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10 Steps To Turn Yourself Into A Cartoon Portrait

Creating an online profile or avatar can be daunting and if you are not comfortable representing yourself on the web, why not create a fun caricature instead? This simple tutorial will show you how to cartoonize yourself, feel free to explore!

Software: Adobe Illustrator CS3

Difficulty: Intermediate

Completion Time: 6 hours

Image Used For This Tutorial:

Stock photo of Chinese Businesswoman

Stylish Chinese business woman with arms crossed. Isolated on white background: 16748914 ©sjenner13

Prepping Your Reference

Step 1 Open a picture of yourself in Photoshop. We’ll be using image ID: 16748914 for reference. Begin by using the lasso tool to trace around the head.

Step 2 Right-click to Free Transform. Then, adjust the size of the head by making it much larger than the body. You can also lasso the body to make it smaller. We’re going for a caricature type of cartoon, so the greater the exaggeration the better.


Creating the Base

Step 3 With the exaggeration all set, paste the image into Illustrator. You can use your reference image as a literal guideline for your cartoon or just to understand the basic features. In this case, I’ll be using it to get the basic features of the woman down.

Using the pen tool, begin tracing the basic features of the cartoon such as the head, hair, suit, and general body position. Make sure to set up the layers so that they overlap properly. It’s okay if everything isn’t perfect – we’ll just fix it as we go.


Clothing Details

Step 4 A) Before we move on to the face, we’ll finish the suit. Create uniform lapels by making one, then flipping it (Copy and paste > then Transform > Reflect > vertical: 90 degrees). Add the rest of the shirt and collar underneath the lapel layer.


B) Add the shadows or creases that the arms create by creating shapes in black with the color black and then lowering the opacity to 45%.


Step 5 We’re going to make our own cleaner details for the wrinkles on the collar. Create a long tear drop shape. Copy and paste that shape several times, then manually rotate each one to fit onto the collar the best way possible. Group them together.


Step 6 Now, for the hair. The hair consists of two parts; the back part that falls behind the neck and lapel layers, and the front bangs. Create the front bangs using the same color.


Detailing the Face, Eyes and Brows

Step 7 Now we’ll begin with the facial details.

A) Create a winged shape for the eye and the white area. Use the elliptical tool to layer several circles underneath for the iris, shine and white reflection. Use a dark gray to shade the inner part of the eye to make it more 3D, and a flesh color for the lid. Select all the eye layers and enlarge the eye for a big-eyed cartoon effect. Copy, paste, and reflect to position the second eye.


B) Create one eyebrow shape. Copy, paste, and reflect into place. Place the right eyebrow behind the bangs layer for a cleaner look.


Nose and Mouth

Step 8

We want to keep a clean, subtle look when it comes to the nose and mouth. A) All we have to do for the nose is create a half crescent shape. Position the shape into place using the photo reference as a guide.


B) Create the upper lip shape. Instead of a full lower lip, we’ll just be creating a line to hint at one. Create a shadow underneath the lower lip using the same flesh color that was used for the nose.


Last Shadow Details

Step 9 Let’s go back to the hair one more time. Use the eyedropper to select the hair color then switch it to a slightly darker color in the color panel. Create shadows on the hair to make it look fuller, adjusting the opacity if necessary. Add a layer just underneath the hair to create a shadow of the hair onto the face. Use the same flesh tone that was used for the nose shadow.


Step 10 Now, let’s finalize this cartoon. Use the ellipse tool to add a large circle. Place it behind the cartoon to add a more polished effect.


If you’re using this cartoon portrait for a blog or promotional package, you can add text to your image or keep it as it is. Enjoy your new look!

PS: You might want to check out some other informative articles on capturing an retouching your favourtie portraits! Click below:

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