Cartoon Soccer Player Drawing in Photoshop

A cartoon soccer player is a fun way to show appreciation of a sport that is played around the world. This guide will go through the simple steps of making a cute little drawing of a soccer player using very basic drawing tools. I will be explaining what to look for and what drawing tools to use.

Soccer, or football, is a game that is played around the world in over 200 countries. Considering Its immense popularity, there isn't any reason not to have art based around this theme as drawing a soccer related piece of artwork is a great way to show support for a favorite team or player.

I will be drawing just a simple cartoon soccer player in this demonstration. The tools that are needed are the regular paint brush, the smudge tool, and the eraser tool. Aside from that, I will be duplicating layers very often to get a nice line drawing ready for coloring.

The style may not be for everyone. However, that is what makes a cartoon interesting: there is never a wrong way to draw it. The process outlined in this drawing is one of many ways to get the drawing completed and one that I am most familiar with. I like this method because it is very quick to finish a drawing. See how it's done.

The cartoon soccer player: sketch

A cartoon soccer player needs to show of a position that is interesting. Should the character be kicking the ball? Would it look better intercepting the ball instead? Would the simple act of running after the ball show off the character's dynamic movements?

Then there are the clothes. In a sketch, clothing should be just enough that it shows a simple uniform rather than a specific team color or design. All these can be added in later steps. As for the cartoon itself, it is up to the artist to decide how to proceed with the individual art style.

Cartoon Soccer Player step 1 from cgattic.ca

The sketch will have most of these considerations in mind. Proportion wise, it is up to the artist. Does the artist want to make the cartoon character more realistic or does making the character's body deformed work better for the type of media that the artist is aiming for?

After deciding on a style, I use a simple drawing brush and sketch out multiple versions of a character that I like. In the end, I chose one that has super deformed proportions consisting of a large head with a well proportioned body. The body dynamics are set in a way to show weight of a sliding movement.

The cartoon soccer player: line drawing

Even though the sketch looks good enough to refine, I want to use it to create a very clean line drawing. The goal here is to get the sketch lines as thick and black as possible. There are many ways to do this but I prefer duplicating the layer over many times.

Each time the sketch is duplicated, the colors will stack on top of each other to gradually darken the sketch lines. As well, it thickens up the lines. This is where the smudge tool comes in. With pressure set to maximum, you can erase into the line drawing to shrink it or spread out the dark colors to 'draw' additional lines in one go.

Cartoon Soccer Player step 2 from cgattic.ca

The eraser tool is helpful too if the smudge method is too hard to control for a set of lines that are too think. This step will take the longest to complete depending on how much details are going into the line drawing. The end result is to make simple without being too detailed.

As it is a soccer player, the drawing won't do without a soccer ball. The quickest method is just to search for a line drawing of a soccer ball online and import it into the drawing document. I just need to make sure that any of the backgrounds that came with the soccer ball are erased.

The cartoon soccer player: colors

Simple cartoon styles using a line drawing are great to color with as the dark lines can be viewed as separators of colors. It also hides the transition from one color to another color very well since the actual coloring is done below the line drawing layer.

In filling out the flat colors, this is where the artists determines the jersey colors as well as the general color of the character. It is also the time to determine how the colors could be organized. Should I have the all the colors on separate layers or just have it all merged into one layer after all the colors are filled in?

Cartoon Soccer Player step 3 from cgattic.ca

For pure editing purposes that allow the most flexibility, having the flat colors on different layers is beneficial as it will allow editing on the fly much easier. However, if the artist has already has an idea of the finished piece, then it is much quicker to have all the flat colors merged into one layer.

The cartoon soccer player is shaping up very nicely. Depending on how well the flat colors are done, one could even stop at this step. In the interest of making the cartoon pop a little more, though, I will use this opportunity to take it a step further to include simple shading.

The cartoon soccer player: final effects

Since I do already have the finished idea in my head and do not wish to play around with the colors anymore, I merged the flat colored layers together. As it stands, that means I have two layers for this drawing: the cleaned up line drawing layer and the color layer.

For shading, there are many ways to do it. The dodge and burn tools are very helpful here in that it can be used to lighten or darken a color value quickly. Otherwise, the layer can be locked down and then painted manually with darker/lighter hues of the flat colors. Both methods are completely fine.

Cartoon Soccer Player step 4 from cgattic.ca

Since I am using Photoshop, I take advantage of clipping masks. With this alternative method, i create a new layer, set the opacity to 50%, and then change it to a clipping mask. From there, I use the paint brush to draw in the shadows and light, which will automatically darken or lighten the colors underneath.

Some other important considerations is the design of the jersey. Most soccer clothing will have stripes somewhere. This is easily drawn in either directly on the drawing or have it separately added on with a new layer. other than that, I focus my time mostly on lighting and shading.

Rim light is very important as it will signal the direction of the light source. Luckily, since it is a cartoon, there isn't much consideration for light direction. In this instance, the rim light is drawn almost in all directions. So long as it works with the current shadows, it doesn't have to be perfectly accurate.

Speaking of shadows, having it staggered or jagged will create an illusion of folds in the clothes. For the cast shadow, this is easily done by duplicating the finished drawing, filling it black, and then changing the horizontal scale. All in all, a simple drawing to complete.