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How to Draw a Cartoon Character

with Maria Lia Malandrino
4.6 rating
4.6
(35)
See how Maria, an illustrator and story artist, breaks down in easy steps, the process of drawing a "cartoony" portrait starting from a reference picture.
English English [Auto-Generated]
1+
hours
6
lessons
Intermediate
level
Maria Lia Malandrino

Your Instructor

Maria is an illustrator and story artist from Turin, Italy. She has a BA degree in Magazine Publishing from the University of the Arts London, has studied Traditional Animation at the International School of Comics in Turin and attended a masterclass in Storyboarding at the online school CGMA.

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Illustrator's Masterclass
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1+
hours
6
lessons
Intermediate
level
English English [Auto-Generated]

Requirements

  • Some knowledge of drawing is required.
  • A digital drawing software, like Photoshop (any version), the Procreate app for iPad (used in this tutorial) or any other similar software is required.
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Description

Have you ever dreamed of drawing amazing cartoon characters? In this course the talented artist and illustrator Maria Malandrino will go through the process of drawing a cartoon portrait starting from a reference picture. She will guide you through the entire workflow, covering all stages of the creative process: sketching, colouring, shading and refining your artwork.

Some experience is required for this course! You will see Maria using her favourite app Procreate, and an iPad but all you need for this tutorial is a digital drawing software (like Photoshop or any other suitable alternative that you like) and a graphic tablet to be able to follow her through the colouring process.

Maria’s tips and tricks will help you develop and improve your own drawing style and you will be amazed at the final result!

At the end of this course you will have created a beautiful digital artwork of yourself, a friend or a loved one!

Class Assignment

Your task is to sketch, draw and colour a bust/half body portrait of yourself /a friend/ a celebrity/ whomever you want, following the video instructions. It would be best if you posted your work in progress as you watch each video so you can receive feedback from your classmates as you move along!

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What you’ll learn

  • Learn to draw a cartoon character from start to finish
  • Learn how to get references to fuel your creativity
  • Learn to easily convert realistic shapes & proportions into "cartoony" ones
  • Plan ahead your colour palette & experiment with layers & brushes
  • How to achieve the effect of a line art free artwork
  • How to use line art & multiply blending in Photoshop CC to blend a cartoon line art into the artwork
  • Add the final touches & imperfections that make a cartoon character look more real
  • Use lighting & shading to make your artwork pop out of the page (or the screen)!
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This course includes

  • 1 hour of on-demand videos
  • Full lifetime access
  • 5 work-in-process Images (JPG)
  • 1 final image (PNG)
  • 6 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access

Lesson Plan

with Maria Lia Malandrino
Expand all sections
01

Introduction

01:04

Preview class

Meet Maria Malandrino, a talented Italian illustrator and animator, who will show you how to draw a cartoon character from start to finish!

Using her iPad and Procreate digital illustration app for iPad, Maria will give you great tips on how to get references and approach the stages of sketching, colouring and final rendering!

Class Assignment

Your task is to sketch, draw and colour a bust/half body portrait of yourself /a friend/ a celebrity/ whomever you want, following the video instructions. It would be best if you posted your work in progress as you watch each video so you can receive feedback from your classmates as you move along!

02

Rough Sketch

09:03

Preview class

In Lesson 2 you will understand the importance of drawing inspiration from different sources in order to feed your imagination and creativity and to give your figures realistic posing and anatomy.

Maria will show you how to create a canvas, draw a mannequin and use sketching to convert realistic shapes and proportions into “cartoony” ones, without losing real anatomy details.

03

Clean-up

10:30

Preview class

See how drawing exercises can help you improve your hand-eye coordination and retain the freshness of the sketch in the clean drawing!

Drawing hairstyles, jewellery, clothes and shoes can be challenging, as you need to convey tridimensionality, realistic visual strength and add details that flesh your character out.

04

Colour

20:08

Preview class

Before moving to the colouring stage you first need to create your own palette! In this lesson Maria will show you how to work more efficiently using a restricted number of colours. She will then teach you how to pick the right colour scheme to obtain the desired effects, and will explore a colouring technique that makes it easier to add tone variations, additional details, dynamic elements and special effects.

05

Shading & Lighting

13:42

Preview class

Did you know that shading and lighting is very much about refining and erasing rather than painting?

In this lesson you will learn to create the illusion of shade using the available settings of your design software!

Maria will share her tips about adding shadows according to the source of light on your canvas, adding reflected light effects and experimenting with various lighting settings until you are happy with the overall result. 

06

Wrap-up

05:32

Preview class

This is a time-lapse of the full illustration process, in which Maria recaps her take-home messages and adds some useful tips and final considerations.

   5 work-in-process Images (JPG) included

   1 final image (PNG) included

Student Feedback

35 customer reviews & ratings
4.6
4.6 rating
Course rating
5 star71%
4 star20%
3 star6%
2 star3%
1 star0%
Showing 5 reviews of 35 reviews & ratings
K
Kristen
6 months ago
5.0 rating
Verified Purchase

This was such a fun and inspiring tutorial. I learned some really valuable tips about workflow in Procreate and illustration in general. Maria’s lessons are very easy to follow and well produced. Thanks!

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Vicky Twomey-Lee
6 months ago
5.0 rating
Verified Purchase

I really enjoyed Maria’s masterclass, a great 101 using Procreate on iPad. It’s been awhile since I created something from scratch, and I was able to design and finish a cartoon character. I’ve always wanted to get better at inking and digital painting. Great pro-tips and good quality videos helps a lot. Thanks for kickstarting my drawing again and making me feel confident that I can draw.

4 people found this helpful
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Eric Sweetman
6 months ago
5.0 rating
Verified Purchase

I’ve drawn cartoons for a very long time, so I wasn’t sure what I’d get out of the course, but I plunged in anyway. So glad I did! I picked up several new tricks in Procreate, a whole new coloring style, and an easier way to render light and shadow, all in about an hour. The lesson is broken into titled chapters for an easier way of finding what you want to watch again.

1 person found this helpful
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Dareth Youd
6 months ago
5.0 rating
Verified Purchase

I absolutely love this course!

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Mike Long
5 months ago
5.0 rating
Verified Purchase

This class helped just as much with drawing tips as much as software tips

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About the Instructor

Maria Lia Malandrino
Character Designer, Story Designer & Illustrator
3 courses

Maria is an illustrator and story artist from Turin, Italy. She has a BA degree in Magazine Publishing from the University of the Arts London, has studied Traditional Animation at the International School of Comics in Turin and attended a masterclass in Storyboarding at the online school CGMA.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which courses are included in the Masterclass?

Currently, the Masterclass includes the following 8 pre-recorded courses:

  1. Character Design by Kenneth Anderson
  2. Anatomy & Gestures by Warren Louw
  3. Creature Design by Kenneth Anderson and Loopydave
  4. Environment Design by Michael Bills and Kenneth Anderson
  5. How to draw a cartoon character by Maria Lia Malandrino
  6. Lighting and Shading by Maria Lia Malandrino
  7. Posing for Character Design by Chamba
  8. Creating a Male Superhero by Tom Bancroft (free)

You can see an overview of all 8 here: https://www.21-draw.com/masterclass/illustrator-masterclass/

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Is it online or offline courses? Can I watch on any device?

They are on-demand (pre-recorded) video tutorials that you can watch online to any of your devices (unlimited times), anytime! Therefore you can easily watch (and rewatch) them at your convenience and at your own pace.

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Is this something a beginner artist can follow along & learn from?

Some basic drawing skills are required to fully follow along & learn from the lessons in all our courses. The courses vary in level, and in general are suited for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

If you are an absolute beginner with no or very little art experience we recommend checking out our books instead.

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Are the courses aimed at digital or traditional art?

Many lessons in our courses work for both digital and traditional art. However, there are a few tutorials where a digital drawing software will come in handy for example Photoshop or Procreate for iPad. But for the majority of lessons it is more about the underlying concepts.

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Is it a one-time payment or a subscription?

It is a one-time payment. No recurring fees, no subscription fees.

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Can I download the courses?

You can download most of the course resources (exercise sheets, assignments, PSD files etc) from the site, but you cannot download the video lessons to your computer.

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How long do I have access to the courses?

With your one-time purchase you have lifetime access to the course(s).

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What happens if I’m not satisfied with the courses?

If for any reason at all you are unhappy with our courses or feel it isn’t helping you improve your drawing skills— then just email us at [email protected] and we’ll be more than happy to give you 100% of your money back within 30 days of your purchase. No questions asked. No excuses. Just a guarantee you can trust.

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Will a certificate of completion be emailed upon finishing a course?

We don’t offer a certificate of completion at the moment but this is something we are looking into.

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Have more questions?

Check out our Knowledgebase where you will find more answers to your questions.

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21 Draw offers online courses and books on how to be a better artist for students of all skill levels. Our contributing artists and instructors are the best in the world.
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