In this lesson, you will learn how to draw a pelican that looks cute and appealing in just eight easy steps. I will show you how to add simple effects like shadows and highlights quickly and easily. Once you are familiar with this character, drawing more cartoon pelicans from scratch should be less challenging for sure! :)
First, let's draw a few basic shapes to help us get proportions right. First, draw a small circle on the right to illustrate the head. The beak is made from a larger (and lower) circular shape. The neck is created using a small rectangle. Complete this step by drawing a large oval shape for the body and two more small shapes to illustrate the feet.
Using mostly long curved lines, it's now time to work on the silhouette of the character. You can start by drawing the head, the neck and the huge beak. Then, draw the body using more pointed lines. A simple wing is done using more long curved lines.
Draw some hairs on top of the head, behind the head and on the chest. You can also draw one foot using short curved lines. Now that most body parts are created, you can erase the basic shapes that were added in the first step.
Inside the head, you can draw the eye using perfect circles. A small line is also drawn inside the beak. You can complete the drawing aspect of this lesson on how to draw a pelican by creating a tail and another foot.
Let's play with gradients to give some depth inside the cartoon pelican. You can use a bright orange color for the beak and the feet. The eye is colored in blue. The body and the tail of the animal are filled with a light gray color.
In order to give more volume to this 2D illustration, it's a good practice to draw a few shadows. These new shapes must be filled with a dark color and also be partially transparent. Our goal is to create a subtle image, not sketch a dark and terrifying creature! ;)
You can draw new shadows around the eye, below the beak and on the neck. More shapes are created on the tail, below the wing and above the feet. All new shapes are displayed below (with a temporary blue outline).
Just like we did for the shadows, you can now draw bright shapes on the cartoon pelican to create more volume. These new shapes colored in white and are also partially transparent. In this case, reflections were added inside the pupil, on the beak and on the wing.
Since all steps are now completed, you can see the final result below. I hope you had fun learning how to draw a pelican that looks cute and appealing. Don't hesitate to draw more version using different textures, postures and colors. Just experiment and have fun!
Now that we are done working with this lovely bird, feel free to try more cool animals and characters from the same series here. Keep practicing and enjoy. Fun lessons are also available below. :)