Introduction: Cartoon Self Portraits

When you combine the styles of well-known cartoons with personal characteristics you can create dynamic and creative cartoon self-portraits.

In this lessons you will…

- Examine a variety of cartooning styles including famous cartoons

- Identify elements and principles of design used to create specific stylistic characters

- Learn a variety of techniques used to create cartoons (foundation shapes, tracing, step-by-step guides, free hand, tutorials, and contour lines, etc.)

(1) The Helpful Art Teacher,

Step 1: Identify Style

Watch the video to learn how to identify the style of various cartoons.

Step 2: Identify Your Unique Characteristics

Luckily, unlike cartoons, we are not all copies of one basic template. In the following video, I will demonstrate how to identify unique qualities that can be used to create the cartoon self-portraits.

View the video for more details.

Step 3: Reference Photo

Take a picture of yourself to use as a reference.

The following steps are outlined in detail in this Instructable. You can also find the instructions in a video format:

Step 4: Explore and Examine Cartoons

Explore and examine different characters from a particular cartoon. Look for the elements and designs frequently used. A big part of being able to draw anything from slimily faces to real-life self portraits is learning how to see. Cartoons are a great place to start picking up the skill of perceiving because most cartoons are comprised of only simple shapes and colour. This means you don’t have to worry about thinks like texture, value, or lighting. Something that you will have to learn how to see if you want to create real-life portraits.

Step 5: Practice, Practice, Practice

Use a pencil, and scrap paper and do your best to copy the essence of the cartoon style. Once you’ve mastered the basic character think about ways to add in your own personality. Use your real picture as a reference to copy things like your hair length and style.

Step 6: Outline

Once you have a rough pencil image hat you are happy with, you can outline it with a think tip felt pen. (Erase the pencil lines to give you a clearer image)

Step 7: Trace the Image

You can then use the window technique to trace the image onto your good piece of paper.

Step 8: Use This Reference Sheet If Needed

Here are a couple of examples to get you started. You can print this sheet which is attached as PDF.

Step 9: Repeat

Repeat the previous steps until you have completed all the self portraits.

*Once you are at this point, I would suggest stopping and making some photocopies of the page. This way you can practice and play around with colour, technique, and mediums.

Step 10: Add Colour and Detail

Colour in each portrait with unique detail, but still keep it consistent to the cartoon’s traditional style. For example, cartoons such as Family Guy and Simpsons don’t include much detail. Hair, for example, does not show highlights, so I have kept my hair as blonde. Unlike Manga and Disney which do incorporate a bit more detail, so I am able to show the balayage transition from dark to light.

Step 11: Add Your Photo

Add your photo to the middle of the page and then sit back and admire!

Step 12: Tweet

I'd love to see the final products so tweet them to me @YourArtTeach

(These also make hilarious presents for loved ones!)