When most budding cartoonists start creating characters, they focus mainly on the face. The face is the most expressive part of the body and what gives your toon its own personality, so it’s understandable that you would focus on the head first.
But what about the body? Drawing cartoon bodies can be a little complex, but incredibly fun.
Before we get started with the tutorial, I recommend searching for cartoons on Google Images or another source to get an idea of how bodies are drawn. Deconstruct these images to better understand proportions and perspective.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
1. Start with a Rough Sketch
All drawings should start with a rough sketch, especially cartoons. By making a rough sketch of the character you envision, you get a better idea of style and the character’s personality.
Feel free to make as many rough sketches as you please until you find just the right look and direction for your character.
2. Lay the Foundation with Basic Shapes
Start out by drawing the basic shapes of your figure, and build on that foundation by adding details of the body.
The process of starting out with basic shapes and refining them until you have something you love is something every artist does – no matter whether the character is human, animal or an inanimate object.
3. Focus on Proportions
Proportion will make or break your cartoon character. In fact, it’s the most important factor when building a cartoon character.
Keep in mind the relative size of all body parts, as this what you’ll base your character’s structural features on.
Cartoonists use ovals to define their character’s proportions, which makes it easier to add details and build on your foundation.
Experiment by drawing your character in a variety of positions, clothing and situations until you find the ideal proportions.
4. The Pear Trick
Cartoon studios use the pear trick to create dynamic characters and to simplify the creation process, so it’s easier to maintain the appropriate proportions.
The great thing about this technique is that you can use the same template to create just about any character.
You can also use the inverted pear trick to create large, brawny characters.
5. Add the Skeleton
Once you have a defined form and have the right proportions down pat, you can add the skeleton structure.
It helps to study the skeletal structure of whichever type of character you’re trying to create, be it a bird, human or dinosaur.
6. The Final Details
The last step is to add the final details. This is where your creativity really shines. It’s important to remember that cartoon characters generally have exaggerated expressions and body language. The goal is to tell a story without words, and these expressive emotions do the trick.
Drawing cartoon bodies is a fun practice, but it’s also one that requires patience and perserverance. Practice makes perfect, and it will take you more than just a few tries to define the proportions, expression and final look of your character.