How to Draw an Elephant: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Drawing an elephant can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re a beginner. Elephants are complex creatures with unique features that require careful attention to detail. However, with the right guidance and techniques, anyone can learn how to draw an elephant. In this post, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to draw an elephant, from sketching out the basic shapes to finalizing your drawing with ink. Whether you’re an aspiring artist or simply looking for a fun new hobby, this tutorial is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to draw these magnificent animals. So let’s get started!


If you’re a beginner looking to learn how to draw, elephants are a great place to start. These majestic creatures have distinct features and shapes that can be fun and challenging to illustrate on paper. This tutorial will walk you through the process of drawing an elephant step-by-step, from outlining the body to adding details such as wrinkles and texture.

Drawing is a rewarding hobby that can improve your creativity and problem-solving skills. It is also a way to express yourself and bring your imagination to life. By following this tutorial, you’ll gain confidence in your ability to put pencil to paper and create something beautiful.

Elephants are a popular subject for artists of all levels due to their unique appearance and symbolism. They are known for their intelligence, strength, and gentle nature, making them one of the most beloved animals in the world. Whether you want to draw an elephant for personal enjoyment or to sell your artwork, this tutorial will teach you everything you need to know to get started.

So grab your pencils and paper, and let’s begin our journey into the world of elephant drawing!

Materials You Will Need

When it comes to drawing an elephant, having the right materials is crucial. Here are the materials you will need to create a beautiful and accurate elephant drawing.


A good quality pencil is essential for any drawing. It allows you to adjust the pressure you apply on the paper and create variations in line width and tone. When drawing an elephant, you can use a range of pencils from hard (H) to soft (B). Hard pencils produce lighter lines, while soft pencils produce darker ones. Experiment with different pencils to find the perfect one for your drawing.


Choosing the right paper can make a big difference in your drawing. For elephants, you may want to use a heavier weight paper to handle the amount of detail and shading involved. A medium or heavyweight drawing paper with a slight tooth or texture works well. Avoid using standard printer paper as it may not be able to handle the constant erasing and shading required for a detailed drawing.


An eraser helps you correct mistakes and refine details in your drawing. A kneaded eraser is ideal for drawing an elephant as it can be molded into any shape and easily removes unwanted marks without damaging the paper. A plastic eraser or a pen-style eraser can also be used but may require more pressure and care when erasing.


A ruler is a handy tool that helps you achieve accurate proportions, straight lines, and angles in your drawing. Use a ruler to measure the length and width of different parts of the elephant’s body, such as its legs, trunk, and ears. This will help you maintain proper scale and avoid distortions.

Having the right materials is only the first step in drawing an elephant, but it’s an important one. With these materials, you’ll be well on your way to creating a beautiful elephant drawing that captures the essence and spirit of this majestic animal.

Step 1: Draw the Elephant’s Body

Subheading: Sketch the Basic Shape of the Body

To sketch the basic shape of an elephant’s body, you need to start with a gesture drawing. A gesture drawing is a quick and loose sketch that captures the essence of the subject’s pose and movement. It’s a great way to establish the overall proportions and balance of your drawing before adding any details.

Begin by lightly sketching the basic shapes of the elephant’s body using simple geometric forms such as circles, rectangles, and triangles. This will help you get a sense of the animal’s overall size and shape. Remember to keep your lines light and loose, as you’ll be refining them later.

Next, focus on the elephant’s pose and movement. Elephants have a distinctive posture with their head held high and their back sloping downward. They also have a unique gait with their legs splayed out to the sides. Try to capture these characteristics in your sketch by exaggerating the angles and curves of the body.

Pay attention to the placement of the elephant’s legs and how they support the weight of the body. Elephants are heavy animals, so it’s important to get the balance right in your drawing. Use reference images or videos to help you understand how the legs are positioned and how they move.

Finally, refine your sketch by adding more detail to the elephant’s body. Start by fleshing out the basic shapes with more curved and organic lines. Add the contours of the muscles and wrinkles of the skin to create a more realistic appearance. Keep in mind that you don’t need to add every single detail at this stage, as you can always go back and add more later.

By following these steps, you should have a solid foundation for your elephant drawing that captures the animal’s pose and movement. From here, you can begin to add more details and refine your drawing further.

Subheading: Add Details to the Body

Adding Details to the Body: Bringing Your Elephant Drawing to Life

Now that you have sketched the basic shape of the elephant’s body, it’s time to add details that will make it look more realistic and three-dimensional. Adding details is an essential step in drawing any animal or object, as it helps create depth and texture, making your drawing more interesting and visually appealing.

One of the most crucial aspects of adding details to an elephant drawing is capturing its skin texture. Elephants have thick, wrinkly skin with unique patterns that vary from one individual to another. To capture this texture, use short, curved lines to create small wrinkles and folds around the elephant’s body.

When drawing wrinkles, keep in mind that they should not be too symmetrical or evenly spaced. Instead, try to vary their size and direction to make them look more natural. You can also add shadows and highlights to give the impression of depth and volume.

Another detail that adds authenticity to your elephant drawing is the folds and creases in its skin. Elephants have many folds around their necks, belly, and legs, which create a sense of weight and mass. Use long, curved lines to draw these folds and creases, paying attention to their placement and size.

Finally, don’t forget to add smaller details, such as the elephant’s toenails and tail hair. These seemingly minor features may seem insignificant, but they can make a big difference in bringing your elephant drawing to life.

By following these tips and taking your time, you can turn a basic elephant outline into a detailed and lifelike drawing. With practice, you’ll become more confident in your ability to capture the beauty and complexity of one of nature’s most majestic creatures.

Step 2: Draw the Elephant’s Head

Subheading: Sketch the Basic Shape of the Head

Sketching the basic shape of the head is a crucial step in drawing an elephant. It sets the foundation for the rest of your drawing and can make all the difference in achieving accurate proportions and placement of features.

To begin, lightly sketch an oval shape to represent the overall size and placement of the head. This will serve as your guide for the rest of the drawing process. Make sure to keep your lines light and easy to erase if needed.

Next, add a smaller circle towards the bottom of the oval to represent the placement of the trunk. The trunk is one of the most distinctive features of an elephant’s head, so it’s important to get this part right. Take note of the size and placement of the trunk in relation to the rest of the head.

Once you have the overall shape and placement established, begin adding in more details. Sketch in the placement of the ears and eyes, taking care to keep them proportional to the size of the head. Elephants have very large ears, so be sure to make these prominent in your drawing.

As you continue sketching, pay attention to the size and placement of each feature. Refer back to your reference image or real-life observation to ensure accuracy. Remember, the key to achieving a realistic drawing is in getting the proportions right.

In summary, sketching the basic shape of the head is an essential first step in drawing an elephant. By paying close attention to proportions and placement, you can create a strong foundation for the rest of your drawing. Take your time, use light lines, and refer back to your reference material often to achieve the best results.

Subheading: Add Details to the Head

Adding details to the head of your elephant drawing can bring it to life and make it look more realistic. Here are some tips on how to add these details effectively:

  • Start with the trunk: The elephant’s trunk is a defining feature, so it’s important to get it right. Add details such as wrinkles, folds, and texture to make it look more lifelike. Pay attention to the placement and size of the trunk as well.

  • Focus on the ears: Elephants have large, distinctive ears that are an important part of their anatomy. Make sure you draw them in proportion to the head, and add any additional details such as veins or ridges.

  • Don’t overlook the eyes: The eyes are the windows to the soul, even in an elephant drawing. Add depth and dimension to the eyes by shading and highlighting, and consider adding eyelashes or other subtle details.

  • Add wrinkles for realism: Like many animals, elephants have wrinkles all over their bodies, including the head. Adding wrinkles to the forehead and around the eyes can make your drawing look more realistic and detailed.

By paying attention to these details, you can take your elephant drawing from good to great. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different shading techniques and textures to really make your drawing stand out.

Step 3: Add the Elephant’s Legs and Tail

Subheading: Sketch the Basic Shapes of the Legs and Tail

Sketching the basic shapes of the legs and tail is a crucial step in drawing an elephant. It sets the foundation for the entire composition by establishing the animal’s balance and stance. Before you begin, it’s important to understand the proportions, placement, and size of these elements.

First, let’s talk about proportions. The legs and tail should be in proportion to the rest of the body. Generally, an elephant’s legs are long and slender, while the tail is short and thin. However, the proportions may vary depending on the pose and perspective of your drawing.

Placement is another key consideration. Think about where the legs should be positioned in relation to the body. Consider the angle of the legs, as well as their distance from each other. The tail should also be placed strategically to convey movement and balance.

When sketching the basic shapes of the legs and tail, it’s important to pay close attention to size. You want to ensure that the size of the legs and tail are consistent with the overall size of the elephant. Remember, elephants are large creatures, so their limbs should reflect this.

To get started with the sketch, use light lines to outline the legs and tail. Pay attention to the angles and placement. Adjust the size as needed until you are satisfied with the proportions. Once you have the basic shapes down, you can add more detail and texture to bring the legs and tail to life.

By focusing on the proportions, placement, and size of the legs and tail, you can create a strong foundation for your elephant drawing. With practice and patience, you’ll be able to create realistic and dynamic illustrations that capture the essence of these majestic animals.

Subheading: Add Details to the Legs and Tail

Adding details to the legs and tail of your elephant drawing is what brings your artwork to life! To create a realistic-looking elephant, pay attention to the texture of the skin, the wrinkles on their legs, and the balance in their stance.

One important detail to add to the legs is the texture of their skin. Elephants have thick, rough skin that is covered in small wrinkles and lines. Use short, curved lines to add texture to your elephant’s legs, and don’t be afraid to overlap them slightly for a more realistic effect.

Another crucial detail to include is the wrinkles on the legs. Elephants are known for their wrinkly skin, especially around their knees and ankles. Adding these wrinkles will help give your drawing depth and add to the overall realism. Use longer, more pronounced lines for these wrinkles, and make sure they follow the curve of the leg.

Finally, consider the balance of your elephant’s stance. Elephants are heavy animals, and their legs need to support their weight. Pay attention to the placement of each leg and ensure that they’re evenly spaced and supporting the elephant’s body. This will help make your drawing look more natural and lifelike.

By adding these details to the legs and tail of your elephant drawing, you can create an intricate and engaging piece of artwork that captures the true beauty of these majestic animals.

Step 4: Finalize Your Drawing

Subheading: Clean Up Your Drawing

When it comes to creating a masterpiece, the key is in the details. This is why cleaning up your drawing is an essential step in the drawing process. It’s time to grab your eraser and get to work!

Firstly, take a step back and look at your drawing. Identify any mistakes that you may have made during the drawing process. These could be misplaced lines, incorrect proportions, or missing details. Remember, mistakes are a natural part of the learning process, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

Once you’ve identified your mistakes, it’s time to start erasing. Use your eraser to gently remove any unwanted lines or marks from your drawing. Take care not to erase any important outlines or details. If you’re unsure whether a line is necessary for your drawing, try covering it with your hand and seeing if it makes a significant difference.

Next, focus on your outlines. Are they clear and defined? Do they accurately represent the shape and form of your subject? Adjust any outlines as necessary to ensure that they’re accurate, clean, and well-defined.

Finally, pay attention to your proportions. Are all parts of your drawing in proportion with each other? Are the legs too long or the trunk too short? Make any necessary adjustments to ensure that your drawing is anatomically correct and well-balanced.

Remember, cleaning up your drawing is all about taking the time to pay attention to the details. By doing so, you’ll create a finished product that is polished, professional, and ready to show off to the world!

Subheading: Add Ink to Your Drawing

Adding ink to your drawing is the final step in creating a finished elephant drawing. This step can bring your drawing to life and make it stand out with boldness and clarity.

First, select your preferred tool for inking. Many artists use pens with different thicknesses to achieve varying line widths and boldness. You can also use brushes or markers with different tips for outlining and adding details.

When outlining, start with the most prominent features of the elephant, such as its eyes, trunk, and ears. Using your selected ink tool, carefully trace over the pencil lines with a steady hand, making sure to stay within the lines and add any necessary details as you go. The goal is to create crisp, clean lines that accurately represent the features of the elephant.

Once the outlines are complete, you can begin adding details using lighter strokes and more delicate techniques. For example, you could use cross-hatching or stippling to add texture or shading to areas like the elephant’s skin or wrinkles. Consider experimenting with different methods to see what works best for your drawing.

Finally, don’t be afraid to use bold, heavier strokes in certain areas to create emphasis and contrast. This can help make parts of your drawing stand out and give your artwork a dynamic feel.

In conclusion, adding ink to your drawing is an essential step in bringing your elephant drawing to life. With the right tools, careful outlining, and attention to detail, you can create a finished piece that captures the majesty and beauty of these amazing animals.
In conclusion, drawing an elephant may seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach and tools, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. By following our step-by-step guide, you can create your own unique elephant drawing that captures the grace and majesty of these gentle giants. Remember to take your time, pay attention to details, and most importantly, have fun! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, learning how to draw an elephant is a valuable skill that can be applied to many other areas of art and design. So grab your pencil, paper, and eraser, and start creating your own masterpiece today!

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