Cartoon Vampire Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

There are so many ways an artist can draw a cartoon vampire drawing. Dracula isn't the only one! It can be a traditional caricature of a human-like being or something that resembles more beastly in appearance. It can be male or female. That alone gives a lot of leeway for creativity.

While there is a general stereotypical description of a vampire as someone wearing a dark cloak, hiding in the shadows, sharp teeth, and preys on the blood of the living to survive, there are other words to consider.

Through basic word associations, some which come in mind are bloodthirsty, night time, romantic, teeth, castle, count, cold, Transylvania, coffin, garlic, cross, evil, stake, monster, cultist, etc. are all words that could describe the vampire very well.

In this drawing, let's try something that is has a human form. Depending on how detailed the cartoon is, common features like the the two fangs or pointy ears may not be visible. That is the challenge worth trying to overcome to find other visual hints to depict a vampire.

Sketching the cartoon vampire drawing

Already, just by changing the gender, the stereotypical visualization is already altered. In this sketch, a female form is draped in a long gown or robe. Since the cloak is lost, it is now substituted with this particular style of dress.

In particular, the form must work with the clothing. Some key areas to note are the legs. The drape should flow naturally with the leg's natural curvature while fanning out as it hits the ground. Besides that, make sure that all proportions of the human body are correct.

cartoon vampire drawing step 1 from cgattic.ca

As the drawing is showing the whole body and not a portrait, wings are added in to bridge the connection to bats--an animal that is a common trope whereby a vampire can turn into. Simply sketch these main features loosely.

Already, these visual cues help to determine that the character being drawn holds a supernatural presence. The next step is to refine all the features of the clothing as well as the wings. If it becomes hard to visualize the final drawing, always use references to get ideas.

Cleaning up the cartoon vampire drawing

The following line drawing of the cartoon vampire drawing is an excellent example of how concepts can change based on references. Originally, bat wings were intended to be drawn. However, looking at various references changed the bat wings into wings that are more abstract.

Technique wise, only one half of the wings were drawn on a separate layer. It was completed using random scribbles and then hard smudged into the shape of the wings. After that, it was duplicated and then, using perspective warping options, moved to the character's back region.

cartoon vampire drawing step 2 from cgattic.ca

This particular aura-like pair of wings seems to fit the composition a lot better as the visualization is of a vampire that is more towards human than beast-like. This also prompts another change in how the dress is designed.

One of the major references is the Gothic fashion style or the aristocratic style in medieval Europe. It fits well with the dark theme given that vampires have had their mythical origins around the 17th century. Therefore, the clothing is refined to this period in history.

Coloring the cartoon vampire drawing

The cartoon style, which utilizes dark and thick lines, is perfect for the dark themes of a vampire. While it's easy to just color everything black, there needs to be some more subtle colors to bring out the character details.

For the colors, start up a new layer specifically aimed as a fill layer. In it, flat background colors will be determined and filled in to quickly set the color theme for the entire composition. Luckily, it's not a lot as there are only two colors used in this example.

cartoon vampire drawing step 3 from cgattic.ca

Starting with the dress, a deep grey is a good choice to fill in the line drawing. It caters well with quickly giving a hue to work with on top of not hiding the rich details of the cleaned up lines. Similarly, black hair should have some areas of grey as well.

The other color to use is a lighter grey, in which the hands, chest, and face are filled in. The reasoning is simply because a pale complexion gives a feeling that the character lacks blood. As a being seeking something to drink, this sets the tone very well.

Shading the cartoon vampire drawing

Speaking of seeking blood, finding places to use red can be a challenge especially when it's a drawing that does not involve the action of drinking. Nonetheless, there are opportunities in the composition to add in some red in this cartoon vampire drawing.

While there doesn't need to be drips of blood, red colored lipsticks on the character implies a lot. Just adding it in could mean that the act of acquiring blood is already finished. Another area would be the eyes. Just a hint of red in the eyes can signify blood lust.

cartoon vampire drawing step 4 from cgattic.ca

Even the dress can be used as a means to apply a nice crimson red. This is where Photoshop's layer styles comes in. Rather than manually glaze in red, the 'gradient overlay' option can change it to a transition from the black dress to a blood-soaked robe is seamless established.

On the subject of the dress, there are more details that can be added in once the red is filled. For starters, adding some suggestions of lace or a corset type fashion is a great to further enhance the baroque styling of the clothing.

This can be done simply by dabbing in spots of lighter grey (to reference the translucent effect of the fabric) where the light will hit. As well, work on the creases found on the dress fanning out at the bottom. It is OK to reference real fabric is there are any difficulties figuring out the complex folds.

Lastly, add in a small rim light to give a sense of depth on the character. The rim light is just a faint outline caused by light bouncing back and forth in the environment. When everything is done, do a final pass using contrasting filters or adjustment layers to finalize the vivid colors.