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How To Draw 3D Cartoons

Apr 9, 2008
Drawing cartoons is not the most difficult thing in the world but it isn't very easy either. You need time, imagination and sense of proportions to produce vivid characters and make your drawings look three-dimensional.

Colors and shades have a decisive role in the business but the lines and curves you use for the contour constitute the basic element. The art of adding shadows can be learned by studying objects in different places of your room if you can count on natural light. Otherwise, a lamp may be used to detect the difference that light makes in the appearance of an object. Grab a funny toy that you have in the house and a little lamp and start learning. Move the lamp around the toy and above it and make a visual note of what happens each time.

Now take a pencil and a piece of paper and try putting down your toy-character. Draw the contour and when you think it looks like your toy you may use a black color pencil to add firmness to the contour. Next step: color your character without thinking of shadows; they will come soon. As soon as you have filled the contour you will have to find the appropriate color pencil to make shadows with. Use a darker shade of whatever color your character is. Don't use gray or black, they will make your drawing look artificial.

With animal cartoon characters, the expression of the eyes and the proper shading are the basic elements that make them 'live'. The only thing to keep in mind is the head, which must be bigger for a baby animal. Yet, when you want to create people, proportions are a lot more important than colors. When we watch a film we usually concentrate on the face of an adult human character, but the general appearance can be easily noticed by the way it moves. Looking at a photo of yours or at your 6-year-old brother playing about the room will not help. There is nothing funny in real-life proportions. What you should do is exaggerate more or less in order to make your cartoon character amusing. A kid character will have a body about the same height as the head, while an adult character will look perfect with the body twice the height of the head.

Once you have created a set of animal and human cartoon characters (preferably on a graphic tablet with a stylus) and saved them in your computer, you may start preparing for a more difficult activity: creating 3D animations. There are several programs you can use to learn that. TrueSpace for instance is free and if you read the tutorial thoroughly and spend a couple of months of your life learning and testing the wide variety of options that the program includes, you may turn into an artist before you can notice. Nothing is easy when you try it for the first time, but with a little patience and a lot of passion you can make it. Believe me, 3D animation is a lot of fun, otherwise there wouldn't be so many adults doing it for pleasure. It is challenging and very rewarding. Try it yourself!
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