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How to Draw an Elephant Step by Step

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial I will show you how to draw a realistic African elephant step by step from scratch. This tutorial is ideal for beginners. You'll learn how to plan the pose, how to achieve the correct proportions, and how to add all the body parts and their details. It's not as difficult as it seems!

1. How to Sketch an Elephant's Pose

Step 1

Sketch an oval. It doesn't need to be perfect.

elephant body oval

Step 2

Attach a vertical oval to it, slightly higher.

elephant shoulder oval

Step 3

Place two slanting lines on the shoulders and the hips.

elephant shoulder hips

Step 4

Draw the ground. It should be about the "shoulder" length long.

elephant ground under feet

Step 5

Sketch the position of the legs without paying too much attention to their anatomy.

elephant legs position

Step 6

Add the general shape of the head.

elephant head shape

2. How to Draw a Simplified Skeleton of an Elephant

Step 1

Draw the width of the feet on the ground.

elephant feet width

Step 2

Sketch the actual anatomy of the legs; the joints and the direction of the bones. Elephants have very straight legs, and they walk on their fingertips.

elephant leg joints

Step 3

Draw flat cushions under the feet.

elephant feet cushions

Step 4

Draw a cross on the face, keeping in mind that it's seen in perspective.

elephant face direction

Step 5

Draw the eye sockets.

elephant  eye sockets

Step 6

Draw the forehead.

elephant forehead

Step 7

Draw the cheekbone and the base of the ear.

elephant cheekbone

Step 8

Draw the tusks.

elephant tusks

Step 9

Draw the direction and length of the trunk.

elephant trunk

Step 10

Draw the direction and length of the tail.

elephant tail

3. How to Draw an Elephant's Body

Step 1

We have the basic skeleton, so now it's time to add some body to it. Draw circles above the feet, in the place of wrists and ankles.

elephant wrists ankles shape

Step 2

Draw "cups" under them.

elephant feet shape

Step 3

Draw big muscle masses in the forearms and thighs.

elephant big muscles

Step 4

Sketch the position of the hips.

elephant hips position

Step 5

Draw two mirrored '9's for the ears. They can cover the shoulder.

elephant ear shape

Step 6

Close the shape of the ears.

elephant full ear shape

Step 7

Draw ovals inside ovals to create the basic sketch of the eye.

elephant eye shape

Step 8

Sketch the brow.

elephant brow shape

Step 9

Draw the width of the trunk all along its length, and then outline it.

elephant trunk draw
elephant trunk outline

Step 10

Do the same with the tusks.

elephant tusks draw
elephant tusks outline

Step 11

Add more detailing shapes to the face.

elephant skin over tusks
elephant cheeks
elephant mouth
elephant lips

Step 12

Sketch and outline the tail.

elephant tail sketch
elephant tail outline

Step 13

Outline the legs, going around the defining shapes.

elephant legs front
elephant legs back
elephant full legs
elephant upper legs

Step 14

Outline the whole body.

elephant body outline

Step 15

Add the elbow.

elephant elbow

4. How to Finish the Drawing of an Elephant

We're going to draw the final lines now. If you're drawing traditionally, use a darker tool for them, or put a new sheet of paper on top.

Step 1

Draw the little dark eye and the wrinkles around it.

elephant eye detail

Step 2

Outline the head and ears.

elephant ear detail

Step 3

Outline the tusks.

elephant tusks detail

Step 4

Add details to the trunk.

elephant trunk detail
elephant trunk wrinkles
elephant trunk back

Step 5

Add details to the face.

elephant face details
elephant mouth details

Step 6

Add the toenails. African elephants have four nails on the front feet and three on their back feet, but they're not all seen in this view.

elephant toenails

Step 7

Outline the body, drawing big wrinkles here and there to show how thick the skin is.

elephant skin wrinkles
elephant full body

Step 8

Add more wrinkles all over the body to create a texture of the skin.

elephant skin texture

Step 9

If you want, you can shade the elephant with simple cross-hatching.

elephant simple shading

Good Job!

You did it! If you want to learn more about elephants, for example how to draw the Asian elephant, check out my detailed tutorial below:

And if you want to draw other animals in a simple way, you'll like these tutorials:

how to draw elephant step by step
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