Tips on How to Draw People Cartoons or Caricatures
This article will focus on some basic steps associated with how to draw people cartoons. Now the cartoon genre is very large and contains many sub-categories of styles, methods, and drawing techniques. However this article will focus on some basic fundamentals that can help either new or beginning artists who want to enter the general field of drawing people cartoons.
You ultimately goal may be learning how to draw caricatures, manga, comic strips, or some other specific type of art, but these techniques will generally be common to all of them.
Exaggerations and Starting Where It Counts
There is one fundamental trait that all cartoons have in common, and while different styles do it to a different degree, it is a feature that distinguishes a drawing as a ‘cartoon’: exaggeration. If a drawing of a person does not have some sort of unrealistic enhancement of their form or feature, then it is probably a portrait or something else more realistic. Learning how to draw cartoons has this key difference from learning how to draw people.
Learning how to draw people cartoons starts by first learning how to see, identify, and transfer to paper some characteristic in a subject that can be exaggerated. This should ultimately stimulate an awareness in the viewer of your drawing of that exaggerated trait. It is similar in learning how to draw people, but has this unique distinction.
This technique is most easily seen in how caricature artists draw their subjects. If you’ve been to an amusement park and seen a live caricature being drawing by an experienced caricature, you’ve seen this process live. Drawing caricatures is all about seeing the features in a subject that can most readily be highlighted in a cartoon-type drawing. These features should be easily identified by anyone comparing the real subject with the drawing.
Take a look at some caricatures of famous people, and most likely you’ll find yourself saying “yes, I always thought Barrack Obama had large ears.” What makes a talented caricature artist is being able to do this with a live subject on the fly and doing it effectively.
If you want to begin your path on how to draw people cartoons, then I suggest you start by picking a subject (or visualizing one in your mind) and starting with the most important feature – the head. Drawing cartoons by starting with the head can give you practice in the process, and while many people (including artists) think that the head is a complex object to draw, it is in fact much simpler if you learn to compartmentalize it as you go.
Remember when you were very young, maybe in pre-school, or were learning a new language, your teacher at some point had you learn all the basic of the human head: eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair. Start your drawing with these simple concepts and basic components of your subject’s head.
The way you will personalize your cartoon is by organizing these basic components into an arrangement that ‘exaggerates’ your subjects features. This could be big ears, large eyes, a large forehead, or of course a very large nose. Get these foundations in place for the head and you’ve done much of the work.
Filling in the details, like hair, wrinkles, eyebrows, lips, these all are practiced, not so much taught. But if you are an artist or learning to draw you will develop your style for this just as you have learned to draw portraits, landscapes, and still objects. However, make sure you have the foundation and exaggeration in the basic components of the head, or you won’t have a cartoon.
Beyond the Head
Cartoon characters have more than heads. There is of course the body, posture, limbs, clothes, and any accessories (like Superman’s cape!). There is far more to discuss here than will come in this post, but there are some key things to consider if you are starting out.
Begin by understanding the personality of your cartoon character. If you want to draw people cartoons that you’ve dreamed up, what defines them? Are they happy, funny, grumpy, or mean? Are they tall, fat, bulky, or slim? The exaggeration concepts goes beyond the head, it applies to all their features and tends to enhance a character’s basic personality.
For example, if a character is meant to be silly, their clothes should be overly outlandish. Think about how their silliness would affect their posture, or small details like the way their feet or hands look. Come up with the 2-3 basic things that define a character and integrate that into all parts of your drawings.
Serious About Learning How to Draw People Cartoons, Maybe Even Earn?
There are lots of great resources out there for artists who want to get into drawing cartoons. For those who want in depth study, even tips on how to turn it into an income, the best we’ve seen is a program from long-time caricature artist Johnny Bombardieri.
If you are really interested in succeeding in cartoons or caricatures, check out his ebook which has helped so many others:
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