This week at Cartoon Club online art classes for kids it was all about dragons. Perfect for Harry Potter fans like me – our topic was “Me & My Dragon“. What would your dragon be like? We had fun imagining all the potential situations and characters we could create: an ice dragon, a frozen lake, a mysterious sunken castle…. We did lots of great drawings in our online art class but one of my favourite characters was this baby dragon (thanks James for the idea!).
I’ve just posted up a new video on my YouTube channel showing you how to draw and colour this little fire-breathing cartoon. I thought I’d share how I did one character, so if you missed our online art class, you can have a go and cartoon now. In this how-to-cartoon video I talk about how to transition and do gradients with pencil crayon which brings this character to life. There are just so many possibilities with the theme of dragons.
There’s always a new topic to doodle in our online Cartoon Club art class – something that will not only improve our drawing abilities, challenge us to come up with new and creative ways of solving problems. It was challenging to draw all the features on the map but this is a pretty fun character to doodle yourself so have a go and let me know what you think in the comments.
Here’s what you will need:
- Pencil (I use my friend the 4B Faber-Castell Jumbo here)
- Black marker or fine-liner (I’m using a Uni Super Ink fine marker here)
- Eraser or rubber (it just for erasing AFTER you have inked)
- 3 or 4 Colours (My favourite are Faber-Castell polychromes or Prismacolor but whatever you have will do just fine. Here I break my rule and use 5 colours: yellow chartreuse, spanish orange, Clay rose, Light aqua, violet Prismacolors)
How do I draw a cartoon baby Dragon?
Good question! Head on over to my YouTube channel and you can watch the tutorial where I step you through How to Draw a cartoon Baby Dragon from the online art classes with the kids. But before you begin….get your creative thinking cap on…
Can doodling a dragon help you think more creatively? YES! Here’s how…
Each week I’m bringing you #CreativeThoughtThursday – a concept I’ve been pondering, which I hope will help you think more creatively not just Thursday, but everyday.
Let’s focus on POTENTIAL
As I understand, a dragon symbolises a number of concepts not the least of which include protection, success, wisdom, loyalty, fearlessness, strength, balance, and possibility. It’s the possibility aspect that caught my attention. I had also listened to a podcast by Jordan Peterson. He was speaking on his 12 Rules for Life and he said “Potential is the dragon of chaos”. I was just about to start planning this week’s Cartoon Club online art class for the kids on dragons so this idea of potential was humming around in the back of my mind as I started making the lesson plan.
Whenever I sit down to a blank sheet of paper, I’m either slightly intimidated or very overwhelmed by the infinite possibilities of a drawing and about the potential. Dragons are mythical so it adds yet another dimension. As I planned our online art classes I found that my pictures were getting more and more complicated with all the possibilities, they were getting a bit muddled, not so clear and I wasn’t finishing the drawing.
In his podcast Jordan Peterson suggested asking yourself the question, “how do I detach myself from action?”. It’s this price that we pay by not acting. I wind up with this problem in my drawings when I worry too much about putting too many features in one drawing. I wasn’t finishing my lesson plan and I was worrying about how to lead this lesson. I kept repeating the start of the drawing, but not finishing it.
When you look to start a drawing, what’s the challenge with potential? With dragons, I found the danger was that I had too many pre-conceived ideas that my dragon had to be this super complicated, fanciful, powerful creature. Several of us were drawing these complicated pictures and not feeling satisfied with them. It’s easy to just continue along down the same path but instead I interrupted our lesson, and suggested that we just focus instead on one, more simple, more cartoony character. James from our online art class asked for a baby dragon. Perfect! When there are too many possibilities the most helpful thing to do is create some limitations. It worked like a charm! We simplified all those potential drawings and we created some fun baby dragons. So when you are stuck looking at a blank page and worrying about all the potential, or working along at a drawing that’s not working, stop, simplify and take a new action.
You can have a go with this idea on your own. Play around with doodling some simple dragons. See what happens. You can always make your cartoon more complicated once you have a go with a few simple cartoon dragons.
You will wind up drawing a different picture than I did in our online art class with the kids. That’s great. That’s the entire point! Ready… Let’s get creative!
Step 1 – Draw Lightly! Let it Flow
I begin with my biggest shape that is going to create the main feature of my cartoon. This one is a simple circle for the body and one for the dragon’s head. But I don’t just draw one circle and leave it at that; I draw lots. I play around with the head shape, and shapes for the arms.
This light drawing time is key creative time – I get something down on the paper, warm up my right brain, and start to get a feel for how my character is going to orient on the page. This is my most important thinking time.
Step 2 – Experiment for Expression
Next I lightly sketch in the other features. I ask myself lots of questions and experiment with light sketchy lines. I try out various placement, size and orientation of the rest of the lines and smaller shapes that will form my character. This is my chance to play around and see how I can make this cartoon expressive.
Step 3 – Ink with your Instincts
Now I grab my pen. But of course you can outline darker in pencil. I almost always start with the eyes – not so in this case as those are not the key feature. Here it’s the shape of the face, body, and tail. This is going to give my character expression so this is where I begin. I have lots of sketchy lines on my page, but I use my instincts to commit to which will look best for my cartoon. Here I trust my taste.
With my pen, I continue to outline the rest of my character. I exaggerate the lines that give the feeling I am looking to express.
Step 4 – Colour your Cartoon to Life
I usually colour a cartoon with just three or four pencil crayons. This is just enough variety of colour to give my character interest while still maintaining harmony. Here I break that by using five colours. I using gradients and want him to be a rainbow dragon hence the extra colour. It’s enough to make the colour a big feature of my little dragon drawing. In some areas I blend and layer the colour while in others I apply it on it’s own. This is also why I use pencil crayons to colour – because I can make it as simple or complicated as I like. I add emphasis and contrast of colour at the end, according to my taste to liven up my cartoon. Voila!
Please share your cartoons
Please share your cartoons when you are done. I LOVE seeing everyone’s art work and drawings. It’s so inspiring! If you are on Instagram please tag @sjvickery and hashtag #cartoonclub or find me on Facebook @sarahjanevickeryart
Grab a FREE PDF or watch another art class tutorial
Online Art Classes
for Kids and Adults who love to Doodle!
Are you always doodling? Do you love to create cartoons? These are the art classes for you! I've created a small, friendly group that works together in our online art class. We’re open to anyone who likes to sit, doodle and dream up cartoons. There are drawing classes for kids (ages 8 - 12), young children (ages 6 - 7) and even adults.