How to Draw Cartoons for Kids: Make a Character From Scratch

how to draw cartoons for kidsWho doesn’t love cartoons? Kids of all ages will always be “drawn” to the famous cartoon characters found on TV and in the movies. Certain timeless cartoons, like Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, The Simpsons, and Spongebob Squarepants will always have an audience that, no matter what their age, will be able to sit back and laugh at the characters’ wacky adventures. Some cartoons, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tom and Jerry, and Scooby Doo have even been rebooted to appeal to the kids of the the 21st century.

Besides being fun and entertaining, cartoons have been known to inspire many children to explore their artistic side. Sometimes they decide to just try drawing once or twice, other times they go on to make a career out of it when they grow up. If you’re a kid that wants to learn to draw the cartoons you love, we can show you how to get started, and who knows, maybe drawing will be your job one day. After you read about drawing here today, and you still want to learn more about drawing cartoons, this course on how to draw and design cartoon characters, and this article on how to draw Mickey Mouse will take your new skills to the next level.

What Materials Do I Need?

If this is your first time drawing, you probably don’t know what materials you need, or if you do, which ones will work best for you. There’s tons of different pencils, pens, markers, whatever, out there that you can draw with, and just as many options for paper. We’ll show you the different types of materials you can use, then you can try the ones that you’re curious about, and decide which ones are right for you.

Paper

Sure, you can just use regular notebook paper at first, but if you start getting good at drawing, you’ll want a high-quality paper that matches your high-quality skills. There are all kinds of paper out there, with different finishes, and different sizes to find what’s best for you, and here are a few of the more popular ones.

  • Vellum: This thin paper is good for cartoonists, especially those who redraw a lot, leaving the paper looking good even after you erase things.
  • Bristol: This paper is good if you decide to draw comics, and it comes in a couple of different finishes.

Writing Materials

There are so many options you can use to draw your creations that we could could spend this entire article talking about them. But that’s boring, so we’ll just run through them quickly.

  • Pencils: You can use just a regular no. 2 pencil, or go for the fancier art pencils, which vary in hardness of the lead. Other options include the non-photo blue pencil, which doesn’t require erasing, or mechanical pencils, which are cheap and don’t need to be sharpened.
  • Ink: Ink can be utilized with brushes, pens, markers, and a bunch of other ways. You may use several ink options on one piece, or none. It’s up to you to decide what’s best, so try as many options as possible to find the perfect way to make your creations come alive. If you find that you like to draw with ink, this course on pen and ink drawing for beginners will make you much better at it.

Drawing Cartoons

By now you should have your supplies in front of you and you’re ready to start drawing. Artists and cartoonists are always getting better and better the longer they practice, so don’t expect to be perfect right off the bat. We’re going to begin by drawing something easy: a face.

How to Draw a Face 

Once you master drawing a face, you can take that skill and apply it to many different characters. Remember to keep trying, and to be patient, because you won’t get it on the first try.

  1. Drawing a good face is all about proportion, and even though cartoons are allowed to be unrealistic, you still want it to look like a face. To begin, draw the head. It can be an oval, or if you really want to make it crazy, use another shape, like a rectangle.
  2. Next, draw some light guiding lines on the face so you’ll know where to put the nose, mouth, and eyes. There should be four lines to help you: one straight down the middle going from top to bottom, another one that crosses that line in the middle, so you have a big cross in the middle of your drawing, and two more horizontal lines below the halfway line that mark the bottom two quarters of the face.
  3. Now add the facial features using the lines you drew as guides. You can make the features as crazy as you’d like, but keep them proportional so they look good. Starting with the bottom line, the bottom of the mouth should rest on this line. Next, the bottom of the nose should rest on the next line up. The bottom part of the eyes should be over the middle line, and this line should be where the middle of the ears are.
  4. Next, add eyebrows and any other crazy facial features you want, like hair, a hat, earrings, glasses, whatever, and now you have a face!

Once you get good at drawing a face, you can change up the guide lines to make the face more cartoon like. The amount of ways you can draw a face is only limited by your imagination. If you want to learn how to draw more realistic faces, this course on portrait drawing will teach you how to draw someone the way they really look.

How to Draw a Body

You can’t just have a head floating around, so you’re going to have to give your face and head a body so it can walk around. Just like drawing the face, you’re going to need to practice, so don’t get frustrated if your characters look a little off at first.

  1. First, decide how tall you want your cartoon character to be, then draw the body as a pear. It sounds weird, but a pear is a good shape to start your character’s body off with. The pear can be upside down, for a stronger looking character, or right side up for a bigger belly.
  2. If your character is a kid, make sure the shoulders aren’t wider than the head. Make wider shoulders for and older, stronger character.
  3. The arms start at the neck and go down past the waist.
  4. Finally, add any kind of clothes you want to your character.

If you’re having trouble drawing a body for your cartoon, this course on anatomy for drawing comics should be able to help you out.

Hands and Feet

We’re at the final stage of drawing your cartoon. Don’t worry about being too realistic here, because it’s a cartoon character, remember? You don’t even have to give him all five fingers. There’s no special way to draw hands and shoes. Make them as big or as small as you’d like, because it’s your creation.

After you get really good at drawing your cartoon character, you can then change her outfit, give her friends, and send them on adventures. Remember to be patient, and if you really like doing it and you keep practicing, you’ll get better. If you want to learn more about the basics of drawing, this course on the secrets to drawing will show you how to make your characters more realistic.