A cartoon seal drawing is one of the easiest marine animals to draw. Despite having 33 different species around the world, there are common physical characteristics. This guide will look at the shape of the sea lion and the spotted seal.
Designed to glide through the water, the flat limbs, the lack of an ear protrusion, short slick fur, and a streamlined body are common physical traits to all seals. The only noticeable different marine specie, though still part of the seal family, is the walrus.
In cartooning, increasing the size of the head or body proportions may risk changing the entire specie. A sea lion is more streamlined. If the body was made more compressed, then the animal becomes a spotted seal.
Therefore, there are few limitations in place for this animal in terms of being creative with the proportions. Still, it is a easy and fun to draw where more of the creativity will be putting into the actions and facial expressions of the animal.
The basic shape would be an eclipse for the main body and the head. This simple shape will allow anyone to draw different types of seals. For this demonstration, the eclipse is larger for the spotted seal.
To know where to put the limbs, divide the body into sections. The front flippers are found approximately 1/3 or 2/5s the way down from the head. The rest of the body will taper down to form a small tail and the hind flippers.
The fins can be sketch in using a trapezoid shape. Just like any mammal, there are five digits on each fin. This can be easily drawn in with straight lines that divide up the trapezoid.
Towards the head, the streamline shape will have a long snout with whiskers. For the spotted seal, the snout is much shorter. Finish off the head with drawing just a dot for the ears and a large black spot where the eyes will be located at.
Creating a line art of the cartoon seal drawing should be the next step. The objective in this stage is to use build or trace over the sketch to create the necessary clean curves and lines needed for a cartoon effect.
The easiest way is to use the airbrush and eraser tool or the pen tool if you are going for a vector path. In detailing out the two different types of seals, the primary characteristics on the face would be the length of the snout.
The rest of the body is easy to trace since all the necessary details are already in place from the initial sketch. As a reminder though, fill in the flippers with the right amount of digits for the front and hind limbs.
For the sea lion, a ball has been added in this step. This particular pose works well with the action of the seal as it is a common training technique in most aquariums. When the line drawing is done, the next step would is to fill it in with color.
Seals can come in a grey or brown color scheme. As the name implies with the spotted seal, some species may have special markings (this will be detailed in later). Regardless, most seals have one universal color for the entire body.
Due to a single monotonous color, filling in the entire shape of the seal can be done with a few clicks. On the line drawing, pick the magic wand tool, and select a zone outside the line drawing of the seal to highlight this void area.
From there, go to Select > Inverse to reverse the selection. Then, create a new layer and hit up the Edit > Fill option on Photoshop's tool ribbon. The sea lion will have a brown fill while the spotted seal will have a grey fill.
See how easy it was? Repeat or use an identical process to fill in the ball and the white area found in the pupils. When everything is filled in properly, it's time to add in the textures of each particular seal.
Though seals have very fine hair that can be drawn in, that level of details are not necessary for a cartoon seal drawing. Instead, pay more attention to the simple shading and the textures found on the specie.
Using the base colors as a point of reference, lock down the layers that have the filled colors. The objective is to create gradients of color that is fixed to the shape of the main seal body.
The chalk brush is one of the best types of brush for blocking in shading. On the sea lion, block in large light and dark areas of the body to create smooth skin. Switch to a large round brush and glaze in a large area to blend in the colors better.
Then, repeat this process for the spotted seal. The main difference is that the belly is lighter than the rest of the body. Therefore, put more emphasis on lightening up the lower region.
In order to create the spots, use the 'scattering' option. There are many sub-options available like changing the size and amount being splattered on the canvas. The brush best for the spots is a hard round brush.
The last step would be to give the seal some lighting effects. A cartoon style benefits greatly from a rim light. This is basically a white outline around the seal. Other than that, use any color balancing settings to finish the cartoon seal drawing!