When drawing or painting elephants, I almost never use a reference; I prefer, for whatever reason, to rely on my imagination and (distorted) memory of what an elephant looks like.

I’ve spent a lot of time drawing and LOOKING at elephants, though. In photographs, of course, but also at circuses, zoos; I love them!

When I was in India three years ago, I got a chance to visit with three live elephants. They were the cutest things ever, especially the one who reached over with its trunk and twisted off the 1/2″ cap from my water bottle, then proceeded to take the bottle out of my purse and drink all the water. Possibly a Top 5 moment from that trip to India!

So what do I love about elephants? 

• I love that they are huge and no one makes them feel bad for it. In fact, it’s their very hugeness that is part of what we love about them. (Why can’t it be that way with people, too?) 

• I also love their wrinkly skin. (Wrinkles are fun to draw, and very forgiving.)

• They are grey. (Grey is one of my favorite colors.)

• Sometimes they have tusks (which are incredible to me — so huge)!

• Their toes are really cute (and fun to draw).

• Their trunks (of course), their tiny bottoms…

Come on, what’s not to love about elephants?