How to Make An Outline
With Shadows

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In this tutorial, I will show you how to make an outline using a subtle shadow effect. You are not limited to the standard black outline while creating cartoon characters! 

You can also sketch a character with an outline that is colorful and visually attractive! Adding a shadow effect can also be a good idea, but only if this good idea is well-executed!

Example #1

How to make an outline

First, let me introduce you with our new character friend from the cartoon snail tutorial. I've deliberately created an outline that is thick and easy to visualize. In this picture, the outline is plain and drawn without any special effect.

Example #2

How to make an outline

This first attempt to create an outline with a shadow isn't really appropriated. The light area of the outline is almost white and the drawing is more distracting than convincing! 

There are several colors involved and therefore, too much information is displayed on this image. The idea of adding a shadow to an outline is good, but probably not when the outline is black and grey.

Example #3

How to make an outline

In order to create a nice outline with a shadow effect that works, I need to change the color of the outline. For the eyes, I can leave it black. I don't need to apply the shadow effect on all parts! 

For the head, the neck and the tail, I've chosen a color that is darker than the one used for the body. As for the shell, I decided to apply a color that is lighter than the one on the shell itself. Let's see the result!

Example #4

How to make an outline

This drawing is more convincing than the second one! The outline effect is working pretty well on the shell. However, be careful if you wish to apply shadows on the plain areas of your character. 

In this drawing, the shadows (the ones inside the character, not the ones on the outline) are created with a plain shape using a color that is slightly darker than the one used for filling. 

Adding real shadows on both the outline and the plain areas can be a little tricky. The drawing can be hard to read! So be careful if you wish to follow this technique!

So that's it for this simple tutorial! Now you know how to make an outline with a simple shadow on it! I hope you had fun and don't forget to practice!


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