Turkey Cartoon Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

It's always nice to have a turkey cartoon drawing as a decoration during Thanksgiving time. It is even more impressive when you are the one that has drawn it. Use these tips presented in this guide to make a cartoon turkey on your own in a flexible digital format.

A turkey is a bird that have unique features that it's hard to mistaken it for anything else. The head is barren with a lot of excess skin growth. On the opposite end, the body has may fluffed up feathers that form multiple layers making the bird look plump.

Yet, when the feathers are removed, the proportions are no different from any other large land birds! Therefore, most of the time will be spent on emphasizing a large round body as everything else is comparatively easy to draw.

Other important features are the tiny thing feet, the primary feathers on the wings, and the tail that is usually depicted like an opened fan. When ready to begin, start off the drawing on a new layer in Photoshop.

Sketching out the turkey cartoon drawing

The initial sketch will consists of numerous circles that will guide the proportions of the turkey cartoon drawing. Use this step to decide on how big the head should be in relation with the rest of the figure. I've opted to have a bigger head as well as larger than normal feet.

The larger head emphasizes the large growth of skin above the beak, called the snood. A simple triangle is enough to suggest it. Moving to the rest of the body, small details are made on the tail to make it look like a fan while claws are added to the feet.

turkey cartoon drawing step 1 from cgattic.ca

After that, start to detail in the head. Since there are blue and red areas of color, another line is added to separate the head from the neck for coloring purposes. It is also in this step where the direction of the feathers is detailed in.

Having said that, the artist will determine just how complicated the feathers will be. While there are large patches of feathers on the bird, just showing the zone is enough. After that, begin finalizing the entire outline.

Cleaning up the turkey cartoon drawing

The clean up line art is where the artist decides what remains and what is removed. It is a balancing act that teeters on details versus an extremely stylized approach. I've opted for something in between for now as the main goal is to get the shape of the turkey perfect.

It is this step that large areas are clearly isolated for coloring. The head will contain an area for the snood that connects to the eyes, an area for the face, and area for the neck. The neck will end just above the breast area.

turkey cartoon drawing step 2 from cgattic.ca

While the body can be one color, certain patches of feathers are also isolated off. What is the most detailed areas on the body are the primary feathers on the wings and the large tail feathers. Again, this is completely up to the artist to decide how much detail goes into these parts of the body.

Moving on to the final area, which are the legs, the only difficult part is to make sure the toes look thin and natural. Therefore, rather than draw the toes using a straight line, curve the toes upwards and then downwards, like the letter 'S', so it naturally becomes the claw.

Coloring the turkey cartoon drawing

Adding color is fun but also tough in some aspects. The technique I use is the magic wand tool to tap an open area in the line drawing to select it, and then go back to the layer that contains the color to fill it in. This is why isolating the areas to be colored in is very useful.

Initially, the body has about a handful of large isolated blocks that needs to be filled in. The black color on a turkey is a bit misleading. It's actually a mix between white and black bands on each feather. More black or white can yield a black turkey with white bands or a white turkey with black spots.

turkey cartoon drawing step 3 from cgattic.ca

Thus, the artist has the freedom to choose which areas are black, grey, or white, in which there is no right or wrong answer. When that part is done, block in the feet with a dark yellow or brown to finish the main body.

Just like the patches on the body, the head has a few spots that will have different colors. The snood and the neck is red while the face is a light blue. It's OK to use a darker shade than normal as these areas will be lighten up in the next step.

Texturing the turkey cartoon drawing

Enhancing colors and textured details will be the primary focus of this last step. To protect the shape of the cartoon turkey, always lock the layer down before doing any major texturing or coloring. I can't stress this enough.

When ready, use the chalk brush to block in some skin bumps found on the neck and the head. There will be some shading underneath the eyes to make it indent into the head. For the forehead, use the dodge tool to increase the brightness of the blue hue.

turkey cartoon drawing step 4 from cgattic.ca

There's a special filter I like to use that helps blend in the textures a bit better. The filter is called the 'smart blur' or 'surface blur'. It essentially creates defined areas between a range of colors rather than blur the colors together, which helps with making the skin growth more apparent.

The filter can also be used on the body for the smaller feathers or bands found on the wings and tail areas. Of course, this is after the sections of feathered textures are drawn in manually using the chalk brush.

Regarding the body, this step is also an opportunity to review the line drawing. With how the smaller feathers found on the body are shaped or angled, it is recommended to go back to the line drawing to incorporate large patches of shadow into the line drawing.

To enhance the colors even further, use the 'brightness/contrast' adjustment layer option to create a global effect on the entire drawing. With that done, the turkey cartoon drawing is now finished and ready to be printed out for Thanksgiving!