Cartoon Person Skeleton Setup Video
It's a good idea to create your cartoon person with a skeleton underlying his or her skin. There are a couple of reasons why you may want to do this. A skeleton gives you a great starting point that you can use to pose your character in many different positions, and it also gives you a familiar framework that you can always go back to, no matter what kind of character you are drawing.
Without wasting any more time, let's get right into creating a skeleton that you can begin using to create and pose a cartoon person of your own.
Basic proportions for a fully grown human are approximately 8 heads tall. Because this is a cartoon character we're not going to get hung up on standard proportions, but if you want to learn more about drawing realistic people you can check out the Figure Drawing Lessons.
To keep things simple we'll draw this cartoon person from the front view. Start off by drawing a circle for the head. We want to keep the skeleton simple so that once we become familiar with it's structure we can draw it in many different positions quickly and easily.
Add a short line for the neck. Remember here that we're drawing a simple skeleton. Become familiar with this initial setup before you start to experiment too much with squashing and stretching it to fit all sorts of different characters.
Next up is the ribcage. The ribs should flair slightly as they extend downward from the neck. If you look at and think about the way your own ribs are structured you should notice that they are rounded. Though you won't be able to see the roundness from the front view, it's important to keep the form of the ribs in mind when you begin to pose your cartoon person later. At the top of the ribs you can draw two small circles to indicate the shoulders. This is a very simplified version of the skeleton but it should give you more than enough information to help design and pose any kind of cartoon person you can imagine.
Draw another line down from the middle of the ribs for where the spine connects to the hips. The hip bone is trapezoid. If you look at the side view of this skeleton you can see the full width of the simplified hips. Add two small balls to each side of the hips were the thigh bone connects to the pelvis.
How to Draw the Arms and Legs:
The arms should start at the shoulder ball and extend down almost to the bottom of the ribs where the elbow is. Draw another ball for the elbow. From the elbow draw the forearm downward to just around the bottom of the hips. This is where the wrist is, and for the hand we'll just add a block shape for now.
I personally find that it's easier to worry about the fingers when you are making your final drawing rather than at the beginning when you are just starting to design and pose your character. These lengths of the upper and lower arms should be kept in mind at all times when you are posing your character. You're free to lengthen or shorten the arms as you wish, but when you start to ignore standard human proportions too much you may get into dangerous territory where you're characters begin to look too unbelievable.
And now for the Legs: Just like the arms, we'll draw lines extending down for the upper and lower leg that are joined at the knee with another ball. At the bottom of the lower leg draw a block for the foot. That'll give us a decent skeleton for our cartoon person.
Watch the video below to see how this all comes together...
Ok Great, I have a Skeleton of a Cartoon Person, now what?
There are three things that you can do once you have your skeleton. You could try to draw the skin and muscle on top of him to look like a finished character, you could try to pose him, or you could create some more skeletons to get familiar with the setup and experiment with different shapes and sizes for the body parts.
I suggest that you keep practicing the skeleton construction until you are very familiar with it to the point that you won't forget it. Really learn it by having fun and playing with it. See what you can make your skeleton do and what kinds of interesting positions you can put him into.