tips for basic cartoon drawing

hi, im a new tbs user, having used flash in the past- im not great at all of the functions and everything but im getting there :slight_smile:

my problem is that im just pretty bad at cartoon drawing- i dont have much of a knack for it, and i dont really know where to start. i can draw basic cartoon things on computer, but they never look like theyre done on anything except Paint if you know what i mean- wobbly lines, really 2D

so if there’s any basic, generic tips that anyone can give me, or sites or links to do the same, that’d be a huge help.

Basic tip number one is to practice drawing forms, simple geometric solids like spheres and cylinders and cones. Draw them from every possible viewpoint and angle. With enough practice you will begin to see what you draw as 3D forms.

Then practice visualizing and constructing your characters using these basic forms. Just draw one level at a time and build up your character’s complex forms from multiple levels of simple forms.

Don’t be afraid to draw using several elements as layers with the auto light table on. Do your basic form construction on the lowest element layer. Then on the next element layer tighten up your construction drawing with more levels of detail. Then on the element layer above that you can clean the character up into their final look. Work with very low smoothing on your pen setting until you get to the clean up element, then move up smoothing to the setting you like best 4 or above works well. On clean up, use “Draw Top Layer On” so you can build up your thick and thin lines with multiple strokes if needed. Just practice and have fun. Oh and draw from a model until you get really good at visualizing and drawing solid, then you can invent your own characters because you will have developed a good “internal eye” for form. Good character design is all about contrasting forms. Even though I have been drawing for more years then I’m willing to tell, I still practice the basics regularly to keep myself sharp and to try to improve.

Have fun -JK

I don’t have much to add, but here is a fantastic site with about 30 pages of basic drawing lessons. They pretty much follow the exact path that JK just laid out & I have found them helpful on many occasions. I still check em out & do the exercises there from time to time. ( I still need a lot more practice than JK :-[)

Anyway, have a look & give em a go, it will be time well spent. There is a link to the drawing lessons on the main page.
Good Luck!

I have been doing Toon Boom for about eight months. Before that I was doing cartooning on the Wacom in Correl for about a year. I never really drew before that. Needless to say I have limited drawing skills. About a month ago I discovered the Polyline tool in Toon Boom. Now I can make very clean drawings very quickly. It makes it easy to draw and more important easy to fix your drawing. The advantage of the polyline over the pencil or the paintbrush is that it has much fewer points. Therefore, you can adjust the drawing with the contour editor quickly. For practice I pause the TV on some cartoon and just try to copy a cartoon character (using polyline) then when I get done I just sit back and compare the two and straighten out the differences using the contour editor. It is great practice because you get used to drawing and cleaning it up with the master right there. Kind of like taking a math test with the answer right in front of you. Then you can apply your techniques to your original drawings.