Many artists begin their creative journey with cartooning, an art form prevalent in movies, TV shows, and print and electronic media. The simplified line art allows illustrators to develop unique styles as well as characters. When drawing people of different ethnicities, exaggerate the race’s unique features to distinguish them from one another, but avoid over exaggeration to the point of insult. For example, a cartoon Chinese girl might have dark hair, straight eyes and full lips, but don’t give her bucked teeth unless you want to make people angry.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Scrap paper
- 2H pencil
- Drawing pen
- Smooth Bristol drawing paper
- Kneaded eraser
Decide on a pose for your cartoon. Quickly sketch several ideas on a piece of scrap paper (or in a sketchbook, if you own one). Don’t concern yourself with details; just lay out several thumbnail sketches to give yourself an idea of what you will be drawing on the more expensive, professional-grade paper.
Draw a “shape skeleton” using the 2H pencil on the Bristol paper. Bear in mind that younger cartoon characters generally have slightly larger than normal heads. Lay out the form for your cartoon using an oval for the head, a larger and wider oval for the ribcage, a horizontal oval for the hips, and rectangles and circles for the arms, legs, elbows and knees. Use a square with five lines to indicate the hands and triangles for the feet.
Lay out a grid on the face to guide you in placing the facial features. Draw a light line vertically down the face to indicate the middle of the head and the placement of the nose. In real life, the eyes fall smack dab in the middle of the face between the top of the head and the chin, but most cartoonists place the eyes slightly lower for young characters.
Sketch the shape of the hair on the head while remembering that hair does not lie in equal chunks.
Draw the eyes, and make them rather large to indicate the character’s youth and innocence. Contrary to popular perception, Chinese eyes don’t slant up at the outer corners. The top of the eye remains almost parallel to the eye line but may curve down just slightly. The inner corner of the eye bends almost completely vertical, and the bottom of the eye gives the slanted appearance because it curves up at the outside of the eye to meet with the top line.
Draw the girl’s nose and mouth rather small so not to draw attention away from the eyes. Very simple lines that merely suggest the existence of these features will suffice.
Add detail and tighten up the lines in the character’s body. Chinese girls generally have a small frame and subtle curves.
Use the drawing pen to ink your drawing by going over your pencil lines. Add depth to you character by varying the thickness of your lines.
Allow your illustration to dry for at least an hour and then use a kneaded eraser to remove all the visible pencil lines and marks.
Tips and warnings
- Consider adding colour to your cartoon using markers, coloured pencils or graphics software.
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