How to Draw an Okapi By Jackson Brunner

Drawing Materials

Step 1 - Gathering Materials: As with when starting any work of art, the first thing you'll need to do is gather your materials. You'll need a sharp pencil, eraser, piece of paper, and some coloring utensils of your choice (preferably colored pencils).


Step 2 - Get Drawing: Sketch in some ground for your okapi to stand on. It can be as simple or as detailed as you'd like. If you want, you can improve your base by adding some abstract designs (see above). Don't color or draw anything else just yet!

Body and Legs

Step 3 - Main Body and Legs: In this step, you'll create the main outline of your okapi. First, start at a point where you would like the middle top of your okapi's back to be. Be sure to plan accordingly for the rest of your okapi's body; your starting point should be a few inches above the ground depending on the size of your drawing. Next, sketch to the right and make a half circle down to create the okapi's backside. At the end of your hemisphere, make a long, thin rectangle down for the okapi's first leg. Draw left a bit more and sketch a similarly-sized second leg. Your original starting point should now be roughly between the okapi's two legs (keep in mind this is a side view, so you'd only see two).

Neck and Head

Step 4 - Neck and Head: From the top left of your okapi's front leg, draw a diagonal line up and to the left to form half of a long neck. Go back to your original starting point, and sketch a short line to the left to directly above where your half-neck started. Draw a line parallel to the neck line you already had, so that the two lines are about the same length. Finally, it's time to draw the head. From your top neck line, make a half circle slightly up to the left. From the end of that circle, make a longer, thinner arch and connect it to the bottom of your okapi's neck. Last in this step, perfect what you've done so far until you're happy with it, because this step is vital to the look of your okapi.

Back/Leg Details

Step 5 - Adding Back/Leg Details: First, go back to the body outline you've just drawn. Go to the top of your okapi's backside, and make a very thin, long rectangle down for your tail. Then, add a small oval with a point at the bottom at the end of the tail to complete it. Next, draw a line directly up from the left side of your okapi's back leg. Sketch ten or so stripes backwards horizontally from that line to create the okapi's signature stripes. Each stripe should be separated by a small distance. Now, it's time to detail your okapi's legs. Near the very top of each leg, draw a thick, black rectangle horizontally. Do the same a small distance from the bottom of each leg. Draw a vertical line to connect the two rectangles on each leg. To the left of each line you've just drawn, make a thick half circle, but leave some space in the middle. Your back and legs should now look similar to the images above.

Head Details

Step 6 - Head Details: Breathe life into your okapi! This is the last step drawing the animal itself. Make a face for your okapi first. Draw a spot in the shape of the head, but make it slightly smaller to leave some space completely around (see above.) On the middle top of the head, draw a short, thick rectangle with a circle on top of it to serve as your okapi's ossicone (horn). You'd only see one horn from the side view, but in real life okapis have two. To the right of the horn, draw a roughly football-shaped ear diagonally up and to the right. Inside the bottom of the ear, make an arch shape that takes up about half of the ear to show some depth. Finally, it's time to make an eye. Draw a large, almond shape in the center of the back half of your okapi's face. Now, color in the front third or so and round the back edge.

Landscape and Coloring

Step 7 - Landscape and Coloring: First, it's time to draw in some landscape around your okapi. Okapis live in rain forests, so feel free to go wild with vegetation. Add trees, vines, bushes, and other plants if you'd like, as well as a sun and some clouds. Color the surroundings and ground from Step 1 with various shades of green or brown. Now, it's time to color your okapi. Use a selected choice of medium brown, anywhere from a dark tan to a dark red-brown. Color the horns, ears, tail, around the face, and main body. However, don't color the legs or backside where the stripes are. Leave this spot white, and outline the stripes/leg details in a black to make them pop.

Sign and Enjoy!

Step 8 - Sign and Enjoy: Finally, sign your name in a bottom corner (I prefer the bottom right). Take a step back and gaze at the fantastic artwork you've just created. Excellent job in you okapi!

Created By
Jackson Brunner


Created with images by MrGuilt - "Okapi" • qimono - "idea empty paper"

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