You might think that designing a clown drawing is simple and straightforward. All you need to do is take a man, add a few colorful clothing, some hair on the side of the head, a red nose and you are done! Right?
Well, you are almost right. The one thing that you must also create properly is the personality of the cartoon character. Trust me, it's not as easy as it looks!
First, we can start by drawing the character using simple black outlines. Notice how the jaw is made from simple curved lines. You can add a few hair on both sides of the head and a little bit on top.
The body is made from a large rectangle while the arms are made of triangles. Finally, you can draw large legs and tiny shoes. It's all about going to extremes, so if you prefer to sketch large feet, it's all up to you!
Next, you can draw additional details like the pupils, the eyes, the mouth and the round nose. Don't forget to draw a large stripe around the mouth. On the shirt, you can add three small circles to illustrate the buttons.
Use two large circles to represent the hands. Finally, you can add a simple line in the middle of the pants to illustrate the separation of both legs.
It's now time to add some colors. Since you probably used a single layer to create the outlines, add another one that will contain the plain shapes.
Make sure that the new layer is behind (or below) the one used previously for the outlines. Draw shapes on each element of the clown drawing. In this case, I have colored the hair in green, the skin in white, the nose in red, the shirt in purple and the pants in blue.
All modern vector software are equipped with a tool called "Gradient Tool". This tool is quite useful to illustrate a simple shadow on any solid shape. Select each shape individually and add a second color to create a basic effect.
For example, the top of the shirt can be colored with a light tone of purple while the bottom will be filled with a darker tone of the same color. You don't need to apply this effect on the pupils, the eyes and the mouth.
Good job! The clown drawing is now filled with a simple, but great effect and this one is now gifted with volume and depth. However, this simple effect is not enough to produce a high quality illustration. We might need to manually add more shadows on the cartoon character.
Add a new layer between both layers created previously and draw dark shapes on strategic areas like the side of the head or below the neck. As you can see on our left, there are many areas that can be affected by this technique.
Make sure that all areas are covered. Don't forget places like around the eyes, on the buttons (and below the buttons) or on the hair. Once you think you are finished, select the most appropriated tool from your application that can play with transparency.
It can either be a single tool made especially for this effect or part of another tool to fill all colors. Then, partially hide the shapes created earlier.
Nice! Everything is going great and our clown drawing is even more interesting now. Lighting can create dark areas (shadows), but it can also create brighter areas that we will try to duplicate using a very basic technique.
Select all solid shapes created earlier and duplicate those shapes on a new layer. Make sure these new shapes are on top and slightly smaller than the original ones.
Once again, you can use the transparency tool to partially hide all white shapes. However, unlike the shadows we created manually, this time you must make sure that all elements on top are visible.
Notice how these white areas are helping the cartoon character in terms of volume and depth? Now that this part is done, let's try one more thing to give a professional touch to the cartoon image! :)
All lines on the clown drawing are black. It's ok if you want to create a cartoonish picture, but changing the colors of each outline can give more appeal to the illustration.
For this step, simply use a color similar to each shape (but darker) on the outline associated with it. For example, the outline around each ear can be colored with a dark grey color. That's it! Have fun and keep practicing!
Follow the current adventures of Pascal & Hal, two lovely cartoon characters gifted with amazing personalities. New and exclusive comic strips are added twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays). Enjoy!