In this section of the site, I will show you how drawing animals can be a fun and interesting experience. Using simple designs made from simple shapes and plain colors, you will have the opportunity to draw some popular animals in just minutes.
All animals can be done within six easy steps. Details are limited and you don't need to create complex textures or work with shadows and lighting. These characters are simple enough to be duplicated by young children!
All tutorials are created using a similar pattern. Once you are aware of how these cute animals are drawn, then you will be able to sketch more animals not found here using the same tips and techniques. Using a vector application is not mandatory, but it can help! :)
1. Irregular outlines and strokes
As you can see in the example above, the line surrounding the head is wider on top and almost invisible near the top-left of the image. Using lines with pointed ends that don't have the same width in the middle compared to both ends is a good technique to create more dynamic characters.
2. Animals are filled with few details
Our little cartoon turtle is only filled with patches on the shell. You won't find dark shadows, highlights, textures or any other complex digital effects. That's a good example that you don't need to add several details to end up with an illustration that is visually stunning and easily recognizable.
3. Only plain colors are used
One simple tip to create some depth inside an illustration is to use color gradients. It's not the case here. All cartoon animals are filled with solid plain colors. Most colors are bright and saturated. Once again, simplicity rules!
4. Basic shapes and simple lines ... that's all we need!
The head, the shell and the feet are all drawn using basic shapes. Sure, these elements are drawn using round corners, but this simple twist is quite easy to achieve. Lines are also pretty straightforward and you won't find complex irregular lines that are hard to read.
5. Using colors to create a little bit of depth
Both legs drawn behind the character as well as the tiny tail located behind the shell are filled with a dark green color. This simple technique is great to add a little bit of perspective and depth into an illustration. It's really not that complicated, but it's highly effective!
6. Facial features are also pretty basic
Two small oval shapes and a long curved line. That's all we need to represent the face of this cartoon turtle. Drawing animals that are visually appealing can be done with just a few basic elements. You can go one step further and add more facial elements (like a nose or eyebrows) if you want to! :)
Below you can see a few examples featuring a few of these animals that you can try to get started. All lessons can be found on the bottom of this page. First, you can try to illustrate a simple cartoon lion filled with a bright yellow color. Notice how all outlines are also filled with simple colors instead of being black.
The mane is definitely a little bit more complex, but just make sure that all curved lines are carefully placed all around the head to end up with a satisfying result.
Do you prefer to work with a simpler character? Great, then this cute whale is definitely for you! As you can see below, drawing animals that are easily recognizable and adorable is not such a difficult task. In this case, the body is simply made of a large oval shape and the tale is drawn using just a few curved lines.
If you are using a vector application, then it's time to play with the width of all strokes. For example, notice how the line used to create the body in the first step is thick on the bottom and hardly visible on the top-left of the illustration. You can clearly see this technique applied on the body of this cartoon whale.
If you want something slightly more challenging, then this cute cartoon pig is what you are looking for. It's not a complex character to represent, but it's certainly one of the most difficult one to create from this collection. There are more body parts to sketch (compared to the whale) and these elements are also creating a simple perspective.
Just like all previous examples, eyes are done using small oval shapes and lines have an irregular width. Notice how legs that are located behind the character are slightly darker. Don't forget to draw a huge nose, a small curly tail and a large mouth.
Another animal that represents a particular challenge is the snake. Drawing animals with four legs is a pretty standard approach and that's why snakes are so interesting to sketch since they don't offer the same concept to work with.
Of course, this version is pretty basic. You can have a lot of fun with the body of a snake if you want to. You can twist the body is various positions and enjoy a wide variety of postures. In this case, the character is shaped like a "U" and filled with small (and dark) patches all over the body.
Another fun animal to illustrate is the owl. This cute cartoon bird is unique in every aspects. Compare to other birds, owls have large eyes, a small pointed beak and eyebrows (or at least that's how it looks like) that are long, thin and pointed. These creatures are also round and gifted with strong wings.
As you can see below, drawing animals using just a few simple shapes can easily be done. This owl is built with just a few rectangles, three triangles and two large oval shapes. Don't forget to draw a basic patch on the chest of the character to complete this lesson!
Still have questions? Below you can see a few answers that can help you make the most of these drawing lessons. You will also find all animals available in this series below these questions. :)
No. Although I use one to create these tutorials, all you need is a good pencil and a piece of paper. I prefer to create these images with a vector application to make sure that images are simple and easier to read. Of course, using a software to draw simple illustrations can make the whole process quicker and much easier.
No. Once again, I use round corners because it is visually more interesting. If you prefer to draw a square instead of a shape with round corners, feel free to do so. However, simple images are often more interesting when small details like round corners are added. Also, keep in mid that a slight modification to a basic character can have huge consequences. You can't rely on shadows, highlights or textures to add some of your potential mistakes!
Like I said earlier, it's always a good idea to play with the width of the outlines to create something visually more interesting. If you are using a pencil, this effect can be created easily by adding depth to your outlines. You don't need to do this, but it's a good practice if you want to end up with good looking images. That's it! Have fun with these tutorials! :)
Here are the tutorials available in this section: