We are not surprised that you want to learn how to draw a cow. We see them grazing lazily when we manage to escape from the city to take us there, in the middle of the high-altitude meadows. They tear up large tufts of grass, chase away flies by moving their ears and long tails, take heavy steps making the cowbell ringing around their large necks ring. Some of them move here and there, with slow steps, while others are lying on the ground in a peaceful and distracted manner. We are talking about cows, fundamental animals for humans: domesticated since the Neolithic, cattle have played a vital role in our history, helping in the fields and providing, in addition to the workforce, meat, milk, and therefore cheese.
Drawing a cow – everything you need
As always, our drawing and painting guides start from the list of accessories necessary to achieve a satisfying and long-lasting result. So, if you already have everything you need, move on; if you do not know what can be helpful in a drawing done with all the trimmings and in a fun way, read on, and in case take a quick step on our e-commerce dedicated to Fine Arts!
Let’s start with drawing paper: to get a good start, you should count on two different types of writing, namely, sketch and drawing paper. The sketch pad features quality paper with low weight, specially designed for sketching quick drawings with pencil, charcoal, sanguine, or pastel. The drawing pad – where you will instead make the actual drawing, the one to keep over time – instead has sheets with a greater weight. You will then need some drawing pencils for cool drawing ideas.
To have fun in the execution and to have an optimal result, you will need at least three pencils, or a hard one, to make delicate and precise lines, such as the contours, a medium, and a softer one, to make the chiaroscuro. You will then have to have some erasers – better three, a standard white eraser, a bread eraser, and a smudger – a pencil sharpener, a little sandpaper to perfect the tip of your pencils. And nothing else! Well, we can move on to see how to draw a cow in pencil.
Things to consider when drawing a cow
Before drawing, you should waste a few moments and observe some cows: live, on old photos, in magazines, online. The critical point is that you hold this animal to see details that you never had. Notice the sizeable downward ribcage, the shape, and length of the horns, the muscles visible in the shoulders and neck, the shades of color, the wrinkles in the skin, the visible veins on the breast, the long hair with which ends the tail. Well, you should look at that cow as if it were the first time you see one!
Let’s start with the preparatory sketches of the cow.
Now that you’ve gotten a good look at your subject, you can start making your first sketches, having a good understanding of its structure. To learn how to draw a cow, you will first have to practice various sketches, stylizing this animal to reproduce its shapes and proportions faithfully. It will not be as easy as you might think, as the multiple perspectives markedly transform this animal.
Let’s start from the most precise perspective, that is, from the side: the cow is standing and walking in a direction perpendicular to our gaze. It is possible to sketch the trunk as an actual cylinder – to which you will then add the protrusions of the abdomen – from which a truncated cone, protruding upwards or downwards, is detached in front of it (depending on the position we want to give to the head). The same garment, seen from one side, will have a conical shape with a blunt tip.
To sketch the legs, as we have already seen for other animals such as dogs, you will have to start from the shoulders, drawing beans – one opposite the other and positioned immediately below the line of the back – and then complete every single leg with two narrow cylinders, remembering that the legs of the cows are relatively short. Then, after completing this first sketch, on the same sheet or another one, try to bring the cow back from other perspectives, or maybe in different positions or attitudes: in this way, you will carry on the study of this animal, to be able to portray it in the best possible way!
How to draw a cow easily
Please pick up the original sketch in your hand, and put it back on your drawing sheet. At this point, you can draw the contours of the cow in detail, thus bringing back the line of the back, the udders, the hooves, the eyes, the jaw, and the nose, also sketching the ears. Then it begins to outline – with a highly light stroke – the visible muscles and skin fold to have a reference base for the following steps.
At this point, using a slightly softer pencil, identify the shadow areas, making them darker with short close pencil strokes – to be traced keeping in mind the varying surfaces, thus exploiting these lines to emphasize muscles and roundness. Next, focus on the darker parts of the animal, namely the hooves, nose, ends of the horns, and the shadows that define the belly and neck of the animal.
Now, with the softer pencil, dedicated instead to the chromaticity of the cow: its hair is concise, and therefore allows you to use the pencil in a very nuanced and light way to define the coat, pressing more or less depending on the shades. Cows with a monochromatic coat also have more delicate areas and darker areas in most cases.