How to draw cartoon style people – Part 1

Last night I met somebody who told me they found it really hard to draw cartoon people. Well, what is a cartoon? And what do people mean by Cartoon Style?

If you go to Wikipedia it says “A cartoon is a form of two dimensional illustrated visual art.”

Now that is a really good, basic, definition.

Today, cartoonists are often thought of as exponents of political satire, but most people will think of a cartoon style as being like Mickey Mouse, comic strips, Anime, Manga and Children’s books. All of them are… “A form of two dimensional illustrated visual art.”

They look so easy, don’t they? After all cartoons are used for children’s entertainment… so they must be easy to do, right?

You will remember at school, there was always one kid who was really good at drawing Goofy or Spongebob or some favourite cartoon character? The reason they were so good at it was because they practiced a lot before they showed you their amazing skill.

It takes a lot of practice to be able to copy an established cartoon character, but it takes even more practice to devise a new character and be able to draw it from any angle and make it do different things with different expressions on it’s face – If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!

You wouldn’t expect to become a brain surgeon overnight so don’t expect to become a world class cartoon style artist overnight. It takes work. But luckily, it’s fun and enjoyable work.

In some ways, drawing from life, although it looks harder, is in fact easier. You only have to draw what is in front of you.

A cartoon style drawing comes from the imagination and from the hard work needed to develop your style and the experience you need to gain about the way bodies move and how people express emotion and moods on their faces and their physical attitudes.

By copying other artists, you learn the language of marks that convey speed, love, worry, hope, desire… humour.

To draw cartoon people, start with a really simple basic shape get comfortable with that shape and then build on that experience.

Treat your basic character like a puppet, learn how to move the arms and legs about. Try different clothes and hair styles. It’s very much like learning a language. you need to learn the words and how to put them together in the right order.

Cartoon style looks easy, but it is not.

Cartoon style takes as much practice as any other skill in life. Luckily, drawing is probably the cheapest hobby there is and one of the most satisfying too.

In my next video, I’ll show you how to draw a basic cartoon person that you can build on.

So get yourself some paper and a pencil and start building that experience so you too can impress your friends with the ease with which you can draw cartoon people.

with award winning illustrator, Shoo Rayner.


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