This tutorial will help you learn to draw a man drawing made from simple shapes and colors. I will give you simple tips on how to draw the character in a vector software and how to apply nice-looking shadows and reflections.
This is the first tutorial created for this series and that's why the cartoon character is simple. Our goal is not to create a complex character filled with textures and details, but simply to add the best effects possible to give more volume and life to the illustration.
First, you need to draw the character's outlines. Start by adding things like the head, the body, the arms and the legs. Details will be added in the next step. You can also keep all shapes white for now.
Use an outline that is thick enough to be visible, but not too thick either otherwise the illustration will be hard to read. Outlines can be black for now. Make sure everything is centered and when you are done, move on to the next step.
You can now draw all the details needed to create a beautiful face. Things like the eyes, the pupils, the nose and the mouth are drawn using simple lines. Don't forget the little line below the mouth to create the chin.
Two small circles are also used to represent the ears. Don't make these shapes too large. You can also draw the hands using two large circles and the line to separate both legs.
It's now time to add color to the illustration. Picking up the perfect color for the skin can be difficult. Depending on the race of the cartoon character you want to draw, it's better to choose a lighter tone of skin for now.
The shirt is colored white a bright green color while the pants are colored in brown. You can use black to color the shoe and the pupils of our little cartoon friend.
Since we are working with a vector application, you should find a tool named "Gradient Tool". This tool is very useful to create shadows quickly and efficiently. Simply select each part of the man drawing one-by-one and add a second color (mostly a darker version of the other color available in your shape) on the bottom of the selected element.
As you can see on your left, the arms are colored with a darker area on top of the shape. It's also the case for the hands. Great! These new shadows are nice, but let's add something more visible to enhance the illustration even more.
To give more volume to the character, it's also a good idea to draw strong shadows on areas that are not necessarily affected by lighting. For this drawing, simply imagine that the light source is located on the right (and probably on top since this light could be the sun).
Therefore, all shapes added on the man drawing must be placed on the left or in areas hidden by another part of the character. For example, chances are that the bottom of the head could partially hide the top of the t-shirt. Adding a shadow on this area is a good idea.
These new shadows are perfect, but maybe too dark to be effective. It could work if only a single (artificial) light source was available, but it's not the case here. The sun usually doesn't create shadows that are precise or well-defined. That's why we need to make the shapes created earlier softer.
To do so, select the most appropriated tool available in your software to create transparency. Then, partially hide the top part of each shadow for a more subtle result.
The sun is not only creating shadows, but also reflection. When the light hits a surface, a bright area is visible and we can use that to create more depth. Duplicate all shapes from the man drawing and color these new shapes in white.
For the pupils, just add an oval shape like shown on your left. Make sure that these new shapes are below details like the nose and the mouth and also below shadows added in the previous step.
Once again, you need to select the most appropriated tool to create transparency and hide the bottom part of each white shapes. Remember that this tutorial is not created with a specific vector application in mind, so creating transparency can be different from one software to another.
Right now the cartoon character looks perfect. You can leave it like that or make one final change to enhance it even more.
Black outlines are great, but I feel like changing the color of outlines can create a more professional result. The goal is to select a color closer to the one use in each part. For example, the t-shirt's outline could be colored with a dark green color.
Repeat this step on all elements and you are done! Great job! Your man drawing is now over and you can proceed with another drawing lesson once you are comfortable with this one! :)