How To Draw A Wrestling Referee

How To Draw A Wrestling Referee | A Fun Filled Guide 

Wrestling referees have a distinctive look with black-and-white striped shirts, dynamic gestures, and an authoritative presence in the ring. Learning to draw a characterful wrestling ref is a great way to capture this sport’s intense action and provide helpful figure-drawing practice. By breaking the process down into simple steps, beginning and experienced artists can master bringing the excitement of a wrestling match to life on paper or canvas. 

Steps Complexity level
Draw the head2
Draw the t-shirt3
Draw the hands2
Draw the pants2
Draw the shoes3
Add details on the shirt3
Complexity table

What you will need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser (optional)
  • Colors 

How to draw a wrestling referee

Some basic paper and a pencil are all you need to follow along with this easy wrestling referee drawing guide. Plain computer, construction, or sketchbook paper will all work fine. Standard #2 pencils are ideal, but mechanical or colored pencils can do the job. You may want to use an eraser to correct mistakes, but this is optional. 

How To Draw A Wrestling Referee
Our Steps

Step 1: Draw the Head

Start your wrestling referee drawing by lightly sketching a circle near the top of the paper to guide the head shape as we drew for the volleyball coach. Position it slightly left of center to allow space for an extended arm on the right side later. Draw the circle contour clean and round. Once you have the circular outline, draw another smaller circle inside for the face outline.

How To Draw A Wrestling Referee
Drawing the head

Use straight lines down the middle to mark out facial placement. Referees need dynamic expressions, so give your wide, intense eyes, furrowed brows, and an open shouting mouth since they are animated. Use curved lines around the face outline to form a sturdy neck and jutting chin shape, reinforcing the assertive stance. You can do light shading around the furrowed brows and mouth to emphasize the dramatic face.

  • Sketch a large circle for the head and outline and a smaller circle inside for an expressive face.
  • Use straight lines, draw intense eyes, and an open mouth; this step is optional.
  • Shade around mouth and brow for drama

Step 2: Draw the T-Shirt

Extend vertical curved lines with varied widths down from the neck to form the referee’s iconic black-and-white striped shirt outline. Start more comprehensive at the shoulders before tapering in at the waist. Sketch about 5-8 stripes in total, carefully keeping them straight and even. Varying the stripe widths adds interest while also suggesting loose shirt folds.

How To Draw A Wrestling Referee
drawing the T-shirt

Leave an unfinished shirt hem at the waist for now. Later, we will cover it with arm gestures. But lightly indicate a beltline around the waist to guide shirt proportions relative to the established head scale and body position.

  • Add vertical lines of different widths from the neck for an iconic striped shirt outline.
  • Sketch half sleeves as it is a T-shirt
  • Lightly mark the waistline belt area to guide shirt length

Step 3: Draw the Hands

The ref’s authoritative arm gestures are vital for controlling the wrestling match, so dynamically pose both arms. Sketch a curved line for one bent arm, hand on hip. Extend the opposite arm straight up with an open palm out for boldness. Draw angular hand sides and short parallel lines for spread finger digits.

How To Draw A Wrestling Referee
Drawing the hands

Connecting the limbs to the body’s core structure brings the form to life. Use varied line weights to convey the arms coming forward visually – heavier in front and lighter behind. Add a prominent watch shape on the raised arm’s wrist to reinforce the refereeing role through props.

  • Draw arms in commanding positional gestures – one straight up, one bent on hip
  • Use thicker lines in front and foreshortening to make arms come forward
  • Add a watch shape accessory to the raised arm

Step 4: Draw the Pants

Add the signature black-and-white striped pants to complete the wrestling referee’s outfit. Continue alternating line strips from the shirt down past the implied beltline into a flared pants shape as we did for the rugby coach. Sketch them billowing out more expansive from the knees down to the feet.

How To Draw A Wrestling Referee
Drawing the pants

Vary the stripe widths more dramatically here to increase depth and make the fabric look loose yet angular and in motion. Add shorter horizontal stripes on the protruding pant legs to show they are coming towards the viewer. Leave gaps between stripes for later coloring shadow effects.

  • Extend vertical stripes from shirt into loose, flaring pants shape
  • Use more varied stripe widths to show billowing fabric
  • Add forward-coming horizontal leg stripes

Step 5: Draw the Shoes

Anchor your wrestling ref by adding footwear. Sketch basic outlined shapes for black athletic shoes down at the flare bottoms of the striped pants. Crisscrossing lines across their tops create laces and textures for realism. Consider subtle perspectival tilt for dynamism.

How To Draw A Wrestling Referee
Drawing the shoes

You can have one shoe more frontal than the other to reinforce the feeling of a grounded but active stance suitable for quickly circling an intense wrestling bout. Add simple lines coming up the ankles inside the shoes to connect them solidly to the pants above for better proportion.

  • Draw athletic shoe outlines at the pants flare bottom for grounding.
  • Use crisscrossing lines for shoe laces and texture
  • Subtly tilt one shoe for realistic look

Step 6: Add Details on Shirt

Finally, enhance detail and visual interest in your referee by adding supplemental decoration elements to the primary forms. For example, sketch a prominent ID badge shape attached to a lanyard around the neck to reinforce the referee’s official status. you can add the vertical lines for the iconic black and white striped shirt.

How To Draw A Wrestling Referee
Adding details on the shirt

You could also depict a small weapons-prohibited icon patch on the shirt’s shoulder, such as pockets, mic-packs, or a subtle vertical center placket line to bring an authentic sense of realism. Keep embellishments minimal and purposeful rather than just arbitrary extra lines for optimal clarity.

  • Consider adding small but meaningful detail elements like lanyard ID badges and patch insignias.
  • Optional extras could include subtle pocket lines, mic-packs, placket
  • Focus on purposeful, restrained embellishments for clarity

Step 7: Congratulations! Your Wrestling Referee Drawing Is Complete

Stand back and admire your referee illustration. You’ve successfully captured the essential elements of a wrestling official.

How To Draw A Wrestling Referee
Drawing is complete

Taking your Wrestling Referee to the next level

Like any other skill, sketching requires practice. Set aside time each day to sketch, even if it’s only for a little while. Be mindful of your surroundings. This enhances comprehension of details, dimensions, and forms. You can start with the basics and work up to more complex topics. Experiment with different drawing tools like charcoal, colored pencils, watercolors, markers, and pencils. Every medium has unique characteristics that could help you identify your preferences.

You can also play with basic hatching, blending, shading, and cross-hatching techniques. Understanding these techniques will greatly enhance the complexity and realism of your drawings. When you’re drawing, use your imagination and try out new concepts. 

Adding a Background

To make your wrestling ref pop, strategically place him against a contrasting background suggestive of the context. For example, lightly sketch a geometric outline of a wrestling ring mat with intersecting straps and standing ropes. Align your ref purposefully outside the ropes while gesturing into the ring, framing him effectively.

You could also vaguely indicate fan silhouettes crowding the far ring perimeter to represent the audience’s energy. Keep figures and elements muted with loose, gestural lines so the crisply outlined referee remains the visual focus as the dynamic foreground element directing the scene action.

Adding Color

When painting your wrestling art, use bold, saturated shades on the central referee figure to make him stand out. For example, his iconic shirt stripes are in intense blacks, whites, and greys against muted dark blue pants and neutral black shoes/hair. This higher contrast focal color concentration draws the eye.

How To Draw A Wrestling Referee
Adding color

In the background, use dull, diluted crowd colors like blurred earth tones and greyed hues so they recede. Having more blended, subdued tones behind the referee enhances the sense of depth and space while emphasizing the vector of attention on him. Add crisp yet subtle shade variations within clothing folds to model form.

Bonus Tips

Personalizing your wrestling referee drawing in fun ways makes it more engaging. For example, give your referee a silly mustache or funky hairstyle. Have him holding unique props like a pepperoni pizza or boombox instead of just a whistle. Depict him wearing distinctive accessories such as a cape, jewelry, or funky glasses that express his personality.

Composing your artwork from an unexpected vantage point also adds compelling visual dynamism. For example, shoot upward from the mat beneath some grappling wrestler figures to frame the referee commandingly from below. Deviating clever or whimsical themes on the classic ref image opens creative possibilities.


As you can see from this expansive wrestling referee drawing demonstration, setting up the form strategically with instructed steps provides solid illustrative foundations to customize creatively. Everything from the classic striped uniform to the surrounding context of an active wrestling ring can be infused with your flair and narrative once you master the core procedural drawing abilities first. Let your visions run wild!

How to draw a wrestling referee

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This guide explains how to draw a wrestling referee.

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