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This post is part of a series called Learn How to Draw.
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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Do you want to learn how to draw a realistic cow? In this tutorial I will lead you through the process, explaining every little step in detail. I will show you how to achieve correct proportions and anatomy using simple shapes. No matter if you're a pro or a beginner, you'll have a lot of fun following this tutorial!

This is a simple tutorial about drawing a cow step by step. If you're interested in something more advanced (drawing various bovines like bison, cape buffalo, and yak, their anatomy and details), check out this one instead:

1. How to Draw a Cow's Body

Step 1

Draw a long rectangle. Don't use a ruler—it should be just a sketch! Don't press too hard either—these lines should be barely visible. This will be a "bounding box" for the torso of our cow.

cow body rectangle

Step 2

Cut this rectangle in half.

cut body in half

Step 3

Cut each half in half again.

cut body in fourths

Step 4

Draw an oval in the middle. Don't worry about it being perfect! This will help us create the correct shape of the chest.

draw oval chest in middle

Step 5

Draw two ovals in the side quarter—one at the bottom (the arm), and one on top (the hips).

draw oval hips and arm

Step 6

Add two smaller ovals to the arm oval—the sternum on the bottom and the shoulder on top.

add oval sternum

Step 7

Add the curve of the shoulder blade.

add curve of shoulder

Step 8

Connect it to the arm.

draw shoulder mass

Step 9

Go to the hips now. Draw two smaller ovals to mark their tips.

add hips bony landmarks

Step 10

The sacrum should be slightly elevated.

add sacrum

Step 11

Attach the tail to the sacrum.

draw cow tail

Step 12

Outline the shape of the torso. Don't press hard yet!

outline cow body

Step 13

Let's add the udder under the hips.

sketch cow udder
skeatch cows teats

2. How to Draw a Cow's Head

Step 1

To create the correct proportions for the neck, draw it as a triangle coming from the shoulder.

draw cow neck triangle

Step 2

Attach an oval to the tip of this triangle.

draw cow head oval

Step 3

Draw a "head cross" in perspective. It's created by a line coming along the whole head, and an eyebrow line.

draw cow head cross

Step 4

Add an oval for the muzzle.

draw cows oval muzzle

Step 5

Add the oval cheeks.

craw cows cheeks

Step 6

Draw an area for the eyes. Keep it in perspective!

draw cows eye area

Step 7

Draw the top of the muzzle.

Draw cows head top

Step 8

Add the nostrils.

draw cows nostrils

Step 9

Add the ears.

draw cow ears

Step 10

Place a narrow oval on top of the head, to create a space for the horns.

draw cow top head

Step 11

Sketch the curve of the horns.

draw cow horns curve

Step 12

Draw a "coil" around these curves, to better see their 3D form.

draw cows horns form

Step 13

Outline the form of the horns.

how to draw cow horns

Step 14

Add the oval eyes.

draw cow eyes

Step 15

Add some bone around the eyes.

draw cow eye bony landmarks

Step 16

Draw the mouth.

draw cow mouth
draw cow chin

Step 17

Add the details to the mouth: the nose and the lip corner.

draw cone nose

Step 18

Finally, outline the neck and adjust the shape of the ear.

draw cow neck

3. How to Draw Cow's Legs

Step 1

Draw a vertical line slightly shorter than the height of the torso. Then draw a horizontal line under it.

draw cow leg length

Step 2

Sketch the curve of the front and hind limbs.

sketch cow limbs

Step 3

To make the pose more interesting, we can shift the perspective a little. Draw another ground line slightly above the other.

add perspective to drawing

Step 4

Sketch the curve of another pair of limbs.

add another pair of limbs

Step 5

Mark the "wrists" and ankles.

sketch cow wrists and ankles

Step 6

Mark the top of the hooves.

sketch position of hooves

Step 7

Draw a circle on top of each hoof.

sketch top of hooves

Step 8

The joints in legs are quite complex and there's not much muscles on them that could conceal their shape, so pay special attention to them.

sketch leg joints
draw cows bony landmarks in legs

Step 9

Add the knee and the top of the forearm.

draw arm and knee

Step 10

Finish the hooves.

draw top of hiooves
draw cow hooves
draw hoof caps
draw back toes

Step 11

Add the thigh mass.

draw cow thigh

Step 12

Add the muscle mass to the forearm and the calves.

draw cow muscles

Step 13

Outline the shape of the limbs.

outline cow legs

4. How to Finish a Drawing of a Cow

We're going to finish the drawing now, so feel free to press harder to create the final lines. You can also put a new sheet of paper over the sketch to draw the final lines separately.

Step 1

Draw all the details suggested by the guide lines. If you need help, you can use the muscle diagram from How to Draw Animals: Cows and Other Bovines.

draw cow lines

Step 2

Add some value to the darker elements: the horns, the eyes, the nose, and the hooves. Sketch the outline of the pattern.

draw cow pattern

Step 3

Gently shade the cow to create an illusion of depth.

shade the cow

Step 4

Darken the pattern by filling it with some hatching.

darken cow pattern

Step 5

Adjust the contrast of the whole drawing by adding more dark shades. You can also darken the main outline of the body.

finish drawing cow

Good Job!

That's a beautiful cow! If you enjoyed this tutorial, you may also be interested in these:

Or maybe you need some cow related resources for your project? You should check out what Envato Elements has to offer!

Low Poly Cow

low oply cow 3d model

Farm Organic Product Vector Graphic

cow vector images illustrations

Cow Photo

cow photos stock
how to draw a cow step by step
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