Create a simple cartoon stapler filled with basic digital effects and get ready for school is just a few minutes! Using several pointed curved lines, I will show you how to draw this fun object quickly by adding shadows, highlights and just enough details to end up with a realistic version. Knowing how to use a vector application and how to sketch basic shapes are required for this tutorial. Ready? Let's begin this lesson by proceeding with the first step below.
You can begin by adding a few basic lines to illustrate the main shapes of this cartoon object. The bottom part is easier to achieve since the shape is regular and mostly made from long curved lines. The top section is slightly more challenging because the back of the object is round and larger. Don't forget to create a realistic perspective as shown below. No need to be ultra-realistic. Just make sure it's visually appealing.
In the middle of the cartoon stapler, you can sketch two long straight lines made from sharp ends. Small circles are needed on the handle, the crimp area and on the magazine. Don't forget to draw a small curved line near the hammer. Once this step is completed, you are ready to proceed with the next one: adding plain colors.
For this example, the stapler is mostly filled with a wide variety of grey colors. All lines and strokes are colored in black. The crimp area, the magazine and the part near the hammer are all brighter. Dots, circles and lines are black. Now that plain colors are added, it's time to create some beautiful effects to create depth and volume inside this cartoon picture.
All shapes from this cartoon stapler must be filled with color gradients to enhance the 3D aspect of this illustration. In all cases, a darker version of the color already applied in selected for each shape. Now that all shapes are filled with two different colors, all you need to do is play with the position of all colors and see how it should fit most.
For instance, the part near the crimp area is darker near the right. You can also notice how the top of the stapler is brighter near the left and darker on the right.
In this fifth step, you can draw a few shadows to increase the level of realism of this illustration. Notice how these new additions are helping the stapler feels more genuine, more realistic. Don't feel the need to draw shadows all over the object! Only a few well-placed shapes are needed to end up with the desired results. Otherwise, the stapler might feel too crowded, too difficult to read.
Now that we have drawn a few dark shadows to create more volume, let's double the pleasure by drawing a few highlights and reflections. These new shapes will also help create a more realistic cartoon image. In this case, all new shapes must be colored in white. Since we need subtle shapes, you must play with the opacity of all new elements and make sure these ones are barely visible.
Below you can see the stapler once all steps are completed. Although this illustration was made with a vector illustration using only 2D shapes and lines, the result feels pretty interesting (and almost 3D-like). Assembling such a realistic cartoon image is not that difficult once you understand how to play with color gradients, how to create basic shapes and how to juggle with highlights.
This picture shows all steps required to draw the stapler quickly and easily. Feel free to use all tips above to draw more interesting objects like this one. You are only limited by your imagination and have fun creating and experimenting! ;)