In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw a frog clip art made from simple elements and filled with amazing effects like shadows, highlights and textures. Frogs are quite fun to illustrate when it comes to playing with texture. The bright and unique look of the skin is a real challenge to illustrate inside a simple cartoon image. Fortunately, adding these effects is not as hard as it seems! ;)
Before proceeding with this drawing tutorial, let's take a few seconds to learn more about this cartoon animal so that you can visualize more easily all the steps to come ...
For this drawing lesson, you can either follow the written version found on this page or simply enjoy the short video located below this paragraph. Of course, using both versions is also a good idea since they are both featuring slightly different information that can help you understand all steps more easily.
Before opening your vector application to draw this cute cartoon frog, it can be a good idea to create a little sketch. This one can be pretty simple using only a few lines and basic shapes to create the character. When you sketch is drawn, import this one to start this lesson.
The first thing we need to do is draw lines to illustrate this frog clip art. We are not creating solid shapes for now! You can use long and large pointed lines to draw the head, the body, the arms, the legs and the patches. Notice how lines to create these patches are much thinner.
Then, you can use four circular shapes to represent the pupils and the eyes. It's also a good practice to use colors for these strokes. Black outlines are fine, but using a few colors (like a dark green color for the body and a dark red one for the eyes) can be visually more appealing).
So far only lines were created. I like to draw solid all shapes separately. It's easier to handle and add effects like shadows and textures when lines and shapes are not part of the same object. As you can see below, the frog is mostly green while patches are beige/yellow. Pupils are red and the eyes are yellow.
Using color gradients, you can also add more depth and volume to the character in just a few seconds. Every single shape should be darker on the bottom and brighter on top. All elements (even the pupils and the eyes) are colored using the same technique.
Another interesting step we can take to make this frog clip art even more realistic is draw more shadows manually. As you can see below, circles were added below the eyes and more shadows were drawn inside both yellow patches. The bottom of the body is also quite busy with shadows drawn inside the hands, near the bottom of the back legs and under the arms.
Highlights or reflections are also needed to give more depth to this cartoon illustration. These new shapes are colored in white and partially hidden (you can learn more about this step inside the video found above). Simply try to add these new objects in areas highly exposed to the light source. You can see inside the next step how these new objects should look like.
One last step to complete this drawing lesson would be to add texture all over the body. Notice that these textures are separated in different objects to handle transparency more easily. For example, both patches are filled with different textures. It's also the case for the head, the body and the back legs.
This is the frog clip art once all effects are added. As you can see, it's important to make sure that all effects (shadows, highlights and textures) are subtle and not too distracting. It is useless to create strong and dark shadows unless you are looking to create a dramatic effect.
I hope you had fun working with this cartoon frog. You can try more animals from the same series here. Don't hesitate to create more frogs too using your own style. All tips available here can be used on any character you can think of. Have fun and be creative! :)