You are a cartoon fan who loves to draw and show your masterpieces to your friends, parents and teachers. And you are appreciated by them for your work. But sometimes you yourself are surrounded by a feeling of inadequacy, a feeling that the drawings you create have no life of their own. It is true that what you do is good in terms of details, but still, for some reason unknown to you, it looks flat.
If the lines above describe your situation, don’t get frustrated. Let me tell you that you are not alone, there are many beginners facing this problem. But luckily you are different, you are reading this article and it shows that you are thinking of taking some action to address the problem. I ask you to keep reading, you are about to discover a series of simple things that, when applied to your drawing, will make it more real.
Many times, beginners who are very concerned with getting basic form right ignore this area. They spend a considerable amount of time to get good at drawing hands, they practice for hours to learn about the various shapes of the human nose.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to say that these exercises are not required or to suggest that you can draw beautiful figures without being good at these skills. The only thing I’m trying to emphasize here is that along with these details, some softer aspects are also important to make the characters and the whole composition realistic.
Therefore, equal importance should be given to the softer skills and these will help add depth to your drawing. Here in this article I talk about soft skills that will make your drawing stand out from the crowd.
1. Make judicious use of shadows in your drawing.
Keep in mind that adding shadows to your drawing doesn’t have to be difficult. Because you won’t be adding real life perfect shadows in your drawing, what you will be adding are indicative shadows, this basically serves two main purposes.
A. It will transmit the weight of your fingers,
without this, your characters will appear to be floating in the air. Just imagine how amazing it will make your work look.
b. Using the shadow in your drawing, you can convey the time of day and the mood of your composition.
if it’s noon [or the mood of the composition is bright] the shadows will be deeper, while at night or the mood is not so euphoric, the shadow will be lighter.
2. Make sure your characters wear clothing that is in line with current fashions, unless of course you’re trying to portray historical figures. If you do this, your viewers will subconsciously relate to the character better. When selecting the color and patterns of clothes, make sure that they are compatible with the mood of the composition. The bottom line is that the more you align your characters with the imagination of your viewers, the more acceptance you will receive.
If you are trying to represent a historical period in your drawing, make sure that your knowledge of the period you are trying to capture is sufficient for the job. Even if you are creating a comic strip, you will need to do your diligent and sufficient research. Just think of Asterix and how detailed those fun characters are in terms of clothing, hairstyles, character builds, etc.
3. Don’t underestimate the power of action lines: Action lines are lines that are mainly used in cartoons to convey the movement of characters. When telling a story with your drawing, the task at hand would require drawing figures that jump, run, or engage in different types of interesting activities. And there is no better way to represent and make these actions believable than using action lines. Carefully used lines of action can breathe life into your action heroes.
4. When you’re not sure how to express an emotion through the body language of your characters. Stand in front of a mirror and hold and process the thought your character is supposed to have in your own mind and closely observe your body language and facial expression. Then create the character using the image you just saw in the mirror.
5. The props are also important, unless the style of the props and their organization go well with the story, your character can look like a fish out of water. But on the contrary, if the accessories are compatible, it will greatly increase the credibility of your creation.
6. Use line thickness to your advantage: Don’t create your entire drawing with lines that are one uniform thickness, especially when you’re creating an outdoor scene. Use thinner lines to represent distant objects and thicker lines for objects that are close to the viewer. Also, don’t forget to make distant objects smaller than objects of the same size that are close to the viewer. Following these two guidelines will automatically add a sense of depth to your composition.
7. Learn to draw animals: When talking about making good drawings, people usually don’t realize the fact that unless we reach a certain level of skill in drawing animals, especially common animals like cats, horses, and dogs, we will have a hard time making a drawing that will really be a joy to look at. So here I would suggest thinking and taking the time to improve this skill.
Take this as a great open opportunity because many artists spend so much time honing their human drawing skill that the skill of drawing animals is hard to come by. If you’re moderately good at drawing animals, you’ll be in a distinctly advantageous position as an artist.
So if you’re serious about making improvements to the drawing you produce, read the tips and suggestions above again and start using them today.
As a fun and simple exercise, keep some of the drawings you’ve produced now in a safe place where you can easily access them whenever you want. Now follow the given suggestions for 2 months. And at the end of the second month compare both sets of drawings and see the difference if you’ve been honest you’ll notice the difference yourself.
Remember that the techniques presented here are simple and doable, so you have no excuse to put off adopting them.