How to Draw Santa’s Elf

By Alina Bradford

Finished ElfLearning how to draw a cute cartoon elf is a great holiday activity for young and old. The elf presented in this demo is easy enough for artists of any skill level to draw because it is made with simple shapes such as cones, circles and half-moons. Santa’s workshop elf can be drawn with markers, pens, colored pencils, or finger-paints.

The example elf was drawn with a Sharpie marker, though it is recommended that inexperienced artists draw their elf with a pencil first so that marks can be easily corrected. The artist can always go back and cover the pencil marks with their desired medium.

The Head

Elf HeadThe elf’s head starts with a cone for the hat. The sides of the cone curve inwards, while the bottom of the cone curves down. The top of the hat is topped off with a tassel that is simply a U-shape with several wavy lines on top.

The rest of the head is also composed of U-shapes. Under the hat, the artist should draw a large U-shape that goes from one side of the hat to the other side.

The head features are very uncomplicated shapes.

  • The eyes are smaller U-shapes with a circle in the middle.
  • The cheeks are two circles placed under the eyes.
  • The nose is between the cheeks, and drawn by making two C-shapes that are facing each other.
  • The mouth is drawn as a simple curved line.
  • The elf’s ears are drawn as up-side-down J-shapes added to the side of the head.

The Torso, Arms and Hands

Elf sketch by Alina BradfordFrom the elf’s head, two lines are drawn into a scalloped edge for a neck and collar. The arms come out of the collar and are tubes that get smaller as they get closer to the hands. In the demonstration elf, the arms end with a scalloped edge for sleeves. This can be edited out depending on the artist’s tastes. The scallops on the upper-body are simply made by drawing connected C-shapes.

The bottom of the shirt and jacket are drawn as rectangles coming down from the armpits. The jacket rectangle should be slightly larger than the shirt rectangle to add depth and interest to the elf’s clothing.

Hands can be drawn with very little detail. The artist can draw a U-shape and connect it to the cuff of the sleeve with two curved lines.

The Legs and Feet

Elf FeetThe rest of the body connects to the bottom of the shirt. The elf’s legs should be drawn much like the arms. They get progressively smaller as they get closer to the feet. Elves traditionally have very skinny legs, so this is something an artist should keep in mind while drawing.

The heels of the elf’s feet are two C-shapes. The end of the ‘C’ continues into a large J-shape. The top of the foot is a J-shape that connects with the bottom ‘J’. The tip of the two
connecting ‘J’s ends with a puff ball. To draw a puffball, the artist just draws a ragged looking circle.

Once the artist is done with the basic body parts, he or she can add their own personal creativity by adding polka-dots to the pants, hair, stripes to the shirt, color and more.

Once the artist feels confident drawing this cute little workshop elf, it can be used as decoration on present tags, homemade Christmas cards, and on homemade wrapping paper.


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