Elephants are the largest living land animal. There are three species of elephants: The African Bush Elephant, The African Forest Elephant, and the Asian Elephant. In this guide, we will draw a cute cartoon elephant and we are going to draw it with the features of an Asian Elephant.
So the ears are going to be slightly shorter and smaller, the form of the ears is going to be slightly different and our elephant is going to be female so the tusks are not going to be visible.
Drawing a cartoon elephant is not hard as long as you follow the steps and as long as you bring some patience with you.
Materials, That You Will Need For Drawing an Elephant
I will list the tools, that I used to draw this cartoon elephant and I will also list some similar tools, that you can get, that will do the job at least as well as the tools I used.
You don´t need to get the exact same tools, that I have in order to draw this elephant well. So don´t stress out about getting the exact right tools.
You will need a graphite pencil that is graded between HB and B6. I generally use an HB for a rough underdrawing but like I said you don´t need to get the exact grade, that I got.
I always highly suggest getting a kneadable eraser as this eraser can lighten up any graphite line easily as well as erase any line without damaging the paper underneath. You can use a regular eraser but a kneadable eraser is better for the paper and it can be used very precisely as well.
For paper, I usually use a stronger illustration paper. But I would suggest using regular illustration paper or thicker copy paper, mainly because these are cheaper than the illustration board. It is just important, that the paper does not bleed when you apply color or a marker to it.
Brushpen or Marker
I usually use a pigmented liner that is 0.7 or thicker. I also use a brush pen or marker for the bigger lines. A black Copic marker or an ink brush pen will do just fine. It is just important, that the markers don´t bleed on your paper. (bleeding means, that the markers fade out and don’t produce a sharp line when you draw on a piece of paper)
I normally use either watercolors, markers, or coloring pencils. In this guide I used Markers but I scanned the drawings and digitally enhanced them, so don´t be confused if the coloring looks a little different than it would live.
Let´s Draw a Cartoon Elephant!
Now, that we have all the necessary things out of the way, we can actually start drawing!
Before we get going with the first step I will give you some general tips, that will help you with the drawing.
Keep all your lines with the graphite pen very light, because you will erase almost all of the lanes later on. The lighter you draw your lines the easier they are to erase later on.
This is going to be a cute cartoon elephant, so in order to make the elephant look cute, we will use some very specific form-language. Form-language is something, that the artist utilizes to give an extra layer of detail to their drawing, which will help the viewer understand the artist’s intention.
So our intention is to make the elephant look cute and round shapes are generally making a subject look cuter. So the majority of our shapes are going to be very rounded. We will also avoid sharp points in our drawings.
And the final tip is to draw from your shoulder and not from your wrist. By doing this your lines will be a lot smoother and you won´t be struggling with round shapes and circles as much anymore.
Step 1: Establishing the General Form of the Elephants Head
We will start by drawing a simple circle with our graphite pencil that is going to be the head of our elephant.
Don´t stress out about making the circle perfectly round. Keep your lines very light because you will erase most of the lines later on!
Then we will draw some guidelines for the eyes and the base of the trunk. Always keep in mind, that the head of an elephant is round, so our guidelines are going to be ellipses.
The trunk of the elephant is curving upwards. Our elephant is holding its trunk over its head but you can change it up if you want to.
The mouth of the elephant is right under the trunk. I added a lower tip to the elephant to give him a big smile. I also added two round lines at the side of the elephant’s head to establish where the ears are going to be.
And with this, we are done establishing the general form of the elephant’s head.
Step 2: Let´s Draw the Body of our Elephant
Now we will draw the body of our elephant. To start out we will draw a slightly bigger circle than we drew for the head.
We will add a curved line, that will connect the back of the head with the circle of the body. I also drew two ellipses to establish the underside of the feet of our elephant.
To finish the legs of the elephant simple draw two parallel lines from the ellipse to the body of the elephant.
Exactly the same way as we added the legs we will now add the front legs of the elephant.
And we are done with sketching out the general form of our elephant.
Step 3: Adding Some Details to the Underdrawing
We will start adding some bigger details in this step.
So let´s start by drawing the general form of the ears. I simply drew two s-curved lines from the head of the elephant to the tips of the ears. I also drew a curved line on the side of the elephant’s head to give him some cheeks.
Next up we will add the eyes to the elephant. The eyes are two simple elongated ellipses that sit insight the guidelines, that we drew earlier. I also added some high sitting eyebrows to give the elephant an expression.
We will also add some lines at the back of the elephant’s head to give the elephant some hair and character. Elephants don’t really have hair, that is that long but it gives our cute cartoon elephant a little bit of character.
Step 4: Cleaning Up the Drawing and Refining the Lineart!
Now we will lighten up our underdrawing, that we drew so far, with our kneadable eraser. Just roll the eraser over your drawing a couple of times until the drawing is light enough for you to still see and light enough for you to comfortably draw over them.
Then take your marker and start refining the lines.
Keep your lines interesting by varying the strength of your lines slightly throughout your drawing. This will make the drawing look alive and give it another layer of detail.
As you can see the line, that makes up the trunk, starts thin then in the middle it gets thicker and at the end of the trunk, it gets thinner again. This makes the trunk look more organic and realistic.
Continue drawing the lines by following your guidelines and keep on varying your line weight.
And finally, when you finished following all the relevant lines, you can erase your underdrawing completely.
I added some final details to the elephant. I added some toenails to its feed and I also added the pupils to the eyes.
Step 5: Coloring Your Drawing!
The Final step is coloring.
It is very important, that you use a coloring medium, that doesn´t smudge the marker, that you used. And the paper should be able to support the coloring medium of your choosing.
When I start coloring a drawing, I usually choose the base colors first. In this case, I chose a blueish grayish color for the skin of the elephant, a yellow color that is quite grey and a red color for the inside of the ears.
I started with the main color for the skin and colored everything, which is skin with a blueish-grey color.
Then I drew in the insight of the ears and the toenails of the elephant with their respective colors.
Now I select two more colors, that are slightly darker than the skin color and the ear color.
I will use these colors to draw in some basic shadows to give the drawing some three-dimensionality.
And with this, we are done! You drew an elephant!
Free Downloadable Worksheet
If you want to, I have a free downloadable Worksheet for you, that will help you with the drawing. It is my drawing with low opacity, that you can print and draw over for practice.
Just enter your email address down below and you will instantly get access to the download page. It´s completely free!
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Thank you for reading and I hope this guide helped you. If you have any questions, you can leave a comment down below and I will answer it as soon as possible!
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.