Rat Cartoon Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

As the title states, we will drawing a rat cartoon drawing. Despite not having the best reputation, they are still cute looking animals that can be made more adorable through a a cartoon drawing. This guide will look at the features needed to draw a cartoon rat.

Those of us that get beyond the stigma that rats are dirty and violent will find that these animals are the complete opposite in that they are very intelligent, clean, and sociable. They are not any different than any common household mammal, especially those which are bred to be raised as pets.

Artists can do their parts to help change its reputation through portraits, illustrations, animations, and cartoons. After all, it's been done in media multiple times. The challenge is to make sure that people realize it's a rat that is being drawn and not a mouse!

While it may be difficult to distinguish between a mouse and a rat, it is still possible. Visually, the major differences are body size, a longer snout, and a thicker tail. Though size differences are harder through a cartoon picture, everything else can be used to make a rat cartoon drawing.

Sketching out the rat cartoon drawing

There are two primary shapes that can be used to emphasize the shape of a rat. These shapes are the oval and the teardrop. On a sketch, use ovals to create the head, limbs, paws, and ears, while using the teardrop to create the body.

When done right, the figure should be slender and not as compact. Already, it's a great way to differentiate it from a mouse. For the face, focus on a pointed nose through a triangle. Add in a mouth and eyes to complete the face.

rat cartoon drawing step 1 from cgattic.ca

Then, put a few lines around the paw regions to separate the ovals to form fingers. For the tail, have it drawn reasonably thick. The tail can be curved or straight depending on how much room there is on the canvas.

Now that the major features are established, go over it roughly to clean up the sketch by thickening the lines to bring out the distinguishable body parts and features. It's a good idea to do jagged lines as a means to suggest fur all around the animal.

Cleaning up the rat cartoon drawing

In any digital cartoon, creating a clean line art is crucial. To do that, create a new layer on top and fade out the messy drawing by changing its opacity settings. The idea is to trace over the rough drawing to create the outline.

Take some time to do a proper cleanup of the rat cartoon drawing line art. Setting the airbrush to change its thickness based on pressure sensitivity is a great way to get more control. At the same time, erase the intersecting sketch lines that were left behind when multiple ovals are used to create the form.


rat cartoon drawing step 2 from cgattic.ca

You can add details that were left out in the original sketch as well. For example, whiskers or teeth could be added in that weren't present before. These details can be drawn on a separate layer, manipulated to fit the face, and then merged back into the line sketch.

Throughout the entire process, take a careful look at the individual lines to make sure that areas that are closed off are isolated properly. This is vital for the coloring step as color can spill into these areas of the drawing otherwise.

Coloring the rat cartoon drawing

The good part about coloring a rat cartoon drawing is that there aren't a lot of colors to be concerned about. Usually, two tones is enough: one for the skin areas and one for the fur areas. One of the best methods to coloring a cartoon is to have a new layer just for color underneath the line drawing.

To quickly fill in the color of this new layer, select the line drawing, select an area using the magic wand, and then return the new layer to fill it in using the option Edit > Fill. Now you know why it's important to have areas closed off properly in the line drawing as it will save a lot of time.

rat cartoon drawing step 3 from cgattic.ca

Areas that require a pink tone would be the ears, nose, hands, tail, and feet. For the fur, use either a grey or brown hue. Of course, there are rats that have a white coat too. However, never fill the drawing with a pure white. Instead, opt in for a very light grey for white fur.

Even doing a general fill of flat colors, the rat cartoon drawing can be considered finished. For an added challenge, there can be extra textures or shading that can be added. This will be the final optional part of this guide.

Texturing the rat cartoon drawing

It doesn't hurt to add in some shading every now and then. With the simplistic colors of a rat, it's easy to put in simple textures to make the drawing stand out. Before painting anything, make sure that the layer is locked down to prevent spilling of paint strokes.

Using a chalk brush, start blocking out areas like the cheeks with a lighter grey. With circular motions, expand on the cheek. This will make the face pop up a bit better. For shadows, there are some right under the nose, the chin, and the inner ear hole.

rat cartoon drawing step 4 from cgattic.ca

When moving on towards the body, block in the arms first with a lighter grey. This will automatically make the arms pop out from the chest. Use the same painting method to make the hind legs pop from the lower body.

If there is a need to smooth out colors, a large soft round brush will do just nicely. You can also use this brush to glaze in some additional shadows on the underside. The last piece of the puzzle would be to adjust the overall color depth.

If the colors are too vivid, use the 'brightness/contrast' adjustment layer to reduce the contrast on the colors. This will mute the entire composition accordingly. For printing purposes, my rule of thumb is to create one or two shades lighter as colors printed out are usually much deeper.

When all this is done, we have a lovely cute cartoon rat that has an expression of approval. What other ways can you make the cartoon character unique? As this is just one of many ways to draw a cartoon rat, have fun with the possibilities!