The Power of Cute: create your own illustrated human characters | Evgeniya Pautova | Skillshare

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The Power of Cute: create your own illustrated human characters

teacher avatar Evgeniya Pautova, Drawing happy things

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Intro: Cute Characters


    • 2.

      Cuteness Formula


    • 3.

      Body to Head Proportions


    • 4.

      Facial Features


    • 5.

      Pose and Dynamic


    • 6.

      Drawing the Character


    • 7.

      Accesoiries and Personality


    • 8.

      Outro and Thank you!


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About This Class

The ability to create cute characters is a very helpful skill in most of illustration and design markets.

In this class, you’ll learn to identify features of cute characters and will draw a unique cute human character of your own. We’ll study the character part by part from the body to head proportions to facial features to little (but so important!) details like hands and feet. In the end, I believe you’ll feel encouraged to try your new skills and draw an original cute character of your own.

You’ll be creating:

  • A unique illustrated character using the step-by-step process from this class
  • It’s gonna be a child character. You’re free to make it as whimsical as you wish. 
  • You don’t have to follow all the rules I mention. I will share my observations and general recommendations.  It’s good to know the rules before breaking them :) And you do have my permission to break it!

Why take this class?

  • Drawing kids is fun - it makes you smile, and it makes kids and adults smile so it’s a win-win
  • *Kids come in many shapes and they have unique personalities that are so fun to capture!
  • In illustration you have more freedom than in realistic drawing - you can play with features and draw from your imagination, and you can create worlds and things that didn’t exist before! That’s an endless pool of inspiration!

Who is this class for

  • You don’t need any prior experience to take this class. I’ll guide you through the drawing process step by step. 
  • If you’re able to hold the pencil and draw a couple of lines and simple geometric shapes that should be enough. It’s also cool  if you’ve already tried creating characters before - you’ll be able to add some next-level features to your characters and focus on particular characteristics of THE CUTE
  • *Of course the more you practice the more confident your drawings appear and the more opportunities you’ll see to explore and apply your skills to draw
  • But please don’t forget to have fun and just let your mind go free
  • So as you see... Everyone is WELCOME  to the class!  So, take your seat, make yourself some nice tea, and ENJOY the class! :)


  • I’ll be using Procreate but you’re free to choose any app and any graphic tablet. If you were walking around your iPad and somehow couldn't start drawing on it - this is it! The sign from the universe :) Do it today!  Otherwise, just take paper and pen/liner/marker, and a simple pencil for making the drafts. 
  • For this class you’re free to choose any materials you feel comfortable using. My explanations will be line-based but it translates to other drawing styles very well 

Skills you’ll learn: 

  • Child character design
  • 2d illustrated character
  • Line drawing style
  • Body proportions
  • Facial proportions
  • Building, developing, and accessorizing the character

You can also find me here:

instagram: wowyellow_art
facebook: wowyellow_art

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Evgeniya Pautova

Drawing happy things


Hi there, my name is Evgeniya and I’m so happy you’re visiting my profile!

I’m a Russian Illustrator living in Prague.

My brand name is Wow Yellow and making art is my most favorite thing in the world, even after 10+ years of creative career :)

You can find more of my artwork on my Instagram and my site

I've gon at MA in pre-school psychology but I've always wanted to make something artsy for my work so I have made a career as a graphic designer.

A few years ago I switched to making digital illustrations and now it’s my full-time freelance career. I create books, surface patterns, textile designs, greeting cards and work with clients all around the world... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Intro: Cute Characters: Hi, my name is you've gained about about from while I'm a professional illustrator and surface pattern designer based in Bragg. Here's Publica, my Boston Terrier. Some of you liked hearing the previous videos. So here she is again, helping me with the subject of my current class. Because this time we will be drawing cute characters. Over last six years of my Illustrator per year, I've done a bunch of fun Keith related projects like picture books, coloring books, character design, clothing, print patterns, and some totally unexpected projects. Besides that, I've got a master's degree in child psychologists, so yes, that's right. I'm a professional in studying cute stuff. I wanted to tell you, drawing cute things. Is king. Why you may ask, well, besides, people go, Oh, when we see acute stuff, it has some major benefits for your creative. Here to, here in just a few markets closely related to Q, if characters, logotypes, let's cut design, locates, t-shirts and gloving prints, kid comics, cute family portraits, and of course, board books, coloring books and picture books for children. And the list can go on and on. In this class, you'll learn how to identify what is cute. And we'll draw and the original cube character of your own. We'll study the character part by part from body to head proportions, moving to facial features. And Bill finished with lethal but so important details like hands and feet. And then I believe you will feel encouraged create your own super cute character. In this class, I will be using human characters to explain you the basic of calculus. But stay tuned because I plan to make another one on animal characters. 2. Cuteness Formula: Let's keep in mind that even though we draw stylized illustrations, not realistic, every picture on the Internet is subject to copyright. I don't recommend to base your art on references heavily. Just observe general features, get inspired and look at many photos at the same time, rather than focusing on just one image, you most likely won't get in trouble if you use the reference for educational purposes. But in commercial illustration, it is vital to pay close attention to what you base your drawings on. Now, let's talk about the kidneys formula. In the 40s. Conrad Lorenz found out the baby's schema. It's a set of features to find Q to cross species, no matter if it's a human and animal or perhaps even fish. Big rounded head, big guys, rounded body, large forehead, overall cabinets, and smooth skin. In this study, they manipulated the photos of babies and animals to make them appear presumably more cute. And then measured the brain response was proven, but people are more willing to take care for more cute characters. We have this subconscious needs to care for cute creatures. You can even ask yourself the question, how likely do I care for this little thing? It's a nature survival mechanism because the baby's survival depends on adults caring for it. So everything including babies and animals. So if they're above features, the process is kicked. See the summary of the key features again. As I use my dog paprika as a status object, they can live in large foreheads. Other alternatives. This little skin doesn't have it so that it's okay. I like that anyway. 3. Body to Head Proportions: So how do we know if the character illustrated is a child or adult? Normal, realistic, grown and body consists of eight or nine hands, while kids are usually anything between four and 7.5 heads. Now I will draw very schematic and doubt. Please don't laugh at my clumsy drawings. This is just a demonstration. I'll talk about the arms and feet a bit later. So this is a normal adult character. Then let's draw the kid something in the middle, about six heads. So remember one thing, the head stays very similar in size throughout the life while the body grows and changes the overall proportions. So this is a kid and a very small child. Probably a toddler would be let's make it foreheads. I have was helping lines behind. So the hip line would be somewhere in the middle of the body. Please note how hens are reaching a little bit below the hip line, but for illustrated character so they can go, they have shorter limbs. It within Paris. Now when the capture the overall proportions, I want to mention what an illustration I like to exaggerate things and we can amplify some specific features. Nobody can forbid us from doing so. So if you want to play with the scale of the proportions, you can make the head even bigger. You can ask how much bigger? Well, let's see. What if I do head size of half of the bargain. Then I remember the hip line is somewhere in the middle. And kids are normally have shorter and softer limbs and tiny feet and tiny hint. Okay, how about that? Now, I want to mention a few things to keep in mind. Here's the obvious one. If you draw a kid next to a doubt kid, it will obviously be much smaller in size. Second one, this headstands very similar in size. Throughout the life. The body grows. The third one, whichever style you use to draw the legs and arms. Remember what were smooth, rounded, and usually tiny overall shape of the body for babies and kids is softened and round and smooth. On the contrary, you can think of teenage characters who can have disproportionately long glimpse. And body shape is kind of all energy and angular. For drawing legs and arms, you can just drop the joint and draw wonky kind of limps overall. Or you can just go four sticks, or even just geometrical figures. But remember what oval and rounded shapes overall might be looking more cute and childlike. In the distillation, It's all about the contrast. Now, you can use them to underline the features of your cute little character. In the next class, we will talk about facial features and proportions of the character's face overall. 4. Facial Features: Being asked, here, I want you to think about if you're drawing the eyes or the eyes and the pupil's eyes could look very cute and minimal but circular Eyes brave the pupils are all eyes. Allow a little bit more space for interaction between the characters. Look at my example. Plan looks like what's two characters communicate with whichever. Second feature. Usually the face child is either oval or circular. Very smooth and grounded. On the contrary, think of an adult illustrated characters face the more pointy and Angie. This guy looks older than the character. Just because his chin is pointing Angular. Of course, even when you illustrate children characters, you can try drawing triangular or square shaped heads. But consider steel softening up the edges so it wouldn't look too sharp. Here's one that's always trick. For children. Facial features are usually squished together. In the middle of the face. Also where usually placed at the bottom half of the head. So if you draw two crossing lines, horizontal and vertical in the middle of your circle and place the face in the bottom half. You can't go wrong. Another thing to remember is that eyes and nose and the mouth, they are very close to each other. Child, for an adult person IS would be somewhere in the middle of the hand and nose and the mouth would be further away. I just wanted to say with eyes placed on both sides of the head could also be perceived as cute. Please keep in mind the specifics of your individual drawing style and trace this information just as overall recommendations. Now let's talk about the nodes and child nodes would be very tiny and NADH To defined, especially if we draw in the character in profile. So it wouldn't be sticking out too much. That's more characteristic of a doubt. Instead, it would be sticking out just a little bit. Another node on the profile of cute character is what it's usually not very defined. So let's say for an adult, it would be very curvy and nose would be showing up more and the chin would be more pointy. For a child, we would keep the definition of it very minimal. The chin would this soft and rounded. The nose would be tiny and not showing up too much, and the forehead would be large and curvy. Let's go through it again. The gene would be rounded and smooth. The nose would be non-defined and tiny. Eyes, on the contrary, would be being including the large pupils. Face of all is smooth and rounded. Features of the face overall as squished together in the bottom half of the face oval. The definition of the profile is minimized. And of course, don't forget that you are totally allowed to break the rules and do your own thing. Now, I want to share the most guarded secret of all the illustrators. How do I add the extra cuteness, their character fast. You can just add the blushes to the character's face. That's it. Now you know as well. In the next lesson, we will talk about falls and the figure dynamic. Stay tuned. 5. Pose and Dynamic: Even though the main focus of our class is how to make the character cute, I like to give you a few quick tips about the character's pose. Usually, when we learn to draw, redraw, everything is symmetric and stiff, but the stick figure does not look too natural. We normally don't stand symmetrically with our arms stretch along with the body, right? So why does it make sense to make dynamic poses? It captures the movement of the character. To capture character's personality through a specific way they move. It helps to tell the character story. Also, it might be boring to look at the static objects because the viewer's eye doesn't travel around the drawing. Here are a few practical tips how to add dynamic to your character. First, to make sure the finger does not fall, make sure we have to wait under the hip. Then the easiest way to add the dynamic to the false is to tilt the characters x is in relation to the Canvas. Make a diagonal, e.g. if your character is running, the more tilted it is to foster Durand. Look at this example where I demonstrate running finger. This first-person is jogging quite relaxing. The arms and legs are bent versus this upper figure is running furiously supervised and its body axis is almost parallel to the ground versus their arms and legs are almost completely stretched. Next thing you can do is to make the body S-shaped. Note how the body shape is round if there's an accent to the bottom part. We talked about it in lesson number two about the body proportions. You can straighten and bend the opposite. Hands and legs, don't counterbalance. And I've made a few quick examples of how this principle, my work in action. Also, if you're a nerd like me, try searching Michelangelo's counterbalance on Google to find out more about this fascinating topic. So the key takeaway from his glass is to remember about the dynamic. But also you don't have to go over the top, given the tilt of the character's head, adds a lot of points to your drawing. So keep experimenting with it and find out what works for you. Back. In the next video, we put together all the knowledge from the previous lessons, and finally put together a cute character of your own. Stay tuned. 6. Drawing the Character: The final character, I will be using my under sketch, the clinic, because I draw on my iPad. I got them benefit of using multiple layers on top of each other. So now I'm creating a row sketch. I do those supporting lines vertical one, horizontal one for the ground. And now I liked me start marking the main part. The character goes on to handle the body, the legs, the arms. I decided to throw a younger kid. So the head is roughly as big as the whole body. For simplicity, I also divided the head to house and I drew two symmetrical eyes in the bottom half of the claims. Now when all-important five sine place, I can focus on the facial features. Hydraulic tiny nose, little eyebrows, very tiny mouth. Now, I drove big pupils because the character is very young. It's a baby or perhaps that toddler. Now, it seems like my rough sketch is done. So I could create a new layer on top of it. If you draw digitally, feel free to do the same. I increase the opacity of my brush to draw a cleaner version of the same character on top of my data. I'm using, my draft is in place and then throw cleaner and more details lines on top of it. Meanwhile, I've decided what my character is going to be a girl with pigtails. Little trick here is to add a little bit of volume for the hairstyle. For deliverability. Make the character a little bit more guarding. I decided I didn't highlight top eyelid, make it a bit darker to create the effect of eyelashes. But it's very important to not overdo it. So your character wouldn't look too cartoony. Now I'm just throwing big dark pupils, once again, adoptive with the color. And using the eraser tool, I will add the sparkle, the horizon. Now, all that's left is just to outline the body using cleaner lines. There'll be adding accessories and dressing up our characters in the next lesson. So I'm not focusing on it for now. I'll just quickly finish the feet and hands his character. And then I can draw another one in more of a dynamic pose. Here I will speed up the video a bit for you. Basically I'm going through the same steps, starting with supporting lines, going from overall shape of the body towards the details. Supporting lines are there to help us. So please don't hesitate to use them. And remember what we have as many attempts, as many layers as we need to create a result we like. I see you in the next video where the accessorize our characters and add a little bit more of a personality to them. 7. Accesoiries and Personality: Accessories help us to tell the story. This is very controlled. Shine and show off your character's personality. I placed my artwork from the previous lesson and lower the opacity of it. So I, there'll be drawn into accessories on top of the base I created. Previously. I decided I give my girl character acute warm sweater and scarf. For how balls I thought, I will add just a little bit more dynamic. So I will draw her as if she's waving her hand and I will bend her legs and labeled data as well. Because I drew her hands are very tiny. I don't focus on the fingers in this case. I just keep them short and the whole hand tiny. Just to make it look more interesting, I decided, and they'll dress. It goes hippie style, bell-shaped genes. I don't have the need to focus on how faith and her shoes too much, simply because they have very little. So I didn't have a lot of room for expression here. Now, I will utilize her face hairstyle and how head overall. I am repeating my lines, pour ice and our facial features. I think I will give her cute cat ears niche I saw keeping straight wire. Or even better, perhaps a unicorn head band. Yes, it's small fun. Now I will try to add some nerdy glasses. Kinda start to live the overall funny nerdy local. Her wanted to add more and messy hairstyle hair. I'm thinking I will just add cute little cross party, tiny purse and she will be good to go. Now, I will add details and accessorize my second character. To make it more inclusive, I decided to turn this character into a boy. So I will just change the hairstyle. I thought I will dress him up and then jumps in. And I gave him a basket full of adults to support the narrative of the apple hanging off a tree branch. Now I will speed up the video a little bit for you because I'm using exactly the same principle as before, clarifying lines and making the whole illustration looking more clean and neat. So now that my characters are finalized, I honestly cannot wait to see yours. Please share it in the project section. I'm looking forward. 8. Outro and Thank you!: You've made it. Congratulations. We've covered everything from body to head proportions, to facial features to dynamic pose. And two, how to personalize your character. And what features of the character make them appear as cute. And how little details can help you show the young age of the character. If there's one thing you take away from this class is what we've create. Cuteness comes great responsibility. Just kidding, just keep drawing. You really get better with practice. And you grow faster when you observe the world around you. To really reflect on the things you create. Remember the basic cuteness formula, but feel free to experiment with it. I dare you to go and check your pet or your favorite Disney character for these markers. So cuteness. Upload your project to the class gallery so we can all take a look. I really cannot wait to see what you come up. Please review this class to help more people find out about it and let's be friends on social media. Shelby, definitely not miss an update about my next classes. Go to my website and subscribe to my newsletter. I will be very happy to see you there. Thank you again for watching. I'll see you in my next classes and stay creative.