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Cartoon Drawing Tips: How to Add Depth and Life to Your Drawing
You are a cartoon fan who loves to draw and show off your masterpieces in front of your friends, parents and teachers. And you are appreciated by them for your work. But sometimes you yourself are engulfed by a feeling of inadequacy, a feeling that the drawings you create lack their own life. Indeed what you do is good in terms of detail, but still for some unknown reason it seems flat to you.
If the above lines describe your situation, don’t worry. Let me tell you that you are not alone, there are many newbies who face this problem. But luckily you’re different, you’re reading this article and it shows that you’re brainstorming to take some action to address the problem. I would urge you to continue reading, you are about to discover a number of simple things that when applied to your drawing will make it more vibrant.
Many times beginners too concerned with getting the basic form right ignore this area. They spend a considerable amount of time to be good at hand drawing, they practice for hours to learn about different shapes of the human nose.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to say that these exercises aren’t required or to suggest that you can draw beautiful figures without being good at these skills. The only thing I’m trying to point out here is that along with these details, some softer aspects are also important to make the characters and the whole composition life.
So, equal importance should be given to softer skills and these will help to add depth to your drawing. Here in this article I talk about the soft skills that will make your drawing stand out in the crowd.
1. Use shadows judiciously in your drawing.
Please keep in mind that adding shadows to your drawing doesn’t have to be difficult. Because you won’t be adding perfect real-life shadows to your drawing, instead what you’ll be adding are indicative shadows, this is essentially to serve two main purposes.
a. It will carry the weight of your fingers,
without this your characters will look like they are floating in thin air. Just imagine how incredible it will make your work to be seen.
b. By using shading in your drawing, you can convey the time of day and mood of your composition.
If it’s noon [or the mood of the composition is bright] the shadows will be deeper while in the evening or the mood is not so euphoric the shadow will be lighter.
2. Make sure your characters are wearing clothes that are in keeping with current fashion, unless of course you are trying to portray historical characters. If you do this, your viewers will connect with the character better subconsciously. While choosing the color and patterns of the clothes, make sure that they are compatible with the mood of the composition. The bottom line is that the more you align your characters with viewers’ imaginations, the more acceptance you’ll get.
If you are trying to represent a historical period in your drawing, then make sure that your knowledge of the period you are trying to capture is sufficient for the job. Even if you’re creating a comic strip, you’ll need to do your research diligently and thoroughly. Just think of Asterix and how detailed those ridiculous characters are in terms of clothing, character hairstyles, etc.
3. Don’t underestimate the power of action lines: Action lines are lines used primarily in cartoons to convey the movement of characters. When telling a story with your drawing, the task at hand would require you to draw figures that jump, run, or engage in various types of interesting activities. And there is no better way to represent and make these actions believable than using action lines. Action lines used carefully can bring your action heroes to life.
4. When you’re not sure how to convey an emotion through your characters’ body language. Go in front of a mirror and hold and work out the thought your character is supposed to be having in your mind and watch their body language and facial expression closely. Then create the character using the image you just saw in the mirror.
5. Props are also important, unless the style of the props and their arrangement go seamlessly with the story your character may look like a fish out of water. But on the contrary, if the supports are compatible, this will greatly increase the reliability of your creation.
6. Use line thickness to your advantage: Don’t create your entire drawing with lines that are all uniform thickness, especially when creating outdoor scenes. Use thinner lines to represent distant objects and thicker lines should be used for objects that are close to the viewer. Also remember to make distant objects smaller than objects of the same size that are close to the viewer. Following these two guidelines will automatically add a sense of depth to your composition.
7. Learn to draw animals: When we talk about making a good drawing, people usually remain oblivious to the fact that if we do not reach a certain level of skill in drawing animals, especially common animals like cats, horses and dogs, we will we have a hard time making a drawing that will really be a pleasure to look at. So here I would suggest giving some thought and time to improve this skill.
Take this as an open possibility because many artists invest so much time perfecting their human drawing skills that animal drawing skill is difficult to achieve. If you are even moderately good at drawing animals, you will be in a distinctly advantageous position as an artist.
So, if you’re serious about making improvements to the drawing you produce, re-read the tips and hints above and start using them today.
As a simple fun exercise, have some of the drawings you’ve produced now in a safe place where you can easily reach them whenever you want. Now follow the given suggestions for 2 months. And at the end of the second month compare both sets of drawings and see the difference if you were honest, you yourself will notice the difference.
Remember that the techniques presented here are simple and doable, so you have no excuse to put off adopting them.
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