Learning Spanish by Drawing Elephants

With the birth of my twin boys earlier this year, I saw the opportunity to share my love of languages while also brushing up on my own Spanish skills (which have gotten pretty rusty).

We’ve started collecting board books in Spanish, and as often as possible I just chat with them in that language.

Recently I used a stuffed elephant as the topic of conversation and I realized there were some animal body parts that I couldn’t name, so I decided to fix that with some sketchnoting!

Learning How to Draw an Elephant

First things first, let’s learn how to draw an elephant.

For reference I pulled out Ed Emberley’s great book Make a World, and used his elephant as a reference for these simple line drawings:

Let’s draw some elephants!

With that elephant well-established in my muscle memory, let’s bring in some Spanish!

Adding Spanish Labels

When chatting with my boys, some vocabulary came back pretty easily (piernas, ojos, and orejas), but I had to look up the words for truck, tusk, and tail, and then I pulled in a verb from a Sandra Boynton book – zapatear!

A few labels in Spanish to help the new vocabulary stick.

It’s a simple drawing with basic labels, but hanging this up in the nursery for a few days will be a nice thing to show my boys and help solidify the new words as I chat about it each morning.


Are you learning a new language right now? If so, try drawing out your next set of vocab and throwing it up on the wall to see if it helps those words stick!

Add Drawing to Your Language Learning Toolkit

If you’d like to see other activities at the intersection of drawing and language learning, then check out our course Learn a New Language with Sketchnotes:

Merge drawing and language learning in this online course.

Within that course I help you develop your own language learning plan that incorporates a variety of media sources and visual note-taking techniques.

You can learn more here.