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Secrets of Drawing Cartoons

Learn the secrets of drawing cartoons from professional artist Kevin Kobasic in this illustration and drawing tips video from Howcast.


So now we're going to talk about secrets of drawing cartoon characters. And in another video I created this quick cartoon elephant, but I didn't just draw him straight out, I constructed him from simple shapes in three dimensional space. So now I've got this character, who for me, exists in this kind of three dimensional head space. So now I can put him in a bunch of different poses and I can make him do stuff and he'll always come out looking like, kind of, the same character.

So let's get him up on his feet and make him do something completely ridiculous and have him dance. It's very important in animation to start with really simple shapes because you're going to have to draw these characters over and over many, many times. And you want to start with simple shapes that are easy to remember and keep consistent.

I'm going to start by drawing an oval shape for his head and let's get a lot of. We see in the center line that helps me determine where his face his going to be. And let's get a lot of, energy into this pose. So I'm going to, before I even draw the oval for his body I'm actually going to push him a little out of shape. And I'm going to sort of arch his back and try to get a lot of action into this pose. So even though I constructed his body out of an oval I don't need to keep it a perfectly oval shape. I can, sort of, bend it out of shape and make it into a kind of bean.

When I was creating his arms and legs the first thing I figured out was where they would attach to that oval shape that makes his body. The first thing I want to do is I'm going to actually draw the places where his arms and legs attach. I want to raise one leg up so I'm going to make that higher and I'm going to make the other leg lower and I'm going to make the leg he's standing on.

He's a big heavy elephant and he's putting all his weight on one leg and I really want to give you a sense that he's pushing down on that leg. So I am actually going to squash that leg down a bit. Let's kick that leg up a little higher, actually. And again while I am drawing this I am keeping my eye on my original model because I want to make sure I get the arms about the right thickness so he still looks like the same character.

There's a circle in the front of his head that creates the point where the trunk attaches so I am going to draw that same circle again. To make room for a mouth I want to push those tusks up a little higher. Now I'm going to add the eyes and I'm going to look at where the eyes, where do the eyes in relation to the trunk, how far away they are from that circle where his trunk attaches, and also how much distance there is between his two eyes.

Animation artists are constantly doing this sort of thing where we're creating construction lines between the different features of a persons face so that we can make sure that all this stuff stays consistent. I want to really make his ears gone wild because that will help create the feeling that he's moving. And now I'm just going to tighten that up with some black pencil. And there he is, now he's dancing. And that should give you a very quick, crash course in secrets of drawing cartoon characters.

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