Learn How to Make a Cartoon Character: 6 Simple Steps And It's Done!

How to Make a Cartoon Character
Making a cartoon character is fairly simple work. All you need is some imagination and basic drawing skills. So here we go...
With your imagination you can come up with so many cartoon characters, however, basic drawing skills and knowledge of some sketching tips and tricks is also important. Animated films, series, commercials have different characters. Some of them are very simple-looking and easy to draw like 'The Powerpuff Girls'. Some of the characters are difficult and complex to draw like the cartoon character of 'Spiderman'. There is a long procedure called 'character designing' which is done while making these characters. In this article I have explained how to make a cartoon character. So, let's get started.

Here are the steps that will help you to draw different toon characters. I have also included some sample pictures of a character for better understanding.

Step #1: Imagining a Character
Close your eyes, and just imagine what you want your character to be or rather what is your character and whom do you already have in mind. What are its traits? What's his profession? What does he wear? What is his height, complexion? Is the character fat? Note down on a piece of paper, as many characteristics of the cartoon character as you can think of.

Step #2: Doodling Around
The second step is to get your ideas flowing on the paper, or on a computer in case you are using a tablet and pen. Keep doodling around with different proportions of the character, different hairstyles, expressions, etc. Keep adding details like props and expressions to the character but it would be a good idea to keep your drawings rough at this stage. You just need to get some ideas, so you can keep as many rough lines as you want. Once satisfied with a good doodle of your character, proceed to the next level.

Here is a simple character designing project I worked on, that will guide you on the project. I had a classmate name Batika, we used to call her Bati. She was tall, cool girl, with a great personality. So, I got inspired to design a character on her. My imaginary character was a Super Hero, fighting crime. Here is my first rough sketch of the character I did with sketch pen.
Drawing Cartoon Characters 1

Step #3: Drawing a Front Character Profile
In this stage you need to be precise and draw a front profile sketch of the character standing properly, in one single neat line. So draw everything neatly without adding details like props to the character. Just add some basic neutral or smiling expressions on the character's face.

Below is the character rotation chart I created after I finished doodling around.
Drawing Cartoon Characters 2

Step #4: Adding Props
Now add details like props which should be added depending on the character. Like spectacles, guns, sash, crown, sword, watch, etc., according to the character. But before you add them to the character, make sure you practice drawing these props separately and then add the props to the drawing of the character.

Below are some props I designed for the character of Super Bati.
Drawing Cartoon Characters 3

Step #5: Expressions and Gestures
Now that you know how your character exactly looks, start drawing different drawings of your character. Add different kinds of expressions like happy, sad, depressed, angry, annoyed, nausea, love, etc. Keep sketching different body postures like pointing hand, sitting, laughing with hand on stomach, etc.

Here are some face sketches of the different expressions.
Drawing Cartoon Characters 4

Step #6: Final Execution
Now either you can scan your drawings onto your computer, and use software like Flash or Photoshop to color them. You can do some basic animations using simple animation software like Flash, create gifs or animations for your site, or make a short film out of your character. Or you can get them printed on your t-shirt or mugs and create cool merchandise. The choice is yours!

In case you wish to learn make a toon character of yourself, then follow the above guidelines. However if you aren't good at drawing then just scan your picture in the computer and use a filter like sketch in software like Photoshop to get a cartoon like picture of yourself. Another way of making a character on the computer is to look online for sites which convert your picture into a cartoon. These sites have options where you need to submit your photo, and the site processes it into a cartoon-like image. However, if you wish to learn serious or advanced character designing, then a lot of hard work and dedication is needed. For advanced character designing lessons, you can look for books online; some of the best ones are by Christopher Hart.
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