Crab Cartoon Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

This crab cartoon drawing is a fun way to challenge any artist. From a unique anatomy to multiple overlapping legs, it takes some deep thinking to combine all the necessary parts to form a whole cartoon crab.

The main body of a crab consists of the central carapace and 10 legs. The front pincers will look widely different from specie to specie. it is the same story with the hind legs as some specie will have flat swimming legs.

One of the biggest challenges is drawing the legs in a way that conforms to the perspective that the animal is being looked at. Therefore, a lot of thinking is involved in showing the position of the legs in relation to the other legs.

While this guide will look at a standard looking crab, there are other forms to consider. From the long limbs of spider crabs, thick limbs of coconut crabs, and bunched limbs of hermit crabs, always start with a sketch to plan the crab cartoon drawing properly.

Sketching the crab cartoon drawing

The base of a standard looking crab can be drawn using a flat pancake or cupcake on top of a coaster. Around it, draw in simple curves that indicate the position of the 10 legs with extra attention to the size of the pincer arms.

Once these curves are in place, straighten out the legs by creating segments to show the bends. Aside from the front arms, , which has three segments, the other eight legs will have four segments.

crab cartoon drawing step 1 from cgattic.ca

At the front is the mouth. It is a complicated looking piece of anatomy that doesn't need to be drawn. However, for completion, drawing two collapse feelers inside a confined area is enough to show it.

When these major areas are done, darken the sketch lines while erasing into the legs. The objective is to erase lines of the legs that are in the background. Start with the legs in front and work backwards until all the legs are in the right stacking position.

Cleaning up the crab cartoon drawing

The purpose of cleaning up the sketch is to create usable clean cartoon lines that show off the details of the crab. This finished line art in this section is the end result of carefully tracing out the initial sketch.

One of the key points to notice is the joints connecting each and every segment as well as the void areas where the eyes are located. Rather than create a lot of unnecessary lines and details, simply filling is completely black is a good alternative.

crab cartoon drawing step 2 from cgattic.ca

On top of that, the legs are correctly stacked in proper perspective. Another important point is to note the details of the carapace. Since there are uneven edges or spikes, jagged lines are used to create this detail.

Even after all this, depending on the cartoon style requested, all of these details may not even be necessary. The segments of the legs could be erased further and the mouth may not be needed at all. It is up to the artist to balance details with simplicity!

Coloring the crab cartoon drawing

Coloring the crab cartoon drawing will be an easy step to do. Generally, a crab will be divided into two hues: one darker color for the upper part and a lighter color for the underside. However, cartoons will have the crab as one color for simplicity's sake.

A popular color for a cartoon crab would be red. To fill it in quickly, use the magic wand tool found in Photoshop to select an area outside of the line drawing. In the ribbon menu, go to Select > inverse.

crab cartoon drawing step 3 from cgattic.ca

This will change the selection to the exact shape of the crab silhouette. On a new layer, go to the ribbon again and use Edit > Fill to effortlessly fill in the crab. If there is a need to add another color, just lock the layer down and paint in it with a soft round brush.

At this step, there is also the trick of using the 'Inner Glow' layer style to create a small rim light, which is just a simple thin light outline around the crab to make the textures pop out a little.

Texturing the crab cartoon drawing

The rim light is one of the many final objectives in texturing the crab cartoon drawing. Based on the limitations of the layer style, it can't create an outline of shapes within the silhouette.

For this reason, any further application of a rim light will require manually painting it in. Thus, take a few minutes to follow the contours of the finished line drawing to fill in a faint outline around all the legs and the carapace.

crab cartoon drawing step 4 from cgattic.ca

Since the surface of a crab's shell is not smooth, a regular chalk brush is an easy choice to paint in the uneven contours. With just a few simple strokes in the right directions, textures can be easily applied.

To blend in the colors using a gradient, switching to a large round brush is beneficial. To enhance the colors of these textures after applying this coloring technique, consider using the dodge and burn tools. These tools will highlight or darken the specific hue and allow for greater contrast.

Another tip to create texture is to use the 'Surface Blur' filter. For every new textures painted in, consider alternating between the surface blur and manual coloring. It's a simple process that yields excellent blending results.

Even though there are a lot of details that are done in this demonstration, it only shows what is possible. The process remains the same for any cartoon drawings. See how much you can apply this drawing process to other cartoon animals!