In this drawing lesson, you will learn how to draw a bear cartoon using simple gradient and transparency effects. Like all tutorials available in this section, owning a vector software is a must.
You don't need to know how to draw complex cartoon characters to achieve this drawing lesson. In fact, even the character I have created for this lesson is simple and easy to reproduce.
Creating the right effects in the right places is what matters the most. You will see that you don't need tons of shadows to illustrate a character that looks nice and cool. Only a few gradient fills are necessary to add some depth to a simple illustration!
Important note: For each step available below, the first image represents the operation you must perform for this particular step. All changes are surrounded by a red outline.
On the second image, you will have the opportunity to see the result of this particular step.
First, create the character using basic shapes and a few lines. Then, add some colors and remove all outlines (just set the outlines to none or 0). For the mouth of the character, I have created this part using three lines. Then, these lines were subtracted (Boolean operation if you prefer) from the lighter square shape under the nose.
Next, use your gradient tool to add some shadows on the ears, the head and the body. For the ears, notice that the bottom part is lighter. Also, notice how the top of the head is lighter while the bottom is darker.
The body is more tricky. The top of the body is dark (so that it could fit with the bottom of the head) while the middle of the body is lighter. Finally, the bottom part of the body is dark again.
Use your gradient tool again to create shadows inside the ears, on the eyes and on the mouth. For the eyes, create a circular fill and color the center part in white. Even if the bottom of the mouth is dark, this shape should be lighter than the top of the body and the bottom of the head.
Create five circles to create reflections on the eyes, the pupils and the nose. Each circle should be white. Then, use your transparency tool to make the bottom of each shape invisible (and the top part lighter).
In this step, create a shape similar to the one of the head and place it inside (the head). The bottom part should be dark. Use the transparency tool to hide the top and middle part of this new shape. Move on and create a line along each arm.
Then, create a large oval shape on the body of your bear cartoon. This shape should be lighter on the bottom. You can also add a blur effect around this new shape.
In the last step, duplicate the shape you created inside the head in the previous step. This time, make the top part lighter and add transparency on the bottom of the shape. Then, create a new shape inside each arm and leave a small space between this new shape and the outline of the body.
The bottom part should be darker and the top part transparent. Finally, complete your bear cartoon by creating the shapes inside each leg. Leave a small space between this new shape and the outline of the feet. You can also add a few lines to represent the paws. More cute bears can be found below. :)
External resources: How to draw a bear