A mischievous being, having a fairy cartoon around is always a nice reminder what is possible when anyone is enjoying the art of drawing. Expect to have some fun on learning how to draw a cartoon fairy that looks good while testing one's abilities to be creative.
As there are so many possibilities for a fairy cartoon to be created, try to start with visualizing using words that are associated with a fairy. Words like enchanted, supernatural, dainty, wicked, charming, magical, and diminutive comes to mind.
Description wise, they are small and spiritedly with insect wings. While a fairy can be any gender, the typical portrait of one leans towards female because of a link with natural beauty and its link to forested or floral environments.
The challenge for artists is to apply knowledge of the human form, various types of wings, and natural landscapes. Even in a cartoon format, there is some basic art fundamentals that will be extremely helpful. Let's take a look at the process of drawing a fairy cartoon.
A gesture sketch is a ridiculously good drawing technique to master. There are no details to worry about. The main point is to look at flow. This is a abstract concept that makes how each lines connect to another in a seamless transition.
A fairy is no different as it deals with the the most fluid of all forms: the human body. Aside from finding a natural posture for the character, envision the type of clothing as each gesture lines flows around. Now connect a hairstyle that will work and a very rough shape of the wings to each flow line.
At the same time, pay very close attention to perspective. It is an extremely good idea to draw in some lines to indicate general perspective. This will help align all the different body parts of the drawing to the right vanishing points.
Any difficult areas like the face or individual fingers are not a concern at the gesture drawing stages. Instead, have simple lines to indicate where each of these body parts will go. It's a mess right now but working with gesture lines will save time in the long run.
Splitting the fairy is necessary. To work on the individual line art, it is suggested to have one for the female cartoon and one for the wings. There is a reason for this and it has to do with utilizing the warping tools found in Photoshop.
Anyway, work on the detailing the main body of the fairy. Erase into lines or trace over the gesture lines to get a clear indication of all the intricate details. Since most fairies are seen with a dress, what type of dress can be extrapolated from the gesture lines?
What about the hair? How will it flow based on the original gesture lines? Drawing it in a way that caters the original sketch is a great way to achieve a more fluid and natural composition. When satisfied, move on to drawing the wings.
In another layer, draw one half of the wings. A fairy wing is a mixture between a butterfly's wing and a translucent wings found on other insects. When done, duplicate it to form the other side. Then, go to Edit > Transform and play around with perspective and/or skew options to align it with the right perspective.
Now that the line drawing is done, the next step would be to apply a nice palette of natural color towards the fairy cartoon. Always start any coloring on a new layer that is separate from the line drawing in order to maintain flexibility and reduce mistakes.
Since a fairy is typically seen in areas with a lot of natural vegetation, it would only be natural that her dress be in the color of surrounding leaves. Of course, there is a lot of flexibility in the design of the dress. How much to draw or how little is entirely open to the artist.
Another palette that works with green is yellow. Based on the color wheel, it is a complementary color next to green. In this composition, the hair is a very candidate to receive this color. After that, work on the skin tone of choice.
A seasonal variation can be depicted as well. For example, orange is another good color to choose from. Coincidentally, it is a complementary color of yellow. The wings are an excellent place to place these natural autumn oranges.
Stopping at the flat colors may be enough to get a finished drawing. However, it doesn't hurt to go a bit further and shade in the fairy cartoon to give it some more vivid colors. There are many ways to do this but the dodge tool is very good at brightening colors.
Ideally, the places that take advantage of this tool are the bust area, the arms, hair strands, and around the perimeter of the girl to simulate rim light. On occasion, the rim light will need to be manually painted in if the dodge tool is unable to bring out a natural shine.
Speaking of manually painting, if this option is required, always lock the layer down as this keeps the paint lines confined to the solid shape of the character.
Another trick that is very helpful is using layer styles. In particular, the 'gradient overlay' option is especially good at transitioning between two colors. The best place for this would be the wings as the a single shade of orange is not very vivid.
Again, layer management is crucial to getting layer styles to work correctly. In this example, the flat area for the wings is completely separate from the colored layer for the character. Technically, there are three layers for this drawing: the line drawing, a solid color layer for the character, and a solid layer color for the wings.
Anyway, if done properly, a gradient overlay from orange to white is what is being used. The setting that is used is reflective and angled to face the angle of her back arch. As a final and optional route, use contrasting tools to further enhance the colors if applicable. That's it!.