How to Draw Cartoon Characters

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Here, you can find tutorials on how to draw cartoon characters made from simple shapes like circles, rectangles and squares. You will find a wide variety of cartoon images to help you learn how to draw simple designs that are fun to sketch and easy to duplicate.

This section is split into two different series: Cartoon characters and people. The character series is mostly filled with fictional characters. You will have the opportunity to draw fun illustrations like a demon, a devil, a dinosaur, a ghost, a leprechaun or a vampire. Some of these characters are definitely more complex.

You can also work on real people like a man, a construction worker, a firefighter, a king, a mom, a lumberjack and an astronaut. These illustrations should be easier to create since most of them are based on the same template (unlike characters that can have complex shapes to illustrate).

This series was designed for beginners and people who prefer to work on something a little bit more accessible. No complex shapes are needed and only plain colors are used. Remember that these lessons are made from a vector application for better readability. It is almost impossible to reach this level of perfection using only a pencil and a piece of paper. 

Let's see how these characters are created

To understand how these adorable cartoon characters are created, let's study this fun pirate. These guidelines can be applied to most characters, but some of them might not have some of the features described below.

Draw cartoon characters: Pirate

1. Some accessories are often needed

Of course, you might have to draw a few accessories (like a hat, a belt and a knife) to make sure the subject is easily recognizable. Our goal is to find the right balance between adding enough objects to create a realistic illustration without loading the picture too much.

2. Eyes have a tiny reflection to enhance the level of cuteness of the character

Inside each pupil, you can draw a small oval shape to represent a simple highlight. This is not mandatory, but it sure does make the character even more appealing! :)

3. No outlines are visible in the final result

Yes, you need to use lines and strokes to create the character. However, once this one is completed you can erase all lines and keep only the basic shapes. This will be easier to achieve with a vector software, but you can also apply this technique when using pencils.

4. Small shadows may be needed (especially below the head)

To make sure the separation between the head and the body is easy to read, you might have to add a small shadow below the head. Feel free to add shadows anywhere you want, but it's not really the goal for this series.

5. Hands are drawn using circles to keep things simple

Let's keep it simple by drawing hands that are only made from small circles. Indeed, fingers are the most complex body part to represent. As you can see, a basic shape will do the job just fine.

6. The body and legs are made from narrow rectangles

Most characters have a body and legs made from thin rectangles. One easy tip to create cute cartoon characters is to draw a large head. Adding a small body and small legs is a good technique to reach this goal.

7. The head is round and slightly larger on the bottom

The head is made from an oval shape, but this shape is not perfect. Indeed, the bottom must be slightly larger while the top is narrower. It's similar to the shape of an egg, only fatter. 

Now that we know a little bit more how these cute characters are created, let's work on a few examples and see how we can apply these tips on real images ...

A cute firefighter to begin with

This example is featuring all the things we have learned previously. You can clearly see in the first step the real shape of the head. Notice how the body and legs are much narrower. The posture found in this simple illustration is the same as the one we studied using the cartoon pirate.

Only a few accessories are needed (an ax, a helmet and a costume) and you can see that the shadow needed to separate the head from the body can be seen in this tutorial. Cool! This tutorial on how to draw cartoon characters is evolving nicely!

How to draw cartoon characters: Firefighter
How to draw cartoon characters: Firefighter

This time, Let's try a female character

Drawing a female character (like the beautiful nurse found below) is not that different from sketching a male one. The biggest difference is the haircut and the shape of the body. In this case, the nurse is wearing a dress that is hiding both feet. The waist is also narrower while the shoulders are slightly larger.

In this example on how to draw cartoon characters that are not fictional, you can see how minimum details are required to end up with a result that is easy to recognize. A simple hat and a basic uniform are all we need!

How to draw cartoon characters: Nurse
How to draw cartoon characters: Nurse

Working with the exception: a nice cartoon dragon

Let's continue learning how to draw cartoon characters that are unique using this fun dragon as our new subject. Indeed, this is a good example of a character that doesn't follow all the guidelines we reviewed using the pirate. Only the eyes are similar and the fact that the illustration doesn't have strokes.



The rest of the character is completely different from previous lessons. You won't find shadows, an oval head or a rectangular body. Even the posture (this one is from a side view) is new.

How to draw cartoon characters: Dragon
How to draw cartoon characters: Dragon

another unique character: a fun cartoon monster

Once again, this lesson is featuring a unique character drawn with an original shape and a few curved lines. In this case, the body and the head are created using the same square (drawn with round corners). Hands are also different. Instead of using small circles, these ones are drawn like claws. Only the eyes have not changed.

As you can see, using the same eyes and the same technique to draw the character (plain colors and no outlines) is more than enough to make sure we can associate this illustration with all previous ones.

How to draw cartoon characters: Monster
How to draw cartoon characters: Monster

A funny clown to go back to the original template

Let's go back to the original template (the pirate) and work on a cartoon clown filled with most of the features we studied earlier. For this subject, the most important elements that need to be drawn differently are the hair, the patch around the mouth and the costume.

We can easily recognize the clown when this one is finished (the sixth step in the image below), but we can clearly see who we are dealing with when all colors are added.

How to draw cartoon characters: Clown
How to draw cartoon characters: Clown

Still a simple character, but with a different posture

This time, we can try to illustrate a cartoon baby, but this one is not standing like previous characters. Instead, the baby is sitting on the ground with both hands being placed on both sides of the body. Drawing this posture is very easy since legs are barely visible and feet are only represented by two large oval shapes.

How do we know it's a baby? Well, the posture is our first clue. The only other element that can tell us whether we are dealing with a baby or not is the single hair found on top of the head. Learning how to draw cartoon characters in various postures is also important!

How to draw cartoon characters: Baby
How to draw cartoon characters: Baby

This recipe also works on a robot!

As you can see below, we can use the same technique on a character made of steel; a cute cartoon robot. We can draw cartoon characters that are made from any material using the same shape for the head and the body. Of course some adjustments can be made (in this case the body is smaller).

Other elements can be different like the legs that are now made from two thin rectangles and the hands that are also shaped like claws.

How to draw cartoon characters: Robot
How to draw cartoon characters: Robot

Let's draw cartoon characters that are visually exciting!

We are not done yet! You can now have access to a fun list of fictional characters and real people that you can draw using all the tips and techniques you have learned so far. You will have the opportunity to try more various postures, new designs and different costumes.

When you are finished, you can also unleash your creativity and develop new illustrations featuring cute characters not found inside the list available on this page. That's perfect to go one step further and learn to draw on your own!

Hope you will have fun learning how to draw cartoon characters like the ones found below too! :)

Cartoon Characters

Cartoon People


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