A lot of cartoon characters are constructed on very, very simple shapes, because that's how animators can keep them consistent from scene to scene. His whole body might essentially be constructed of two simple ovals, because when you're drawing animation, the first thing you have to do is draw those two ovals and as long as you keep the size of those ovals consistent, then your character is likely going to come out looking pretty much the same.
So I'm going to make an oval for the head and I'll draw a center line that shows exactly where the center of his face is going to be. And then, to attach the trunk, I might draw a circle that's perfectly centered on that oval. I know to attach the trunk right there.
As long as I really work out this construction, I'm going to be able to draw this same elephant character doing just about anything, and he's still going to look like the same elephant.
Again, I'm going to make the legs out of simple cylinders. I'll draw little circles that show where they attach.
You know what? That's a little boring. Let's get a little more personality into those legs. I'm going to make the legs a little bit narrower where they attach to his body, because that'll add a little more personality to them.
And looking at it now, I think I want his head to be bigger. I'll give him these fun little goofy eyes.
I'm just thinking of where his tusks meet his head is built on because as long as I know exactly where those tusks attach I'm going to be able to draw them from any angle.
So, now that I've done all that construction work and made all these messy lines, I can go in with a black pencil and just refine it to some very simple lines. Now that I've created my little cartoon elephant here, I can use him in a myriad of other poses.