24 Sep 6 best drawing exercises to create amazing cartoon characters
You probably will agree with me when I say it’s REALLY hard creating cartoon characters that seems alive. But what if I tell you that…
You can learn how to draw better cartoons spending just 30 minutes a day!
If you want to create cartoon characters this post could be a great place to start, I will share my best 6 drawing exercises for beginners to improve your drawing techniques with little to no effort.
1.- IMproving action lines in cartoon characters
Drawing Exercise: choose an image of a cartoon character you like. You can use the mascots I created for KSA Pro League. Your task is finding the action line.
Some examples of good actions lines in action poses.
What do we learn?: Cartoon characters with good action lines flow natural and dynamic even if they are in a relaxed pose. When the action line is applied to your mascot design properly, the pose becomes more interesting and easy to understand for the viewer.
Learn from a master!
2.- How to improve your character’s posing
Drawing Exercise: the task here is creating a character that communicates different moods, attitudes or actions without any lines, just a black shadow. If you do a good work your mascot design pose will be understandable.
Here you can see some of my best silhouettes for a basketball player
What do we learn?: the pose is one of the most important aspects when it comes to show attitudes, which is key in creating good character designs. A good silhouette makes easier and quicker to understand the character’s pose. A pose can have different silhouettes depending on the position of the camera, you must learn to find the best angle.
Good tips to learn how to draw dynamic poses!
3.- Reducing characters to basic shapes
Drawing Exercise: your goal is reducing the complexity of any cartoon character to its basic shapes.
Image and character design property of Disney.
What do we learn?: this is a very good drawing exercise for beginners. If you want to learn how to draw cartoons you must “understand” the basic shapes behind complex character designs, once you understand the basic shape you will pose the character easily. The outcome will be more dynamic and consistent.
Good drawing tips!
4.- Sketching A CHARACTER from Visual REFERENCE
Drawing Exercise: we are going to look at any mascot character or object as much time as you need, then you have only 45 seconds to reproduce it (you can look to the cartoon while sketching).
What do we learn?: Newbies tend to focus in the details of the character and ignore it as a whole, which is a huge mistake. By limiting the time to just 45 seconds you force your brain to focus in the basic shapes, this drawing technique is key to create well constructed poses.
I want to learn to draw like this!
5.- From basic shapes to detailed CHARACTERS
Drawing Exercise: the goal is building a mascot character using different basic shapes. Notice how simple and effective are he following characters:
Image courtesy of Cedric’s Blog
What do we learn?: simple and effective cartoons are made with very basic shapes. In this exercise we learn to put details into the right place. Once you master this drawing technique your characters will be well constructed.
Good drawing tips for beginners
6.- Draw A CARTOON from Memory
Drawing Exercise: choose a character design that you like for 2 minute. Stop and relax for 1 minute and then draw the cartoon from memory. If you find it too easy, try with more complex characters. Repeat the exercise until you get good results.
Original draw courtesy of Loisa
What do we learn?: when we are not experts we tend to draw characters through visual references. With this exercise, we add resources to our mind. With practice, those resources will come to your mind automatically and you’ll learn how to draw characters unconsciously, just by imagining.
More drawing resources
Let’s create digital mascot characters!
I created some courses with all my Photoshop tips and tricks about digital inking and digital coloring for mascot design. With my technique and some practice you can also make a living from the characters you imagine.