Learn how to draw a cow. An easy step-by-step tutorial drawing a funny, cute, chubby cartoon cow happily chewing on grass.
Today we will learn a very easy way how to draw a cow. This adds another tutorial to our growing farm animals collection along with the cat, dog, pig and sheep. Unlike the other animals, our cow is drawn from a rectangle, which in a few easy steps, we will turn into a nice, chubby cow happily chewing on grass. With a massive body, tiny legs, large muzzle and little eyes, it is definitely the cartoon exaggeration that makes the simple drawing look funny and cute.
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How to draw a cow: base sketch
Step 1: Sketch the shapes for cow's body and head
Unlike our usual animals, the base shape for the cow’s body is not an oval but a rectangle. So draw a nice big rectangle first.
Then add a small oval that overlaps the body about halfway up the rectangle’s side – this will be the cow’s muzzle or nose.
Finally, add a skewed rectangle on the top of the nose – slightly tilted sideways, narrower at the base and wider at the top. This will be the cow’s head. The result – the head with the nose shape – looks like a keyhole.
Step 2: Draw the cow's eyes and horns
Next, draw the cow’s horns – these are two half-moon arcs attached at the top corners of the head.
Mark the cow’s face and muzzle centreline – this will help us place the facial features. The head centreline is almost straight. The muzzle split line starts where the face line crosses the oval and arches out to suggest the nose bulging out.
Now that you have the centre line, place two small circles for the eyes on top of the nose, one on each side of the line. Hot tip: try larger eyes, or putting the eyes further apart or higher up the face for some very different expressions!
Step 3: Draw the cow's ears, nostrils and mouth
Let’s finish sketching the cow’s head. Draw two small ovals for the ears – these are attached at the top corners of the head and hanging down sideways.
Next, draw the nostrils. Again, these are just simple small narrow ovals. The one on the left sits on the edge of the nose oval, slightly overlapping and sticking out from the nose. Then draw the right nostril the same distance on the other side from the centre line and make it just a touch larger.
Finally, draw a mouth at the bottom centre of the nose oval. This is made up of two “C” shaped curves – one for the upper lip and another one for the lower lip.
Step 4: Draw the cow's legs
With the head sketch done, let’s give our cow some legs. First, cut off the lower-left corner of the body with an angled line – the body will not be completely square once we are done drawing the cow.
Then draw the front leg just a touch to the right from the line you have just done. The front leg is simple: two straight lines down, with a “D” shape laying flat for the hoof – same as in our sheep drawing.
The rear leg is a bit more tricky. Draw the right line first – kind of a wide-open curved “V.” The front of the leg is a similar shape with different proportions – you want a nice wide “muscle” at the top, narrowing to the pointy tip where the cow’s ankle is, and then a narrow line parallel with the back to the hoof. The hoof is again the flat “D” shape.
Step 5: Draw the remaining legs
Drawing the cow’s remaining two legs is easy. Since they are mostly hidden, they become just the simple two straight lines and a “D” hoof poking at an angle from behind the cow’s body.
Oh, and one final detail – surely the cow would be happier if it can munch on some grass – so let’s sketch a simple bunch of grass hanging out of its mouth.
That is enough sketching to guide us on how to draw a cow properly next.
Yet another farm animal for you to draw:
How to draw a cow: outline the drawing
Step 1: Draw the cow's head features
Let’s start improving on our simple sketch and outlining the cow’s head. Start by drawing some “hair” in between the cow’s horns. This looks like a small cloud made from many joined “C” curves – similar to the “hairdo” in our sheep drawing tutorial.
Then outline the horns and close them at the bottom with a small arc. Next, draw the cow’s ears. Outline the sketched ovals where they are not hidden behind the horns and make them pointy at the ends. Double up the upper edges of the ears.
Outline the eyes and add two small dots for the pupils. Finally, draw the two nostrils and add two small “C” bumps, one above each nostril – we will join those to the face outline next.
Step 2: Outline the cow's head
Next, finish drawing the cow’s head by drawing the outer lines. For the upper part, slightly curve the two straight lines in. Then draw the cow’s nose or muzzle, joining smoothly the oval to the upper lip line.
Step 3: Draw the cow's mouth and legs
Let’s complete the cow’s head by drawing some better grass in its mouth. Connect the two half-lines at the bottom and add extra lines for the staws at each end of the bunch. Then draw the lower lip and double up the line to mark the mouth.
Next, draw the two legs visible at the front. We have added a small bump in the front leg for the ankle and drawn the split in the hooves as a “V” instead of just the simple single line in the sketch. The rest is a direct outline of the sketch.
Step 4: Draw the cow's body
Finally, we are getting to drawing the cow’s body. While the rectangle is a good approximation of how to draw a cow’s body, cows indeed are not square. So let’s fix that.
The upper back and lower belly lines are curved down. The cow’s bum bulges out to the right. Then join all the sides with nice smooth curves at each corner. See what that angled lower-left corner was there for?
Step 5: Draw the cow's legs, tail and udder
Time to add few final details that any cow needs. But first, since we have the body outline defined, let’s draw out those rear two legs. These remain the simple straight lines with the “V” split improvement on the hooves.
Now for the missing bits: A cow needs a tail. Draw it as two curves along the cow’s back, slightly wider at the top and narrow at the bottom. Then add the hairy tail end.
Add two angled lines for the eyebrows – these are definitely a cartoony addition to make the cow look cutely surprised.
Finally, every cow needs an udder, there would not be any milk without one. Draw the two front teats as “U” shapes. Then draw the udder curve and attach it to the body. Add the two teats hiding behind to make it four.
(By the way, it is interesting to learn why cows have four teats when just about every other animal that doesn’t litter has two.)
Step 6: Draw the spots on the cow's hide
To make our cow drawing more interesting, let’s add some spots on its body, to add some texture and interest. Just draw some random black spots on the upper body – and our cow has become a Holstein cattle.
Step 7: Colour in the spots
The very last drawing step in our how to draw a cow tutorial, since you have the black pencil already in hand, is to colour in all those spots. And while you are at it, colour in the nostrils and the mouth as well. Easy!
Here is another farm animal for you to draw:
How to draw a cow: finished drawing
How to draw a cow: finished outline drawing
And here is the final result of our “how to draw a cow” tutorial – the completed outline in one colour after we have cleaned up the sketch lines. A nice chubby cow happily chewing on the grass, that has a slightly surprised look after we have disturbed her from the lunch for a quick portrait session.
How to draw a cow: finished drawing coloured-in
With the black spots filled in, our usual colouring step is already half done. Colour in the horns, “hair” and the tail end with a dark grey and add some grey shading on the belly.
All that is left next is to colour in the cow’s nose, ears and udder with some light pink. The grass is of course green – and draw also a green patch for the cow to stand on. And that is it – you have learned how to draw a cow.