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Draw Elephants – Step by Step

Draw Elephants – Step by Step
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Students will draw a step by step contour drawing of elephants and then add colour and details. They will also learn about Surrealist artist Salvador Dali.

By Jillian Goldberg [Jillian is a teacher at Follow the Child Montessori School in Raleigh, NC]


  • Learning how to draw an elephant with the characteristics that give it personality.
  • Learning how to follow step by step instruction for creating a strong contour drawing, with appropriate proportions.
  • Estimating the size of the drawing within the paper boundary.
  • Learning about Surrealist artist Salvador Dali.

What You Need:

  • Markers
  • Chalk Pastel
  • Construction Paper

What You Do:

  1. We discussed elephants as a species, including comparative size, differences and similarities between African and Asian elephants, relationship to people in cities and farms, behaviour of elephants in nature.
  2. We found a place to start our elephant by finding the middle of the paper, and walking our non-drawing-hand finger over to the left side. We made a dot there, to mark the spot. This dot then became the eye.
  3. From the eye, we worked up to the top of the head and then down to the trunk.
  4. Children discussed options for the shape of the trunk. Several chose to have the elephant showering himself.
  5. From the trunk. we skipped across to the ear, which begins directly adjacent to the eye, drawing the line down and up again in a curved semi-circle. Children could add creases, wrinkles and frills to the ears.
  6. After the ear, we filled in the gap where the mouth and tusks are.
  7. We then skipped back up to the top at the forehead, and drew the long curved line of the back, continuing down into the hind leg.
  8. Adding the tail in the best place to make it look elephant like, was fun! We spoke about bangles made of elephant hair.
  9. We added legs, both front and rear, and joined them with a large belly.
  10. Final details of the drawing included elephant toenails and other embellishments, tick-birds, thorn trees and grasses.
  11. Finally we used light chalk rubbed into areas to lend some depth and tone. I wanted to preserve the freshness of the drawings without too much color and decoration.

How to draw step by step elephants

How to draw step by step elephants

How to draw step by step elephants

How to draw step by step elephants

How to draw step by step elephants

How to draw step by step elephants

How to draw step by step elephants

How to draw step by step elephants

Lesson Extension:

Introduce students to Surrealist artist Salvador Dali.

Dali was born in Spain and later moved to the United States.

When he was growing up, he felt different from other kids and needed a lot of attention. As an adult, Dali was a Surrealist artist who drew inspiration from his dreams and nightmares.

He was a real character who was as well known for his personality as his art. He once said that his mustache was an antenna on which he received messages from outer space.

Elephants are a recurring theme in Salvador Dali’s art work. His painting, Elephants – created in 1948 – is a wonderful example of a Surrealist painting because the subject (elephants) look like they might be real, but their exaggerated bodies tell a different tale.

Salvador Dali - The Elephants


You Will Love This:

Salvador Dali Lesson Plan

Salvador Dali Surrealist Sculpture Lesson Plan with Worksheets

This classroom-tested Salvador Dali lesson plan is always a big hit in the classroom! In this lesson, each student will create their own surrealist sculpture inspired by Dali’s famous painting, The Persistence of Memory.

Visit Teachers Pay Teachers for this Lesson Plan Packet


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