Draw a cartoon in photoshop

Caricature portraits are funny pictures that depict the distorted faces of people, while maintaining their similarities. In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw a cartoon portrait using Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom Intuos graphic tablet.

So let’s get started!

The final result:

1. Sketch cartoons

Step 1

Create a new document in Adobe Photoshop with the following dimensions: 1110 × 1270 px, resolution 300 dpi. Keep the original image from which you will draw a cartoon portrait at hand. I use the original image of a man, which you can see in the screenshot below.

Carefully study your object, pay attention to the details that stand out in particular. The key to creating a caricature is to emphasize the special features of a person’s face. In this case, you can increase the ears, lips, and the line of the chin.

Once you have decided which features you will enlarge, proceed to the creation of a caricature. Create a new layer on top of the layer with a white background. And with the help of Rigid Round Pressing Brush Opacity (Hard Round Pressure Opacity Brush (B)), sketch a sketch of your cartoon object. In the upper control panel of the brush, do not forget to activate the mode Push controls Opacity (Pressure for Opacity).

Draw a sketch in gray tones to make the sketch as clear as possible. This is a simple drawing, so there is no need to add a background or elaborate clothes. Focus on increasing facial features, including emphasis on the chin line.

The final sketch.

2. Coloring

Step 1

Create a new layer below the draft layer. Using tool Gradient (Gradient Tool (G)), gradient type Linear (Linear), gradient color from muted green (# 3e3726) to light green (# 695d50), fill this layer with a linear gradient.

Next, change the blending mode for the draft layer to Soft light (Soft Light). Now you will not see much difference, but it will help us in the next step.

Step 2

To start coloring the caricature, we need a foundation. Create another new layer below the draft layer, name this layer The foundation (Base). Using a rigid round brush with 100% Toughness (Hardness), paint over the base colors of the face, hair and shirt collar. Since we changed the blending mode for the draft layer to Soft light (Soft Light), the sketch fits perfectly with the base colors.

On the same layer, do not forget to paint the eyes, facial hair and lips with base colors. The numbers of the base color shades are shown in the screenshot below.

Step 3

Create a new layer on top of the base color layer. The foundation (Base) as a clipping mask. Name this layer Shadow (Shadows), change the blending mode for this layer to Multiplication (Multiply). We use the tool Pipette (Eyedropper Tool (I)) to select color swatches as foreground color, then, using the color shades that are already present on the canvas, add the first shadow step to the portrait.

Create another new layer as a clipping mask for the layer. The foundation (Base). Name this layer Texture (Texture). Change the blending mode for this layer to Multiplication (Multiply). Via Triangular Pastel Brush (Triangle Pastel Brush (B)), add a brown skin texture to the face and neck.

Step 4

Let’s add some light highlights. Create a new layer as a clipping mask for the layer. The foundation (Base). Name this layer Light glare (Highlights). Change the blending mode for this layer to Linear clarifier (Add) (Linear Dodge (Add)) and using the tool Pipette (Eyedropper Tool (I)), take color tone samples from adjacent areas to add light highlights. You need to keep near your original image during this process, it will help when adding light highlights. Accent light highlights in the upper face area.

Now select all the layers with coloring, including the sketch layer except the layer with the background, to merge them (Ctrl + E).

Name the new merged layer Caricature (Caricature).

Step 5

It’s time to clean up our drawing and make it clearer. Use the same brush for this purpose. Rigid Round Press Opacity (Hard Round Pressure Opacity) for correcting the texture on the face, hair and collar. Make the whole correction on the layer. Caricature (Caricature), it will provide more distinct edges instead of soft blurry ones.

Step 6

Create a new layer on top of the layer. Caricature (Caricature). Name this layer Light glare (Highlights). Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay), and then with the help of white and bright warm colors, add light highlights to the skin. Make your ears and cheeks a little more pink, and the upper part of the forehead and hair brighter.

Do not forget about the beard! In order for our drawing to come alive, we need to draw small details reflecting the light reflections. First create a new layer on top of the layer. Light highlights (Highlights), change the blending mode for this layer to Linear clarifier (Add) (Linear Dodge (Add)). Name this layer Details (Details) and using the tool Pipette (Eyedropper Tool (I)), take samples of color shades that are already on the canvas to paint the highlights in this area.

Draw beard hair in three different directions. Draw small fine hairs to show individual hairs and make the image dynamic.

Step 7

Combine all the layers related to the cartoon, with the exception of the layer with the background, to complete our picture on two separate layers. This will help in execution and save file size.

Continue to draw details to add more personality to this portrait. Add more fine hairs to all facial hair, including the mustache, beard and eyebrows. Add light highlights to the lips, and correct the edges to get the perfect portrait.

If you feel that you can still add details to the picture, then add the details of clothing. In this case, I drew the shoulders and part of the shirt. First draw a dark blue base, and then add folds to the shirt, slowly applying strokes with a soft round brush.

If you need to lengthen the body, then go Filter – Plastic (Filter> Liquify) and using the tool Deformation (Forward Warp Tool (W)), pull the shirt and shoulders down.

Create a new layer on top of the layer. Caricature (caricature), change the blending mode for this layer to Linear light (Linear Light). Using the same blue color from the shirt, paint the shadows at the bottom of the picture, as well as on the sides with a soft round brush. Merge all layers into one layer.

You can see the final result in the screenshot below.

And that is all! Creating digital drawings will take a lot of practice, but with this experience, you can create your own cartoon portrait! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Good luck!

The final result:

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