Start with shapes.
To capture a pig in profile, whether you want yours to be a realistic one or a cartoon like Peppa Pig, begin with basic shapes. “Pigs are fairly simple because they’ve got such a round body,” says artist Terryl Whitlatch. “Just get that big jelly bean shape and then for the head, think of drawing a jug on its side. The opening of the jug is the front of the snout.”
Illustrator Alex Braun begins with ovals. “I find those base shapes and from there I work in the secondary shapes. The body is just kind of this large rectangular oval itself and it moves into this sort of oval triangle shape to the head,” Braun says.
For the legs, Whitlatch recommends starting with curved, tapering lines almost coming to a point. “Pigs have very small, very dainty feet,” she says.
Once you’re happy with the basic shape of the pig’s body, add details like the ears, the feet and the tail. To draw the ears, start by looking at your reference photos and noting how they’re shaped. A pig’s ears are most often shaped like diamonds or fans and sit behind the eyes.
To draw the rest of the face, Braun draws a nearly vertical line for the nostril and a horizontal line for the mouth. By adding an oval for the eye, he gives his pig instant personality. The mouth on Whitlatch’s pig begins with a straight horizontal line, which she erases and redraws jaggedly to look more realistic. She also adds lines across the top of the snout, above and below the eyes and she adds curves to represent the cheek and jawline.
Domestic pigs have curly tails, but boars’ tails tend to be straight. Warthogs’ tails are also straight, with tufts of hair at the end. For the curly-tailed pigs, Whitlatch draws an S shape while Braun makes a reversed C.
To refine the lines of the legs and hooves, look back at your reference photo. How much of the far legs can you see? Note that pigs are cloven-hoofed, like cows, sheep and goats. Each foot has two main two hooves that the pig walks on and then two additional dewclaws on the sides. You can also take Braun’s approach and draw a cartoon pig without detailing the hooves.
For a more realistic pig, represent the musculature with lines inside the body. Whitlatch adds a curved line towards the shoulder area and another, smaller curved line above the hind leg to represent the tip of the pelvis. She refers to photos frequently to get all of the body contours just right and to add some hair to the ears and tail.