How To Draw Cartoon Characters – Step By Step Guide For Beginners

how to draw cartoon characters

Drawing cartoon characters is a common hobby of many people regardless of their age. It is a field of study which is totally different from human being pencil drawing that you usually see on the street. To draw a cute looking character, it may take sometimes for you to learn and understand the cartoon drawing concept. In this article, you will discover:

I. How To Draw Cartoon Characters Step By StepThe Cartoon Drawing Strategies For Beginners

In this cartoon drawing tutorial, you will get your hands on 4 cartoon drawing strategies that will simplify your drawing process.

1. Simplify Everything 

simplify everything

If you have ever heard about caricature drawing, you will surely agree to this. You may find that the cartoon character that you are going to draw contains a lot of details and sometimes it is impossible to copy everything. Well, the good news is to draw a stunning beautiful cartoon character, you don’t have to do so, instead you need to focus onto simpler shapes, lines, details and shadows. The reason is because the cartoon character drawing works best with simple line drawing. Many people have wasted a lot of time adding as many details as possible into the drawing but they end up having a messy picture. Things like small wrinkle or any strand of hair do not make you drawing any better. Therefore, please try your best to keep your lines and shapes simple. Finally, do a bit of shading to make your drawing more refined.

2. Draw Through Objects

When you first look at the title, you may think we are referring to some sort of super power here that let you go through physical objects right? Well, since we are talking about drawing, what I mean is we must at least have clear picture of the cartoon figure before we draw so that everything can stay in proportion. It is like we do not see bones and muscles on every person but they are there. Being able to estimate every single part of the cartoon figure is significant. To illustrate my idea, I can give you a simple example. Let’s think of drawing a cartoon character like building a house. Everything must be done in a sequence. You cannot build your roof before erecting your wall or casting your floor slab. Instead, you build the wall and create your interior design thereafter. To keep everything in control, you must make a rough sketch of the cartoon character first. That will serve as a blueprint for the final illustration. My recommend is if you are not really good at estimating the proportion of every part of the cartoon figure, you should join an anatomy drawing course to have some foundation before moving on to drawing cartoon.

3. Exaggerated Lie exaggerated lie Well I’m sure your mummy  never teaches you about lying, but in drawing the exaggerated lie means you don’t have to make your cartoon character look like a normal person. “Art is a lie that tells the truth” quoted by Picasso, which means to say illustration is a representation of reality. This can be proven exactly when it comes to drawing the portrait of people. Some people want to have a picture drawn by famous artist, in which they would like the artist to remove some of the ugly traits on their face so they  look beautiful. Accordingly, a cartoon character must be an exaggeration of reality. Therefore, creativity is significant here. For example, sometimes a character will look more adorable and children friendly with 3 fingers on each hand. Surely, there will be questions popped up from the audiences such as why do you draw 3 fingers for that character? The answer will be as simple as “because it looks much better”. 4. Redraw This is the final phase where you have to do a lot of touching up to make your drawing looks more refined. You can either move objects around to achieve a better composition or redraw all the outlines as well as other details. You also can prepare in advance composition thumbnails before you start doing your sketch so your drawing can have a fantastic background. If you are a fan of art, then you also need to know about the art of tattoo and how to remove tattoo naturally here.

II. How To Draw Cartoon Characters Easily For Beginners – Step By Step Guide how to draw cartoon characters easily for beginners - step by step guide

When we talk about drawing cartoon character, we refer to those audiences, who are mainly children. A good cartoonist is capable of getting rid of those unnecessary details of the objects or human, yet still allows the children to recognize them. In this how to draw cartoon characters step by step article, we will talk a bit about the human concept to have an insight of why we have to simplify everything when it comes to drawing cartoon. An artist can render a very complex scene in his mind and materialize it into his drawing whereas most of the people can’t really memorize everything from the first sight. Below is an example: Most of us after looking at these 2 pictures will probably tell it’s a car. To children whose age are as small as 4,5 or 6. They can’t even recognize the difference between these 2 pictures. Therefore, the key to success is to keep the drawing nice and simple. Walt Disney or Hanna & Barbera are the cartoon movie makers who have managed to influence the whole industry with their simple, magical and long lasting characters.

Read more: powerful oil painting techniques – learn to get wonderful paintings.

In this cartoon drawing tutorial, let go through all the steps together:

Step 1 Step 1

Once you come up with a character in your mind, you will need to start the whole sketch with the head. A circle is all you need. It helps you define the proportion of the head to other parts of the body.

Once the circle is done, you can proceed with the face axis by drawing vertical and horizontal line crossing each other like in the image below. This is very important because it helps you avoid those situations where you have the eyes, nose and lip unsymmetrical.

Step 2 Step 2

You start drawing the eyes by creating 2 oval shapes tilting toward the lower part of the vertical axis. Don’t forget to leave a gap between these 2 eyes, so that you can have some space to draw the nose later on. The gap size is equivalent to 1 oval shape. During the drafting phase, you draw another eye in between to have a better estimation.

Step 3 Step 3

Above the circle, you can thicken slightly to create the eyelashes of the character. After that, you can move on to drawing the eyebrows. The function of the eyebrows is very important because it will tell the mood of the character. In my example, we want to have a surprise expression so we spike up one end of the eyebrows which are nearer to vertical axis. Lastly, when you draw the pupils of the eyes, a golden tip used by many professional cartoonists is to tilt the pupils towards the vertical axis to make the character looks cute.

Another golden tip: you can make the facial expression of the character more visible by adding a small line below the pupils. It is kind of simulating the wrinkle.

Step 4 Step 4

This is one crucial step that you can have all the freedom you want to design your character. The face of the cartoon character is mainly made up of 2 components which are the mouth and the eye of the character. However the part that decides the age of the character is the jaw. The jaw of the character will decide whether the character is the old or young one. In my example below, the character is going to be a young one.


Step 5 Step 5

Drawing the nose seems to be a little bit tricky here. I recommend that you should not draw too many details. A little touch up on the nose tips will result in an amazing effect. Alternatively, you also can just draw one side of the nose. The reason is because it is the shadow which is created from the opposite side of light.

Step 6 Step 6

Now you move onto drawing the mouth. In cartoon drawing, the mouth is totally different from the mouth of human being. Instead of creating the upper and lower lips, you can just simply draw a curve that will satisfactorily show the expression of the character. In my example, I want to have an innocent look of a child, so an expressive trace will do the job well.

Step 7 Step 7

The ears are seen from the front side view so you won’t be able to see the cavities within it. As for the ear, you may take sometimes to practice because comparing to other parts of the face, the ears seems to have more details and require the cartoonist to be more skillful. However, it is still made up of basic traces.

Step 8 Step 8

Now you already have everything but the hair. This is the final step to complete drawing the character’s face. Well, don’t panic because the hair for cartoon character is not as hard as it is of the real human being. In my example, I want to create a childish haircut of a little boy, so carefully plan the curves around the skull will make the hair part stay in proportion.

These steps can be applied to any cartoon character whose face is seen from the front view. You can use this guide to assist you drawing manga characters that you’re interested in. Your creativity is really important here because you may need to think out of the box to create some other characters.

Read more: A Walk Into Abstracts – learn how to draw abstract paintings

After reading these useful step by step tips and guide on how to draw cartoon characters for beginners, please do some practice to understand thoroughly about the drawing process. After that, you can create some other characters on your own such as wizard, a little girl or an old woman.

There are also many other helpful easy drawing lessons on how to draw cartoon characters step by step from the site Vkool that you can make use of. Last but not least, if you find this step by step cartoon drawing tutorial helpful, please let us know what you think by making a comment below.

Want More Content Like This In Your Inbox?

Join The Discussion


Advertising Disclosure

Displayed content is offered by businesses which have been compensated. There is a potential effect on how, what, and where products may appear. All effort is made into providing full transparency, not all available products or companies are highlighted. Published material is offered without any slant or bias no matter what affiliation there is with sponsorship or association.