Owl Cartoon Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

A real life owl is already adorable on its own. An owl cartoon drawing emphasizes the cuteness even further. In this guide, here are some simple tips to draw a very neat cartoon owl of your very own using simple circles, triangles, and squares.

Usually, a cute drawing will have the animal will a small body and a large head. An owl cartoon drawing can almost be referenced from a real life as the proportion of an owl favors a large head. The reason is that the shape of the face looks and acts like a radar to bounce sound off.

The second part that makes it so adorable is the eyes. Since the eyes are mostly fixated into the socket with minimal movement, the pupils will always be at the center. Adding to the simplicity of the face is the small beak, which is just as easy to draw.

The body proportions are stubby enough and can be designated with just a few circles. The challenge is adding feathered textures. Luckily, this is only optional. Rather than talk about what is needed to make a cute owl cartoon drawing, let's start drawing one!

Sketching out the owl cartoon drawing

The best way to see form is to draw it small first. That means a thumbnail sketch is very helpful to start the drawing process. In this sketch, the first couple of lines will be forming the head and the body. The head will contain two large circles to create a radar shape.

The lower part of the animal is a series of circles to indicate the wing and the main body. Triangles are used to extend the wing while a large rectangle is used to designate the tail feathers. Other features like the legs and claws can be blocked in using rectangles.

owl cartoon drawing step 1 from cgattic.ca

After this is done, draw a large black circle to show where the eyes are located. The beak is simple enough to fill in using a diamond shape in the middle. Tail and wing feathers are simply added in as horizontal or vertical streaks.

Now is also a good time to think about the direction of the feathers. The head will have the feathers flare out from the eyes while the feather lines found on the body will flow from the neck to the tail. The final step here is to bold out the outline of the owl.

Cleaning up the owl cartoon drawing

There may be more than one thumbnail sketch done. If there is, pick one that will be used as the end cartoon product and enlarge it. Scaling up will produce blurry lines and extreme pixelation depending on how large the cartoon owl needs to be.

This is perfectly normal and is a great opportunity to use the eraser to clean up the blurry lines or redraw the blurred areas with a normal brush. Pay extra attention to eye region. To make a perfect circle, use the elliptical marquee tool. After that, go to Edit > Stroke to create a nice dark circular outline.

owl cartoon drawing step 2 from cgattic.ca

The pupil is done in the same manner. However, instead of using the stroke option, got to Edit > Fill to quickly fill it in. Then, erase a bit of it to give it a reflection. Next, clean up the beak and the dark bands surrounding the eyes to suggest the radar shape.

When working on the body, most of the time will be spend figuring how much feathers to draw. Since birds have multiple layers of feathers, it's up to the artist to balance it between drawing all the individual layers or just the primary feathers. Once that is done, finish cleaning up the feet.

Coloring the owl cartoon drawing

Coloring a cartoon owl is relatively straight forward. There is a very limited palette to use since an owl's hunting grounds are primarily grasslands. That means shades of browns, grey, or whites are the common color for camouflage purposes.

Depending on the specie, a uniform color may be enough. Therefore, use this primary color to fill in the entire body. Any textures can be added afterwards as an optional step. The other colors that will need to be filled in will be for small details.

owl cartoon drawing step 3 from cgattic.ca

There will be yellow for the eyes, a grey or black beak, and a light yellow claw. Sometimes, the fur found on some specie will cover over the toes, in which the primary color will be the same the legs leading up to the body.

The other major area to consider is the circular face. Just a bright shade of brown, grey, or white is enough as the main idea is to emphasize the circular area surrounding the eyes. When most of this is done, we can move on to texturing.

Texturing the owl cartoon drawing

I find texturing the most fun as it allows for an individual touch on the final picture. Some artists like to keep it as simple as possible while others, like me, like to add in some more details to give the cartoon a little bit more flair.

When ready to proceed with adding details, lock the layer containing the flat colors down. This will make sure that any details will be well contained within the owl shape. Only unlock these layers if there is a need to alter the owl shape.

owl cartoon drawing step 4 from cgattic.ca

In terms of texturing, a color palette that ranges from the lightest to the darkest browns, grays, or whites will be helpful. Normally, this can be painted on random parts of the own. To select colors quickly, hold on to the 'alt' key to get the eyedropper tool.

It's with this method, combined with the chalk brush, that patches of feather patterns are blocked in. Most of the patterns will be on the forehead and the wings. Continue with the process until the right amounts of details are achieved.

Some gradients can be glazed in fairly easily using the dodge and burn tools if certain patches of colors look too dark or too light. Use this tool only with a large round brush as the colors will only need to be gently adjusted.

The final touch will be to liven up the colors. The 'brightness/contrast' adjustment layer can apply a global illumination. Just use the slider to adjust the right amount of brightness and contrast. With that done, the owl cartoon drawing is finally done!