Interested in learning to design a wwII style shark mouth for a boat, car, missle, etc? Well… you’ve come to the right place. It’s one of my favorite things of all time to draw and one that i think is the most fun, too.

Here is a step by step process from a recent project of a shark mouth design that i designed for my partner over at IDA Wraps to be wrapped on a boat.


Lay out the shape of the shark mouth design

Shark Mouth Design for Boat (Step-by-Step Graphic Design) 1

Like you can see above, the first step was to lay out a giant black shape in approximately the shape we needed. The side of the boat we were wrapping here was fairly straight, so we couldn’t get too crazy with the curve here.

That is why you can see some slight curvature but the shape overall is mostly straight horizontal.

Add lips and big white teeth

The customer here was looking for a mouth that kind of looked like the Clown from “IT,” so i started laying in some scraggly, long pointy teeth just like you’d expect from a killer clown.

Shark Mouth Design for Boat (Step-by-Step Graphic Design) 2

In order to do this, I duplicated my black shape, turned the one in the back red and enlarged it. Then I tweaked the shape to give it the shape I needed.

Kind of came out looking like something from AHHH, REAL MONSTERS from old school Nickelodeon. That’s what it reminded me of, anyway…

Add more, smaller teeth between other teeth

For this step, all I did was go in with the pencil tool (and sometimes the brush tool) adding more teeth between the bigger teeth to give it that scary, monster look we were going for.

See here:Shark Mouth Design for Boat (Step-by-Step Graphic Design) 3

I moved some of the larger teeth around, too, to make space for more of the little teeth in between.

Very fast and loose, don’t think too much about the shapes, you can always edit them later as needed, which I did a lot of before the final stage.

Add wavy lines to the “gums”

I wanted it to look like the teeth were embedded right into the gums, the way they really are. I also just felt like the design needed something a little more “custom.”

I duplicated my red shape, got rid of it, and made a new one with a wavy edge that went along with the waves created by the teeth.

Shark Mouth Design for Boat (Step-by-Step Graphic Design) 4

You might notice I also added a slight gradient to the color of the gums here. I thought it was looking a little too “flat,” so I made a simple red to slightly-darker-red gradient using colors right in the default illustrator swatches.

Final stage: added waves to gum-side of teeth

Shark Mouth Design for Boat (Step-by-Step Graphic Design) 5

Above is the final artwork that was sent over.

I added waves to the top of the teeth or the bottom, depending on where they were hitting the gums. I thought this gave them a more embedded and custom look, too.

If you need help with design or are interested in a vinyl wrap design project, get in touch with me any time.