How To Draw A Cartoon R2D2 – Tutorial

R2D2 is probably my favorite robot of all time. So, with May the 4th coming up in a few days, I thought I’d show you an easy way to draw your very own cartoon R2D2! And don’t worry, I’ve got a good feeling about this! (BTW, you can click the image to enlarge it.)

When you’re finished, feel free to tweet, pin, email or otherwise share a pic of your cartoon R2D2 with me and I’ll post it here at the blog! Enjoy!

How To Draw A Cartoon R2D2 - Tutorial

Not bad, huh? Feel free to check out my other tutorials too:

And feel free to check out my robot cartoons too!

Cartoon Shading in Photoshop – Cartooning Tutorial

Normally when I shade a cartoon I use my good old Prismacolor cool greys. But lately I’ve been doing a lot of custom cartoons where a client could ask for changes to the final art, so I shade in Photoshop using some custom patterns I made from those aforementioned Prismacolors.

It’s not glamorous, and there’s certainly more educational Photoshop tutorials available, but if you want to see a cartoonist laying down some shading while watching MST3K: The Movie, here you go:

Video Transription

Hi there, this is Mark Anderson from and I am going to show you how I shade a cartoon in Photoshop. The first thing I do is I use an action that I had created to move all of my layers around, I will show you how to do that some other time, but what it does is it moves the ink to the top layer and then creates some layers underneath that makes the ink layer a multiply layer. I also created some patterns here for myself using my markers and the paper that I normally use and I scanned that in and created some patterns to emulate what I would normally do.

The reason I am not shading this using my regular marker and papers that I would use for my regular cartoons, is this is a custom cartoon that I am doing for a client, so I like to use my Photoshop markers so that I can create layer after layer after layer and then if the client requires something different or like a person’s hair color changed or we need to do this or that, I can go back and change it without having to redraw the original art, so that’s why I am doing this.

And of course I’ve got Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie playing over here on the right side. Shading isn’t my favorite thing to do, it’s sort of a necessary evil, so when I have a lot of shading to do – poor Dr. Forrester – I put a movie on sort of in a little window there to, that I can listen to or you know tune into here and there again.

So here I am shading, let me get back to the actual shading part; I use again my pattern brush and the eraser, those are the two tools that I really use when I create different layers. So this first layer here is sort of a light grey, I think it is a 30% grey, for her hair and for the computer here. Now I have created another layer and I am going to use a slightly darker pattern for the chair, so it is pretty simple, you just sort of lay the shading in as nicely as you can – now I see the, because I put that layer underneath the other layer when I color over by that computer that shading goes underneath that layer so that you can’t see it.

This is pretty standard Photoshop coloring shading sort of thing, but if you do not, you know if you do not know you know how…I am going to choose another slightly darker color for his chair to sort of make him pop a little bit. I’ve noticed sometimes I have problems, I use a Wacom tablet, and sometimes it seems like it has a problem, maybe it is Photoshop, maybe it’s the tablet recognizing like that I want a variable brush size and I have all the settings set up correctly I am pretty sure, and sometimes it just, it does not seem to recognize it, I don’t know what that is – if anybody knows, if there is something that I am missing here let me know, I would appreciate it.

So I am sort of erasing around his arm here and getting this shading more and more correct and this is going pretty well, there is actually not a whole lot to shade in this cartoon, which is why I chose it, sometimes especially with a crowd scene, or something like that there can be a lot a lot a lot of shading and I did not want to show you half an hour of ‘look, I am shading, now I am erasing, now I am shading, now I am erasing, now I am shading, now I am erasing’, this is already going to be tedious enough, but I will try to make it interesting for you.

So I think I am on my third layer now, and again I’ve taken that third layer and put it underneath the first two, the ink layer on top is set to multiply so that you can see things under the ink. And then I do my shading layers underneath that and they are all set to normal and then I have a background layer of just pure white. And then of course I have other layers for laying in the captions, and other things. There was another layer for that eBay logo but I had just merged that in there.

Okay, doing a little detail there on the desk making sure that that all makes sense. I left her shirt and her phone white because the desk and the chair have already been shaded. Okay I am just doing a little bit of detail work on the supposed eBay page. It doesn’t need to be detailed there, in fact it’s better if it is not because you don’t want people asking ‘oh what is she looking at, is she looking at a purse, is she looking at a toy, or is she looking at, what is she looking at’, it does not really matter you just need it to register as eBay, also that eBay logo is really big, I know, but you need it to register and read quickly, so you sort of fudge how big it actually is, so that the reader can actually read it and understand that she is on eBay, for the purpose of this cartoon.

Okay, now I am doing his tie, and I am sort of erasing his hand out of the tie – I try to be as detailed as I can when I lay in the shading because then it, it sort of, you can either be detailed when you put in the shading, or you can worry about the detail when you are erasing, and I sort of go in-between there. You try to stay in the lines as much as you can, that’s, that would be a nice feature on Photoshop is stay in the lines, although most of my lines don’t connect, so that’s not really going to work, but it would be nice if it could sort of intuit that.

So for the Adobe people get to work on that or if someone knows, again if you know how to do that and I am just missing it, let me know, drop me an email. Okay, doing the desk here, we are getting towards the end of this one; this is a pretty quick shade. Here I am sort of doing that, doing his desk here, I will go ahead and do some erasing, sort of get that edge there so that it does not look too jagged or you know. I am erasing here on the top of the desk, still watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 the movie. This is all the intro they haven’t started, the movie is really good if you have not, this Island Earth, this is a great, it’s not an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 but it is the movie that they made, really fun.

Alright back to, back on task here. I did some shading and some erasing that I didn’t like, so I you know controlled, I think it is Ctrl+Shift+Z to go back a couple of steps, so I am taking another shot at that. I would prefer to do all of the shading like right on the actual paper with the actual art, but like I said you never know, I have had enough times where a client has come back and wanted something changed that I’ve sort of learned my lesson, so it is not as organic a look as I would like, but what you make up for in being able to go back and fix things, totally-totally makes this worth it.

So looks like we are just about done, so this is the final version of this and I think it was only two, three, four layers of shading and I think that looks pretty good, so I will add the caption later, save this for the client and send – oh and look the movie is starting – so I think that is my cue to leave, thank you for watching, make sure you visit for lots of great cartoons and other fun stuff. And have a great day.

C2E2 2012


The 2012 C2E2 was this weekend here in Chicagoland, and there’s already been all manner of reporting on who said what’s coming when and why that’s important out there, and I’m not going to add to that. What I’m going to share is a casual comics fan’s look at this year’s event (specifically Saturday), which, let me get this out of the way right at the start, was great.

2012 C2E2 Shuttle

When I attended the first C2E2 a few years back it was sort of a hassle to get to. I took the train downtown, but then had to cab it back and forth which wasn’t cheap.

This year they offered a shuttle service to and from a number of convenient Chicago locales, including Union Station, so my commute was much nicer.

2012 C2E2 Line

I’ve no idea of the actual 2012 C2E2 attendance numbers, but judging by the line when I arrived and the subsequent crowds, a lot of folks came out. But it never felt overcrowded like another Chicagoland comic con that will remain nameless.

Superhero Stuff

The first order of business was some t-shirts for the family. I’ve waited before only to find on my return that what I wanted had sold out. Not this time!

2012 C2E2 Amanda Conner line

Then it was time to get over to artist’s alley and in line for the person I wanted most to meet, Amanda Conner. I’m glad I got there early because her fans quickly queued into a lengthy line. (Kudos to C2E2 organizers for keeping things orderly.)

2012 C2E2 Amanda Conner

I was just thrilled to meet Ms. Conner. I bought a small sketchbook for myself, and a print of Supergirl with Streaky and Krypto for my daughter, both of which she signed while we discussed kids and comics.

You hope when you meet someone like this that they’ll live up to your preconceived notions, and Ms. Conner exceeded them thoroughly. A brilliant artist and a lovely person.

2012 C2E2 Jason Howard

Next up was Jason Howard’s table to get a Super Dinosaur print for the boy. I’d have bought some additional books if my son didn’t have each and every one of them already.

Mr. Howard was incredibly nice as he signed the print and chatted with me at length about comics and kids. Another great artist and super nice person. That’s two for two!

2012 C2E2 Art Baltazar

I browsed the rest of artist’s alley, picked up a few more books, and finished up at Art Baltazar‘s table where he signed a Super Pets book for my daughter.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, another super nice person, and who doesn’t love Baltazar’s style? Aw yeah!

Then it was time to hit the show floor for a little more shopping.

2012 C2E2 shopping 1

2012 C2E2 shopping 2

I’m not much for collecting, but I did my fair share of back issue browsing.

2012 C2E2 shopping 3

I made sure to pick up Cow Boy at the Archaia booth, and it doesn’t disappoint. The boy’s read it five times since giving it to him, and he adores it.

Then a little oddball browsing…

2012 C2E2 shopping 4

Wooden mustache anyone?

2012 C2E2 shopping 5

I almost bought this for Mike Lynch.

2012 C2E2 shopping 6

And last but not least, is that a lightsaber in your pocket, or are you just happy to be browsing stuffed animals?

2012 C2E2 SMBC Panel

Then it was onto the panels. I really wanted to see SMBC‘s talk, but they never showed up. Dunno what happened, but everyone was disappointed.

2012 C2E2 Kill Shakespeare Panel

I managed to hear most of Kill Shakespeare’s Anthony Del Col’s excellent talk about pitching and marketing your indie comic, but had to duck out at the very end to catch my shuttle. Really interesting and inspiring stuff.

Now, before I finish up, here’s some of my favorite 2012 C2E2 costumes:

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

So from a casual comic’s fan perspective, the 2012 C2E2 was just about perfect. I hope the organizers and exhibitors did well and had as much fun as I did. Kudos all around.

Can’t wait for next year!

Why I’m A Cartoonist

I’m a cartoonist. I draw funny pictures with funny words that I send out into the world to earn my living. I love my job unquestioningly. That is until recently, when I ran across a TED Talk by Simon Sinek about how great leaders inspire action.

Now, I am neither a great leader, nor particularly inspiring, but it looked like Sinek was going to discuss Apple, and being a fanboy of the fruit, I watched it. But I got more than I expected; for just a moment it actually made me question why I’m a cartoonist.

Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it … but very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by “why” I don’t mean “to make a profit.” That’s a result. It’s always a result. By “why,” I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?

So I asked myself, why am I a cartoonist? And, thankfully, the answer came quickly and clearly – I love making people laugh.

OK, that sounds trite, I know, but it’s that simple. And the more I thought about it, the clearer it became. It’s not just that I enjoy making people laugh, or that I’d like very much to make you laugh, I love it. I crave it. I’m a laugh junkie.

When I was little my mom gave me a joke book that became the bane of my family’s existence. It was as thick as the Sears fall catalog, and the jokes were terrible, but I toted that joke book around, reciting them over and over to anyone within earshot just waiting for that laugh.

When I became a musician I chose the trombone, which, when you think about it, is empirically the funniest of the instruments. (It’s the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher!) And when I played jazz, I loved nothing more than to work in goofy kid songs or Christmas carols into my solos.

Later, when I worked a series of day jobs, I played pranks on my co-workers, designed oddball contests and rewards, and I wasn’t above the occasional interpretive dance, all in search of that big laugh.

I love to make my mom laugh, I love making my wife laugh, and I LOVE making my kids laugh. I will do and/or say anything to get a laugh.

So, yes, I know what I do – I’m a cartoonist. And I know how I do it – funny pictures, funny words. But Sinek’s talk reminded me anew why I’m a cartoonist. And that’s a good reminder indeed.