For many of us, the image of a teepee instantly conjures up images of fierce Native American warriors, the feeling of a hot sun, and the thought of journeys both past and present, taken by communities who call these structures home.
In many cases, many of us will use the terms “teepee” and “wigwam” interchangeably, not realizing that both shapes and structures have their own rich history and associations – the term “teepee” literally means “a dwelling“ or “to dwell”, and features an animal skin draped over supporting poles, while the “wigwam” – or “wickiup”, as it is sometimes known, refers to a type of shelter – this is dome-shaped, created from bark and layered on a pole structure.
Though subtle, the difference in material was extremely important to those who called these structures home. Let’s celebrate the differences, and explore the variation, by drawing our very own teepee structure.
Step-By-Step Images and Instructions
Begin at the bottom of the page, with a large, long, curved line, which rises up slightly at either end.
High above the curve, at the very top of the page, make a small mark, almost like a point.
Draw straight, smooth lines from the bottom curve, right up to this point at the top of the page, giving you a triangular shape.
Draw two straight lines down the middle, dividing the triangle into three smaller triangular sections.
In the center triangle, draw another, smaller triangle, which shares is base with that of the main shape – we will refer to this as “Triangle 1” in just a moment!
Move to the bottom of the triangle you just created, and draw another triangular shape to the right, sharing the right hand edge of “Triangle 1.” This time, invert the shape so that the point is towards the bottom, and with the sides slightly longer, so that the base comes just above the top point of “Triangle 1.” Do you see how your teepee is starting to take shape? This is the door!
Now return to the top of the teepee, and add a collection of short, sharp lines, bunched together like twigs, using a strong brown color, with one bright red line in the very center.
Time for some detail: lets start by drawing a careful zig-zag line at the top of the teepee, just below the bunched lines on the top. Then, fill in this shape – between the zigzag lines and the top of the teepee – with a vibrant, eye-catching orange.
Add another zig-zag shapes slightly further down, using the same bright orange, and follow this with another zig-zag, just below this second one, to form an empty zig-zag shape. Next, add a “bumpy” line across the bottom of the shape, just below the top of the door we created earlier.
Add the same orange shade to the zig-zag shape in the middle, leaving a series of small, white dots throughout the shape to add a little decoration.
Now, fill in those white dots with a dark grey shade for some impressive contrast.
Draw a line just above the bottom of your teepee, skipping over the gap created by the door, to create a long, thin section at the bottom of the drawing. Fill this in with a deep, dark brown.
Add a few bright, colorful yellow spots just above this brown strip, and below the bumpy line.
Head to the bumpy line we drew earlier, and carefully draw another parallel line just above it – just as you did with the strip at the bottom. This will then create another strip, which you can fill in with the same brown shade. Just as with the zig-zag shape, leave small white dots all across the width.
Fill in these dots with a dark, moody blue tone.
Fill in the gap between the two strips with the same orange shade you used earlier, being careful to avoid your yellow spots. Next, add a small strip of orange just above the bumpy line, continuing until you are roughly level with the top of the doorway.
Now we need some stitching – using a brown, make a series of small, neat marks down the middle of your teepee, in the center of the middle triangle. When you reach the top of the door, add small crosses to the top corners.
Next, turn your attention back to the doorway, and draw a short, diagonal line across the bottom right corner to divide the triangle into two – make sure this line is thick and clearly defined.
Add a bright blue strip to the left hand edge of the triangle making up the doorway…
And follow this with a solid black in the top half of the triangle.
Fill in the rest if of the doorway with the same bold, solid black.
And finish by adding some details to the doorway cover with smooth, grey lines.
In just a few short steps, you have learned how to create your very own bright, colorful teepee – but what challenge will you decide to take on next? Perhaps you draw your own incredible landscape with teepees of all colors and sizes, or experiment with different designs and patterns? This is just the first step – where will your new skill take you?