How to Draw Cartoons Step by Step

Drawing cartoons lets us poke fun at the people and things in life that need to be taken down a peg or two, or simply lets a cartoonist express his or her own unique perspective on life. Learning how to draw cartoons step by step lets you become a cartoonist, which allows you to express yourself in a way you never have before.

Cartoonish drawings are about humorous exaggerations of life, highlighting a person’s features and proportions to point out something otherwise notable, but not always noticeable, about them. Cartoons can be used to lampoon people or produce satire of the events in our lives. Here’s a beginners guide to drawing cartoon characters.

Draw the Basic Shapes

Drawing cartoon characters is about simplification. Draw simple shapes or outlines of the person you want to draw. A man’s head needs to be an oval. A woman’s head is an oval, but with a “v” shape at the bottom of the oval (for a chin).

Drawing the Torso

The chest of a man and woman also need to be ovals, but larger than the head. Leave enough space for a stick figure neci, but make this a tiny gap. Draw the waist as an upside-down triangle, which represents the hips and crotch of the cartoon people. Make a female’s hips a little wider.

Drawing Human Limbs

Start human limbs with a simple line. Draw all four. In human anatomy, human legs are 2.5 times taller than a human head, while legs are 3.5 times tallen than a human head. These might be exaggerated in a cartoon, though, so if you want to exaggerate a person’s feature (legs perhaps), make the proportions larger.

Filling Out the Body

How to Draw Cartoons Step by Step

How to Draw Cartoons Step by Step

Thicken the arms, legs and body by drawing parallel lines alongside the lines already on the paper. This takes the limbs from stick figure drawings to 2-dimensional figures.

Bisect the Face

When drawing human features, you might want to bisect the face up and down and side to side with cross shapes. This should look something like a plus symbol on the face, which lets you gauge where the eyes, nose and mouth should be. Adjust the cross shape to account for perspective.

If you want to depict something looking up, adjust the cross shape to really look like a “t” or a cross, by place the horizontal line higher on the face.

Cartoon Facial Features

Facial features should be simple in a cartoon. For eyes, draw a curved line with a circle underneath the line. Draw eyebrows as two curved lines just above the eyes.

The nose should have a larger cone shape for a man, while having a smaller cone shape for a woman. These should be directly along the vertical line on the face.

Lips and/or mouth depictions for a woman should include a flat “m” for the upper lip and a curved line for a lower lip. Add the man’s mouth by drawing a curved line under the nose.

Adding Clothing to Cartoons

Clothes should be depicted in as simple of a fashion as possible, with lines to show the bottom of a dress or a few geometric shapes to draw a man’s suit, with a belt simply being a couple of parallel lines across the waist.

Drawing Cartoons Characters – Practice Like Mad

You’ll need repetition to master how to draw cartoons step by step. You want the cartoon sketching process to become second nature. Like drawing in a realistic fashion, you still want to pay attention to the concepts of human anatomy, and you want to pay attention to distinctive features.

All of this comes with practice, though. Once you learn the basics of how to draw cartoons step by step, it’s going to come easier and you can start to play around with the medium. Soon enough, you’ll be able to add funny pictures to your humorous insight into the world around you.

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