Cowboys are intimately associated with both the lore and the real history of the American West. Who were the cowboys? Encyclopaedia Britannica defines a cowboy as "a horseman skilled at handling cattle, an indispensable labourer in the cattle industry of the trans-Mississippi west, and a romantic figure in American folklore."
The world over, the cowboy hat is recognized as a symbol of the American West. American cowboys were not the first to wear them, however. Similar hats can be seen in depictions of Mongolian horsemen in Asia as far back as the thirteenth century - a design that kept a rider warm and the sun out of his eyes. Modern cowboy hats arose in northern Mexico, worn by the vaqueros, Spanish for "cowboy," in the early 1800s.
The design of the hat has changed little over the years. In fact, according to one source, "Today's cowboy hat has remained basically unchanged in construction and design since the first one was created in 1865 by J.B. Stetson." After the advent of motion pictures, stars of "Westerns" such as John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry were easily recognized by their hats. People from many backgrounds now sport this style of hat, most notably country music singers.
Original cowboy hats were made out of fur felt or leather, designed to be worn in all sorts of weather, including rain. One Stetson hat from the 1890s was recovered from a sunken ship after fourteen years; it was cleaned off and appeared as good as new. Today, many hats are designed to serve decorative rather than utilitarian purposes; wool felt or straw are not so durable.
Yeehaw! Saddle up and hit the trails with this easy, step-by-step cowboy hat drawing tutorial. You'll feel at home on the range as you gather your pencils, erasers, and paper to get started. You may also wish to use crayons, colored pencils, or markers to shade your finished cowboy hat. Now, get along, little doggy!
Watch 'How to Draw a Cowboy Hat' Video Tutorial
Step by Step Instructions for a Cowboy Hat
1. Begin by drawing two curved lines, set at a slight diagonal. This outlines the sides of the hat.
2. Connect the lines at the top using a curved line.
3. Connect the lines at the bottom using a curved line, enclosing the top of the hat. This is called the crown.
4. Using a long, curved line, begin to outline the hat's brim. Loosely follow the shape of the crown of the hat.
5. Connect the far side of the hat to the hat's crown using a curved line. For the near side, you will enclose a curved shape indicating the underside of the upturned brim. Loop a long line around, crossing the bottom of the crown of the hat.
6. Erase guide lines from the hat.
7. Draw a band around the hat. Just above where the top of the hat connects to the brim, draw a curved line. Allow it to follow the curvature of the hat.
8. Draw a decorative buckle or medallion on the band of the hat. Draw a circle within a circle, erasing as necessary
9. Add texture and detail to your hat. Draw an irregular curved shape on the top of the crown, noting how it dips forward. Draw curved lines on the hat and its brim for shape and texture.
10. Color your cowboy hat. Some of the most common colors are black, brown, white, and pink. What's a cowboy without his horse? Learn to draw one with our horse drawing guide, and set the scene with desert and cactus drawing tutorials.