Donkey Cartoon Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

A donkey cartoon drawing is a fun piece of artwork that should show the playful nature of this helpful animal. Here are some of the general tips and strategies used to build a cartoon donkey that is loved by children and adults alike.

To start off, donkeys are docile and social animals that interact well with humans and make us smile. Often called by a myriad of other names, such as burro, ass, mule, or pony, this animal is usually depicted as a silly, slow, and curious animal in the mainstream media.

There are a few reasons for this. Primarily, their huge heads and flexible jaw puts emphasis on the facial expressions we humans can recognize as smiling, sneering, or being puzzled. These expressions should be incorporated into any donkey cartoon drawing.

As donkeys are part of the horse family, the body is fairy standard fair of long thin legs under a long square body and thick neck. Using all this basic knowledge and references from media and associations, start to imagine how the cartoon donkey will look like.

Sketching the donkey cartoon drawing

The biggest defining shape that connects the body and the head would be something like an oval banana. This shape will create the droop in the belly, butt, and the thick neck. The head, on the other hand, resembles a jelly bean shape.

The snout is formed through a simple circle while the ears are like long ovals extending upwards. The hooves are just simple trapezoids at the end of long stilts that make up the legs. Just make sure that the hind legs are bent while the front remains straight.

donkey cartoon drawing step 1 from cgattic.ca

On the face, the eyes are very human-like in its appearance. As a cartoon, drawing the eyes bigger than normal is a great way to show more facial expressions. For the mouth, try aiming for a smile showing the upper gum lines and teeth to add a bit of silliness.

When all these basic ideas are drawn in, the general composition should slowly emerge. This will lead us to the next step in refining the drawing a little more by darkening the line drawing to help bring the cartoon donkey line art to life.

The donkey cartoon drawing line art

On this cleanup step of the cartoon donkey, create a new layer to trace over the sketch. Otherwise, enlarge the small sketch and clean it up directly using brushes that have hard edges to get clean lines through erasing or drawing.

On the face, there are a few things to detail. Around the ears, draw in a solid black line to show the openings. For the eyes, block in just a few white areas to show a small light reflection as well as the boundaries of the pupils. An optional step is to add an eyebrow.

donkey cartoon drawing step 2 from cgattic.ca

Remember to keep the snout separated from the rest of the face as this will help with coloring in the next step. For the mouth, detail in the smile, teeth, gum lines, and even the lips. When done, add in some jagged lines to show the mane.

The rest of the body is straight forward. Just detail it as best as you can. Pay extra attention to the joints in the legs by creating bulges in locations where the animal will bend its limbs. When done, create a separation in the belly as a donkey will have a white underside compared to the rest of the body.

Filling in the donkey cartoon drawing

While there are several species of donkeys with multiple different fur types and colors, most will have a section of white underneath the belly and the snout region. As these regions are isolated based on the line drawing above, it makes it easier to fill in.

The areas that are filled with pure white will be the snout, the belly, teeth, and the bits of the eyes. An easy way to select these regions is to use the magic wand tool. This tool will lasso a closed area when clicked on an empty spot on the line drawing.

donkey cartoon drawing step 3 from cgattic.ca

For the rest, there are three tones of neutral grey to be used. The main body will have about a 50% neutral grey while the mane, hooves, lips, and tail will have a grey that's around 75%. For other areas like the legs, a 25% grey is enough.

The smallest region, the gum line, can be simple filled in with a red color. Now that the majority of these colors are filled in, hopefully on a different layer, lock it down so the process of creating details can start based on these background colors.

Coloring the donkey cartoon drawing

Details can be done anywhere on the donkey cartoon drawing. I personally like to start from the head and work downwards to the rest of the animal. Using a small chalk brush, create a patch of lighter fur around the eyes and ears. For the nose, put in a little shadow underneath the nose opening.

The mane will be the next part to detail. There are just a few bits of darker grays to show the direction of the hair. As the mane flows naturally on to the back, block in a lighter shade of grey to show that this area is where most of the light will hit.

donkey cartoon drawing step 4 from cgattic.ca

Moving on towards the tail, add in some black lines downwards. As we move to the legs, block in some shadow around the joint near knees, elbows, and ankle regions. Darken the belly a bit since light will not reach it.

When these major areas are shaded in, there's an optional step I like to use to blend in or enhance the colors. First, go to Filter > Blur > Surface Blur. This unique filter will create a nice watercolor effect to help blend in the colors together.

I also like to add a small rim light to the donkey. This can be done manually by drawing a thin line of white on a different layer or it can be done automatically using layer styles. Double clicking on the layer will bring out the layer styles window. In it, select and play around with the 'Inner Glow' feature.

Any other contrast or brightness can be served individually with the doge and burn tools. For a global effect, consider using an adjustment layer. These are all nice optional tools that will enhance the cartoon donkey with a just a few clicks. Try it out, but most important of all, have fun doing it!