How to Draw an Elephant in Pen and Ink

Skill Level : 1 Beginner, 2 Intermediate

Medium : Pen and Ink Drawing

Subject : Animals

Tutor : Dennis Clark

Class Length : 1 hour 18 minutes

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Class Description

The African elephant is the largest land mammal and is distinguished by its large ears, while the Indian elephant has much smaller ears. This one was by the side of the road in the Umfolosi Reserve in South Africa.

In this lesson you will learn:

1.   How to use and see the tonal ranges
2.  How to use cross-hatching to effectively show the rounding as well as the shadows.
3.  How to use the “squiggles” for the grass and small shrubs
4.  How to indicate texture.

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Template

elephant template

Tape the template to your drawing paper and with a blue dressmakers carbon paper, trace the outlines to the paper.

Drawing the outlines

drawing outlines

Using a mapping pen, or similar thin pen, draw in all the outlines. Don't make the eye too big, They have comparatively small eyes.

Drawing the main grasses

drawing main grass

Carefully draw in the main grasses and twigs that overlap the elephant's body.

Detail the eye and start the trunk

drawing the eye

As mentioned earlier on the eye is very small. Be very careful to leave the small highlight in the eye. With a 0.2mm waterproof black pen, and with small strokes, draw in the folds of the trunk and the shading around the eye.

adding detail to the trunk

Part of the trunk is completed and begin shading in the neck area with cross hatching. Notice how the detailing of the trunk gets thinner and lighter lines as drawing progresses towards the tip.

Begin shading the belly

shading the belly

Shadow in the belly with close crosshatchings and for the lighter areas leave a little more space between the lines. Carefully leave the light areas of the grass and twigs.

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Adding texture to the body

drawing crinkles in the body

Begin adding the crinkle lines of the skin taking note of the various fold lines. The lines become thinner in the sun area. Add just a part of the tree for interest.

shade the front legs

Shade in the front legs using curved lines to indicate the rounding of the legs. Finally add the crosshatching.

Shade the folds in the ear

shade the ears

Begin the shadow areas with some crosshatching. Be very careful to keep the tonal range correct. Begin light, and it can be darkened up later as required. The drawing can be spoilt if you darken up too soon.

Continue with the trunk

adding extra shadings to the trunk

Add the shading where the tusks protrude. Add the shading down the side of the trunk. At this point the trunk disappears in the long grass.

Draw the grass

adding grass near tusks

The bushes at the rear are drawn in with the squiggly marks learned with the introduction to the Pen and Ink series of lessons.

Blend in the grass and the elephant legs with a relatively smooth transition. Finish off with a few vertical strokes to give the impression of grass among the small shrubs.

Final drawing

final drawing elephant

About Dennis Clark

Dennis has been drawing and painting for most of his life (since 1944) and shortly after that in watercolours. During WWII there were no art books so to speak, so he had to teach himself through experimentation, sweat and tears. He teaches the following mediums online - Watercolours, Pastels, Acrylics, Pencil, Pastels, Pen and Ink and Oils.
Read more about Dennis Clark

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