How to

How To Paint A Giraffe


Welcome to this step-by-step tutorial on painting a giraffe using acrylics on an 11″ x 14″ canvas. In this tutorial, we will explore a loose, non-realistic, and cartoon-like style. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced painter, this guide will walk you through the process, making it easy and enjoyable.

Step-by-step Giraffe Painting


To get started, gather the following materials:

  • Liquitex BASICS acrylic paint
  • 3/4″ wash brush
  • 10/0 liner brush
  • Graphite paper
  • Burnt sienna
  • Naples yellow
  • Titanium white
  • Cadmium orange hue

Step-by-step Giraffe Painting

Step-by-Step Directions

1. Paint the Background

Begin by painting the background using primary blue and titanium white. With your 3/4″ wash brush, start at the bottom and paint vertical strokes, covering about a third of the canvas’s height. Add titanium white to your brush and blend it with the blue, gradually working your way up. The top of the painting should be the lightest part of the background, with some streaks of white and darker blue for a blended effect.

2. Wait for Your Painting to Dry

Allow the background to dry completely before moving on to the next step. You can use a blow dryer to expedite the drying process.

3. Transfer the Giraffe Onto the Canvas

To easily transfer the giraffe’s outline, use the provided traceable and graphite paper. Print the traceable on two sheets, tape them together, and place the graphite paper below the traceable. Position it on the canvas and trace the design. Feel free to add additional details, like spots, using a pencil or the traceable as a reference.

4. Paint the Eyes & Nostrils

Using a 10/0 liner brush and mars black, paint the eyes as outlined in the design. You can also use a sharpie or a paint pen for more control. Fill in the eye area and add eyelashes on the right side.

5. Paint the Giraffe

Next, paint the body of the giraffe using naples yellow and titanium white. Fill in the entire giraffe, avoiding the eyes, nostrils, and inside of the ears. Utilize a combination of the #4 round brush for smaller areas and the #12 bright brush for larger areas. Follow the shape of the giraffe by using diagonal strokes on the neck and curved strokes around the chin and head. Let the colors blend on the canvas, adding more white or naples yellow as needed. Apply two coats of paint to achieve solid coverage.

6. Paint the Giraffe’s Hair

Using the #12 bright brush and burnt sienna, paint the giraffe’s hair. Follow the outline previously traced and drag each stroke from the giraffe’s back to the edge, using the full width of the brush.

7. Paint the Giraffe’s Spots

For the spots, combine burnt sienna with the #12 bright and #4 round brushes. Freely paint the spots, or lightly sketch them with a pencil or the traceable. Add some mars black to the mix for darker spots and blend the colors on the canvas. Remember that the spots above the line between the head and neck should be smaller, while those below should be larger. Add a few smaller spots on the head while leaving the middle part spotless.

8. Detail the Eyes and Ears

Using a #4 round brush, paint the inside of the ears white. Add highlights to the eyes by using a 10/0 liner brush and two dots of paint. You can also include the left eyelashes at this stage.

9. Highlight the Ears and Ossicones

With the #4 round brush, paint the inside of the ears with cadmium orange hue. Then, drag the brush downwards on the top of the ossicones to create an orange hue. Paint the top of the ossicones black as well. Ensure that the white part of the ear is dry before painting over it.

10. Outline the Giraffe

Using mars black and the #4 round brush, loosely outline the giraffe. Start with the top of the ears, outside of the ossicones, and the middle part between the ossicones. Proceed to outline the bottom of the ear, left side of the nose, and above the right eye. Complete the outline by painting the right side of the giraffe’s face, nose, and left eyelid. Paint zig-zag lines on the inside of both ears.

11. Add Subtle White Lines

To provide depth, apply loose white lines slightly on the right side of the ossicones, on the top of the head between the ossicones, on the inner parts of the ears, and on the right side of the nose.

12. Paint Jungle Leaves

Using the #4 round brush, paint swirly vines and larger leaves using brilliant yellow green. To create variation, go over the leaves and vines with hooker’s green while the brilliant yellow green is still wet.

Congratulations! You’ve completed your giraffe painting. Feel free to share your creation with others.

Step-by-step Giraffe Painting


In this tutorial, we learned how to paint a giraffe in a loose and cartoon-like style. By following these step-by-step directions, beginners and experienced painters alike can successfully create a vibrant and fun giraffe painting. Enjoy the process and have fun exploring your creativity!

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Remember to always trust your experience when engaging in artistic endeavors. Happy painting!

Alexia Young

Hello and welcome to the world of Alexia. I am a passionate and dedicated artist who loves to create beautiful, mesmerizing art for everyone's walls. I believe in the importance of encouraging people to express their creativity and be happy.

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