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Draw Cartoons: A Fun and Easy Way to Express Your Imagination

Written by Jimmy Rustling

The hustle, stress, and troubles of adulthood make most of us lose touch with our imagination. Luckily, it’s never too late to bring back that aspect of us that we have neglected for years and inadvertently lost along the way.

Venturing into creative waters is an excellent way to reconnect with our inner child and awaken our dormant imagination. Whether you wish to reduce stress, think more outside the box, or simply boost your inventiveness — creative work is the route to choose.

In this article, we focus on drawing cartoons as a way to foster and express your imagination.

Drawing is a beginner-friendly art form, as you don’t need lots of pricy and bulky equipment to complete a piece.

Cartoons, unlike still life or portraiture, require drawing from your imagination and offer an array of styles to adopt, topics to depict, and ways to represent your subject — and are thus an ideal art genre to take up to stimulate your creativity.

So, now that we’ve covered how drawing cartoons helps enhance your imagination, let’s dive into subjects, styles, and tips for cartoon drawing.

Cartoon-Drawing Subjects: What Can You Draw in a Cartoon Manner?

At the mention of cartoons, your mind probably thinks of comic books, TV shows, or kids’ movies. While mostly related to children, cartoons have a long history of use — one that spans way beyond just entertainment for youngsters.

Cartoon drawing can be a powerful way to convey an ironic message, depict dry humor, point to important political or social topics, exaggerate diverse aspects of daily life, speak to an audience in marketing campaigns, and much more.

Thus, venturing into cartoon art doesn’t mean your creativity will remain limited to toddler-related subjects. In fact, this art genre can be an incredibly powerful way to represent a range of topics and issues in our everyday lives.

Using cartoon drawings, you can portray daily life struggles, relationships with family and friends, work-related matters, social events, and more — be they funny, hopeful, heartbreaking, quirky, unsettling, introspective, etc.

Cartoons can be easygoing and fun, but they can also be a way to discuss mental health issues, express grief, or point out social injustice.

Choose your drawing subject based on what drives you, what you feel passionate about — or the things deep inside your heart and mind.

Cartoon Drawing Styles: How to Find Your Artistic Voice

Cartoons can come in a variety of styles. For beginner cartoonists, testing out diverse options is vital for discovering the style that suits you — and your drawings’ topics — the best.

Let’s go over some of the most popular cartoon drawing styles that you can apply to your next art piece:

  • Classic style — this is the old-school way of drawing cartoons, often in black and white, with characters donning big heads and short bodies; think of Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop
  • Modern style — currently prominent in television and digital space, the modern cartoon style features bold outlines, geometric shapes, and vibrant colors, such as the ones found in The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory or Gwen Stacy,k.a., Ghost Spider
  • Realistic style — somewhat contrary to the concept of cartoons, realistic style represents reality as it is, without altering, adding, or exaggerating a character’s features, like in the show Archer
  • Manga — a world-known Japanese cartoon drawing style used in anime shows (besides other media), features characters drawn with large and expressive eyes, long legs, small mouths, and lean bodies, with well-detailed rendering of human qualities and movements; for example Dragon Ball
  • Minimalist style —simplistic line drawings characterized by straight lines, geometric shapes, pastel colors, and disproportionate and unrealistic limbs, usually seen in video games such as Thomas Was Alone

‍Of course, there are plenty of other styles to try — plus, you can combine several of them into your drawings.

Cartoon Materials: Drawing Equipment Essentials

You don’t want to disrupt your imagination once it starts running wild. Therefore, gather all your materials beforehand to ensure an uninterrupted drawing experience.

  • have a reference photo of the type of character you want to draw
  • buy a few quality pencils for sketching, shading, and adding details
  • sheets of paper
  • an eraser
  • a good sharpener
  • optionally, a light box for tracing sketches onto the final piece of paper

Drawing From Imagination: Making Up Your Own Characters

Drawing from imagination is a crucial part of a cartoonist’s art journey. Unlike drawing from observation or reference, relying entirely on imagination requires a deep understanding of perspective, structure, and rendering — and using your imagination to create non-existent characters and worlds.

To illustrate this, consider an Eskimo imagining an oceanside beach with palm trees — it cannot happen. An average Eskimo has never seen such a sight in their life, and without a reference saved in their mind, they cannot imagine nor portray such scenery.

For many artists, drawing from imagination is difficult, and, in the beginning, you’ll probably mostly rely on things you’ve seen or experienced before. Using only your imagination takes practice and time to perfect, so don’t give up at the first hurdle.

Over time, you’ll learn to rely more on your inventiveness and start enjoying the best aspect of creating your own characters — there lack of rules and the right or wrong way to do it.

Let your imagination run wild by sketching unique details, developing new characters, crafting stories, and building worlds.

To Wrap Up

Whether you aspire to make cartoon drawing your career, side hustle, or simply a creative pastime; whether you’ll illustrate from a real-life reference or develop novel characters; whether you’ll do light-hearted themes or address difficult topics in your drawings, remember that the most important thing is to have fun and allow your creativity to guide you.

With some practice in your drawing skills, you will be able to combine simple shapes and outlines into engaging cartoons.

Encourage yourself to think outside the box and incessantly strive to conceive and develop unique ideas for your drawn characters, stories, and settings.

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.