Drawing Cartoon People

Drawing cartoon people

When it comes to learning how to draw cartoons, drawing cartoon people is one of the most popular topics.

And it's no wonder. Being able to draw humans is a pretty cool skill to have. Draw people you know, draw celebrities, draw yourself... draw anyone!

Drawing cartoon people is often considered one of the more difficult things to do with respect to creating cartoons. Just like the people on the right, we're all unique in terms of our physical appearances. And this can indeed be tricky to replicate on paper.

In this lesson 'Drawing Cartoon People', we're going to take a look at how to draw four different people - a woman, a man, a boy and a girl. And in doing so, I'm going to shed some light on how and why drawing people of different physical appearances is actually a lot more simple than you may think.

In the following example, I've stacked eight cartoon people heads from the previous lesson for use as a reference point only. It's widely accepted that an adult human figure drawn to 'perfection' would be about eight human heads tall. Anyway, go ahead and check out the example below...

Drawing cartoon people up to eight human heads high

Your first reaction may be... 'What are they in for?' :-) But no, it's not THAT kind of lineup! These stick people are lined up the way they are to illustrate a very obvious, but important message when it comes to drawing cartoon people...

People come in different sizes!

Yes, yes they do! Just like in many of the other lessons here on the site, a framework can be helpful in determining the structure of whatever it is you wish to draw. And in this case, drawing cartoon people... stick person frameworks (just like the skeletons in our bodies) determine size, from one person to the next.

In our case, we're drawing four different cartoon people, each one of a different physical size. As we know, adults are taller/bigger than children. So, drawing four stick people frameworks like in the example above, allows us to visualize who's who - before we set out to draw each individual and different person. Oh, but there's something we forgot...

People come in different shapes too!

Once the relative size of a person is determined through a simple stick person framework, it then becomes easier to 'shape' your cartoon person. So then, how do you give your cartoon people shape? Well, just like in the previous lesson... any way you choose! The possibilities are endless! Take a look...

Drawing cartoon people up to eight heads high, of different shapes and sizes

With shape as part of the equation, it now becomes very clear that these four people are indeed, distinctly different in terms of their physical appearance. Not only is one person taller and/or shorter than the other... but also - they may be skinnier, more heavy-set, muscular, etc.

Keep in mind, I could've 'shaped' each of these four different stick people frameworks an infinite number of different ways. Remember -- the possibilities are endless! It's up to you to decide how you want each cartoon person to look. And once you've determined the size of the cartoon person, the shaping part is a pretty simple task!

Well, surely your pondering about that one other 'obvious' thing...

People are of different sexes!

Again, very true! So how then do you determine who's a girl, and who's a boy? Well, this is one I'm going to leave up to you! In the world of cartoons, there are different ways to illustrate physical differences between the sexes, whether it be hair, clothing, or the 'curviness' of the person's body.

Looking at the lineup above, it's seems obvious who is female and who is male. But even still, the 'shaping' stage is not the final stage. When it comes time to finalizing your cartoon people, there are infinite subtle changes you could make to have your cartoon person look either more masculine or more feminine.

And so, why don't we venture on to some hands-on drawing lessons, giving you the opportunity to come up with four cartoon people of your own -- each one of different size, shape and sex. Click on one of the following links to begin...

If you'd like a bit of refresher before venturing onward, check out the previous lesson, 'How to Draw People Made Easy!' beginning with Part One.