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How to Draw a Shadow

Easy, step by step Shadow drawing tutorial
how to draw a shadow pinterest image

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"I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed."
- "My Shadow," poem by Robert Louis Stevenson

Would you like to learn how to draw a shadow? This easy, step-by-step cartoon drawing tutorial can show you how.

What is a shadow? It is a dark area caused by a solid object blocking light rays. Shadows can be fun when used like puppets!

Scroll down for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial.

Shadows are often used metaphorically. In our drawing guide, for example, the little boy wants to be like Superman, so his shadow resembles this dream.

Another well-known example of this occurs in promotional artwork for Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace, in which young Anakin Skywalker's shadow is shaped like Darth Vader, the villain he will someday become.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Boy, Old Man, and Cartoon Girl.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Shadow

Shadow drawing - step 1
shadow step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 01

1. Begin by drawing the boy's head. Use curved lines to outline the hair, ear, chin, cheeks, and temples. Notice how the lines of the hair overlap just above the forehead.

Shadow drawing - step 2
shadow step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 02

2. Detail the face. Use curved lines to outline the eyes and draw the eyebrows, nose, mouth, and inner ear. Shade a circle within each eye to indicate the pupils. Then, use short lines to enclose the neck. Extend a long curved line from the neck - this will become the boy's cape.

Shadow drawing - step 3
shadow step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 03

3. Use curved lines to outline the "T" shape of the boy's t-shirt and to begin outlining his arm. Enclose small inverted triangles beneath the neck where the cape is tied, and use overlapping curved lines to complete the cape.

Shadow drawing - step 4
shadow step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 04

4. Use curved lines to complete the arms and hands, and to enclose the bottom of the t-shirt. Begin drawing the boy's shorts by enclosing a partial rectangle.

Shadow drawing - step 5
shadow step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 05

5. Use curved lines to enclose the irregular shapes of the boy's legs and shoes. Use short curved lines to texture the fabric of the shorts and shirt. Then, draw a straight, horizontal line behind the boy. This is the horizon line - or, in other words, the ground.

Shadow drawing - step 6
shadow step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 06

6. Begin to outline the head of the shadow. Use a series of connected curved lines. Notice the curl at the front of the forehead. This is a classic characteristic of Superman when he assumes his superhero persona.

Shadow drawing - step 7
shadow step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 07

7. Use a series of curved lines to outline the shadow's arm and shoulder. Then, draw an inverted, curved triangle within the shape. This indicates the bottom of the arm and the side of the torso.

Shadow drawing - step 8
shadow step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 08

8. Extend a long curved line from the base of the shadow's neck to form the top of the cape. Below that, draw an inverted, curved triangle and a partial triangle shape like an ocean wave. These outline the bottom of the arm and side of the torso, and the outer side of the arm and bottom of the cape, respectively.

Shadow drawing - step 9
shadow step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 09

9. Draw a series of short curved lines below the arm of the shadow on each side. These are the fists folded against the hips. From there, draw straight lines down to the horizon line to outline the legs.

Enclose a small triangle at the horizon line to indicate the inner sides of the legs. Next, draw straight lines from the bottom of the shadow to the boy's feet.

Complete Shadow drawing
shadow step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 10

Color your cartoon of a boy superhero and his shadow. You can even add the Superman logo to the boy's shirt!

Scroll down for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial.

The Complete Shadow Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to draw: Shadow - all drawing steps
how to draw a shadow step by step tutorial image

Printable Drawing Tutorial

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