Axel Scheffler: How to draw a Gruffalo
Follow Axel Scheffler’s process from pencil to paint, as he shows you how to draw your very own Gruffalo. We’ll give you a hint… start with the horns! You’ll be perfecting your own characters in no time.
Now invent your own talking animal
Does your creature live in a forest, in a jungle, on a moor or in a zoo? Perhaps it has a job. Does it work in a school, a supermarket, an old grey office or a library? Maybe it plays music in an orchestra or writes stories for children.
If your creature came to your house what would you do? Would you offer it something to eat? Would you play a game together, such as hide and seek or Monopoly? Would you read it a story or play some music? What would you and the creature talk about?
How does your creature make you feel? Is your creature terrifying, fascinating, revolting, boring or adorable? Perhaps it’s a mixture of all these things.
Does your creature have special powers? Can it see into the future or read people’s minds? Is it a book worm, an extraordinary poet or a brilliant chef?
The Gruffalo has purple prickles, a poisonous wart and knobbly knees. What kind of body does your creature have? How does its skin feel when you touch it? Does its physical characteristics reflect its personality?
Some rights reserved. © British Library Board / British Library
How to draw a Gruffalo. I would start at the top with the horns and then work my way down to the feet. There's a Gruffalo. And I'll start coloring in. So done with the outlines. Prickles. Now what I do, I take a very hard pencil and I do the fur structure. It shows a little bit when the drawing is finished. Use the pen again to do the outlines again. Okay, I think that's it. That's how you draw a Gruffalo.
How do you go from a bright idea in your head, to a picture book in your hands? In this video, Axel Scheffler reveals how he transformed a few descriptors – purple prickles, poisonous wart and knobbly knees – into the Gruffalo we know and love. - video
In a picture book, illustrations are just as important as words to bring a story to life. In this video Axel Scheffler, illustrator of the well-loved Gruffalo books, gives his top tips for budding artists. - video
Once you’ve got your characters, you can get started on your story. In this clip Viviane Schwarz shows us how she creates an illustration, with lots of colour and collage. Why not grab some scraps of paper and a paintbrush, and see where your imagination takes you? - video
What do you think an angry shape would look like? How would your angry shape turn into a character in a story? In this video, writer and illustrator Viviane Schwarz shows us some unusual techniques for coming up with your characters. - video
Learn more about Axel Scheffler’s childhood memories of reading and drawing, and discover how to draw your very own Gruffalo.