How to Draw a Tiger in Cartoon Style

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Beware!
This cartoon tiger is hungry!

Probably YOU are going to be his dinner ...

You better lock him safely onto your paper through learning how to draw a tiger.
Get out your taming equipment (pencil) and let's start this adventure!

General Tip How to Draw a Tiger (or any other cartoon animal):

Draw the whole cartoon tiger in pencil first, so that you can easily erase and correct parts of the drawing.

When the pencil drawing is finished (left picture) you can redraw all final lines with an inking pen and erase the underlying pencil lines (right picture).
Then coloring the ink drawing will be easy, because you have clear black lines as borders.

If you want to follow the same process, take care to draw the pencil lines so lightly that you can erase them later without any problems.
My lines below were heavily darkened for better visibility and are much lighter in reality.

That being said, let's get to action!

How to Draw a Tiger in Cartoon Style - Step 1: Head Outline

Start by drawing a circle for the tiger's head.
(I used compasses, but you can draw it freehand.)
Make it BIG.
My circle has a diameter of about 4 inches (10cm) in the real drawing.
The whole cartoon tiger will be about 2 and a half circles high.

If you draw that big, too, I recommend using A4 paper.

Draw in an oval for the snout.
It should just lie above the vertical middle axes of the circle.
The space on the left and right side of the snout is as broad as half of the oval.
And the space above the oval should only be slightly smaller than the height of the oval itself.

Draw in a long shape for the mouth.
It doesn't start from the very edges of the snout, but a bit more from inside.
Let the round chin reach out of the circle.

How to Draw a Tiger in Cartoon Style - Step 2: Body Outline

Now we are going to map out the proportions of the body.
This doesn't need to be very precise, just take the arrows as guidelines.

Draw in the front legs.
They have the same height as the circle (indicated by red arrows).
The lines start going diagonally outwards from the circle, then they make a knuckle as they reach the height of the circle's bottom (blue arrows) and then go diagonally inwards from there.

Draw in a rounded line for the belly between the legs.
It has the same distance from the middle of the mouth, as the middle of the mouth has from the top of the head (purple arrows).

Add the paws and toes.
All toes are just ovals that partially overlap each other.

Draw in a curved line for the hind part of the torso, at the upper left side.

Now add the hind legs.

Make two bulges into the left one (red arrows).The upper bulge lies on the same height as the belly.Just guess the height of the lower one.

Draw in a little triangle for the second hind leg (blue arrow).
This second leg lies between the two front legs, and the triangle is the only space through which you can see the background.
Place the triangle on the same height as the lower bulge of the first hind leg.

Draw in three overlapping ovals for one hind paw.
The other one is not visible from this point of view.

Then add a tail and you're finished with the body outline and have all proportions set.

How to Draw a Tiger in Cartoon Style - Step 3: Facial Outline

Draw a new outline around the jaw.
It starts broad at the top and gets thinner downwards.
Finally it merges with the inner line, where it touches the circle.

Also add curvy spikes of fur to the chin: two on each side.

Give the head its final shape:
Let two lines arc outward from the middle of the mouth.
They go over into 4 rounded spikes that hang downwards.
These sideburns should go slightly out of the circle on both sides.
The uppermost spike does not end on the circle line, but inside of the circle.
Draw slightly vertical lines upwards from there, until they go out of the circle a bit.
Then let them turn towards the circle top and meet there in a rounded shape.

You can erase the circle after this step, because we needed it to construct the head only.

Sketch in both ears at the sides of the head.
They look just like curved spikes, because the tiger has turned them sideward.

How to Draw a Tiger in Cartoon Style - Step 4: Snout Details

Complete the snout as shown in the four steps below.

Give the upper lip a symmetrical curved shape.
Then add the nose above it into the middle of the snout.
The nose looks like a heart with edges.

The lower part of the snout will stay white, while the upper part will be orange.
Outline the white part with two spikes that reach up besides the nose and are then connected with curved lines to the sides of the snout.
Also draw nostrils into the nose.

Add three curved lines of dots into the outlined area afterwards.
The dots start tiny inside and become bigger towards the edges.

How to Draw a Tiger in Cartoon Style - Step 5: Eyes & Fur Pattern

These new shapes above the snout are not the eyes, but the black fur around the eyes.
Make sure that both have the same distance from the middle of the head and lie on the same height.
Watch closely how the lines are bending.

Outline the areas for white fur in the face.
There is a big form above each eye, one thin line under the eyes, and two arched lines connecting the snout with the sides of the head.

Add three half circles for each eye.

The biggest one is the eye itself and will be left white.
The second one lies within the first and is the colored iris.
The third and smallest one lies within the iris and is for the black pupil.

Also add the spiky shapes into the fur outline on the forehead.
The exact shape is not important, just make them jagged, and let the inner ones reach over the head.

How to Draw a Tiger in Cartoon Style - Step 6: Set of Teeth & Tongue

Now it's time to give your tiger some decent teeth that will teach everyone around him respect!

At the sides there are two separate "slots" for the big fangs.

The gum in the middle has place for four little teeth in the middle and two bigger teeth at the sides

Draw in another line around the inside of the mouth, so that you get a lip.
This line starts where the big fangs touch the snout and goes all the way around.

Then add two teeth at the lower jaw and draw in the tongue.
The latter has such a weird curvy shape because it makes it look flabby and long.

Draw four small ovals at each side of the tongue for grinder teeth.
Two little lines in each oval will make their surface look rough.
Then draw a big oval that goes around these teeth on each side.
This is the gum they are sitting on.
A Part of the grinder teeth can be hidden under the tongue.
But be aware that your tiger could bite into it accidentally then.

Finally you can add a couple of curved lines that illustrate the shape of the oral cavity.

And there you go!
The final destination for many buffalos was just created.

How to Draw a Tiger in Cartoon Style - Step 7: Facial Stripes

All the organs the tiger needs are in place and ready for use, so let's tackle the fur in the next step.

A real tiger has much more stripes in his face, but I only added two more on each side to keep him simple and cartoon like.
These new stripes will be colored black (see picture below).

The lower stripe dives into each of the four spikes of the sideburns and ends in a last spike that goes upwards (red arrows).

The upper stripe's shape is more chaotic.
Just let it go down on the outside first (starting above the outer corner of the eye), and then go upwards further inside again, so that it reaches under the eye (blue arrows).
Make it jagged and spiky.

Here is a shaded picture of the tiger, so that you can get an idea how the fur pattern will be colored.
The hatched parts of the fur will be orange.

How to Draw a Tiger in Cartoon Style - Step 8: Body Fur and Claws

Make your tiger's body look a bit furrier.Add fur strands that stick out of his shape here and there.

I marked all places where I did this with red arrows:There are three at the upper legs, a row of curvy spikes for the underside of his belly, and a couple of fur strands reaching out of the backside of his legs, just above the feet.

Outline the white inner area of legs and chest.

Draw in two curved lines that start above the fur strands of the feet and go upwards to the head in two long arcs.
Make many little spikes into them, so that they look more interesting and fur-like.

The inner side of the hind leg, which you see through the front legs, also has to be outlined with a jagged line (red arrow).

Add the claws when you have done this.

Then separate the soles of the feet with zigzag lines, because they are going to stay white, too.

How to Draw a Tiger in Cartoon Style - Step 9: Stripes

Many stripes will make a great camouflage for your tiger.
They ensure his survival, because his prey won't see him coming, when he slinks through the wilderness.
So give him plenty of them!

Note that on the lower front legs there are very few stripes.
Most stripes are on the upper part and reach diagonally downwards to the center.

There is no need to copy my stripes exactly, yet if you want to do so, here is a list to bring a bit order into that chaos.
Since the pattern is largely symmetric I just mention one side.
The stripes are described from top down:

- A short thick stripe at the very top, that disappears under the jaw soon.
- A thinner stripe that ends shortly before the jaw.
- Three black spikes that look out from under the chin.
- On the chest there are two more stripes on the left, and only one curvy stripe on the right.
- At the top of the legs there is one big stripe that starts at the inside and points upwards, and one short spike that starts at the outside and points downwards.
- Further down on the leg there are only two little stripes pointing upwards again.

On a tiger's hind legs there are much more stripes than on his fore legs.
Give them different thickness and angles, so that they look irregular and natural.

Also add broad stripes to the tail, and very thin stripes on the little part of the torso at the upper left.

How to Draw a Tiger in Cartoon Style - Step 10: Inking and Coloring

Your snarling cartoon tiger is ready!

Now you can outline the shapes of this beast with an inking pen or marker and erase the pencil lines, as mentioned at the top of this page.
Then it will be a pleasure to color this wild majesty.

When you are finished with coloring, I recommend that you draw a very simple background around your tiger.

I just used a couple of bending green lines all around his feet, so that he stands in grass, added the faint shapes of trees in the background (with rough green and brown scribbling) and shaded the sky with light blue.

Each picture will look much better with a bit of environment around your cartoon animal.

So that's a way how to draw a tiger in cartoon style.
It was my pleasure to bring you out into the jungle.

See you soon for another lesson.

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