Cartoonists often illustrate characters of different races by exaggerating the features unique to that particular ethnicity. Drawing Chinese cartoon people often means giving a character straight, thin eyes, fine, dark hair and narrow lips. Historically, Chinese cartoon characters also have buck teeth, but this is a stereotype, not an actual attribute. Unless you want to get people riled up, you may want to leave this characteristic out.
Things You'll Need
- Scrap paper
- 2H pencil
- Smooth Bristol drawing paper
- Kneaded eraser
Sketch out several poses for your character on a sheet of scrap paper. Don't worry about the details at this point; this just gives you an idea of what you will draw on the more expensive Bristol paper.
Sketch the basic shape and lines of your character on the Bristol paper using a 2H pencil. Draw with a light hand and use a kneaded eraser if you need to erase unwanted lines. Draw an "action" line to guide you in placing the body parts. For example, if want to draw your character from the side in a running pose, you would draw an action line at a 45-degree angle to the bottom of the page. Use a series of shapes such as circles and ovals to lay out the position of the head, torso, arms, legs, hands and feet. Keep your shapes simple and resist the temptation to add details. Focus on getting the perspective right, and consider that Asian people generally have a smaller and thinner frame than other ethnicities.
Draw a faint cross over the face: a vertical line to indicate the center of the face where the nose will fall and a horizontal line in the middle of the face which marks the placement of the eyes. Divide the space between the eye line and the bottom of the face and mark it with a line, where you will draw the bottom of the nose. Draw another marker halfway between that line and the bottom of the face to indicate mouth placement.
Sketch the general shape of the character's hair. Make your lines light so you can easily erase them if you need to change the hair once you start working on the face. Keep in mind that hair rarely lies in equal or symmetrical chunks.
Draw the character's body and clothing using the shapes you sketched as a guide. Cartoons do not have to follow all the basic rules of anatomy, so don't try to illustrate every muscle in the body. Focus on exaggerating the important lines, such as the waist and hips for women and the shoulders for men. Keep your lines fluid and allow them to flow together.
Draw the details of the face. Since the focal point generally falls on the eyes, start there. While you can illustrate the eyes to point up at the outer corner, in reality the top lid of a Chinese person's eye would run almost parallel to the eye line you sketched. Draw a female character's eyes slightly larger and a bit rounder than a male character's.
Draw the character's nose and mouth using the guidelines you sketched. Cartoonists generally draw the nose and mouth on Chinese characters rather small so as not to detract from the eyes. Simple lines that just suggest the placement of the nose and mouth will usually suffice.
Tips & Warnings
- Consider going over your pencil drawing with ink if you are particularly happy with the outcome. Just make sure you let the ink dry completely before you try to erase the pencil lines.
- Photo Credit pencil #2 image by Adam Borkowski from Fotolia.com
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