Cowboy Drawing
(Cartoon Painting)

Enjoy a nice cowboy drawing in this painting tutorial made especially for digital artists! For some reason, I really love drawing cowboys. These characters are often mad, covered with dirt and very intriguing. Colors that are used to depict these great cartoon characters are warm and close to the palette offered by mother nature.

I thought it could be fun to draw something close to the "Wanted" posters that were available back then. I wanted to keep a cartoonish appearance to the illustration, but still try to come up with something funny and a little bit realistic (but not too much).

Step 1

Cowboy drawing

So this is the sketch that I used as a template. I love the fact that the eyes are partially covered by the hat. It gives a little bit of mystery to the drawing. I also went for something simple: the eyes are made with dots while the ears and the nose are not filled with too many details.

Step 2

Cowboy drawing

My sketch was nice, but I still need to add a few lines to make the cowboy drawing easier to read. The line is not quite black and everything is drawn using my tablet. Of course, I used a new layer to draw the outlines of my cartoon character.

Step 3

Cowboy drawing

I will try a proven technique to create the shadows of my character. Instead of adding plain colors to build the shadows on, I will create all shadows using grey tones on a new layer. Make sure that this layer is under the one with the outlines. You will see later how to add colors, but also why this is an easier way to create this illustration.

Step 4

Cowboy drawing

Move on with this step and work on areas that need to be darker. It doesn't really matters if your shadows are covering areas outside the character. You can always erase these areas once you are finished working on the shadows.

Step 5

Cowboy drawing

Finally, apply darker shadows in places that are protected from the virtual sun. Remember that it is always easier to add shadows using a tool with an opacity around 5% or 10%. If your opacity is too high, it will be difficult to create a nice blend between all tones of grey.

Step 6

Cowboy drawing

This step might seem a little bit tough, but it is quite easy. Create a new layer and place it on top of the others. Make sure that your layer is set to "Multiply". When you are ready, just add plain colors on the character. 

Since your layer is set to "Multiply", the plain colors are mixed with the shadows created previously. Shadows that were grey in the previous step are now automatically colored with the perfect tone. If you are not satisfied with the result, you can always go back to the layer that contains the shadows and add a few more using grey colors.

Step 7

Cowboy drawing

Your cowboy drawing is great so far, but it looks a little bit flat even if shadows are applied. To resolve this issue, why not add a few reflections! Create a new layer on top of all previous ones and draw a few bright shapes on the hat, the nose, the cheeks and the clothing of the cartoon character.

Step 8

Cowboy drawing

Since these new colors were added on a new layer, you can use the erase tool and set the opacity to 15% to erase these new shapes a little bit. Since with are painting with a digital application, working with subtraction instead of addition is not an issue!

Step 9

Cowboy drawing

If you feel that your reflections are still too bright, you can play with the transparency of the layer. In this case, I choose to set the transparency of the layer to 60%. It is logical since the skin and clothing are usually not filled with bright reflections like metal or plastic would.

Step 10

Cowboy drawing

The last thing that I need to do on my cowboy drawing is work on the beard and the eyes. Create a new layer and add a few strokes of black on the beard. Once you are finished, you can also add a few strokes of grey to enhance this area. For the eyes, I decided to create large blue circles and draw black pupils. The little white circle on the pupil is used to create reflection.

Step 11

Cowboy drawing

Experiment with the background until you are 100% satisfied. By creating a new background on a new layer, you can change this one as you wish without altering your cowboy drawing. It took me 5 attempts to come up with something that I was pleased with. I hope you had fun creating this cute character and happy drawing! :)

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