How To Draw An Elephant

How To Draw An Elephant

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How To Draw An Elephant

The majestic and magnificent elephant has been a subject of fascination for artists and art enthusiasts for centuries. Their sheer size and unique features make them a captivating subject for artists looking to explore their creative talents. In this step-by-step guide, we will take you through the process of drawing an elephant, from the basic shapes to the intricate details, helping you capture the essence of these remarkable creatures on paper.

Materials You'll Need

Before we dive into the step-by-step process of drawing an elephant, let's gather the materials you'll need:

  • Drawing Paper: A clean, white sheet of paper, preferably of moderate thickness (around 80-100 lb) to withstand the pressure of your drawing tools.

  • Pencils: A set of graphite pencils, including 2H, HB, 2B, 4B, and 6B, for varying line thickness and shading.

  • Erasers: A kneaded eraser for fine corrections and a regular eraser for larger areas.

  • Blending Tools: Blending stumps or tortillons to smudge and blend pencil lines for a more realistic look.

  • Reference Image: A clear image of an elephant to use as a reference for your drawing.

Now that you have your materials ready, let's start the step-by-step process of drawing an elephant.

Basic Shapes

Begin by drawing a rough outline of the elephant using basic shapes to get a sense of the overall proportions. Start with an oval for the body and a smaller circle for the head. Add a pair of large, oval ears on each side of the head. Remember, this initial sketch is for placement and proportion, so don't worry about details at this stage.

 Add the Legs

Extend the body's lower part into four legs. Elephants have thick, pillar-like legs, so make sure they are appropriately sized and positioned. You can use simple rectangles as placeholders for the legs.

Outline the Trunk

The elephant's trunk is one of its most distinctive features. To draw it, use a long, slightly curved shape that connects the head to the body. Pay attention to the trunk's wrinkles and details, but don't worry about these just yet.

Refine the Head

Now, focus on the elephant's head. Add the eye, which is a small, round shape, and the trunk details like wrinkles and folds. Elephants have long, curved tusks, which you can indicate with two lines on either side of the trunk.

Add the Ears

Elephant ears are a striking feature, and their size and shape vary by species. Generally, African elephants have larger ears that resemble the continent of Africa, while Asian elephants have smaller, rounder ears. Draw the ears according to your chosen reference image, ensuring they are appropriately sized and positioned on the head.

Refine the Body

Now, it's time to refine the body and legs. Elephants have a distinct hump on their back, so make sure to include that detail. Add more definition to the legs, keeping in mind their thickness and proportions. Pay attention to wrinkles and folds in the skin for a more realistic appearance.

Detail the Tail

Draw the elephant's tail, which is usually short and ends with a tuft of hair. Keep the tail simple and flowing.

Start Shading

With the basic outline in place, it's time to start adding depth and dimension to your elephant drawing. Begin by shading the elephant's body using a light pencil, such as 2H. Gradually add darker shading to create shadows, especially in areas where the body curves and recedes. Remember that shading is crucial for making your drawing look three-dimensional.

Define Wrinkles and Skin Texture

Elephants have unique skin patterns with numerous wrinkles and creases. Use a medium pencil (like 2B or 4B) to draw in these wrinkles and skin texture. Pay close attention to your reference image to capture the intricate details. The wrinkles are typically more pronounced near the trunk, ears, and legs.

Work on the Face

Focus on the facial details of the elephant. Add depth and texture to the trunk, eyes, and ears. Make sure to emphasize the tusks and any other facial features based on your reference image.

Refine the Legs and Tail

Continue to refine the legs and tail, adding shading and texture to make them look more realistic. Elephants have tough, wrinkled skin on their legs, so pay attention to those details.

Final Touches

Now, take a step back and assess your drawing. Add any final touches or details to enhance the overall appearance. You can use a kneaded eraser to create highlights and make certain areas pop. Use blending tools like blending stumps or tortillons to smudge and blend the pencil lines for a more polished finish.


Drawing an elephant may seem challenging, but by breaking the process down into simple steps, you can create a beautiful and realistic representation of these incredible creatures. Remember that practice is key to improving your skills. Each elephant drawing you create will help you refine your technique and capture their majestic presence with more accuracy.

So, gather your materials, find a reference image that inspires you, and start your elephant drawing adventure. As you practice, you'll not only improve your drawing skills but also gain a deeper appreciation for the natural world and the magnificent creatures that inhabit it.

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