1. Draw circles for the body.
Elephants are solid, rounded animals. So to start out, simplify the body into three oval shapes: one for the head, torso, and pelvis area. Use rounded strokes and curved lines throughout the whole drawing. Even for lines that look straight, retain a slight bend. Otherwise, your elephant will look stiff and not lifelike.
2. Build out your limbs.
Use your circles as a guide, and fill out the shapes of the elephant’s body. This may seem like a big leap, but with the help of your circles and reference photo, you’ll be surprised how easily it comes together. “Think of the legs as cylindrical shapes and the ears as triangles or trapezoids,” advises illustrator Chioma Iloegbunam. “Make sure to draw a more pointed arch near the base of the back, because the elephant’s spine is very defined,” adds Braun. You can also sketch details like the tail, toenails, and eyes at this stage, but don’t get bogged down by perfecting every detail yet.