Cartoon Basketball Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

Why draw a cartoon basketball drawing manually when Photoshop has all the default tools to do it all at once? From the ball textures to even a natural perspective curvature, this guide will look at what is needed to render a basketball in just a few clicks.

What makes the basketball unique is the orange color with simple black markings. Depending on what face the ball is being drawn, there will be different markings to consider. For simplicity's sake, the most noticeable markings is the cross at the front.

Surprisingly, this unique front markings that is easy to figure out. This is because, despite the curved oval, it's best to think of the markings like slices of an orange in that there are exactly eight slices that splits the ball.

Photoshop is great at making symmetrical markings with its lasso tools and fill options. The information here will be to use these built in tools that makes it easy to draw a cartoon basketball drawing that has the flexibility to draw the ball at almost any angle.

Sketching the cartoon basketball drawing

Setting up the canvas properly will help make the patterns easier to manage. Specifically, a perfect square canvas is needed because this shape will allow even divisions into eight perfect slices. The tool that is the most helpful here is the single row or column marquee box.

With the help of guidelines to split the square into quads, use the single row or column marquee to split the canvas into halves. From there, go to Edit > Stroke and select a black color to fill in the marquee selection.

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Once it has been split in both horizontal and vertical positions, copy that layer again and then rotate it 45 degrees to get the diagonal splits. After that, the next phase is to create elliptical markings intersecting the eight slices.

The tool here to use is the elliptical marquee. Set at about a 1:2 ratio, split one of the two slices just like the diagram above. Again, use the stroke option to fill in the elliptical shape with a dark black line. Duplicate and then flip it to get the other half.

Skinning the cartoon basketball drawing

Before working on the skin texture, clean up parabolic regions so it looks like the front face of a basketball. There is some manual work in erasing the excess shapes caused by the elliptical marquee, but that should be easy to do. After that, merge all the dark line layers together.

The skin is extremely easy to do with layer styles. First, fill in the background with any color. Then, click that layer to bring out the layer style options. The point here is to fill it with a pattern that resembles the circular textures of the basketball.

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The closest circular pattern is the 'Tie Dye' pattern found in the 'Default 1' pattern set. Set the scale to something small so creates an illusion of texture. However, there is an issue where it adds in multiple colors not related to orange.

To fix this, turn on another layer style called 'color overlay'. This will hide the default colors on the preset pattern into whatever color the user selects by stacking over on top of it. The option to use and is highly recommended would be the 'color' blend mode.

Rendering the cartoon basketball drawing

After finalizing the texture, save the composition and keep it somewhere safe as the next step will require merging all the layers together. There's no way to undo a merged layer. Therefore, it's wise to have a backup of the original layers in case changes are needed to be made.

Anyway, select the elliptical marquee and hold on to the 'shift' key to allow it to form a perfect circle. Highlight an area of the cartoon basketball drawing texture, cut it out, and then paste it on top. This will be the perspective of the basketball that will be manipulated to form the sphere.

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The filter used to generate a sphere has a very specific requirement: it must fill the entire canvas. Therefore, in order for this filter to be used correctly, resize the basketball to fill exactly the size of the canvas. Use guidelines to help snap the corners of the shape to the canvas.

This is the moment that makes drawing in Photoshop that much more fun. First, got to Filters > Distort > Spherize. Set the amount to 100% and the mode to 'normal' to make the basketball cutout in the shape of a sphere.

Finalizing the cartoon basketball drawing

Now that the hard part is done, the rest will be just to make the cartoon basketball drawing stand out even more. To do that, there are a few more layer styles suggested that can easily fill in and enhance the colors as necessary.

First, the outline can be created easily with the 'stroke' layer style. This will create a cartoon outline of the entire circular sphere. After that, check the 'gradient overlay' box. The option will have a gradual fade from dark to light to create a natural shadow on the cartoon basketball drawing.

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The 'inner glow' layer style would be the final option to check off. Playing around with its properties will create a rim light just under the cartoon outline. The color option that is most recommended here is the 'soft light' blend mode.

Now, even after all this is done, the circular patterns found on the ball may not look real enough. Don't worry, there's an easy fix for that. Before anything is done, duplicate the final modified basketball into a new layer.

With that new layer, go to Filters > Stylize > Find Edges. This will invert all the colors of this layer to find out any outlines and is an excellent way to force the circular patterns to come out. After that, sharpen the entire layer.

Don't worry about the inverted colors. The fix for it is extremely easy. On the layers box, just change the blend mode of the entire layer to 'divide' to revert the entire drawing again to the opposing colors, which should be the original oranges. Once done, merge everything together and do a final sharpening to bring out the cartoon basketball drawing textures.