8 Ways to Draw an Elephant (Tara Books)

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Two of my resolutions this year were to draw more and to review more children’s books on this blog. I was so pleased then, to be able to experiment with the absolutely lovely ‘8 Ways to Draw an Elephant’ by Paola Ferrarotti (@pferrarotti).

This beautiful 16-page book is also called a “coloring book”, but to me it seemed to be more useful as a how-to book. Each double-page spread tells you a fact about elephants and gives you ideas on how to draw a different kind, or inject a new element to the drawing.

So one page talks about what elephants eat, others talk about decorated temple elephants. The animal’s physical features are described as are their habitats and differences between African and Asian elephants.

The best part is that each elephant is represented by a different Indian art form – from Madhubani to Patua. My only disappointment is that there were no Gond artists represented, because I’m crazy about Gond art, but maybe in the next edition.

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So the boy and I sat down this rainy afternoon with the book and I asked him to look through it and see if there were any he would like to draw. The rain thundered down our battered roof tiles while he leafed through the book, reading the paragraphs, absorbing the information. He chose two and said, Let’s do these two for now.

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So we each took our sketch books and pencils and our colored pencils for support and began. We chose not to draw on the book itself but to make our own version on our paper. I found the drawings easy to copy but coming up with creative ideas of my own has always been a stumbling block. No such trouble for the boy.

I’d rather make a sitting sleeping elephant, he said.


And it was gorgeous.

The ones on the left are mine. They are more…delicate and unimaginative in the sense that they’re almost a copy of what’s in the book. The colors of mine were duplicated from the boy’s after he got upset that his didn’t look like what he thought it was going to be like. I thought it was great but one can’t argue with a seven year old who is determined to find fault with himself. So I copied his color scheme to show him how good it was and how creative it was.

And since he had a multi-colored elephant, I decided to get myself a pink one. With great eyelashes. Because elephants do have beautiful eyes.

Next, I’d like to take this to canvas. It’ll be easier to get messy there and take the elephants out of their (my) comfort zone. This gorgeous book from Tara Books is going to see a bit of action in the coming weeks. Maybe I’ll even be brave enough to post some photos here!

2 comments on “8 Ways to Draw an Elephant (Tara Books)

  1. Hi, Thanks for this happy post. We’re glad to tell you the next book in the series – 8 Ways to Draw Fish – is out, and yes, it has Gond art! Warmly, Team Tara.

  2. Happy to review the fish book for you if you have review copies available! 🙂 And Gond art, that’s perfect. xo

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