Chris Desatoff is a cartoonist and blogger whose comic strips have been published in WriteHackr Magazine.
Hey everyone! In this easy cartooning tutorial for beginners, I'll show you how to draw a cute cartoon bat—and I'll break it down with step-by-step instructions and photos so that you can draw it and redraw it at your own pace. This is a fun, simple lesson that's easy enough for grownups and for kids.
Supplies You'll Need
- printer paper or notebook paper
- markers (optional)
- smartphone or tablet (optional)
(You can also draw this with a tablet and stylus, if digital art is your thing.)
One more thing: Stay tuned til the end where I'll share some simple cartooning tips that you can use to improve all of your comics characters—not just this vampire bat. Okay, let's get started.
Step 1: Draw the Head and Ears
If you've followed my zombie and kitty cat drawing tutorials, then you already know I like to use a square shape with rounded edges for the head.
The ears are basically just little triangles plopped on top of the head. I made these with the inner edges parallel to each other, but you can try out different variations to see how you like them.
Now that I think of it, I wish I had drawn one of the ears larger than the other to make the character look less symmetrical.
Step 2: Draw the Eyes
Sometimes I like to draw the eyes as square-ish shapes with rounded edges. But I also tried this one with circle eyes, and they looked pretty good too. Try both variations to see which shape you prefer for your bat's eyes. I like the eyes to be different sizes too; it just looks sillier to me (we'll talk more about this at the end of this cartooning tutorial).
Notice the placement on the head. The bottom edge of the eye sockets is pretty low on there. You might even go lower, so that they're practically resting on the bottom of the head. You might also like them closer together. Again...experiment with different variations.
I also like my cartoon eyes nice and big...
Step 3: Draw the Pupils
I thought I'd apply the expression, "Blind as a bat" to this drawing and make the eyeballs really goofy - to the point that you wonder whether this little guy can even see anything at all.
Now there are all kinds of different ways you can go with the eyes. For a more balanced, serious character, I would draw the eyes and pupils the same size, looking straight ahead.
But for a silly vampire bat who can't even fly in a straight line - you've got to mix things up and make things as odd as possible. It just makes the character look ridiculous, and that's what we're going for here.
Step 4: Draw the Teeth/Fangs
I skipped drawing the mouth and just put those sharp little fangs along the bottom of the bat's head. I used the same concept when I drew my cute cartoon zombie boy.
Step 5: Draw the Upper Edge of the Wings
Now we do the upper line of the wings.
Remember how I like the eyes to be asymmetrical? Well, I like to apply that same off-balance feeling to the wings here. If the wings were the exactly the same size, it would look too balanced - and clearly not silly enough.
Also, one wing is higher up on the body than the other one. You can exaggerate the different angles even more if you'd like, so that one wing is more vertical and the other more horizontal.
Maybe the next time you draw this little guy, try putting that wing on the right almost straight up and see how it looks.
Step 6: Finish Drawing the Wings
Okay, now we just finish the bottom lines of the wings and we're almost done.
Be sure to make them nice and pointy.
Step 7: Add Thick Lines and Photo Edits
Our cute little cartoon bat drawing was basically finished at the last step, but I like to go over my drawing one last time to thicken up some of the lines and add a little more weight and depth to the drawing.
I'm not big on color, but you can definitely go in at this point with markers or water colors and add some color to your bat and background.
You can also take a pic of it and color it on your phone or tablet using art apps like Tayasui Sketches or Art Rage.
For my pic, I just use the free photo app on my iPhone called BeFunky. It's a free app. I used the "Gritty HDR" effect about four times in a row to eliminate lines and shadows (I actually drew this on lined notebook paper).
Then I used the "Viewfinder 2", "Violet", and "TiltShift" effects to add that gritty look, blur the outside edges and add a hint of color.
Note: I also did one more thing... I angled my phone camera when shooting the final image.
Using Asymmetry to Create Goofy, Silly, Off-Balance Cartoon Characters
So throughout this beginner tutorial I've mentioned several times how using asymmetry and angles can make your characters look off-balance, goofy, silly, and all around cartooney.
But some things are easier to show than to tell, so before we wrap this up let's take a minute to see what a difference it makes when drawing comics characters symmetrically vs asymmetrically.
Symmetry vs. Asymmetry: Show Your Character's Personality
When you see the symmetrical bat and the asymmetrical bat, right away you can see that these two characters probably have very different personalities. At least, as an artist and cartoonist, you likely want to create characters with visual personality. And don't be afraid to go overboard—exaggeration is the foundation of cartooning. There's no such thing as too silly!
- Symmetrical: The symmetrical character seems more balanced and more stable, not just physically (flying through the night sky) but emotionally as well. So when you're drawing a character who is more serious, intelligent, mature, etc., you'll probably want to draw them more symmetrical. Even posing the character in a more symmetrical, stiff manner can make them appear to have a more serious personality.
- Asymmetrical: With the asymmetrical character, it's the exact opposite. Every physical feature is different: the eyes and pupils are different sizes, the ears have different shapes, the wings are totally mismatched. One tooth is broken. And the angle of the body as he's coming in for a landing makes him look even more off-balance. You start to wonder if this little guy even knows which way is up. You can almost hear him panting, huffing and puffing for air as he's awkwardly flopping through the sky. Compared to this one, the other (symmetrical) bat looks as graceful as an eagle swooping in on its prey.
It's not that one style is better than the other. Both are cute and fun. But as you get more serious about drawing comics characters, you'll want to use little details like this to diversify your characters, to visually give them some added personality and to create a feeling in your viewers as they look at your art.
Okay, so that's all I got for you today. I hope you have a fun time drawing your little cartoon vampire bat. Let me know what you think! And please share this cartooning tutorial with your friends if you think they'll enjoy it.
More From Cartoonist Chris Desatoff...
- How to Draw a Cute Cartoon Zombie Boy: Easy Step-By-Step
Learn how to draw a little cartoon zombie boy. BrAiNz...!
- How to Draw a Cute Cartoon Cat: Easy Step-by-Step
Learn how to draw a cute, cartoon kitty cat in a few easy steps. Meow!
C D (author) from USA on March 20, 2015:
Bahaha! RUSS! You kill me, bro. Good to see you on here. So how are you doing? I stopped Bubz ages ago (obviously). And to be honest, I'm hardly ever on here too. Look...you commented 5 weeks ago and I just saw it now...so that's how often I check on here.
Anyway, good to hear from you, man. I'll have to stop by your blog and see what you been up to.
russkeith on February 12, 2015:
I just found this on Pinterest and have to say you must be the greatest artist ever and an awesome teacher.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on November 29, 2014:
my son could draw this bat and he even changed it to a zombie, thanks, voted up
C D (author) from USA on March 06, 2013:
Thanks Jaime. I'm glad you liked them. And thanks for the thumbs up =)
Jaime on March 06, 2013:
That really WAS "super easy." I loved it! I liked your cat one too, but that was a harder one. It took me a couple of times to get it right, but now it's easier.
I clicked the "thumbs up" too for you.