Chicken Cartoon Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

Poultry specials in your supermarket may have a chicken cartoon drawing right beside it to make the advertisement interesting. This guide will look at the simple steps needed to make a cartoon chicken drawing for fun or promotional uses.

There is no doubt that chickens play an integrate part in our society as companions on top of providing a staple diet through eggs and meat. In media, cartoons will feature this animal in a comical or motherly manner.

For drawing, there are major features that are unique to this bird. The two skin growths just under the eyes are called the wattle. On top of the forehead, there is a red comb neatly running through the middle. The extra skin growths on the side of the head are actually earlobes.

On the body, the key feature is the small wings since this bird is not capable of flight. The shape of the body is in a shape of the letter 'U'. As long as these key features are followed, a chicken cartoon drawing can easily be constructed.

Sketching the chicken cartoon drawing

On a new layer, the sketch should begin with a jellybean shape for the main body. This shape is what allows for the animal to stand upright. Adding to the jellybean shape, draw a circle for the head, small wings, and the thighs.

The next shapes would be triangles and trapezoids. Use this to fill in the beak, a rough comb on the head, and the feet. Large feathers at the tail can also be blocked in with just a few lines to fan it out.

chicken cartoon drawing step 1 from cgattic.ca

While working on the head, use a few ovals to indicate the wattle and the earlobe. Of course, draw in the eyes with the circle if that hasn't' already been done. When most of these major features are done, clean up the sketch.

The goal is to erase out and transition any excess shapes into a full chicken. Darken the cartoon lines of the silhouette first. Then, work on the features of the face, wings, and tail. Finish off the sketch with proper separation of the toes found on the feet.

The chicken cartoon drawing line art

Cleaning up the sketch into a nice looking line drawing is the main objective of this step. Depending on the preference of the artist, multiple tools can be used. Generally speaking, the eraser and the airbrush is more than enough.

For vector related line drawings, the Photoshop pen tool is a must. It is a complicated tool but yields the best looking line drawing once an outline is traced out properly. Furthermore, it can be exported into a vector based drawing program like Adobe Illustrator. Either choice is fine.

chicken cartoon drawing step 2 from cgattic.ca

The challenge is to show the earlobes and the wattle properly through the feathered regions in the head. Use the example seen here to see how I did it. Basically, a series of simple curved lines that combine the beak and the comb is usually enough to indicate these parts.

The rest of the front breast, toes, and torso is elegantly crafted with a smooth curve. However, for areas of the wings and the tail feathers, jagged lines are necessary to indicate uneven feather masses.

The chicken cartoon drawing base color

The next step, where coloring the chicken helps with bringing the bird to life, requires a base color first. A new layer created just underneath the line drawing is the common place to put the base colors in.

Identifying large areas to fill is easily established using the wand tool on the outline. Simply click on the area that requires the color to highlight the area and then fill in in using Edit > Fill on the top menu (make sure to switch to the new layer when doing this step).

chicken cartoon drawing step 3 from cgattic.ca

There are four basic colors to fill in: the red for the skin growth; yellow for the beak and feet; a very light grey for the body; and a medium grey for the tail feathers. The tail can also be colored white as well depending on the specie.

Even with the base colors in place, the drawing looks complete. However, as soon as all these are done, lock down the color layer. This is to get it ready for the final step of finalizing some of the textures present on the cartoon.

Coloring the chicken cartoon drawing

To complete the coloring process of chicken cartoon drawing, there are three areas that will need to be addressed: texturing, shading, and lighting. Each of these sections will use different tools and unique layer options. Keep the layers locked down for this step as well.

The texturing will begin using the chalk brush. Since it has a hard edge with jagged effects, it's great for filling in the feathers and the skin growth. The objective is to dab in or block in these shapes all over the chicken. Use the eyedropper to sample colors quickly as the textures are being filled in.

chicken cartoon drawing step 4 from cgattic.ca

Moving on to the next step, the intention of shading is to create even shadows that blend in the textures together in a smooth gradient. The best brush for this step is a large round soft brush. The feathery edges of this brush will apply a gently gradient over a selected area. The main areas will be belly region moving all the way to the tail feathers.

While lighting may not always be necessary as a light source is not common on cartoon drawings, it can still be added in through a rim light. This is nothing more than a white outline surrounding the animal.

The Photoshop layer style is quickest way. Use the 'Inner Glow' style to assign a perimeter glow around the entire drawing. Any areas that this glow fails to reach will have to be simulated by drawing it manually in on a separate layer.

With that done, the rest is just adjusting the colors as necessary using contrasting or brightness options. There may be some patterns behind the neck that can be drawn in. It's up to the artist if he or she wants a purely white bird or one with a bit more character. Always remember to have fun regardless!