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Easy Optical Illusion Drawings for Kids

How to Draw an Easy Optical Illusion for Kids: An Elephant/Whale

Watch my directed drawing video on how to draw a simple optical illusion for kids – an elephant/whale!

Today I’d like to show you how to draw another simple optical illusion where an elephant’s head 🐘 can double as a cartoon whale 🐳. With this optical illusion there’s no need to turn the paper, you just need to rotate your brain! Again, there needs to be just enough lines to see it one way, but not so much that it spoils the other way. This drawing is a little tricky so you might need to do it a few times to get it just right. I hope in the end that this optical illusion drawing is easy enough for preschoolers and kindergarteners, but still fun for older kids and adults that are just getting started with drawing. Feel free to pause the video if you need to catch up. All you’ll need is a pencil, pen or marker and some paper. And of course feel free to color it in afterwards. Let’s get started! – Patrick O.

Follow these directed drawing instructions that make an elephant/whale optical illusion drawing easy to do:

  1. First, let’s draw the outline of the elephant’s head, which is also the body of the whale. Start with a big curved line that goes a little higher on the left side. Then draw another line up from the right side and bend it to the left and down towards the first line. Then sweep that line up to come close to the end of the first line, but leave it a little open. Finish by connecting the two lines with two bumps that will be the end of the elephant’s trunk and the tail of the cartoon whale.
    Elephant or Whale Optical Illusion Step 1
  2. Next, draw the eye. This will be the eye of both the cartoon whale and the elephant. Draw the eye closer to the left side. Then add a pupil to the eye, which can be facing either left or right. One animal will be looking forward and the other backward depending on which side you choose! Finally, add an eyebrow just above the eye.
    Elephant or Whale Optical Illusion Step 2
  3. Now let’s draw the elephant’s ear, which will also be the whale’s mouth and blowhole. From the bottom right of the shape, draw a curved line to the left and up towards the eye. Stop just before you reach the eye. Then draw a small curved line at the top of the shape to finish the top of the ear. This is also the blowhole for the whale.
    Elephant or Whale Optical Illusion Step 3
  4. Add a fin to the whale, which will also be the tusk of the elephant. Just below the eye, draw a curved line to the left. Then turn it sharply back to the right and curve it towards the start of the first line.
    Elephant or Whale Optical Illusion Step 4
  5. Add some wrinkles to the elephant’s trunk and the whale’s back. Three little lines at the top bend in the trunk will do it.
    Elephant or Whale Optical Illusion Step 5
  6. Finish by adding some drops near the elephant’s trunk/whale’s tail. Draw a few tear drop shapes coming out of the elephant’s trunk which will also look like water splashing from the tail of the whale.
    Elephant or Whale Optical Illusion Step 6
  7. Try it out! Show your friends or parents and ask them if they know what it is. If they says “whale” you can tell them they are wrong, it’s actually an elephant drawing. Or vice-versa!

That’s it. It’s magic! ✨

How to Draw an Easy Optical Illusion for Kids: An Elephant/Whale

By Patrick O'Toole

Patrick is the creator the educational website Alphabetimals.com where cute cartoon animals in the shape of letters help kids learn their ABC's. Through the Otoons.net website he hopes to also help kids & beginners gain more confidence in their ability to draw through easy and fun step-by-step tutorials.