Step back in time to the Ice Age and meet the magnificent mammoths, majestic giants that once roamed the Earth. These prehistoric relatives of modern elephants captivate the imagination with their colossal size and intriguing characteristics, making them a perfect muse for aspiring artists and illustrators seeking inspiration from the ancient past.

Mammoths were a diverse group of herbivorous mammals belonging to the family Elephantidae. They existed during the Pleistocene epoch, approximately 2.6 million to 12,000 years ago. With their long, curved tusks, shaggy coats, and impressive size, these magnificent creatures were well-adapted to the chilly landscapes of the Ice Age. Some mammoth species, like the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), sported thick layers of fur and a hump of fat on their backs, ensuring survival in the harsh cold. The size of mammoths varied among species, with some reaching heights of up to 4 meters (13 feet) at the shoulders and weighing several tons.

These gentle giants primarily feasted on grasses, sedges, and other plants, using their long, muscular trunks to gather food and their large molars to grind it efficiently. Mammoths lived in herds, which offered them protection from predators and facilitated social interactions among these intelligent creatures. Despite their dominance during the Ice Age, mammoths faced environmental challenges and eventually went extinct, with the last population disappearing from the Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean around 4,000 years ago. Nevertheless, their legacy lives on through fossils and artwork, inspiring us to envision the wonders of an ancient world filled with these awe-inspiring beings.

How to draw a mammoth

Step 1 – Basic shapes

Using very simple shapes, draw out the basic design for your mammoth. they have a few distinct shapes, their circular head and the downwards sloping back.

Step 2 – Adding details

Start adding details but keep it rough for now. Try to keep the fur flowing in the same direction. Add the other legs in and give the tusks some weight. Mammoths have quite small ears compared to Elephants. The trunk gets smaller towards the end but sticks out like a Y shape and the very end.

Step 3 – Reworking the lines

Redo all the line-work, I varied the length of the fur on different parts of the body to give the mammoth a little character and not to make the head area too busy. Although mammoths had hairy trunks, I decided to give my version a smooth line for the front as I thought it was more visually appealing.

Step 4 – Colours

Add solid colours to all parts of the mammoth. There won’t be too much variety here but you can play around with different tones.

Part 5 – Shadow and highlights

The final step is to add a little shadow and highlight this will help the colours pop.

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