Cartoon Alligator Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

A cartoon alligator drawing looks like something that is hard to draw primarily due to the details needed for the skin. Don't worry though; there are some ways around it to make it easier to draw in the textures properly to create an awesome alligator cartoon.

Despite being such a dangerous animal, anything can be drawn in a cute cartoon. The jaws and sharp teeth can be simplified into jagged lines. The body and limbs can be shortened to create adorable proportions. There are so many possibilities!

Usually the biggest concern is the reptilian skin. It seems so daunting with the amount of details that are required. A simple cartoon may simply ignore it and focus on the other aspects of the alligator like the sharp teeth and menacing look.

This guide will do both: bring the cartoon alligator drawing up to a point where it's still recognized as one while moving forward to draw the skin in a reasonable manner. Therefore, the last section is for those looking for a challenge to go beyond the simple cartoon.

Sketching the cartoon alligator drawing

Triangles will be the star of the show. With it, form the upper and lower jaws of the head, the sharp tail, and the feet. The limbs can be just drawn in with long cylinders or ovals. This shape is also used for the body.

Adding the eyes is a simple task of putting a black dot at the highest point of the triangle. Aim to create an eye that looks menacing by slanting it in inwards. For the snout, just a simple circle is fine for now. After that, add lines to the feet for finger placement.

Cartoon alligator drawing step 1 from cgattic.ca

The fun part begins! Use a bunch of jagged triangles to detail out mouth. If the mouth is open, make sure to create a small oval for the tongue area. Use the same jagged triangles to form the back. There are two parallel lines that run across the back that join together near the end of the tail.

This last part is optional and is a nice progression into drawing the skin. The best way to get the drawing ready is to draw a series of horizontal and vertical lines covering the entire length of body. Think of it as a grid that conforms to the contour of the alligator.

Cleaning up the cartoon alligator drawing

Before cleaning up the drawing, duplicate a copy of the sketch on a different layer. It may be required later for the skin. On a new layer, the next step is to trace over the sketch to create a beautiful and clean line art of the cartoon alligator.

Instead of worrying about every little tooth found in the mouth, incorporate the random thick lines as the entire jawline. For the eyes, draw a vertical slit going down the middle to indicate the pupils. Other than that, the only the major region of the face is the flab of skin located at the corner of the mouth.

Cartoon alligator drawing step 2 from cgattic.ca

Moving on to the limbs, the legs are very round in that there are no sharp turns to indicate any elbows or knees. Any fingers should be detailed out at this point. The belly should also be rounded out and close to the ground.

Finally, the tail will have a single jagged ridge near the end. As mentioned, this is due to the two ridges found on the back merging into one area. Speaking of the back, don't forget to detail out the spikes if it hasn't already been done.

Coloring the cartoon alligator drawing

Adding colors to the line art will come in applying a flat color first. On a new layer underneath the line drawing, fill it with a flat green or grey. You can use the magic want to select an area of the line drawing, and then going back to the other layer, to quickly fill in alligator shape.

The only other major colors are the light green color found on the eyes and the red found in the mouth. When this is done, lock this colored layer down. The next step is to add a lighter shade of green to the lower jaw and belly region.

Cartoon alligator drawing step 3 from cgattic.ca

Using a chalk brush, gently go over the belly and the lower mouth with the lighter green. Doing so will create a light streak of color that transitions well with the main green of the body. After this is done, it is OK to stop here.

However, the chalk brush used for this gradient should give a hint on how to color the skin. Upon applying each consecutive stroke on the belly, there are clear lines that could indicate skin patches. What happens when this is combined with vertical movements?

Texturing the cartoon alligator drawing

This is where the challenge lies and also the trick to making the skin. Using the chalk brush in both horizontal and vertical strokes will create the complicated skin textures! Remember the gesture sketch done in the first step with all those rough grid lines? Use it as a guideline for the skin pattern!

The major setting to try out is pressure sensitivity. Set the chalk brush to change the size of the brush with this option. With that done, lock the layer down and go over the body slowly horizontally first. On each pass, adjust the pressure of the pen so the size of the brush changes.

Cartoon alligator drawing step 4 from cgattic.ca

Doing multiple passes across the body will create a rough band of varying sizes across the alligator's body. Now, do the same thing. This time, go with vertical passes. This will become the grid for the skin pattern.

For the final part, switch over the dodge or burn tools. Again, use the same chalk brush settings. However, only do vertical passes. The point is to create darker bands that are spaced nicely apart to get a stripe affect.

The filter to blend all this together will be the surface blur. By going to Filter > Blur > Surface Blur and applying it a few times, the skin pattern will almost magically be rendered! From here, finish coloring the eyes and the inner mouth. We're almost done!

The last piece of the puzzle will be to create some subtle lighting. This part is easy as it is just adding a rim light to the borders and glazing in bits of shadow on the belly. After that, do whatever color enhancements needed to bring out the contrast and brightness to complete the cartoon alligator drawing!