How To Draw A Hippopotamus with this how-to video and step-by-step drawing instructions. Easy animals to draw for beginners and kids.
Please see the drawing tutorial in the video below
You can refer to the simple step-by-step drawing guide below
Create the shape of the main body
Start your hippo sketch by placing the shape of the main body. Use a large, slightly fat oval to represent the hippo’s body.
Our top tip for this first step is to make sure that this first building shape is in the center of your canvas. You also want to make sure that there is plenty of space on all sides for other parts of the hippo’s body, such as its head and legs.
Drawing hippo head background
We started by building the largest part of the hippo’s body and now we will move on to the next largest part of the hippo sketch, which is the hippo’s head. At this stage, you will not draw the entire nose of the hippo, but only the top of the head.
Close to the oval of the main body, and just below the midline on the left side, draw a small circle to represent the hippo’s head.
Time to draw hippo nose
Now that we have the hippo’s head in place, we can shape the nose. The shape of the hippo’s nose is a slightly skewed “U”. Start drawing this “U” shape from the front end of the first circle. Take the line down, creating two small bumps.
Slowly start bringing the rope back, then after another small bump, bring it back to meet the head circle.
Shaping Hippo Ears
Although most hippos are not small, they have very small ears. In this step, you will use two small ovals to represent these ears. Start with the ear furthest away from us. The lower part of this ear is hidden from our view due to perspective, so just draw a small upside down “U” shape on the upper left side of the head circle. For the other ear, draw a small full oval in the top third of the hippo’s head.
Both of these ears should be angled apart, towards their respective sides based on their position.
Draw the neckline of the hippo
Now we will join the hippo’s head and body together by drawing necklines. Hippos are rather stout creatures, and we’ll capture this by adding a few bumps and small bumps on the upper neckline. Start the top neckline at the point where the front ear comes in contact with the head circle. Take it up and back, add these lumps and connect it to the upper part of the main body oval.
Finish this step by drawing a lower neckline between the top and bottom circles of the main body oval.
Outline the front leg shape
The hippo’s front legs are located along the lower neckline. The forelegs are the furthest from our point of view. Thus, the top of the back line of one leg will be hidden behind the front leg. Legs are very simple to draw. You just draw a shape similar to a sock, extending down from the top circle and bending backwards. For the second front leg, start the sock shape inside the neck and end where the neckline meets the bottom of the main body oval.
Our hippo drawing is a bit moving, so the front leg should be slightly forward, while the other leg should be straight down.
Create the shape of the hind legs and tail
The drawing process for the hind legs is very similar, if not the same as the front legs. Again, the leg closest to the front is closest to us in perspective, so it will overlap the back leg significantly.
For the tail, draw a small flame-like shape at the back point of the main body oval.
How to draw a hippopotamus easy sketch
After all this hard work to install the construction lines, we have come to the point where we can put them to use. In this step, you’ll use all of these basic shapes to help you draw the final outline of your hippo sketch.
Start by shaping the hippo’s head and snout, following the construction lines closely. Add a small hump on the hippo’s head just below the leftmost ear and now you can start adding some detail on the hippo’s face. Add two small nostrils at the end of the muzzle, and draw an eye below the inner ear in the head.
Continue following the construction lines to outline the rest of the hippo’s body. You can trace the lines very closely, adding a few extra texture details as you go.
Add some lines to the hippo’s neck and around the top of the legs. These wrinkles will give the impression of rolls of fat around these points. You can also add some of these lines on the hippo’s legs and around the tail. When you get to the bottom, you can deviate from the build line a bit, for a more grainy and realistic look. At the bottom of each hippo’s foot, add three toe separators.
When you finish your outline, you can erase all construction lines that are still visible.
Add texture detail to your hippo sketch
Hippos have a very interesting skin texture, but the trick when learning how to draw a hippopotamus is more or less. All over your body, you’ll use tiny dots, streaks, and curves to create skin texture. Starting from the face, add large dots around the bottom of the nose and highlight the contours of the hippo’s face.
As you move throughout the rest of the body, you want to center the texture marks around the lines and contours you drew in the last step.
You also want to concentrate most of the texture around the bottom half of the hippo’s body and these should be spaced a little further apart in the open areas. You want to make sure there’s a dense texture on the hippo’s legs and on the tail.
Apply first coat of paint
To create realistic colors, you want to use multiple color layers. We start with a base color that fills the entire body of your hippo sketch. The ideal color for this base coat is stone gray.
No matter what medium you’re using to color your hippo, you want to make sure you’re creating an even coat.
Add a second color layer
The second color that you will use is light orange or pink. Use a soft blend brush to apply this second color around the bottom half of the hippo’s body. You also want to apply this shade on one side of the face and down the center line of the leg.
To create a smooth mixture, you can use a dry brush to brush over the paint after painting to smooth the paint.
Contouring the body shape
In this step, you want to use a dark gray paint to gently contour around the second color paint areas and texture lines. You also want to add contour color to areas of your hippo’s body that would naturally be slightly hidden from light.
Contouring is one of the basic skills that will take your drawing from 0 to 100 very quickly.
Add a third layer of color
The third color that you need to use is light brown. You will use this shade to add some contouring that combines the second coat of paint and the dark gray outlines together. This shade will help you create smooth transitions between all of your different colors in these areas.