Sun Cartoon Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

A simplified sun cartoon drawing is a neat art exercise that looks at the core shape of any object. We recognize the basic circle that is the center of the sun as well as the rays that emit from it. Follow along in this guide on creating a cartoon sun in Photoshop.

The sun has been worshiped since human civilization. Whether it is use religious symbolism or in a practical sense to guide explorers, there are plenty of documentations of this star in all forms of media.

One of the biggest challenges to creating a sun cartoon drawing is the urge to make it perfectly symmetrical. Without the proper tools, it can be time consuming to do. Luckily, the tools needed are present in Photoshop.

Through the process of drawing basic shapes that can be duplicated and rotated many times over to build the sun's rays, a cartoon sun is very easy to draw. We will discuss the specifics as well as some other neat tricks.

Building blocks of a sun cartoon drawing

For the actual sun, there will be two shapes to draw. A perfect circle is easily drawn by holding shift on the elliptical tool. Go to Edit > Stroke to change the selection into an outline of the circle.

Triangles for the sun's rays can be done polygonal lasso tool. Use guidelines on the canvas in addition to the shift key to lasso a wedge shape. Again, use the stroke option to outline it. After these two shapes are done, resize it to make the sun and the first ray.

sun cartoon drawing step 1 from cgattic.ca

To center it, select the entire canvas with the rectangular lasso tool. On the ribbon, there are centering options that can be used to place the object. These options will only be available once the entire canvas is lassoed to define the manipulation area.

For the rays, duplicate the triangle and rotate it a set degree. The rotational amount can be entered on the menu ribbon. By default, holding shift will rotate it an even 45 degrees. Once the first initial rotation is done, merge the layers together, duplicate, and rotate again to get all the necessary sun rays.

Altering the rays on sun cartoon drawing

Once the base drawing is complete, there are opportunities to change how the rays will look like on this sun cartoon drawing. This will be dependent on the filtering options available. These are accessed in Filter > Distort.

If there is a single direction that the rays should go, either clockwise or counter-clockwise, then the Twirl filter may be a the right one to choose. The final look will resemble a spiral-like appearance.

sun cartoon drawing step 2 from cgattic.ca

If the sun's rays are too long, the quickest way to remedy this is to use the Spherize filter. On the flip side, the Pinch filter will increase the ray's length all around. These filters can save a lot of time redrawing the length of the rays.

The last filter that works well with altering the rays is the zig-zag option. Some cartoon suns will have very wavy rays. This is a very easy way to create the same effect with minimal effort.

Coloring the sun cartoon drawing

Once the correct combinations of filters are applied to get the desired shape, the next step is to thicken up the lines on the cartoon drawing. This is completely optional but it does help in normalizing the thickness of the cartoon lines.

Again, duplicate, rotate, and merge the sun cartoon drawing to get the desired thickness and symmetry. For the coloring part of this objective, fill in the empty areas with a bright orange color on a separate layer.

sun cartoon drawing step 3 from cgattic.ca

To do that, select the empty areas of the line drawing using the magic wand tool. With the area lassoed in, create a new layer. Go to the menu and select Edit > Fill. Pick the right color using the eyedropper tool and hit OK to fill it in.

Since the rays and the main body of the sun is separated, have the colors be on two different layers: one for the circular body and one for all the rays present. The advantage of this setup will be seen in the next step.

Shading the sun cartoon drawing

The simple symmetry of the sun cartoon drawing works well with a radial gradient. Double click on the colored layer to bring up the layer styles option in Photoshop. Immediately, one of the settings available is called the 'gradient overlay.'

Using this feature, select a gradient that will work with the composition. In the same window, use the drop down menu and select the radial option for the type of gradient. The program will calculate the central point to make the gradient work with the circle shape.

sun cartoon drawing step 4 from cgattic.ca

Another useful layer style option to apply will be the 'inner glow.' This will give the outer perimeter a simple rim light needed to make the main body of the sun stand out better. Remember these settings as it will be used for the sun rays.

To speed up the process, entire layer styles can be copied from one layer to another. Just right click the circle layer, hit 'Copy Layer Style,' and then 'Paste Layer Style' on the sun ray layer. Adjust the colors as necessary.

Even though the layer style has been copied, the end result for the artist is that there is greater control of the gradients between the main body and the rays to fine tune any color boundaries and effects.

Now that the main drawing is done, the rest is deciding on how to further enhance it. Even a simple smiley face goes a long way to creating a neat sun cartoon drawing. Let the creativity flow free!