In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw a catfish that is happy and visually appealing in just eight steps. I will show you how to add simple effects to create depth and volume in no time using tools available on most vector application. Of course, you can also add these effects manually using paint, pencils or crayons. Let's proceed with the first step of this drawing lesson now ...
First, let's work on the silhouette and the fins of the creature. Using long lines created with pointed ends, draw a large mouth and a round forehead as shown below. The body is made from two long curved lines while all fins are drawn using shorter lines. Make sure that the mouth is opened and that the upper lip is visible near the right of the illustration.
Inside the head, draw a large circle to form the right eye and a small circle to create the pupil. The second eye is hidden behind the forehead. On both sides on the mouth, draw two long barbels. Smaller ones can be added below the mouth. You can also draw a long patch on the chest of the cartoon catfish.
Inside all fins, you can draw thin lines to create basic textures. You don't need to draw tons of lines to create a cool result, just a few will do. Inside the mouth, draw a tongue using more short lines. That's it for the drawing aspect of this lesson. It's now time to add colors and create some cool effects!
Before adding fun digital effects inside the character, let's just add plain colors to it. This cartoon catfish is mostly filled with a variety of brown colors. While the fin located on top and the one near the tail can be dark, both fins located on each side of the body must be bright. Use the same color for the patch on the chest.
One simple thing we can do to create more volume is to play with gradient colors. Adding a second color inside each shape is a simple technique you can use to increase the depth of the character quickly and easily.
Gradients are nice, but drawing more shadows manually is also a good idea if you want to end up with a realistic cartoon illustration. For this step, all you need to do is draw dark shapes on areas that are less exposed to the light source. To increase the level of realism, just make sure that all new shapes are also partially transparent.
You can add shadows on all barbels as well as on all three upper fins. More shadows are created on the chest, the back of the body, inside the mouth and around the eye. You can see all new shapes below (with a temporary blue outline).
Dark shadows are fun, but you can also sketch brighter areas if you wish to increase even more the volume of the character. For this cute cartoon catfish, simply draw white shapes inside the pupils, on the tongue and on the forehead. Once again, just make sure that all shapes are partially transparent if you want to end up with a subtle result.
Great work drawing all these complex lines and adding all these amazing special effects. You can see the final version of the cartoon character below. Don't hesitate to create more versions using different postures, various colors or even new textures and patterns.
All steps required to draw this fun creature are available above. Now that you know how to draw a catfish using a vector application, why not try more fun animals and characters from the same series here? You can also try some fish below! :)