You Can Draw Cute Animals! In 3 Simple Steps / Learn Character Drawing for Beginner Level | Yasmina Creates | Skillshare

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You Can Draw Cute Animals! In 3 Simple Steps / Learn Character Drawing for Beginner Level

teacher avatar Yasmina Creates, Artist & Creativity Cheerleader

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.



    • 2.

      The Science of Cute


    • 3.

      The 3 Simple Steps


    • 4.

      Let's Draw Some Cuties


    • 5.

      Let's Make the Uncute Cute


    • 6.

      Developing Your Style


    • 7.

      Final Project & Goodbye


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About This Class

In this class I'll show you the three simple steps to making ANY animal cute! With this new skill you will also learn how to draw anything in a stylized way from a reference. Some of the things we'll learn are:

  • What makes things cute? 
  • The three simple steps to cuteness!
  • Eight live examples. 
  • How to make the un-cute cute!
  • Tips for developing your personal style. 

I will also provide you with a review worksheet that will help you put the concepts to use! By the end of the class you should not only have the ability to draw cute animals, but will also improve your observation, drawing skills, and imagination! So, let's make some cuties together!


Class Outline

  • Drawing animals. Yasmina will teach you how to draw animals by using simple tools and a three-step process. Along the way, she’ll share her tips and tricks for developing your artistic style. Whether you are learning how to draw or expanding your skill set, these drawing classes will increase your ability and sharpen your technique.
  • Creating your own. Yasmina will supply a review worksheet to help you practice making larger heads, rounder edges, simpler lines, and exaggerated facial features. You’ll have fun observing subjects in a new way and creating adorable animals of your very own. At the end of the class, you’ll be asked to choose two animals: one that you already think is cute, and another that you think is not. Then you can recreate them as charming, lovable creatures.
  • Exaggerating features. By exaggerating specific features, you’ll learn how to draw animals at their cutest. Yasmina will introduce you to her basic rules for drawing cartoons that are simple, charming, and full of life. With her help, you’ll learn how to draw large heads and eyes, tiny mouths, and bodies. And you’ll know when to disregard her guidelines and draw in the opposite way, in order to get the best effect.
  • Rendering with style. Yasmina will discuss her three basic drawing steps, which you can use to draw a subject from a reference photo. She will talk about the importance of observation, including how to break down a project into simple shapes and lines. You’ll learn how to sketch animals first, then simplify your subject to amplify their cutest, most pleasant qualities.
  • Drawing inspiration. You’ll follow along as Yasmina walks you through her creative process: drawing different animals from reference photos, and exaggerating their appeal. She’ll demonstrate how she makes a ladybug, a meerkat, a bird, and a deer into cuties, and will describe her thought process as she works through each design.
  • Making unattractive animals adorable. Not all animals easily lend themselves to being cute, but there are ways to even make reptiles more charming. Yasmina will explain how she takes reference photos of a snail, a turtle, a chicken, and a jellyfish, then draws them into adorable cartoons that anyone would find appealing.
  • Developing your style. You’ll explore your personal style by drawing animals in a variety of ways. Yasmina will show you how to play around with features and develop your preferences by practicing a number of different eyes, ears, fur, tails, and noses then choosing your favorite looks.
  • Applying the rules. Yasmina will talk about how to apply her simple three-step guidelines to other animate and inanimate objects. By using rounded edges, simple lines, and other techniques, you can make a cup, an apple, or even a car more loveable.
    With practice, you will be able to observe and draw anything in a cuter, more pleasant style. Whether you are interested in drawing people, animals, or inanimate objects, you’ll master the ability to render them all as adorable, loveable creatures!

Looking for more inspiration? Head here to discover more classes on drawing.

Meet Your Teacher

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Yasmina Creates

Artist & Creativity Cheerleader

Top Teacher

I strive to make every class the highest quality, information-packed, inspiring, & easy to understand!

Creating is my biggest passion and I'm so happy to share it with you!! :)

Stay connected & in the loop by joining my Newsletter! (Also get 3 free coloring pages! :))

Did you know I have a book on drawing CUTE animals? Check it out!

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Level: Beginner

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1. Trailer: You can draw cute animals in just three simple steps. All you need is a pencil, an eraser, a ballpoint pen or brush pen, and most importantly, your brain and imagination. I will show you rules, tips and tricks to making all your drawing super cute, and then I'll show you eight live examples of the three simple steps being put to use to make various animal super adorable, from a mare cat, to a snail. We'll finish off the class with some style exploration, and by the end of it, you will have the skill set necessary two draw any animal you can think of super cute. So let's not waste another moment. Enroll below, roll up your sleeves, and let's make sum cuteys together. 2. The Science of Cute: What makes cute things cute? Well, there isn't just one ultimate answer, but the basics are engraved in us. We are programmed to think that babies, or baby animals, are cute, and their characteristics give us clues. In illustration we exaggerate this characteristics to make things even cuter. I'm going to show you a couple of rules or things you can do to make your animals cute. But these are not written in stone. Always keep your style in mind and add your own tweaks to it. The first rule is, a big head in proportion to the body. As you can see, the smaller the body, the cuter the character. It's up to you how far you want to stretch it. Rounded edges are also cuter than straighter edges since they appear less threatening and are easier on the eyes. The face is arguably the most important part. Ideally, the eyes should be low and spaced far apart with the mouth and nose tiny, or not even there. With very little detail, you can seen how well these few simple rules work here. But this is also a good example when to break the rules. The cat on the right is much cuter than the one on the left, and its face is much more rounded. But as you can see, he has straight edges in his hair for some contrast. Because it doesn't dominate the face, he's still super cute. Bigger kawaii eyes can also make things adorable but that's just a personal preference. Notice how I broke the rule about small noses with the pig on the left, but he's still cute. The last thing to keep in mind is to keep it simple. More lines and details tend to make things look more realistic, older and just less cute. Look at how cute the dog in the right is just because it simplified the dog on the left. If your animal isn't looking cute enough, you might just be using too much detail. A good example of a character that uses all of these techniques is Hello Kitty. She has a big head, eyes low and a small nose with no mouth. There is very little detail and everything is rounded. Even her whiskers aren't straight. These are the basics, and you can review them at any time with the worksheet I provided for you in Your Project section of the class. Now, let's learn the three simple steps to drawing any animal cute. 3. The 3 Simple Steps: There are three simple steps to drawing anything in a stylized way from a reference, which is essentially what we're doing here. The first step is to observe your subject. Just pay attention to the simple shapes that make it up and to the details that make it what it is, what lines and shapes are necessary to make it easily recognizable. I outlined the most important parts of the squirrel and the simple shapes that make it. If I remove the background, it's still recognizable as a squirrel, even though just a bunch of shapes and lines. I normally do this in my head, that's only because I've been drawing for a very long time. If you're finding this part hard, you can sketch out the animal realistically and simple shapes help your brain start thinking of it that way. I will do this with every animal to show you how it can be sketched, but don't freeze or take too much time on this, it doesn't have to be perfect. Nobody's gone to see your sketch and you're not going to use it, is just practice for seeing things as they are. Keep your sketch simple and quick. Once you feel like you seen the animal in its basic form, you can move on to the next step. The next step is to exaggerate. This is for all of those things we learned about cuteness come into play. Also in this step, we're going to simplify even further. We're only going to put as much detail as we need to recognize our subject because the simpler the animal is the cuter, it will look. I usually start my animals with drawing its head, a big head, because that is always going to be the focal point. As you can see, I needed more rounded and gave him a big forehead to make him super cute. Next I sketched in his body and everything is exaggerated to being a different size and shape. He has smaller body, tiny hands and feet, and I give him a big rounded tail. Also I'll change the body shape by making it more simple and by giving him a straighter back. Only use simple shapes and lines and don't be afraid to erase, make things look right. That's important at this stage, your eraser is your best friend. Keep playing around with the proportions until you're happy with them. We are essentially molding the information we gathered in the previous phase and we're exaggerating it to make it look cute, but still be instantly recognizable as our chosen animal. Take as much time as you need this face and look to your worksheet for tips on making your animal cute. When you're happy with your sketch, you can move on to the next phase. Step 3 is to refine. Refining is the easiest to do. But to do it well, you need to pay attention to detail. We're trying to keep it simple, but also to make sure it has character. It's a fine balancing game. We'll go over things you can play with and developing your sell in a future lesson. But here's an example of different ways of doing outlines. You can do things like thick to thin outlines or fury, outlines are barely touched, or just a thin line all around. It all depends on your style and there are many ways of doing this step and every other step and every other thing that you draw. We'll experiment that later. I'm inking this squirrel with a simple brush pen. I use thick to thin lines and a quick line that doesn't touch for the fir effect. I also gave hymn some eyelashes. Note, simple accessories are the fastest and easiest way to add character to your drawing. I finish off by adding more texture to the tale to make you feel fluffy. This is the style I draw in, but don't worry if you haven't found yours. We will experiment in a later lesson. If you want to go in depth into pen and ink illustration, you can checked out my other classes that shows you many different techniques and illustrating with ink. So as you can see, the three simple steps really are simple, but they do require you picking up a pencil and getting to work. If you draw only a couple of animals like this, you will memorize the steps and it will become easier and easier until it's second nature. But for now, you can use the worksheet provided to jog your memory of what to do next. To make the process even easier, I'm going to show you many examples of me using this technique in the next two lessons. 4. Let's Draw Some Cuties: Now let's use a three simple steps to draw some cuties. Our first animal is the super adorable lady bug. Now you might look at this picture and think it's complicated, but all I see is a couple of simple shapes and lines. So I start out by observing the animal with a quick sketch or study of it, and then move on to the next step. Step two, exaggerate. I put my thinking cap on. How can I simplify all these lines and shapes, but still keep it recognizable? Well, I made it into one giant oval. Now you may think that we had a problem because it has no head. So how can it be cute? Well, I'll make the black part that's supposed to be its head in the oval. This will work really well and you will need to get creative like this with some strange animals. I simplified its legs into short, rounded lines and I added a few details that are needed to make it look like a ladybug, from the spots on its back to the antenna on its head. Now it's time for step three, refine. I'm going with the simple brush pen and I'm outlining the ladybug. That was easy. I simplified and exaggerated everything about it. But if you look at it even without color, you still think, ladybug. Now this part is optional, but you can color in your animal with whatever medium you like. I'm a lot of color artist, so I'll paint in all the animals. My only advice with this step, it's to keep your color soft and light. Think past all colors and avoid heavy shading. As you can see, the ladybug turned out super cute and I only used super simple shapes and lines. Now let's do a more complicated animal. Let's start with step one, observe. This meerkat doesn't have a very unique face except for the coloring and ears. But it does have a very distinct characteristic of standing on its hind legs and having long paws that hover in front of it. If we get the body shape right, he should be recognizable to anyone that knows what a meerkat is. So I quickly sketch him out and now it's time for step two. The first thing to exaggerate is the head. I'm going to make it huge to make him super cute. I also made the ear bigger because it's a very distinct sort of ear. As you can see, I simplified his body into basic shapes and kept his paws and feet the same proportions, but I made his body shorter. I kept the tail the same to shorter, and notice how I put a blank face expression on his face by just adding a little line for a mouth. That's kind of the look they give when looking around. Since I'm happy with my sketch, I'm going to step three. I outlined my cutie, little guy, but he doesn't feel as cute as he should. Something is missing because he looks too simple and there is to much empty space on his head. This is a good chance to get creative and add some accessories. I choose sunglasses and ink them in. I also throw in some earrings to make it more interesting. There he looks like a punk rocker thanks to a few simple lines and shapes. When coloring him, I stick to the realistic colors because it will help to keep him recognizable. Some animals you can make purple, it doesn't matter, but this one is very distinct. The final result is super adorable and recognizable mostly because of the pose he is holding, his coloring, and his ear and tail. Maybe you want to make up an animal and you don't care if it's recognizable, that's fine too. Just play around and have fun. Now let's do a bird. Birds are very simple to me, but I known some people think they're complex. So let's break them down. They're just an oval body, a circle head, and a triangle wing. The legs are a little complicated, but only if you do it realistically. For our cute bird is just simple straight lines. I sketch out the basic shapes of his body, and now I can move on to step two. Like always, I start with the head, it's just a simple egg shape. Now for the body, I give it a little more character by making the back line straight and the belly rounded. I add in the wing, but making it tiny and rounded. The tail is simplified as well and the feet are also smaller and less bulky. But shorter feet tend to be cuter, so I redo them into tiny feet that look like they're walking because of their angles relationship to each other. Moving on to step three. I ink them in adding small details in the wing and tail and making his beak and legs black for contrast. Notice the rounded feather added to the top of his head for character. Then I color him and keeping the colors light, but not replicating the original image. Everyone knows what a bird looks like, so there's no need to. I can use any colors I want, even unrealistic ones. Now we got ourselves a cutie bird, instantly recognizable and completely unique. There are so many different ways that could have been drawn. Birds really are fun and I encourage you to try drawing one yourself. Now for our final cutie, we're going to do one of my favorite animals, a deer. This reference was shot at a weird angle, but we can still easily use this image with a little imagination. So we start by observing the deer. Here I broke it up into shapes that make it up. When you break it down like this, something complicated becomes simple. I sketched it out using the same shapes and now that we observed it, I can start exaggerating. I start with a big head, like always, but this time I also scaled up the ears and made the snout smaller. As you can see, big ears can be extremely adorable and a smaller snout always make things cuter if you have to include the snout. Now for the body, this is how I'm going to change the angle because it was a little strange in the reference. To do that, I take away the angle of the picture and just make it straight and then accentuate the neck to make it look like it is straight. I also made it rounder and I drew in the legs, which are essentially the same as in the reference but smaller, and decided to make them even shorter because the smaller the legs are, the cuter it will be. I also added a tail for my imagination. It's really still made up of the same shape as the sketch on the left. The only main difference is scale exaggeration and simplification and a tiny bit of imagination. Now it's time for step three. I'm just going in and inking my sketch like I did for all the other animals, and then I paint it like I always do, keeping the colors light and minimal shadows and details. I made sure to include the spots on his back because that's a trademark of deer. The final result is adorable and was easily made by just observing our subject for simple shapes and then exaggerating their shapes to make it cuter. Now that we've drawn a couple of cuties, let's make some not so cute animals into cuties, to show you that you can do this with any animal. 5. Let's Make the Uncute Cute: Our first on cutey is a snail. Snails are slimy and wrinkly and only a handful of people found them cute. I mean, they're cute. But really, when we break it down to simple shapes and lines, we see how easy they are to draw. That means they're very easy to make cute. I starts step one by observing the snail and sketching it out. Now that I know the basic shapes and lines is time to exaggerate. I start with the shell this time because it makes more sense to draw it first since the head comes out of it, it's essentially the same shell I just made a little rounder and a little more compressed. Now I can draw in the head, I exaggerate it a little bigger, but you can even go bigger than I did if you want to. I also made it very round. I make his body until thinner and add the antennas. Snails don't have eyes, antennas are there eyes. But for the sake of cuteness we're going to pretend that it does have some, an add them in. Happy with my sketch is time for step three, refine. I go in with my brush pen and simply outline my cute friend, snails don't have pores. Their finding part as easy this time. I'm not going to draw in any wrinkles because they'll take away from the cuteness. They're not necessary to show what he is. Everyone knows what a snail looks like. We do have a special opportunity hear for some creativity. I draw in some hearts and polka dots with a watermarker on his shell. This little detail will give him a lot of character. Next. I paint him in and viola, we have turned something that's not so cute into a huge cutey. Look how happy he lose just because that little mouth. Next we'll do this angry looking sea turtle. The basic lines and shapes that make it up are easy to seen and I start out by doing a loose sketch of them. Nice time to exaggerate them. I start by making his shell rounder, and then I add in his feet and arms and make them smaller and also rounder. Next is the head. I give a bigger forehead and I also make it around. I add in a slight pattern on the shell and now it's time to refine. Notice how I added the bow to make it even cuter and to add my character. As I added bubbles as simple circles to make it look like it's underwater so it's not mistaken for his friend, the land turtle. Now that I'm happy with it, I can start coloring her in. This see turtle is no longer sad and is now an official cutey, just because I made her simpler and rounder and I included much less detail. Our next animal is this grumpy chicken, which is made up of simple shapes and lines. I start out by sketching and observing the shapes. Then I get to work on exaggerating. Since a chicken is so recognizable, I can play around with its body shape and make it more rounded. Notice how I didn't make the head too big this time. Because if we follow the other rules, he will still turn out cute. I simplify his legs into similar ones to the bird we drew earlier and make his wing into many semi-circles. I just want to point out that if I didn't put the crown on its head or the little ovals by it's speak, it will look like a pigeon. Little details like this convey a lot of information. I paint him in using light colors and we are left with an easily recognizable and cute chicken. I saved the most interesting animal for last. This jellyfish is just strange and the bottom part of it looks as far from simple as you can get. The shape on top is easy but how we portray its tentacles? I start by sketching it out and once I have a general feel for its shape, I can start exaggerating. As you can see, I had a difficult time figuring out what to do. But I settled for simple lines that are shorter than the original. But once I ink them in, I just wasn't happy with them or the jellyfish. There was just too much information or too much detail in the tentacles for it to be cute. It was imbalanced from the top. But I didn't give up or abandon this little guy he needed me. I decided to try balancing the top and bottom by adding more to its head. I gave him a top hat, a monocle, and a mustache. Now that he has a black hat and black mustache on top, I fill in the tentacles and it doesn't look like it's often anymore. It's balanced. Adding some bubbles around him, I think he looks pretty darn cute, even though we had a little mishap in the middle of making him. See a couple of small details and creativity can go along way. Just brainstorm a solution when you get stuck before giving up on the whole drawing. This gentleman sure appreciates our creativity. That's it for the live examples, I hope watching these cuties be may give you a good understanding of what to do. I hope you're itching to do this with animals you choose. But first, let's talk a little about style. 6. Developing Your Style: I hope you're inspired from seeing all those examples. Now it's time to explore and develop your style. Everyone's style and personal preferences are different. So you can and should play with different ways of doing things. I'm going to show you sum examples of things you can play around with. So grab a pen and draw along with me. Eyes are really fun. You can make so many different kinds. You can go bigger or smaller to Os or squinting eyes, or diamonds, or realistic cartoony eyes, and the list goes on forever. You can do the same thing with mouths, or noses, or with fur, or ears, or tails. It's all just simple lines drawn a little differently but they convey so much information and feelings and character. Try out your favorite features on Q and simple faces and play around with placement and scale, bend some rules while you're at it. You will find yourself being drawn to certain cells more than others, and that is good. That is your personal style coming out. Keep practicing and drawing every day, and before you know it, you will have a style but until then, don't sweat it. The journey is always better than the destination. 7. Final Project & Goodbye: Now you know how to make any animal cute, but wait, that's not the only skill you developed. You can now make anything cute, whether it's a cup, or an apple, or even a car. Just by keeping the edges round and the lines simple, I made it cuter. But wait, that's still not everything. You also learned how to observe anything and illustrate it in your own style. This is a skill that I always use when making my art. Well, like anything in life, you will only get better with practice. So go download your worksheet in the your project section of the class, and pick two animals, one super cute one that could be your favorite animal, and one that you think cannot be cute in a million years, and your job is to make both of them cute. Share what you do in the Project Gallery. I cannot wait to see your personal style and creativity being put to use in the name of cuteness. Let's make the world cuter together. That's it for this short but cute class. I hope you enjoyed it and learned a lot. You can check out my other classes if you're interested in learning watercolors or other illustration techniques, and I'll see you in the next one.