and color it in.
  • Experiment with different color schemes. Try a limited color scheme (using just 4-5 colors), or try using just one color (drawing with silver gel pen on black paper, for example).
  • Doodle paisley in one color, and try to get as intricate as you can to create cool, mesmerizing paisley patterns. Color it in when you're finished.
  • After you draw some detail paisley patterns in one color, photocopy them so you can color the same design with different colors.
  • If you want some help and inspiration with drawing patterns, check out my lesson on How to Draw Patterns like the one below!
How to Create a Pattern

This lesson is provided for educational purposes only. Please have lots of fun with it, but don't copy my paisley exactly and try to sell them as your own, because that would be copyright infringement. Copying for purely educational purposes is okay, as long as I am properly credited as the original artist if you want to post the image online.

Follow this lesson to create paisley with your own unique combination of colors and designs, that suits your style and personality. Make it your own!

I hope you enjoyed this step-by-step lesson on learning how to draw paisley!

If you like this lesson, you'll enjoy Draw Groovy, my 64-page book containing easy step-by-step lessons on how to draw cute, whimsical images decorated with fun patterns and colorful designs.

Draw Groovy is published by IMPACT, an imprint of F+W Media. The book is available on the following sites:

Free Download!

Click here to download a free PDF of this lesson on how to draw paisley as it appears in my book, Draw Groovy!