10 Tips for Better Cartoon Perspective Drawing
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Use a vanishing point
  2. Draw in three dimensions
  3. Draw objects to scale
  4. Use foreshortening
  5. Practice drawing overlapping shapes
  6. Create depth with shading
  7. Draw from life
  8. Use reference materials
  9. Keep practicing
  10. Experiment with different techniques

Ready to take your cartoon drawing skills to the next level? Perhaps you've already mastered the basic shapes and now you're wondering how to improve perspective in cartoons. Perspective is the magic ingredient that can make your characters and scenes pop off the page and come to life. It's not about drawing harder, but smarter. In this blog, we'll explore 10 tips to help you refine your perspective drawing skills in no time.

Use a Vanishing Point

The first step to improve your cartoon perspective is to use a vanishing point. Think of the vanishing point as your North Star—it's where all lines of perspective converge. It's the farthest point that you can see, and it's where objects start to become smaller and less detailed.

Here's a simple way to practice:

  1. Draw a dot in the middle of your paper. This will be your vanishing point.
  2. Next, draw a horizon line that passes through your vanishing point. This line represents the eye-level of the viewer.
  3. Now, draw lines from the vanishing point outwards. These are your perspective lines. They'll guide you in drawing objects in perspective.
  4. Finally, draw your objects along these lines. Remember, objects closer to the vanishing point will be smaller, and those farther away will be larger.

Using a vanishing point will help you create a sense of depth and distance in your cartoons. It's like you're giving your characters and scenes their own little world to live in. Remember: the key to improving perspective in cartoon drawing isn't about making everything perfect—it's about making it believable. So, don't worry if your lines aren't straight or your shapes aren't perfect. The more you practice, the better you'll get. And who knows? You might just find that perspective drawing is a lot more fun than you thought!

Draw in Three Dimensions

Cartoons may be 2D, but the world they inhabit isn't! Thinking in three dimensions is a great way to improve perspective in your cartoon drawings. This means not just drawing flat shapes, but giving them depth and volume.

So how do you go about this? Here's a quick guide:

  1. Start with basic shapes. Consider a cube for a head, cylinders for arms and legs, or a sphere for the body.
  2. Add depth. Instead of drawing a flat circle for a head, try drawing a sphere. Similarly, instead of a rectangle for the body, consider a cylinder.
  3. Add details. Once you have your 3D shapes, you can start adding features and details. Remember to keep these in perspective too!

For instance, if you're drawing a cartoon character's face, it's not just a flat oval with some eyes, nose and mouth. Think about how the eyes are actually set into the face, how the nose protrudes, and how the mouth curves around the face. This understanding of the 3D form of your characters will make your cartoons look more convincing.

Remember, the goal isn't to create a photorealistic drawing, but to give your cartoons a sense of depth and dimension. It might not be easy at first, but don't give up! With time and practice, you'll find it becomes second nature. And who knows? You might just find that this is the key to unlocking a whole new level of creativity in your cartoon drawings!

Draw Objects to Scale

Another tip on how to improve perspective in cartoon drawing is to draw objects to scale. This means that the sizes of the objects in your drawings should be proportional to their real-life counterparts, or at least consistent within the context of your cartoon world.

For instance, if you're drawing a cartoon character standing next to a car, the car shouldn't be smaller than the character unless it's part of the joke or story. Similarly, if your character is holding a coffee cup, that cup shouldn't be as big as the character's head (unless, of course, it's a giant coffee cup!).

Drawing objects to scale might seem straightforward, but it can be a bit tricky when you're working on a flat piece of paper. Here are a few tips to help you out:

  1. Use a reference. If you're unsure about the size of an object, use a reference. This could be a real object, a photo, or another drawing.
  2. Use guidelines. Draw a few guidelines to help you keep the sizes of your objects consistent. For example, if you're drawing a group of characters, you might draw a line to mark the top of their heads and another for their feet.
  3. Check and correct. Always take a step back and look at your drawing from a distance. This can help you spot any inconsistencies in scale.

Remember, part of the joy of cartoon drawing is that you can bend or break the rules to suit your style or the needs of your story. But even in the wackiest cartoon worlds, keeping a sense of scale can help make your drawings more believable and engaging. So go ahead and give it a try!

Use Foreshortening

Foreshortening is an artistic trick that can significantly improve perspective in cartoon drawing. But what is foreshortening, you ask? Well, it's a way to depict an object or character as dramatically closer to the viewer, which can add depth and dimension to your drawings.

Imagine you're drawing a cartoon character who is reaching out to grab a falling apple. If you draw the character's arm in its full length, it might look flat and two-dimensional. But if you use foreshortening—that is, draw the arm shorter than it actually is—it can give the illusion that the arm is extending out towards the viewer.

Here's how you can do it:

  1. Visualize the scene. Think about the 3D space your characters are moving in. What parts of their bodies are closest to the viewer?
  2. Draw the closest parts larger. The parts of the body that are closest to the viewer should be drawn larger than the parts that are further away.
  3. Overlap shapes. Overlapping shapes can also help create the illusion of depth. For example, the character's hand could overlap with their arm, making it seem like the hand is closer to the viewer.

While foreshortening might feel a bit tricky at first, with a bit of practice, it'll become a valuable tool in your cartoon drawing toolkit. And remember, the more you experiment with different techniques, the more you will learn how to improve perspective in cartoon drawing. So why not give foreshortening a shot in your next drawing?

Practice Drawing Overlapping Shapes

One of the most effective ways to add depth to your cartoon drawings and improve perspective is to master the skill of drawing overlapping shapes. This might sound simple, but it's a powerful way to give your cartoons a three-dimensional feel.

Imagine you're drawing a pile of cartoon apples. If you draw all the apples side by side, it might look like they're floating in space. But, if you draw some apples overlapping others, it'll look like a real pile of apples, with some in front, some in the middle, and some at the back.

Here's how you can practice:

  1. Start simple: Start with basic shapes like circles or squares. Draw several of them in different sizes, making sure some shapes overlap the others.
  2. Add details: Once you're comfortable with basic shapes, start adding details. If you're drawing apples, for example, you might add stems and leaves where the apples overlap.
  3. Play with perspective: Try drawing the overlapping shapes from different angles. This will give you a better understanding of how perspective works.

Drawing overlapping shapes is certainly a game-changer when it comes to improving perspective in cartoons. It's like building blocks; once you get the hang of it, you can create more complex and engaging scenes. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your pencil and start practicing!

Create Depth with Shading

Our next stop on the journey to improve perspective in cartoon drawing is shading. Now, I know what you're thinking, "Shading, really? I thought that was only for 'serious' art!" Well, you're in for a surprise. Shading isn't just for those photorealistic portraits, it's also a secret weapon for cartoons!

Shading can turn a flat, one-dimensional drawing into a vibrant, three-dimensional scene. It can show where the light is coming from, whether an object is smooth or rough, and it can make your characters pop out of the page. It's like magic—only you're the magician.

So, how can you start adding this depth-creating magic to your cartoons?

  1. Identify the light source: Before you add any shading, decide where your light is coming from. Everything else depends on this.
  2. Shade the opposite side: Objects will be darker on the side away from the light. So if your light source is on the right, shade the left side of your objects.
  3. Gradual Transition: Remember, shading should be a gradual transition from light to dark, not a sudden change. Take your time, and make it smooth!

And there you have it! With just a little bit of shading, your cartoons will have a whole new level of depth and dimension. So go ahead, experiment with shading, and see how it can improve your perspective in cartoon drawing. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Draw from Life

Ever heard the saying, "Art imitates life"? Well, it's true, especially when it comes to improving perspective in cartoon drawing. While cartoons are often whimsical and exaggerated, they're still based on real objects and people. So, drawing from life can really boost your skills.

But how exactly does drawing from life help? Let's find out:

  1. Observation Skills: When you draw from life, you learn to really look at things: their shapes, their colors, their shadows. You start to notice how things look from different angles, and how they relate to each other in space. This can really help when you're trying to figure out how to draw a cartoon from a certain perspective.
  2. Proportions: Drawing from life can also help you get a better grip on proportions. Sure, in cartoons, you can stretch and squash proportions for comedic effect, but even then, there's a base of reality.
  3. Details: Real life is full of tiny details that can make your cartoons more interesting and believable. Things like the texture of a cat's fur, the way a tree's leaves clump together, or the pattern on a rug — they all can be sources of inspiration.

So, grab a sketchbook, and start drawing the world around you. You'll be surprised at how much it can improve your perspective in cartoon drawing. Plus, it's a great excuse to get out of the house and explore!

Use Reference Materials

Ever found yourself stuck on how to portray a particular object or character from a certain angle? That's where reference materials come in handy. They can be a real life-saver when you're learning how to improve perspective in cartoons.

But what kind of reference materials should you use? Let's go over a few options:

  1. Photographs: Photographs are a great way to study real-life objects, people, and places. You can use them to understand shapes, shadows, and angles. They're especially helpful when you're trying to draw something that isn't immediately available for you to observe.
  2. Art Books: Art books can be another great source of inspiration. They can provide insights into how other artists tackle perspective. Plus, they can offer helpful tips and tricks.
  3. Online Resources: The internet is a treasure trove of reference material. From anatomy guides to step-by-step tutorials, there's plenty to help you improve your cartoon perspective drawing skills.

Remember, using reference materials doesn't mean copying exactly what you see. Instead, they're tools to help you understand how things look from different perspectives. After all, the goal is to create your own unique cartoon style.

Keep Practicing

Here's the thing about learning how to improve perspective in cartoons: it won't happen overnight. It's a skill that takes time and practice to master. But don't worry, every sketch you make, every line you draw, gets you one step closer to your goal.

One approach is to set aside a few minutes each day for drawing practice. You can focus on different aspects of perspective during each session. For example, one day you might practice drawing objects from different angles, and another day you could work on shading to create a sense of depth.

It's also beneficial to revisit your old drawings from time to time. This allows you to see your progress and identify areas that need more attention. You'll be surprised at how much you improve over time!

And remember, it's okay to make mistakes. In fact, they're part of the learning process. So don't be too hard on yourself if your drawings don't turn out perfect the first time. After all, even the best artists didn't start out as masters of their craft.

Experiment with Different Techniques

Ready to take your drawings to the next level? Then it's time to experiment with different techniques. You see, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to improving perspective in cartoons. Different techniques can lead to different results, so don't be afraid to try something new and see what works best for you.

For instance, you might want to experiment with different types of perspective, such as one-point, two-point, or even three-point perspective. Each type provides a unique view and can add a different feel to your cartoons.

Another technique to try is using different types of shading. Different shading methods can drastically alter the perception of depth and distance in your drawings. You could start with basic shading techniques and then move on to more complex methods, such as cross-hatching or stippling.

Lastly, don't forget to play around with different materials. Different pencils, pens, and even digital tools can all offer unique effects and textures. So go ahead, mix it up a bit! Who knows, you might stumble upon a technique that becomes your new favorite.

Ultimately, the key to improving perspective in cartoon drawing lies in pushing your boundaries and daring to experiment. So don't hold back—dive into the world of different techniques and discover your own unique drawing style!

If you enjoyed these tips for better cartoon perspective drawing and want to further enhance your skills, you'll definitely want to check out Roberto Bernal's workshop, 'A New Perspective on Perspective.' This workshop is perfect for taking your perspective drawing to new heights, offering in-depth techniques and insights that will help you create more dynamic and engaging cartoons.