In this guide, let's have some fun with drawing a zombie cartoon drawing. Whether it is a human or an animal, anything can be turned into a cartoon zombie to be used in merchandise, games, literatures, movies, and countless other medias.
Rather than draw limitless possibilities of living things to be turned into a zombie, the tips and tricks found in this demonstration will use the human body instead. However, if there is something that you like turned into a zombie, do not hesitate to take up the challenge!
Fantasy themes like the zombie and other undead tropes allows the artist a lot of freedom of expression and creativity. It really challenges the artist to not only look at the right form, but to modify it in a way that it still resembles some rules of physics.
To be precise, a zombie cartoon drawing may have the character's limbs bend in unnatural ways. Any locomotion or pose will still adhere to a center of gravity. That is the main abstraction to keep in mind when drawing a zombie cartoon drawing.
The zombie cartoon drawing will start off with a mannequin used to create a human body. In it, simple shapes and lines are used to form the head, chest, pelvis, as well as the limbs. The most important part of the mannequin is the backbone.
This spine is what keeps the character balanced. Try to keep half the weight on either side balanced as much as possible when thinking of a pose. This is key because zombies rarely make exaggerated movements that shift the body weight around that much.
When the pose is complete, built on it to thicken it up and generate a cartoon body on top. This is an opportunity to add in facial features, separating the palm into fingers, the feet into toes, and adding rough idea of clothing.
Throughout the sketch, think about what other bits can be detailed in. For instance, the mouth will have small dentures with fleshy bits carved out. Another area to consider is the random rips on the clothes.
The line drawing is the result of cleaning up the rough sketch. There are many tools available in Photoshop to do this like the simple airbrush and eraser tools. For ideal cartoon lines though, the pen tool is necessary as it makes a clean vector path which can be filled in easily.
Regardless of method, what is important is to focus on drawing the necessary lines needed to show a figure that has most of the flesh rotted away. On the face, the nose will be rotted the most (showing the skull openings), followed by the cheeks.
The artist can also decide to include eyeballs or not. When it comes to the mouth, crooked teeth or showing bits of the gum line adds to the zombie cartoon drawing. Hair can also be added or not depending on the condition of the scalp.
When working on the body, refine the thin and crooked limbs. Also, rips on the clothing will be needed to indicate a state of decay or rough treatment. Have simple holes drawn out in random places while creating jagged lines to create a tearing effect.
The various stages of skin decay may have the zombie cartoon drawing in different colors. It can range from a pale brown, grey, green, or even blue. So long as it's not a warm color, almost any cool color is a safe choice as it indicates that blood has stopped flowing.
For the fill portion of this guide, create a new layer and put it under the line drawing. Carefully, using the wand tool, select an area of the line drawing that will be filled in. Then, go to Edit > Fill on the newly created layer to fill in the right colors.
Remember, pale colors are the key to this step. That means any clothing items, like a shirt and jeans, will be filled in with a grey or flat blue. The only place that has some sort of warm color should be the mouth.
Some artists like to have multiple layers for each individual color, rather than one layer, for greater control. This is just a personal preference. However, please note that switching between multiple layers may slow down the coloring process.
Now that the flat colors are in place, lock down this layer (or layers depending on how the colors were split in the previous step). This ability to preserve the shape of any color is an asset for coloring as it prevents any accidental spilling of color.
The texturing process will require a bit of imagination. Especially for the head, there will be multiple areas of wrinkles and color degradation to be added. The best brush to use is the chalk brush to block in lines of wrinkles or to dab in color differences.
For more added effects, there might some bruising of the skin. To do that, paint in blotches of blue or green randomly around the face. It's very subtle but it helps enhance the overall picture.
There might be traces of dried blood found on the clothing as well. Again, use the chalk brush to block in minimal bits of red around the rips in the clothing and parts of the limbs to show scrapes.
The last piece of the puzzle to further bring out the zombie cartoon drawing colors is to put a small rim light. A rim light is just a simple outline around the character. This is an optional step but it does help give an impression that there is a light source somewhere.
When everything is done, take a step back an double check the drawing. Are the colors working for the composition? What can be improved? What can be added? Just use your judgment, imagination, and drawing knowledge to complete the final picture!