Learn how to draw a giraffe step-by-step. Draw an easy, cute, cartoon-style giraffe with beautiful eyes, a long neck and an intricate body pattern.
Today we will learn how to draw a giraffe. Starting from the usual simple base shapes, we draw giraffe’s body with the typical long neck. Although we draw a semi-realistic giraffe head – mouth, nostrils, ears, and horns – by adding large cartoony eyes with eyelashes our giraffe drawing turns definitely into an exaggerated cartoon. We dress the giraffe in a very typical patterned body coat.
You will need: pencil, fineliner pen, colored pencils, eraser and drawing paper or sketchbook
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How to draw a giraffe: base sketch step by step
Step 1: Draw base head, neck and body shapes
Let’s start our giraffe drawing by laying down the simple base body shapes. Start by drawing a narrow long oval, slightly tilted to the side, for the giraffe’s head.
Next, draw a “D” shape for the body -the flat line up, with the whole shape again tilted up at the front towards the head.
Join the head and the body with the giraffe’s trademark – the long neck. Draw two parallel lines from the back of the head down to the front of the body. Draw the neck just a touch wider at the bottom where it joins the body than what it is at the top near the head.
Step 2: Draw the giraffe's face and ears
Let’s sketch the features on the giraffe’s head next. Start with two large ovals for the eyes. These are large cartoony eyes, so the left eye sticking out of the head is fine. Draw two smaller ovals inside the eyes for the pupils.
Then draw the nostrils – again two small ovals at the lower end of the head, tilted out in a “V”. Add two larger ovals sticking out from the top of the head for the ears.
Finally, sketch the two small horns on the giraffe’s head – just short antennae with small circles at the end will do for now.
Step 3: Draw the giraffe's legs
Now it is time to give the giraffe some legs. Draw the four hoofs first. These are simple triangles – two next to each other under the front of the body, and two more under the end of the body. Add a small split line to each hoof.
Next, draw the front legs. These are simple straight lines, wider apart at the top, where they join the body, and narrowing down to the back of the hoof.
Finally, draw a larger oval over the pointy back of the “D” body shape – this will be the hind leg’s thigh.
Step 4: Finish the giraffe's hind legs
Now comes the tricky part – drawing the hind legs. Start with the rear leg. The upper leg lines start on the sides of the thigh oval and bend back slightly to a pointy ankle. The lower foot section is drawn as two simple lines coming forward to the hoof. Repeat the same shape for the other leg.
For a larger picture of the hind legs shape check out our “how to draw a fox” tutorial – while the fox’s hind legs are shorter, the way the hind legs curve is typical for most four-legged animals.
Step 5: Draw the giraffe's nose and mouth
Here comes the final improvement to the giraffe sketch – let’s draw the nose and mouth. For the giraffe’s nose, draw two slightly curving lines starting at the inner side of the eyes and ending at the outer edge of each nostril. Then draw two more short lines close together from the inner edges of the nostrils to the lower edge of the head oval – where the giraffe’s upper lip will be.
Then add a nice smiley mouth. Draw a “U” shaped curve sideways from the bottom right of the head for the mouth. Then join the lower mouth lip back to the head at the neck with a curved jawline.
Expand your African drawing Zoo:
How to Draw an Elephant – Easy Step by Step DrawingLearn how to draw an elephant: an easy step by step tutorial to draw a cute young elephant with large ears - an African species - in cartoon style.
How to draw a giraffe: outline the drawing step by step
Step 1: Draw the giraffe's eyes
Let’s start outlining the giraffe drawing and improving on our sketch.
Draw out the eyes first. Outline the outer oval and fill in the inner pupils, leaving out a small white shine patch.
On these giraffe images, you will notice that giraffes can have lovely eyelashes. Let’s give those to our giraffe. Carve out a small moon-shaped lid at the top of each eye. Then add the eyelashes – just three short lines at the outer edge of the eyelid.
Step 2: Draw the giraffe's ears and horns
Time to improve on the ears sketch next. Draw the upper edge of the ears as a small “roofline”, or a wide-open “V” shape, with a small point in the middle. The lower edge of the ear is a quarter of the oval. Double up the top edge line to suggest the inner ear texture.
Then draw the giraffe’s horns. This time draw the stalks with a proper double line smoothly transitioning to the top rounded ends. Finally, draw the short curve for the top of the head between ears.
Step 3: Draw the giraffe's nose and mouth
Next, finish drawing the giraffe’s head by drawing the nose and mouth. Fill in the nostrils and the mouth. Outline the nose directly from the sketch.
When outlining the outer head shape, notice the small changes to the sketch: the left cheek line between the eye and nose does not follow the head oval, but curves slightly inward. Similarly, on the other side, the right cheek bumps out slightly around the eye.
Step 4: Draw the giraffe's neck and back
Outline the giraffe’s neck and back next. Start with the front neckline – that one is a simple outline of the sketch, except for the very bottom, where it extends with a small hump into the body.
The backline starts again as a simple outline of the neck sketch but then transitions smoothly in a wide curve onto the giraffe’s back. It continues with a small hump around the rear thigh oval and all the way down the hind leg.
Step 5: Draw the giraffe's legs and hoofs
Now draw the giraffe’s legs and hoofs. The front legs are mostly an outline of the simple sketch, just adding a bit of extra muscle to the top thighs, curving out the line a bit. The hind leg and the hoofs are direct outlines of the sketch.
Step 6: Draw the giraffe's belly and tail
Let’s finish drawing the giraffe’s body. Draw the belly underline, following the lower edge of the original “D” body sketch. Leave a small gap at the front to keep the front leg attached to the body. Then draw in the remaining hind leg and hoof.
Well, we have missed one important detail in our sketch – giraffes have a nice long tail, with a tuft at the end. Draw that in, and our giraffe drawing is done.
Step 7: Draw the body coat pattern
Err, almost done. Our giraffe looks a bit naked without the very typical patterned body coat. So let’s draw it.
Notice that the “spots” are more or less rectangles, arranged in a sideways tilted pattern. Instead of perfect squares and rectangles, draw all the edge lines a bit wobbly to add some irregularity to the pattern. The spots get smaller on the legs.
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How to draw a giraffe: finished drawing
How to draw a giraffe: finished outline drawing
And here is the result of our how to draw a giraffe tutorial, once we have cleaned up the sketch lines – it turned out to be a one cute lady giraffe.
Now, with those lovely large eyes and eyelashes, our giraffe drawing is definitely an exaggerated cartoon style. Also, the head is quite a bit oversized to draw attention to the giraffe’s face.
That said, if you would like to draw a more realistic giraffe, you can use the same tutorial – only change the drawing proportions a bit: Draw the head about half the size with simple small round eyes. Extend the legs to about twice the length. Having a tall piece of paper will also help – giraffes fit poorly onto a square sheet, as you can see.
How to draw a giraffe: finished drawing coloured-in
Our usual final step is to colour in the giraffe drawing. We are using only two colours for the giraffe’s coat – brown for the dark spots and a dark yellow, or beige colour for the rest of the body. The hoofs are coloured in black.
And since we do not like the giraffe floating aimlessly in big white space, we have drawn for it some nice African savannah background, complete with a wind-swept acacia tree.
And that is the end of the tutorial – now you know how to draw a giraffe!