How to Draw Cartoon People Running

Written by amanda tromley
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How to Draw Cartoon People Running
The human body leans forward when in motion. (sports runner image by chrisharvey from

Cartooning requires the ability to depict people in a variety of scenarios. If your character runs the bases or a race, or if he runs away from a monster, you need to believably illustrate a body in motion. With a few tricks and a little practice, you can create a cartoon person in motion.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Using a pencil, draw a faint action line around which to build your character. The sharper the angle of the line the faster the motion appears. A character running a race may have an action line of 45 degrees to the bottom edge of the paper. A jogger's action line may lean just past vertical.

  2. 2

    Turn your action line into a stick figure, adding a head, arms and legs. The limbs in front of your character should point away from each other--the hand pointing up and the foot pointing down. The hand and foot behind the action line should point at each other.

  3. 3

    Draw small circles at the end of each arm to indicate the size of the palms of your character's hands. Draw ovals for the feet with the narrow part of the oval in the toe position.

  4. 4

    Use a black marker to draw the details of your character, using the stick person as a guide. Start at the nose, which should point up. Add the eyes and mouth, and remember to show emotion in the facial features. Draw lines blowing back for the hair and ink the shape of the face.

  5. 5

    Draw the neck and limbs by making a line on either side of the stick-person lines. Add your character's clothes. Illustrate the cuffs and collar of the clothes slightly wider than the neck and limbs.

  6. 6

    Draw the hand behind the character with the palm facing away from the viewer and the hand in front with the palm visible. Draw the shoes, adding laces to the top of the shoes and spikes to the bottom.

  7. 7

    Illustrate your character's shadow by marking a controlled zigzag below the runner but not touching him. This gives the appearance that the runner is in the air. Add motion lines behind the runner's feet, legs and arms, and dust clouds near the ground.

  8. 8

    Allow the marker to dry completely and erase the pencil lines.

Tips and warnings

  • If you worry you may make a mistake, draw the entire cartoon in pencil first and then trace over it in marker.

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