Working on a figure drawing using a vector application can be a complex task. Creating the character itself using a few lines and basic shapes can be done easily, but adding great effects to create something wonderful can be more challenging.
In this section, I will show you how to design and draw cartoon characters with depth, volume and personality. Only one basic template will be used to create all characters. Of course, this template will be adjusted with the character's personality, but the goal is to make the learning process easier.
These tutorials should be used as guidelines only. Developing your own style is crucial. You don't want to end up drawing like someone else. Even if the figure drawing you are working on is not 100% similar to the one used on this site, keep on drawing. As long as all important features are present, you can move on.
Let's try a few of these characters to get started! :)
Before proceeding with the various step-by-step written lessons for this section, you can try this simple video tutorial featuring a fun cartoon clown. Remember that more animals and characters are now available on my Youtube channel.
The first figure drawing we can work with is a cool cartoon chef dressed in a white suit and wearing a mustache. As you can see below, the character is mostly made from simple lines and basic shapes and elements.
Adding shadows (step 5) and reflections (step 7) is crucial to create all the depth and volume needed to convert this 2D image into a more appealing 3D version. Also, notice how strokes in the last step are filled with subtle colors (instead of remaining black).
For this second attempt, the pirate is filled with more details like a large hat featuring a skull, a hook that is replacing the right hand and some clothing with a simple pattern on the chest. Once again, the mix of color gradients, shadows and reflections is crucial to enhance this illustration as seen below. You can use a light skin color and various shades of brown to complete this tutorial.
So far we have created two characters that were based on a single and unique template. Let's use the same features to create a cool robot. Indeed, it's true that you won't find the same body shape (or the same shape to create the head) in this picture.
However, both eyes and pupils are identical. The proportion of the robot is also very similar to the proportions found in previous characters. Finally, the same recipe (shadows, reflections and color gradients) is used to sketch this fun illustration.
This happy camper is also created using all tips and techniques used so far. This time, the eyes and pupils are partially hidden by the eyelids. This cartoon demon is also drawn using bigger shapes (like the body and the head).
As you can see below, it is feasible to draw a different character (without using the original template) and still have the feeling like this one is part of this series.
For this fifth example, a funny cartoon astronaut is depicted wearing a large suit colored in grey. The most challenging effect to create is definitely the glass covering the mask as seen in the last step. You will need to play with the opacity of this shape to end up with the perfect result.
This last example is also interesting for two reasons. First, the snowman is posing in a side view. Sure, this posture is very subtle, but it can easily be seen by looking at the nose and the buttons on the chest (since both elements are not centered in the illustration).
The other interesting aspect of this lesson is the fact that no features from the original character is visible. Indeed, the head, the body, the arms and even the nose and the mouth are completely different. Yet, we are still able to associate this character with all others from the same series.
If you enjoyed all lessons found above, then you will be happy to learn that even more characters from this series are available below. Feel free to experiment and don't hesitate to create more characters not displayed in this list. Being creative is really important, even when following step-by-step tutorials made by others.
Have fun! :)