In this tutorial, I will show you how to draw a death cartoon character that looks mysterious, creepy and ... cute! You will learn how to play with various shapes, lines and digital effects to create depth and volume inside a mostly black and white illustration that is visually appealing and fun to work with. Are you ready to sketch? Great! Let's proceed with the first step of this lesson now! :)
Drawing a character without some guidelines can be a difficult task. That's why it's a good idea to sketch a few shapes on your working space to get an idea of the proportions and the posture of the character. No need to be precise for now. In this case, you can already have a good idea of how the character might look like just by taking a look at the sample below.
Using mostly large and thick lines that are pointed on both ends, it's now time to illustrate this death cartoon character. Feel free to sketch several small triangles and sharp elements to depict death in a dark and mysterious way. When you are done, you can erase all orange shapes drawn earlier.
Inside the scythe, draw a few straight lines to make this one look sharper. You can also draw the eyes using a mix of curved lines and straight ones. Finally, let's make the clothing even more frightening by adding pointed triangles near the body and the arms. Cool! Time to add some colors and a few basic digital effects.
This cartoon illustration is mostly filled with various tones of grey colors. Only the handle of the scythe is colored in brown. Also, notice how the blade is filled with two different grey colors. Excellent! Plain colors are nice, but we can do better by adding more effects to the drawing! :)
Color gradients can be added inside most shapes of this death cartoon character to give more depth to the illustration. For instance, notice inside the sample below how the face is darker on the bottom, but much brighter on top. Repeat the same technique on all elements to complete this step.
We are now entering the fun part of this drawing tutorial: drawing more shapes to create dark shadows inside the character. Basically, we want to make this picture to be filled with depth and volume using dark shapes in strategic areas.
All new shapes can be seen below (with the bright blue outlines). Since the clothing of the character is colored in grey, these new shadows need to be really dark to be visible.
This is the character when all blue outlines are removed. Notice how these new shapes are adding emphasis on areas like the eyes, the face, the hands and the teeth. Also, make sure these shapes are slightly transparent so that they blend perfectly with the character.
This time, we need to draw white shapes on the death cartoon character to create more contrast and add even more volume to the drawing. You can see all new shapes below (the ones with a pink outline). Once again, make sure to add transparency (or if you prefer, to play with the opacity of all these new shapes) to end up with a very subtle result.
Below you can see the drawing once all steps are completed (and all pink lines are removed). See how this character feels genuine and visually amazing? The good news is that drawing all these effects can be a simple task once you understand how to draw simple shadows and reflections using only a few basic shapes and how to play with the opacity of these new elements.
This is a simple illustration that shows all nine steps in one simple location. Feel free to use all these tips on various characters, different drawings and don't forget to practice as often as needed. Drawing fictional characters like this one is always a fun experience! :)