How to Draw a Cartoon Face

A face can tell a thousand stories. From anger to joy, sadness and confusion, the face is the most expressive part of your character’s body. You’ll naturally spend a lot of time perfecting your character’s face, but learning how to tweak his or her expressions can be a challenge.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll find it easy to build on them and create lively cartoon characters that both children and adults will adore.

While it may seem like a daunting and complicated process, drawing a cartoon face is actually quite simple. The trick is to break the face down into simple shapes that the viewer can quickly and easily identify.

1. It All Starts with a Circle

The most basic cartoon shape is the circle. All of your character’s facial features and proportions will be based on this one simple circle.

Once you have defined your circle, you’ll need to draw the face axis. To create the axis, draw a vertical line down the center of the circle, and then draw a horizontal line three-fourths of the way down the face. The two lines should intersect at the middle.


2. Draw the Eyes

Using the face axis as your guide, draw the eyes using an oval shape. Keep the oval tilted slightly at the top.

Make sure both ovals are about the same size, and leave a gap in between them. The gap should be the size of an eye.

Anime Eyes

To create the illusion of eyelashes, simply darken the top corners of the eyes. Add some thick, furry eyebrows above the eyes.

The next step is to add pupils to the eyes. To make your character look cuter, direct the pupils toward the center, and place them toward the bottom of the eyes.

3. Define the Jaw and Nose

The next step is to define the character’s jaw. At this point, you’ll need to decide whether you want the character to be skinny, fat, or brawny.

The jaw will also let the viewer know whether the character is young or old. Young characters will have smaller jaws, while older characters will have long, drawn-out jaws.

Next, add the nose. When drawing cartoons, noses can be simple outlines or even just the tip.

4. Add the Mouth and Ears

Just like with noses, cartoon mouths are simple and expressive. A simple trace is sometimes all you need to get your point across.

Ears are simple, too. Use simple shapes to outline them and basic perspective.

5. Add Hair

The final step is to add hair. Don’t let this stage intimidate you. Decide on what type of hair cut you want your character to have, and then start by making a basic outline of the hair’s “shape.”


I recommend looking at photo references on the web to get an idea of how cartoon hair is drawn.

When just starting out, you can draw a simple cartoon face. Once you’ve defined your character’s style and personality, you can begin adding expressions to bring your character to life.