Turn a Photo into a Cartoony Artwork with Procreate App! | Maria Lia Malandrino | Skillshare

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Turn a Photo into a Cartoony Artwork with Procreate App!

teacher avatar Maria Lia Malandrino, Story / Illustration / Animation

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.

      01. Intro to the course


    • 2.

      02. Drawing realistic bodies


    • 3.

      03. Drawing cartoony characters


    • 4.

      04. Procreate App Overview


    • 5.

      05. How to choose a Reference Picture


    • 6.

      06. Sketch!


    • 7.

      07. Clean-up!


    • 8.

      08. Flat colour!


    • 9.

      09. Lighting and Shading


    • 10.

      10. Wrap-up!


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About This Class

Have you just gotten your sparkly new iPad and want to get drawing? Have you already used Procreate and wanna learn more about its brushes, blending methods and inner secrets? Wanna just learn more about drawing in a cartoony/comic book way? You're in the right place! Procreate is THE app for drawing and painting on your iPad - trust me. 

In this class I'm going to break down in 3 easy steps the process of drawing a cartoony portrait starting from a reference picture, as well as give you useful insight on sketching the human body and a full introductory overview of Procreate App.

If you DON'T HAVE an iPad you can take my class Turn a Photo into a Cartoony Artwork (in 3 easy steps) for Photoshop, OR, you can follow my tips by using pen and paper - the fundamentals of sketching are the same whatever the means!

No or very little experience is required for this, as I'm going guide you step by step, just pop on the Apple Store and download Procreate. 

At the end of the class you will have a beautiful digital artwork of yourself, a friend or a loved one and I'd love to see the result of your hard work! As I did for my previous class I'm going to give shoutouts to some of you guys on my social media (*EDIT* I've recently changed my Instagram handle - you can find me here as @art_bymemo) so please upload your projects, I'd love to see them!

Are you ready? Let's get started!

ps. You can find more of my art checking out my social media (link in bio), buy it on my online store and read my ramblings on my blog! Get in touch!

pps. I've attached the figure drawing guidelines to the project materials, so you guys can use them if you feel insecure about your cartoony sketching skills!


The photographer whose picture I'm using as reference has recently changed her handle to: natashawilson.co - If you can't find the reference picture this is a direct link.


Meet Your Teacher

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Maria Lia Malandrino

Story / Illustration / Animation

Level: Beginner

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1. 01. Intro to the course: Hi guys, and welcome back. This is my second class on Skillshare. My name is Maria, I'm an illustrator, animator, and story artist from Turin, Italy. My first class was called How to Draw cartoony portrait in three easy steps and I got amazing feedback in here, and I'm really happy about it. I'm really happy you guys enjoyed it. You can still join that class, which is about drawing a portrait in Photoshop and using a welcome syncate in my case, or because I got quite a few requests. Where you guys, to do a similar class but on using an iPad and using Procreate App which is an amazing tool. Since I have an iPad and I do use Procreate App, here's a class about that. In this class, we are going to learn how to use Procreate App. I'm going to give you a general overview of the app and how it works. It's brushes, its settings, et cetera. Also, we're going to talk about cutting proportions, in general topics about sketching and line out, clean up, coloring, and then we're going to move on to the final touches, which is basically where we add shading and lighting and how to use the blending settings in Procreate App, which are amazing. You can follow along if you have an iPad, an iPad Pro or even just pen and paper really because all these information is also general character. If you like to draw cartoony characters, you might as well use one of these as well. If you guys want to develop your own style and you don't want to follow 100 percent my style, it's totally okay. I'm really happy to see you guys experimenting and developing your own style, your own technique, and this is my workflow, and you're very welcome to it, but also you're very welcome to express yourself. I think it's great that you guys are doing it. Let's just get started. 2. 02. Drawing realistic bodies: Hi guys, welcome back. In this video, I'm going to talk about the proportions of the human body and how we can translate them from realistic to cartoony. A word of caution before we start, no drawing will ever show true to life proportions. First, because of human inaccuracy and second, because exaggerating proportions is a way to express one's vision of the world and it's something very personal to each artist. This said, in order to draw believable anatomy in cartoony style, we still have to learn how to draw realistic characters. Here I have a drawing of somewhat realistic proportions. As you might know, the ancient Greeks had already developed a mathematical method to define the perfect proportions of a human body. They calculated that the head of an average human would fit seven times and a half in their whole body. In order to draw a graceful and pleasant looking figure, they decided that the head should fit eight times the length of the body. They already altered slightly the original proportions of a body. We can also see that the shoulders and the hips are somewhat aligned in an athletic female character, whereas the hips would be larger than the shoulders in an older or slightly pudgier, more curvy female character. The neck is roughly as large as the head since it has to support it and the hands roughly reach halfway down the thigh. Now, let's focus on facial features. Realistic human faces are not perfectly symmetrical. In a realistic drawing, we might want to respect that. The face will split in three horizontal areas containing the forehead, the nose, and the mouth and chin. On the vertical axis, we have the central alignment of the nose and the mouth. Now this is important, the corners of the mouth vertically align with the center of the eye. Now that we have a clearer idea of realistic human proportions, let's see how these change when we go into more cartoony in the next video. 3. 03. Drawing cartoony characters: Hi guys, and welcome back to your proportions video. In the last video, we saw how realistic proportions work and now we're going to approach cartoony styles. First, let me say that there are many different cartoony styles. There's Manga, traditional Western comic book, Marvel, Disney, Cartoon Network. Each of these styles has taken the human figure and modified its proportions in a different way. What I'm going to show you is simply my way of interpreting the body, which is somewhat Disney, but has also many other influences. The most obvious change is that the head will noticeably increase its size, fit in less times in the body. The central area of the body, shoulder to crotch, will shrink in length, allowing the thighs get super long because I love long legs. The curves and the feet are usually the same. As for the facial features, let's look at them in detail. We still divide the face in three horizontal areas. We've a central alignment. However, the eyes will get a lot bigger, because the eyes are the mirror of the soul. Whilst the mouth will roughly stay the same size, the eyes are bigger and they will no longer be aligned with the corners of the mouth, but instead we can still align them with the corners of the nose. The nose will become a bit smaller and can be ascribed to a small triangle. This is true for every part. When you want to simplify the proportions of the human body in a realistic way and you want to turn it into cartoon, you have to look for the basic geometrical shapes that these body parts remind you of. The nose, for example, looks like a triangle. That's what we're going to ascribe it to. The head looks like a circle, so that's what we're going to use. This way, we can simplify the realistic human body into cartoony, into shapes that are more easily comprehensible. Remember, one last tip, your characters are not just pretty faces. They also have brains. What this means is that when you draw a side portrait or an angled portrait, you have to draw a bigger circle to contain the brain. The circle that starts underneath the eyes is the one that will be split in half on the side to allow for the ears and the jaw to come out. On the back, you need to protrude it a little bit so that you can fit the brain into the character. On top of that, you can draw the hair, of course, unless your character is bald, which would be totally cool. Now that we know how to draw an average cartoony buddy, let's go ahead and choose a reference to draw from. See you in the next video. 4. 04. Procreate App Overview: Hi guys and welcome back. In this video we are going to talk about Procreate App and see how it works. First of all, I get a lot of people asking me whether they should get an iPad or a work on tablet to draw. Well, it depends on your needs. I personally prefer the feeling of the Apple pencil when I draw. I feel like it's incredibly close to real life drawing and I stand it every day that a tool like this exists. This said, an iPad is still a tablet with a limited hard drive and limited CPU. So when I work on a bigger illustration, I used the Wacom Cintiq and Photoshop on my computer. As a tool for sketching and painting on the go, the iPad is definitely my preferred choice, but at my workplace I use a Wacom Cintiq. My advice would be, if you are starting out and you can afford a pen display tablet, I would get an iPad Pro, mostly because you can use it for drawing and for many, many other things. This said, let's get started and open the app. The first thing you see is your artwork gallery. You can create a new document by tapping on the top right corner. If you want to create a folder of drawings, you simply have to tap a document and drag it on top of another. You can then rename the folder as you please. If you want to create a new preset Canvas size, you can tap again on the top right corner and select, Create Cover Size, which is pretty self-explanatory. Here you can enter the length and the height size as well as the resolution. Unfortunately, there's a limit to the layers that you can use. Bigger Canvases mean less available layers. As you can see, that's why I use Photoshop when I planned a bigger illustration with lots of characters. But if you want to share, delete or duplicate any document, you simply have to swipe left and select the option you need. Let's go into my sketches folder and create a new Canvas. Here the interface is pretty minimal, which I love. On the right, you have your color pallets, which you can adjust with these sliders. You can view the color swatches with different modes and you can create preferred color palettes and rename them. On the right, you can also find your brushes which are divided by category. If you tap again on a selected brush, you can edit it. However, I must say I haven't created any custom brushes yet because the ones that are on here are pretty awesome already. I like to use the HB brush when I sketch or maybe the dry ink brush with the lower opacity. The two sliders on the left let you increase or decrease the size of the brush and its opacity. As I said, for sketching, I prefer to lower the opacity of the brush to give a fresher look. I also really like the color blue, which makes me feel more creative for some reason. Feel free to experiment sketching with different colors and brushes. Sometimes it can really help to free the flow your hand. On the right side, you can also find the Layers panel. You can move each layer by tapping and dragging it. If you tap on the letter that you can see there, you can change the blending settings of the layer, which we'll see in detail in the class about lighting and shading. If you swipe left on the layer, you can clear, delete or duplicate whereas if you tap it, you can select the contents of the layer. To lock the layers pixels, which allows you to draw only on what's already colored, you have to swipe right with two fingers. We'll see this when we flat color the artwork, that's very important. I guess that's all for the Procreate overview and it's time to choose a reference picture. See you in the next video. 5. 05. How to choose a Reference Picture: Hi, guys. Welcome back in this video, we're going to talk about a topic often forgotten, which is how to truth the reference picture. Since we don't normally have life growing models to copy from, it's important to choose carefully a photographic reference off the post that we want to use for a character. The reason behind this is that if you draw straight from imagination, your anatomy is probably going to be off, and we've seen that it's important to draw believable and after me, even when you're drawing like cartoony style. Similarly, if you use someone else's growing for inspiration, you're probably not going to develop your own cartoony style. So it's better to take a picture and find your own way to make the proportions marker to me . See it this way. A drawing without proper anatomy. It's like a building without good foundations. So where can we find good photography and how do we choose it? Whenever I look for a reference picture for a portrait, I always consider color palette and lighting. First, I've noticed that my best pieces always feature really bold colors and nice dramatic lighting. It just works for my cartoonist title so that's what I go for. I usually go on Instagram to find my reference pictures. I have a number of photography accounts that I follow with amazing photography, and one of these that I often use is a photographer called Dina Station. I think that's how you pronounce it, who takes amazing female bore traits. And that's what we're going to use for today's class. By the way, if you want, you can upload your possible options for references in the social project so that your classmates and I can give you feedback on what we think would be the best picture to turn into opportunity style. So back to my choice. To insert pictures in your procreate document, you simply have to tap on the little branch on the left and select. Insert a photo, which will take you to your photo gallery after you've imported it. You can resize it by tapping the arrow in the top two section and making sure that you have magnetic resize selected so that it scares proportionately. I have shortlisted four pictures. They all have ball colors, but I have to choose one. So number three features kind of a difficult part is to portray So I would eliminate it because it isn't really appropriate for this class because it could be also for bringing us . Number four doesn't have enough over lighting contrast to show you guys the light England new settings in procreate. So I guess it comes down to choosing between the two top options. And I'll just go with the one that inspires me the most at the moment. And the 1st 1 it is, as I mentioned before this picture was taken. Bolena Stasia on instagram on. You can go check her out because she takes amazing pics. See you in the next video where we will start our sketch. 6. 06. Sketch!: Hey guys and welcome back. In this video, we are going to draw the rough sketch of our artwork. The first thing you want to do when preparing to put pen to paper is actually to stop and really observe your reference picture. So many people go straight into drawing and I think you can lose something of the original model if you do that without thinking. A good cartoon translation will maintain some of the most prominent characteristics of the reference picture just like a caricature. It's important to observe the photo and identify some of the details that you're going to maintain and emphasize. For example, this girl is obviously really beautiful. I'm really going to enjoy drawing the headpiece. She has somewhat of a bigger nose, bigger mouth, and really strong cheekbones. That's probably some of the aspects that I'm going to emphasize. Let's go ahead and get started with the original shape, a circle. This is the first shape you will always draw and it's representing the top front half of the face with a central alignment. Underneath you will draw a semicircle which is representing the jaw, and on top, you will inscribe it into a bigger circle representing the back of the skull. In the end, a rough head features a big circle cut in half by the jawline on which you can set the ears just on top of the line for the neck. Let's move on to the facial features. When I draw mouth, I usually start with place in two dots representing the end corners of the lips, and then I simply connect them with a curved line. I then proceed to draw the top and bottom lips, usually again, using two simple curved lines. For the nose, are usually placed the nostrils first. In this case, one of the nostrils is hidden because of the angle of the pose. Then you can place a small circle in between them slightly on top representing the tip of the nose and then finish the construction by drawing a small triangle on top of it all. This is a basic construction for a nose which resembles a pyramid if you look at it in geometric terms. Then we can move to the eyes. Even if they're closed, it's important to draw the whole eye socket so that you can check your proportions and make sure that the shape for the eyes is still respectful of the 3D volumes of the phase plane. Finally, when you've done your rough sketch, which is still a really messy and roll and it's totally okay, you can modify some of the volumes, different body parts by selecting them with lasso tool in the top section, and move them around either in magnetic mode, which keeps the proportions or in free transform mode just by using your fingers. As you can see, you have all these icons down here. What did they do? Well, they flip it around, flip it back, rotate it, and center it. But we don't need any of those right now. Our rough sketches done and I'll see you guys in the next video where we're going to clean up this sketch. Bye. 7. 07. Clean-up!: Hi guys. Welcome back. In this episode, we're going to clean up this rough sketch and do some line artwork. To clean up, I usually create a new layer on top of the original one by tapping the Plus icon, and I select the dry ink brush from the inking brush category. I like this brush because it has some lines moving, which is useful, because liners we shake his robes are not great. It also has some texture on its edges, which allows for that traditional media field that I like. You can adjust the opacity and the size of the brush from the sliders here. The first thing about cleaning up a sketch is that you have to be relaxed and at ease or your lines will be all stiff and shaky. I don't actually use full comic book line arts in my drawings, I delete parts of it, and I'll show you in the next video. But I do like to do a good line work before coloring, so that I have a clear view of the shapes. Because as you can see, now it's really messy and I wouldn't know where to color. To clean up means turning this mess of lines into just one clear line. These drags have to be accurate and precise without losing their flow. To prepare yourself, you might want to practice drawing long lines close to each other, always keeping the same distance in between them. By the way, to go back one action like Command Z on the computer, you simply tap the screen with two fingers. Another tip that really helps drawing long clean lines is to breathe in. Before you start drawing and breathe out as you do the brush stroke, it really helps keeping your hands steady. It's just a little trickle and from Pilates. Let's get started then. If you can't draw a straight line, it's better to break it up in shorter lines rather than habitable wobbly. This way, you can also incorporate a mixer straight and curved lines, which is the foundation of rhythm in a visual composition, and it makes your draw in more pleasant to look at like 100 times. This is a general rule of character design, but perhaps we can talk about it in more detail in a separate class because it's a huge topic. Great guy. See you in the next video where we are going to start coloring our artwork. 8. 08. Flat colour!: Hi guys and welcome back. In this episode, we're going to learn how to flat color and artwork in a time-efficient way. First of all, let's color pick the color palette from the reference picture, which you can do by tapping the little square in between the sliders, or simply tapping for a longer time on the screen, which automatically activates the eye drop tool. I like to place the color palette on a separate layer to keep in mind the tons of the artwork at all times. To color in a time-efficient way, I like to lower the opacity of the liner layer, create another layer on top and color on that layer on top of the line art. To make sure that my shapes completely go over the original line work. I usually define the borders of the shape, still using the dry ink brush and then select the remaining space in-between with the lasso tool, then fill it with the same color by tapping on the layer and selecting fill layer. I then proceed to lower the opacity of the layer and create a new one, either below or above the current layer to color in another part of the body. If the body part I'm going to color is placed above the one I've just done in a logical way, I'll place the layer above. If not I'll place it below. By placing each different body part on a different layer, I'm able to speed up the coloring as I don't have to be so careful around the areas where these different parts touch each other. You can then merge all of the flux shapes at the end of the process, or you can keep them separated and just group them, it's up to you. Let's proceed and color all of the flat shapes in the artwork. When we have all of the flat shapes colored, we can bring the opacity up to 100 percent. It's time to incorporate the line art into the artwork. We do this by duplicating the line art layer and dragging it to the top. I'll then modify the blending settings to soft light or overlay according to how sharpened dark you want those lines to look. I then proceed to erase all of the lines I don't want to see. As I mentioned before, I don't use comic books style line art. I only incorporate those lines where there's not enough of a color contrasts between the shapes. Let me explain, in-between the skin and the shirt, for example, there's already enough of a color contrast, so we don't need an extra line, instead, in between, for example, the face and the neck, the color contrast is minimal so I'm going to keep the line there. Same goes for the nose, the ears, and other areas where there's not enough color variation. A good chunk of the next step is just to finally erase all the parts of the shape that are out of the borders and make sure that all the details are clean and neat. Finally, I'll add some blush to the cheeks and the nose, which are the areas where there's more blood in the face. I do this by pixel locking the layer with the skin. We need to swipe the layer right with two fingers and selecting a more saturated skin tone in my palette. I then use a noise brush in the touch-up brush category to do this. I guess that's it for the flat coloring part. I'll see you guys in the next video where we are going to add the rendering touches like lighting and shaping. 9. 09. Lighting and Shading: Hi guys, and welcome back. In this video, we are going to learn how to render our artwork. That is, how to include lighting, shading, and a few other tricks to really make it stand out. I have previously grouped all of the layers in the document and duplicated that group. I then merged the duplicated group and turn off the opacity, so I can just use it as a proxy. I pixel lock the flat invisible layer and I tap "Select It." I can then create another layer on top, and when I color on it, since the one underneath is still selected, I can only color on top of the artwork. I can't go outside of the border. Remember this because it's the trick that we're going to use to paint all of the lighting and shading layers on top. I'm going to start by painting the first shading layer, which included the shadows cast by elements of the body itself, most notably the nose, the tempos, etc. The lighting is coming from the top left corner in the reference picture. The shadows are going to be cast at about 120 degrees of the body. To shade, I usually use a neutral purple and then I change the blending settings to multiply, addressing the opacity according to how sharp the shadows to look. In terms of the brush, you can still use the dry ink brush or perhaps, use a software brush. It's up to you. When I'm done with the first shading layer, I will proceed to paint the soft shading layer using light-blue and the soft brush. Then I will multiply the blending settings again. When I'm done with the shading layers, I move on to the lighting to have a general idea of the balance between shadow and light. The first light layer is the direct sunlight shining down to the character from the top left corner for which I am going to use a warm yellow, a softish brush, and then multiply the layer to soft light. These will warm up all of the colored areas underneath where I paint as if they were actually touched by the function. I will then move on to the sharp lighting, which are the lighting points like metal and under reflecting surfaces. I will create a new layer and set this layer to add as a blending setting. I'm going to use dry ink brush. The opacity for the "Add Layers" is usually set pretty low. Otherwise, it usually just burns the colors underneath, so you need to set it at around ten or 15. I then move on to the rim light layer. This is the light bouncing off the body from the opposite direction of the main lighting point, which is the sun in this case. For these lighting layer, I use a cold shade like blue, which is the opposite of the main lighting color. I then set the blending to add, we've already low opacity like 10 percent. At this point, and for this particular artwork, I will add another lighting layer set to screen or add because the direct sunlight is really strong in the reference picture. I want to emphasize the warm feeling that the original photo gives you. I will then create a two color gradient set to multiply, which is my go-to trick, to give more vibrance and saturation to a drawing. The opacity of the gradient layer needs to be pretty low to about 25 percent. Finally, you can play with the balance of all these adjustment layers to make sure they look good on the whole. This is a fine tuning process and might take you some time before you can get it right. But it's really worth doing. Here's the final result. I'm happy with all the lighting and shading adjustments. I can just tap the little wrench in the top section, go in the exports section of procreate and export my artwork to a JPEG, PNG, or PSD file, and share it on my social media or send it to print. See you guys in the next video for a little wrap up. 10. 10. Wrap-up!: Hi guys and welcome back for the last video, where we're going to wrap up what we've learned and watch the time lapse of the project, which is my favorite thing about Procreate. You can tap on the little wrench going the video section of the options and tap expert time-lapse to save and share the speed paint of your artwork. From this class, you would have hopefully learned something about body proportions, both realistic and cartoony. Something about sketching volumes and cleaning up. We have gone through the coloring and rendering stages of painting at Digital Illustration. I hope you find it useful and clear and please let me know if you have any questions or doubts in the community board and also if you have any suggestions for future classes. My next class is probably going to be about drawing and painting hair. But please give me more suggestions. I love listening to your feedback. So for now, thank you for watching and until the next course. Goodbye.