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How to Draw an Elephant Step by Step

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Final product imageFinal product imageFinal 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 ovalelephant body ovalelephant body oval

Step 2

Attach a vertical oval to it, slightly higher.

elephant shoulder ovalelephant shoulder ovalelephant shoulder oval

Step 3

Place two slanting lines on the shoulders and the hips.

elephant shoulder hipselephant shoulder hipselephant shoulder hips

Step 4

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

elephant ground under feetelephant ground under feetelephant ground under feet

Step 5

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

elephant legs positionelephant legs positionelephant legs position

Step 6

Add the general shape of the head.

elephant head shapeelephant head shapeelephant 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 widthelephant feet widthelephant 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 jointselephant leg jointselephant leg joints

Step 3

Draw flat cushions under the feet.

elephant feet cushionselephant feet cushionselephant feet cushions

Step 4

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

elephant face directionelephant face directionelephant face direction

Step 5

Draw the eye sockets.

elephant  eye socketselephant  eye socketselephant  eye sockets

Step 6

Draw the forehead.

elephant foreheadelephant foreheadelephant forehead

Step 7

Draw the cheekbone and the base of the ear.

elephant cheekboneelephant cheekboneelephant cheekbone

Step 8

Draw the tusks.

elephant tuskselephant tuskselephant tusks

Step 9

Draw the direction and length of the trunk.

elephant trunkelephant trunkelephant trunk

Step 10

Draw the direction and length of the tail.

elephant tailelephant tailelephant 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 shapeelephant wrists ankles shapeelephant wrists ankles shape

Step 2

Draw "cups" under them.

elephant feet shapeelephant feet shapeelephant feet shape

Step 3

Draw big muscle masses in the forearms and thighs.

elephant big muscleselephant big muscleselephant big muscles

Step 4

Sketch the position of the hips.

elephant hips positionelephant hips positionelephant hips position

Step 5

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

elephant ear shapeelephant ear shapeelephant ear shape

Step 6

Close the shape of the ears.

elephant full ear shapeelephant full ear shapeelephant full ear shape

Step 7

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

elephant eye shapeelephant eye shapeelephant eye shape

Step 8

Sketch the brow.

elephant brow shapeelephant brow shapeelephant brow shape

Step 9

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

elephant trunk drawelephant trunk drawelephant trunk draw
elephant trunk outlineelephant trunk outlineelephant trunk outline

Step 10

Do the same with the tusks.

elephant tusks drawelephant tusks drawelephant tusks draw
elephant tusks outlineelephant tusks outlineelephant tusks outline

Step 11

Add more detailing shapes to the face.

elephant skin over tuskselephant skin over tuskselephant skin over tusks
elephant cheekselephant cheekselephant cheeks
elephant mouthelephant mouthelephant mouth
elephant lipselephant lipselephant lips

Step 12

Sketch and outline the tail.

elephant tail sketchelephant tail sketchelephant tail sketch
elephant tail outlineelephant tail outlineelephant tail outline

Step 13

Outline the legs, going around the defining shapes.


elephant legs frontelephant legs frontelephant legs front
elephant legs backelephant legs backelephant legs back
elephant full legselephant full legselephant full legs
elephant upper legselephant upper legselephant upper legs

Step 14

Outline the whole body.

elephant body outlineelephant body outlineelephant body outline

Step 15

Add the elbow.

elephant elbowelephant elbowelephant 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 detailelephant eye detailelephant eye detail

Step 2

Outline the head and ears.

elephant ear detailelephant ear detailelephant ear detail

Step 3

Outline the tusks.

elephant tusks detailelephant tusks detailelephant tusks detail

Step 4

Add details to the trunk.

elephant trunk detailelephant trunk detailelephant trunk detail
elephant trunk wrinkleselephant trunk wrinkleselephant trunk wrinkles
elephant trunk backelephant trunk backelephant trunk back

Step 5

Add details to the face.

elephant face detailselephant face detailselephant face details
elephant mouth detailselephant mouth detailselephant 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 toenailselephant toenailselephant toenails

Step 7

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

elephant skin wrinkleselephant skin wrinkleselephant skin wrinkles
elephant full bodyelephant full bodyelephant full body

Step 8

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

elephant skin textureelephant skin textureelephant skin texture

Step 9

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

elephant simple shadingelephant simple shadingelephant 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 stephow to draw elephant step by stephow to draw elephant step by step
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