How to Draw a Hippo

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The hippopotamus, or hippo for short, is a large African mammal. It shares the title of second largest land mammal with the similarly sized white rhino, second only to the African elephant. The word hippopotamus is Greek for “river horse.”

Hippos live in large groups. Surprisingly, they are not carnivores; they feed only on grasses.

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Hippos have been pictured in art dating back as much as 4,000 years, in Africa and in Egyptian tombs. Today, the hippo is a familiar cartoon character. One of the most familiar may be Gloria in the film Madagascar (2005).

Would you like to draw a hippopotamus? This easy, step-by-step drawing tutorial is here to help. All you will need is a pencil, an eraser, and a sheet of paper. You may also wish to color your finished drawing.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Moose, Kangaroo, and Cartoon Goat.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Hippopotamus

How to Draw Hippo: Step 1

1. Begin by using several curved lines to enclose an irregular rounded shape. Notice that the shape consists of two bulbous portions, the lower larger than the upper. This shape outlines the hippo’s head.

How to Draw Hippo: Step 2

2. Next, sketch in the nose and snout. Draw the base of the snout using a long curved line, bent as it crosses the head. Enclose the top of the nose using a rounded “M” shaped line.

How to Draw Hippo: Step 3

3. Sketch in the hippo’s lower jaw. Use a curved line to connect the upper snout to the interior of the head. Then, draw another curved line from the edge of the snout to the side of the jaw, outlining the inside of the mouth.

How to Draw Hippo: Step 4

4. Erase guide lines from the hippo’s head.

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How to Draw Hippo: Step 5

5. Draw a backward “C” shaped line at the corner of the jaw, indicating the cheek. Connect this to the top of the snout using a short, curved line. Above the snout, draw two eyes. For each eye, draw three ovals, one inside the other. Shade between the two smallest ovals to form the pupil. Above each eye, enclose a curved shape, using two short lines. Erase guide lines as necessary.

How to Draw Hippo: Step 6

6. Use “C” shaped lines to enclose the ears on each side of the hippo’s head. Then, detail the inside of each ear using curved lines.

How to Draw Hippo: Step 7

7. Outline the hippo’s body using two long, curved lines. The lines should outline an oval; notice how the lines do not connect, but instead form a parallel overlap. Draw a pair of curved lines extending from behind the head to detail the hippo’s back. Enclose the shape of the tail using two curved lines, connecting in a rounded point at the end.

How to Draw Hippo: Step 8

8. Draw the hippo’s legs, erasing guide lines as necessary. For each leg, extend two parallel curved lines downward from the body. Notice how the lines diverge slightly to outline the foot. Connect the lines on the bottom using a curved line. Then, draw a loose and rounded “M” shaped line across the front of each foot, indicating the toes. Finally, draw a curved line beneath the head to detail the neck.

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How to Draw Hippo: Step 9

9. Detail the hippo’s face. Draw two large ovals at the tip of the snout; these indicate the nostrils. Draw a curved line through each nostril to give it a three-dimensional appearance. Then, draw a curved line down the center of the nose. Use curved lines to enclose each of the hippo’s teeth. Draw another curved line at the side of each to make them three dimensional. Finally, use curved lines within the mouth to indicate the tongue.

How to Draw Hippo: Step 10

10. Color your hippo. In the wild, hippos appear grey or brown with pink accents. Cartoon hippos are often purple in color.

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The Complete Hippo Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to Draw Hippo

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