How to Draw a Cartoon Tough Guy

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Draw a Cartoon Tough Guy

draw a cartoon tough guy muscle man
a classic cartoon muscle man. S. Encarnacion, licensed to, Inc.

In this lesson, we are going to draw a classic cartoon thug - the bad guy sidekick, bodyguard, bully or even circus muscle man, not very bright but he can lift heavy things!

In some ways, this tough guy character is a stereotype, but in cartooning, it's really a very basic kind of "archetype". These archetypes help us to communicate ideas about different types of characters in a simple way, by using styles and symbols that everyone is familiar with. An archetype is a way to describe something universally accepted in a quick and easy way. The reader doesn't need a lot of 'backstory' about this individual character to know what he or she is like.

The archetype body for a cartoon tough guy or muscle man will be basically the same, even when the characters are different. This usually includes big chests and arms, and spindly legs. The small legs really just help to emphasize how big the chest and arms are.

The tough guy type of character's head is kind of small, but the hands are kind of big, and the hand is usually the same size as the head.

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Draw the Tough Guy Muscleman

cartoon tough guy step 1
cartoon tough guy step 1. S. Encarnacion, licensed to

Start drawing the cartoon tough guy by drawing a large circle, and placing smaller circles to mark the head, shoulders, and hips. Notice how the shoulders are fairly level - one just a little higher than the other - with the head placed rather left of center.

It all looks very abstract at this stage - don't worry! We need to build the structure first, then add the details.

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Drawing Hands on the Cartoon Tough Guy

draw cartoon tough guy step 2
draw cartoon tough guy step 2. S. Encarnacion, licensed to, Inc.

Now we simply add the same size circles for hands and sketch the position of the arms and legs. It's still a very simple structure. Keeping a picture of the finished cartoon in front of you can help you visualize where everything will go, and makes it seem less abstract.

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Draw a Cartoon Tough Guy - Arms and Legs

drawing a cartoon tough guy continued
draw cartoon tough guy. S. Encarnacion, licensed to, Inc

Nex we add the little stick legs and bulky arms. Follow the example closely so your proportions are correct. They look very exaggerated at this stage, but remember, it's a cartoon, not a realistic drawing. Everything is over-the-top!

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Draw a Cartoon Tough Guy

S. Encarnacion, licensed to, Inc.

Now we join up the hands and arms, erasing part of the circles. Notice how we keep the line on the left of the body, erasing part of the 'shoulder' circle so that it seems to disappear behind the bulk of the body.

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Finishing the Tough Guy - Muscle Man Outline

tough guy cartoon character outline
S. Encarnacion, licensed to, Inc.

Another archetypal muscle man feature is the strong chin. Small beady eyes with a little nose and big mouth help to make him seem heavy on the brawn and light on brains. Muscle men aren't always known for their master plans. Their strength really is strength! And that is what they use to get what they want.

Add a little indent to create his left fist. Draw his thumb and fingers on the clenched fist facing us - you don't have to draw all four fingers on a cartoon character - this guy only has three visible fingers - it makes his hands look beefier and keeps the look clean and simple. Add a slightly curved line for his chest and bumpy 'abs'.

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Draw a Cartoon Action Man Commando

Action Man Cartoon Character
Draw a Cartoon Action Man Commando. S. Encarnaction, licensed to, Inc.

You can choose different outfits and accessories to change who this tough guy is.

From this basic character design, many different types of tough guys can be created, from a professional wrestler or Iron Man to an Action Man army commando type.

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Draw a Cartoon Tough Guy - Alien

cartoon tough guy alien
cartoon tough guy alien by S. Encarnacion. S. Encarnacion, licensed to, Inc.

Even if your tough guy is a four-armed, four-eyed alien from a dangerous planet, you can count on this basic archetype to help you to show just how tough your character is!