Cartoon Moons for Lunar New Year

Cartoon moons for lunar new year

The Chinese lunar new year is here again, and just as the word "lunar" suggests, this lesson focuses on drawing two different kinds of cartoon moons - a "full moon" and a "quarter moon".

The lunar new year is a very special time for many people in China and other countries in Asia. Celebrations begin and end over a fifteen-day stretch, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. I should note, the Chinese refer to this holiday as "Chinese New Year," while many places outside of China refer to it as "Lunar New Year".

Well, with the idea of "lunar" in mind, we're going to see just how very simple it is to draw cartoon moons - one in the full phase... and the other in the quarter phase.

Sound good? Alright... let's get started!


A simple circle framework for drawing a cartoon moon

First Step - Draw a Circle

Let's start with the full moon since this will be the easiest. Any way you can, draw a circle on the page in front of you.

There are an infinite number of ways to come up with a nice perfect circle. If you're drinking something while working away, you can make use of the bottom of your can, mug glass, etc. Make sure to leave some space around the circle - preferrably more to the right. The quarter moon will be drawn using the full moon later on.

OK... circle drawn? Great - you're pretty much done! All that's left is the face! :-)

A simple cartoon moon face

Second Step - A Face for Your Moon

Alright... the second (and last) step for your full moon is of course to give it a face! This is just like when you drew the cartoon sun from before. So, go ahead and draw it.

If you like, draw a cross over the circle to help you map out the face. Draw the eyes on either side of the center line, and draw the mouth so that it's relatively equal on either side.

As you can see, I've gone ahead and added some other details. Do the same if you like. Full moons often look more "moon-like" if you give them big droopy eyelids. Gives them that "sleepy" sort of look.

Well, that's it for the full moon. Check out the final version(s) at the top or bottom to see what it looks like complete with color!

Overlapping circles to create two cartoon moons

Third Step - Overlapping Circles

Starting from scratch once again, go back to the original circle that you drew. Draw a new one if you like.

Now, using the exact same object you used to draw the first circle - the one for your full moon, draw another one so that it overlaps the first one.

Make sure that it overlaps so that the new one is positioned up and to the right from the original.

In doing this... drawing one circle over the other, you create the perfect "quarter moon" shape! I know, it's not really a quarter of the circle, however it's perfect for the cartoon that we want to draw.

Crescent moon image to create a cartoon drawing

Fourth Step - Erase the Right Side

Take a look at the shape in front of you (same one from above). Now, instead of seeing it as two overlapping circles, try and visualize it as two quarter moons, side by side.

See it? Great. All you need to do then is erase one of the two quarters. I'd get rid of the upper right one as it will look a lot better if the bulk of your moon is in the lower left part. Your choice though!

Oh, be careful when you're erasing the areas where the two moons connect (the tips). You want to leave the tips looking as sharp as possible. Take your time here.

A simple face for a cartoon moon image

Fifth Step - Side-View Face

Now that you've got the shape of your quarter moon figured out, go ahead and add the face.

Because it's a side-view, there's no need to be worried about symmetry. So, however you like go ahead and give your moon an eye, a nose, and a mouth. Add or subtract features as you feel necessary!

I'd say the most difficult part of the face is getting the nose right. Generally, these types of moons look better if you can make the nose sort of rounded as I've drawn mine.

Then, as you continue towards the bottom, add an extra little curve to form the area where the nostril would be. Truthfully though, you could draw a small bump like with the full moon and I'm sure it would look just fine!

Final Step - Color and Compare Your Cartoon Moons!

Alright, just about done now! The last thing to do would of course be to color both of your cartoon moons! I find that a light blue works well with the full moon, while a pale yellow looks nice with the quarter moon. Also, go ahead and add some slightly darker blue crators on the full moon...

Cartoon drawing of a full blue moon Cartoon drawing of a yellow crescent moon

And that's all there is to it! You've now got two simple cartoon moons to use for decorations or whichever you like this lunar new year holiday!

I hope you had fun with this lesson and of course, I wish you all the very best this Chinese lunar new year! :-)