An artist drawing ... an artist. That's the strange experience you are about to enjoy! To create and illustrate the perfect cartoon artist, you need to use a few elementary stereotypes found in our culture.
First, the cartoon character needs a hat. Then, a small goatee and a scarf are also mandatory. Using only these three basic elements, you should be able to draw an artist that is easy to recognize and quite believable.
First, you need to open your vector application and select the drawing tool. Create a new layer for this new step.
I don't recommend using a traditional pencil to work on this tutorial because most effects will be made with powerful tools only found on a computer. When you are ready, start by sketching the larger shapes of the character like the head, the body and the feet.
You can use black outlines for now. Make sure that all lines are regular and drawn properly.
Great! Now you need to add details using basic shapes and lines. We don't need a very detailed artist drawing, so only draw important features. You can illustrate the eyes, the pupils, the nose, the mouth, the small goatee and the scarf.
You also need to complete important areas like the hands, the ears and the little button on top of the hat. Notice that lines used to create the mouth and the nose are slightly pointed on each end.
The small goatee is also thinner than most shapes created on the character.
Colors are an important addition to the drawing. In this case, I have chosen red and blue as the main ones, but feel free to create your own pattern if you want to.
Create a new layer and draw plain shapes behind the layer used to illustrate the outlines. You can color the pants in brown and the shoes in black. The eyes must be white and the pupils black (or blue if you prefer to create a more charismatic character).
Make sure that all shapes are covered properly by the outlines and move on to the next step.
Your artist drawing looks good, but you also need to apply a few basic effects to give more depth, more volume to the illustration. Every major vector software comes with a great tool called the gradient tool.
You can easily add some basic shadows using this powerful instrument. Simply select each shape separately and add a second color (usually a darker version of the color found on the original shape).
For a better result, make sure that all darker areas are on the bottom of each element.
The cartoon character looks good, but we need to add a few more effects to really end up with something worth looking at. Create a new layer and draw darker shapes on areas that are not directly affected by lighting.
We are presuming that the light source is located on the top of the character and the the right of the illustration. You can also add small circles around the eyes as well as shapes on the head, the body, the ears, the legs, the hat, the small goatee and the hands.
Cool! Now we need to make sure that these new elements are not too distracting. We need a tool that can create a more subtle result. Select the tool used to create transparency in your application. Then, partially hide each shape you have created in the previous step.
Now the result should be more realistic and closer to a 3D drawing (not a complete realistic drawing, of course). We can also add another effect to enhance the artist drawing.
Reflection plays also a big part on how a picture looks real a genuine. When lighting hits a surface, a whiter area is created. That's the effect we are trying to duplicate using only 2D shapes and a few cool techniques.
First, select all shapes from the character and duplicate them to create a new set of plain areas. Change the color to white. For the eyes, you can simply add a few oval shapes to illustrate the reflection of the pupil.
Once again, select the tool in your vector software used to apply transparency. Select each shape created in the previous step and partially hide them. Your goal is to keep the brightest area closer to the light source.
Be careful! White areas must be subtle and only used to create a small bright section on each element of the cartoon character.
Great! The cartoon artist looks good now! We can do one last thing to complete this drawing lesson ...
Dark outlines are great when drawing a cartoon character. But things can look even better if the outline's color is matching the color used to fill the shape next to it.
Select the head and add a darker version on the outline of the color used to create the skin. Repeat the same step for all shapes. You can leave the outline of the pupils black.
Good job! Your artist drawing is now finished! I hope you had fun using this tutorial and don't hesitate to try more cartoon characters from the same series below.
External resources: How to draw an artist