Unleash your inner artist with our beginner-friendly guide to drawing KAWS characters. From essential supplies to mastering shapes and proportions, we provide step-by-step illustrations and videos to bring iconic KAWS traits to life. Perfect your craft with our color chart and finish with a flourish by adding depth and emotion. Plus, get inspired by a gallery of fan creations!
  • Learn to draw KAWS characters to develop your own artistic style.
  • Understand the essence of KAWS characters by exploring his drawings.
  • Gather the right tools like sketch paper, pencils, erasers, and markers.
  • Start with basic shapes and proportions to create recognizable forms.
  • Incorporate signature elements like crossed-out eyes and exaggerated hands.
  • Add depth and emotion through shading and expressive eyes.
  • Refine your artwork by cleaning up lines and adding final touches.
  • Use a limited color palette to bring vibrancy to your KAWS characters.

The world of KAWS is one of vibrant colors, bold lines, and characters that evoke a sense of nostalgia while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of contemporary art. For beginners looking to dip their toes into the artistry of KAWS, learning to draw his iconic characters is a fantastic starting point. With their exaggerated features and x-ed out eyes, these figures are not only visually striking but also serve as a gateway to developing one's own style in the vein of this modern master.

Understanding KAWS Characters

Before you begin sketching, it's crucial to understand the essence of KAWS' characters. They are not mere cartoons; they are a blend of pop culture and fine art. The characters often have a disarming simplicity that belies their emotional depth. To truly capture the spirit of KAWS in your drawings, immerse yourself in his universe by exploring his drawings and sketches, and understanding how his style has evolved over time.

Gathering Your Tools

As with any artistic endeavor, having the right tools can make all the difference. For drawing KAWS characters, you'll want to start with quality sketch paper, pencils ranging from HB to 6B for different line weights, erasers for refining your work, and perhaps some colored markers or pencils if you wish to bring your drawings to life with color.

Essential Drawing Supplies

  1. acid-free sketchbook for drawing
    Sketchbook - A high-quality, acid-free sketchbook to preserve your Kaws character drawings.
  2. graphite pencils set for artists
    Graphite Pencils - A range of pencils from 2H to 6B for sketching delicate lines and bold shadows.
  3. kneaded and plastic eraser set
    Erasers - A kneaded eraser for subtle changes and a plastic eraser for clean, sharp edges.
  4. artist pencil sharpener
    Pencil Sharpener - A high-quality sharpener to keep your pencils in perfect condition for precise lines.
  5. black fineliners set
    Fineliners - A set of black fineliners for defining your drawings with a range of thicknesses.
  6. alcohol based markers set
    Markers - Alcohol-based markers in a variety of colors to bring your Kaws characters to life.
  7. artist grade colored pencils
    Colored Pencils - Artist-grade colored pencils for adding depth and vibrancy to your characters.
  8. clear acrylic ruler
    Ruler - A clear ruler for straight lines and precise measurements.
  9. portable drawing board
    Drawing Board - A portable drawing board to provide a sturdy surface wherever you create.
  10. workable fixative spray for drawings
    Fixative Spray - A workable fixative spray to protect your drawings and prevent smudging.

The Basic Shapes and Proportions

KAWS' characters are built from simple geometric shapes. Begin by practicing circles, squares, and rectangles as these will form the foundation of your sketches. Understanding proportions is key; even though KAWS’ figures are stylized, they follow an internal logic that gives them balance and recognizability.

Crafting KAWS: A Beginner's Guide to Drawing Iconic Characters

artist's desk with drawing tools
Gather Your Tools
Before we embark on this creative journey, ensure you have the right tools at your disposal. You'll need a pencil for sketching, an eraser for corrections, a fine liner for defining, and a plethora of colors if you wish to bring your character to life. Quality drawing paper is also a must-have for a smooth drawing experience.
basic shapes for character drawing
Start with Basic Shapes
Begin your KAWS character with the simplest of forms. Sketch a circle for the head, and use rectangles for the body and limbs. Remember, these shapes are merely guides; they set the stage for the character's proportions and ensure everything is aligned harmoniously.
refining shapes into a character outline
Refine the Outline
With the basic shapes in place, it's time to refine. Smooth out the circle into the distinctive KAWS skull shape, and taper the rectangles to form the arms and legs. This is where your character starts to take on a personality, so feel free to infuse your own artistic flair.
adding iconic features to a character sketch
Incorporate Iconic Features
KAWS characters are known for their exaggerated hands, crossed eyes, and skull-and-crossbones motif. Sketch in these iconic features with care, ensuring they're well proportioned to the body. This step breathes life into your character, transforming it from a simple sketch to a recognizable KAWS figure.
defining character sketch with fine liner
Erase and Define
Now, take a step back and review your sketch. Use your eraser to clean up any unnecessary guidelines and sharpen those edges. Once you're satisfied, go over your pencil lines with a fine liner to define your character. This step is about precision and patience, so take your time to perfect those lines.
shading and detailing character drawing
Add Depth and Detail
It's time to add depth to your KAWS character. Use shading techniques to give the impression of dimensionality. Pay attention to light sources and shadow placement to make your character pop off the page. This is where your drawing truly becomes a work of art.
coloring in character drawing
Color Your Creation
Select your colors thoughtfully, keeping in mind the mood and personality of your KAWS character. Apply your colors evenly and consider using layers to create depth and vibrancy. This final flourish is where your character gains its unique charm and comes to life.

Once you're comfortable with basic shapes, it's time to combine them into recognizable forms. Start with the head — often a skull or Mickey Mouse-like shape — which is central to many KAWS pieces. From there, add in the body using rectangles and ovals but remember to keep checking proportions; for instance, the length of arms relative to the body is essential in achieving that distinctive KAWS look.

Drawing The Signature Elements

No KAWS character would be complete without its signature elements: crossed-out eyes and exaggerated hands. These features are more than stylistic choices; they're symbols loaded with meaning in KAWS' work. The crossed-out eyes can represent anything from a lack of identity to an emotional void, while the large hands may convey power or introspection.

Kaws Character Drawing Essentials

  • Start with a clean sketch of the character's basic shape✏️
  • Ensure the body proportions are accurate to Kaws' style📏
  • Include the iconic crossed-out eyes👀
  • Draw the exaggerated hands with the signature glove-like look👐
  • Add the skull-and-crossbones motif on the character's head, if applicable💀
  • Incorporate the distinctive 'X' marks on the hands and feet
  • Use bold, clean lines to define the character🖊️
  • Apply flat, vivid colors true to the Kaws palette🎨
  • Add subtle shading to give depth to the character🌓
  • Review the character for any unique accessories or clothing👔
  • Finalize with a background that complements the character🖼️
  • Erase any unnecessary guidelines and perfect the outlines🧽
  • Step back, admire your work, and add any final touches👁️
Congrats, you've successfully captured the essence of a Kaws character in your drawing!

When drawing these elements, pay attention to their placement on the face or body. The eyes should be level and spaced apart just so that they align with the ears (if visible). Hands often take on dynamic poses that can express different emotions or actions — practice drawing them both at rest and in motion.

Incorporating these signature elements isn't just about replication; it's about understanding how they fit within the broader context of pop art and KAWS' creative process. Take time to examine original pieces or reference images closely; notice how even small variations can change a character's expression or mood.

"Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see." - Edgar Degas

This quote resonates deeply when attempting KAWS characters because what you're learning isn't just technique but also vision — how to see through the eyes of an artist who reimagines popular imagery into something new and emotionally resonant.

To be continued...

Adding Depth and Emotion to Your Kaws Character

Once you've mastered the basic outline of your Kaws character, it's time to bring it to life with depth and emotion. This is where your own artistic flair comes into play. Start by shading the areas that would naturally be cast in shadow, considering a consistent light source. Kaws' characters often have a sense of melancholy or introspection, which can be conveyed through the eyes—the windows to the soul. Experiment with different expressions by adjusting the curvature of the eyes or the positioning of the pupils.

Refining and Finalizing Your Artwork

Refinement is key in any artwork, and this rings especially true for Kaws characters. Use a fine-tipped eraser to clean up any stray lines or smudges. If you're working digitally, layers are your best friend—use them to make adjustments without affecting your base drawing. Take this time also to add any signature elements that Kaws often incorporates, like crossed-out eyes or gloves.

Finalizing your drawing involves a critical eye. Step back from your work and view it as a whole. Ask yourself if it captures the essence of Kaws' style while also showcasing your unique touch. This is also an excellent time to add highlights which will make your character pop off the page—or screen!

Perfecting Your Kaws Character: Refinement and Detailing

Refined outline of a Kaws character drawing
Refining the Outline
With the basic shape of your Kaws character sketched out, it's time to refine the lines. Gently erase any unnecessary sketch marks, leaving a more defined outline. Use a fine-tipped pen or a sharp pencil to crisply define the contours of your character. Pay special attention to the iconic rounded hands, the oversized feet, and the smooth curvature of the head. This step is crucial for bringing the precision of Kaws' design into your drawing.
Shading on a Kaws character to show depth
Adding Depth with Shading
Kaws characters are known for their dimensionality despite their simplicity. Begin shading by determining where the light source is coming from. Add darker tones to the opposite side to create depth. Use cross-hatching or smooth gradients to represent shadows and give volume to your character. Areas to focus on include under the arms, beneath the head, and the inside of the legs. Remember, the subtlety of shading can bring your character to life.
Kaws character with signature 'X' eyes and skull motif
Incorporating Signature Elements
Now, infuse your drawing with the signature Kaws elements that fans adore. This includes the 'X'ed out eyes, the skull-and-crossbones motif, and the heart-shaped nose. Sketch these features with precision and care. Consider using a ruler or a template for the 'X's to ensure they are symmetrical. These iconic details are the soul of your Kaws character, imbuing it with its distinctive, emotive presence.
Colorful Kaws character drawing in progress
Coloring Your Character
Kaws' art is renowned for its vibrant, yet limited color palette. Select a few bold colors that resonate with you or are true to the character you're drawing. Use colored pencils, markers, or even digital tools to fill in the areas with even, saturated color. Be mindful of the direction you color in, as this can affect the overall smoothness of your drawing. Leave the 'X'ed out eyes white with a small dot of black in the center to maintain their piercing look.
Finished Kaws character drawing with highlights and textures
Final Touches and Texture
To finalize your Kaws character, add any last-minute details that will make your drawing pop. This could include a subtle texture on the clothing, a glossy highlight on the eyes, or a shadow beneath the character to ground them in space. Use a white gel pen or a small brush with white paint for highlights, and a darker shade of your base colors for shadows and textures. These final touches will elevate your drawing from a simple sketch to a polished piece of art.

Incorporating Color - The Kaws Palette

Color is an essential component in Kaws' work—it brings vibrancy and energy that's unmistakable. His palette typically includes bold, flat colors with clean borders that define each area distinctly. When selecting colors for your character, consider starting with a limited palette; too many colors can overwhelm the piece. Pay attention to how colors interact with each other, creating balance and harmony within your drawing.

If you're feeling adventurous and want to delve deeper into color theory and its application in pop art, our guide on how to create pop art can be an invaluable resource.

Kaws Character Color Palette Distribution

As you continue practicing these steps, remember that every artist has their own journey of growth and improvement. The beauty lies in persistence and passion for your craft. To further inspire you, take a look at the magic behind Kaws' own drawings and sketches. And if you're eager to test what you've learned today, try our Understanding KAWS Art Techniques Quiz.

"Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable." – Cesar A. Cruz

In keeping with this sentiment, challenge yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone with each new piece you create.

Sharing Your Work with Fellow Enthusiasts

Once you're proud of your creation, why not share it? The community at Kaws Art is always eager to see new interpretations of Kaws' iconic characters. You might even consider listing original pieces for sale; our guide on how to list your KAWS art prints for sale can help get you started.

  1. colorful KAWS Companion fan art
    Companion in Color - A vibrant take on the classic Companion character, featuring a kaleidoscope of colors that breathe new life into the iconic figure.
  2. monochrome KAWS Chum fan art
    Chum in Shades - This piece showcases the Chum character in a monochromatic scheme, highlighting the intricate lines and shapes that define KAWS' work.
  3. emotional KAWS BFF fan art
    BFF's Emotional Spectrum - An emotional portrayal of the BFF character, capturing a range of expressions that resonate with the viewer on a personal level.
  4. KAWS Accomplice street art fan art
    Accomplice Reimagined - A re-envisioned Accomplice character set against an urban backdrop, reflecting the gritty roots of street art culture.
  5. Dissected KAWS Companion fan art
    Dissected Companion - A fan's intricate interpretation of the Dissected Companion, showcasing the complexity and depth of KAWS' characters.
  6. Flayed KAWS Chum fan art
    Flayed Chum's Inner Beauty - This creation reveals the inner workings of the Chum character, offering a unique perspective on the iconic design.
  7. KAWSBOB in nature fan art
    KAWSBOB in the Wild - A playful rendition of the KAWSBOB character, placed in unexpected natural settings, merging pop culture with the beauty of the wild.
  8. Cosmic KAWS Companion fan art
    Companion's Cosmic Adventure - A celestial interpretation of the Companion character, exploring the vastness of space and the unknown.
  9. KAWS BFF with flowers fan art
    BFF's Blossom - This piece captures the BFF character amidst a blooming garden, symbolizing growth and the blossoming of creativity.
  10. Action KAWS Accomplice fan art
    Accomplice in Action - An action-packed scene featuring the Accomplice character, demonstrating dynamic movement and energy.

If you find yourself bitten by the collecting bug after exploring the artistry behind these characters, be sure not to miss our comprehensive resources on mastering the art of KAWS collection, or perhaps explore how these designs can influence your space in our guide about KAWS-themed interior design.

Your artistic journey doesn't end here; it's just beginning! Keep honing your skills, experimenting with new techniques, and most importantly—enjoy every stroke of creativity along the way.

Ethan Moore
Interests: Photography, Art Collection, Kaws, Detail Analysis, Modern Art

Ethan Moore is a professional photographer and avid art collector. He has a keen eye for detail and a deep appreciation for Kaws' unique style. Ethan's articles often include high-quality photographs of Kaws' art, providing readers with a close-up look at the intricate details of his work.

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