A princess cartoon drawing is a pleasant portrayal of subtlety, beauty, and nobility. Unlike fairy tales of the past, however, a princess in modern times isn't a simple one dimensional character. Therefore, there are a lot of acceptable ways to draw a cartoon princess.
One of the best ways to help with drawing a princess cartoon drawing is to look at word associations. Off the top, words like monarch, naive, a young girl, spoiled or selfish, prima donna, royalty, can be used to describe a princess.
Visually, Disney will have a huge selection of princesses to choice from to get an idea. Each popular princesses Ariel, Jasmine, Belle, Cinderella, Elsa, etc. will have their own personalities ranging from the supportive, adventurous, to the strong and powerful.
Then, there is clothing to consider. Does a typical princess wear a dress or something that is more attuned to the environment like Pocahontas' native attire? There are so many possibilities that have been introduced in modern times!
With all the different ways to draw a princess, sometimes it's best to play it safe and sketch a young girl in a dress and a tiara. Before that, decide on the proportions of the cartoon drawing. Usually, cute proportions will have a larger head than normal.
Begin the sketch on a new layer to set the composition. Even though it's a cartoon, focus on ways to address proportions. For example, draw a cross for the face to identify where to put the eyes, nose, and mouth.
The body can have a bit more flexibility when dealing with proportions. The limbs can be stubby or short in comparison to the rest of the anatomy. A common looking princess will wear a dress, which can be quickly sketched in using triangles and cones.
Any surface details are roughly blocked in at this stage. The design of the dress itself is the major focus. It is a good idea to do an image search and start referencing dresses that will fit the cartoon character. Also reference other accessories like the tiara.
A slow pace and steady hands are helpful in refining the sketch into a clean line drawing. First, darken the sketch completely by duplicating and stacking the sketch. After that, merge all the layers together until the lines are nice and thick.
Using the eraser tool, erase into the sketch to add in the details of the dress, face, body, and tiara. Another method is to use the smudge tool and hard smudge the lines (using maximum pressure) to draw in the details.
Sometimes, there are new design elements that could be incorporated such as the frills found on the dress. While this should be addressed ahead of time in the initial sketch, adding or taking away details in the line drawing is normal.
For any areas that don't want to be redrawn nor has too many details to be edited, a quick way to position the lines is to use the transformation options. Specifically, warping a select area highlighted by a lasso can help quickly move lines around without redrawing it.
Coloring a cartoon is relatively simple. The first step is to fill in the white areas with a few flat colors. There should be one shade of color for the face, hair, tiara, and dress. Note that the flat colors must be darker than normal as it is easier to add areas of light than draw in shadows.
Also, try to establish a good color palette. For example, dark brown for the hair, light brown for the skin, a blue dress, and a grey tiara. The artist must visualize which color combination would work with the overall theme.
The magic wand to used often to select empty areas in the line drawing. After an empty area is selected, create a new layer underneath the line drawing and then fill it with the proper flat color. Repeat this step going back and forth between the line art layer (to select new areas) and the flat color layer (to fill in the selected block).
Sometimes, the filled flat colors do still leave a few small white spots. In this instance, just fill in in manually. The goal is to generate flat colors in the shape of the princess cartoon drawing. Keep both layers separated.
Part two of coloring the princess involves identifying a light source direction and coloring it correct. Always lock the flat color layer down to prevent coloring outside its intended boundaries. The chalk brush works best for blocking in areas of light.
For the face, the forehead, cheeks, the upper eyelids, the nose bridge, and the chin are the places to block in a lighter color. The lips can be shaded in a darker red to illustrate lipsticks. For the glow, just block in a blotch of white. Do the same for the hair.
Clothing is a bit more complicated and requires knowledge on how clothes behave. Generally, folds are created at a central point and then fan out. In a dress, the focal point are the hip region, underarm, and elbows.
Process wise, just simple block in smaller areas around the folds and then fan out to the rest of the dress to create the folds. The amount of details in the folds is up to the artist. For cartoons, just a hint is enough.
In order to clean up the hard lines left by the chalk brush, switch to a round smooth brush. Glazing over an area with a lighter color will blend in or hide hard lines to give it a smooth transition between folds and large sections of fabric.
Finally, use contrasting tools to further enhance the entire drawing. An adjustment layer in Photoshop (like the contrast and brightness layers) is a fast and easy way to globally illuminate the entire drawing with a few clicks. Try it out!