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how to draw goku step by step easy

How to Draw Goku and Bring Him to Life with Color from Dragon Ball: A Step-by-Step Gouache Painting Tutorial

Let's journey back to the origins today and join hands in drawing Goku from the very first volume cover of the 'Dragon Ball' manga series, paying homage to the esteemed Japanese manga artist and character designer, Akira Toriyama. This tutorial will guide you step by step on how to draw Goku from scratch, including techniques for pencil sketching and character painting with gouache. If you prefer, acrylic paints are also an option. Grab your brush and let's dive into this creative endeavor together! May everyone find joy in the art of drawing anime. 

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Part One: Gather Your Art Supplies

Pencil & Eraser: Choose an HB or 2B wooden pencil for the ideal mix of softness and strength for your anime drawing.

Liner Pens: Use a thicker pen for anime outlines and a finer one for detail work.

Paper: Opt for thicker cotton paper that has good absorbency to prevent wrinkles and warping after coloring.

  • Recommendation:

     MEEDEN 12x9" Hot Press Watercolor Paper Pad

Paints: Select gouache paint for its vibrant colors or acrylic paint if you prefer for your Goku art.

  • Recommendation:

     MEEDEN Gouache Paint Set, 24 Tubes

Brush: A medium nylon brush ensures smooth gouache painting application.

  • Recommendation:

    MEEDEN 12 Pcs Acrylic Paint Brushes Set

    MEEDEN Acrylic Paint Brushes Set of 10 Pcs

Palette: A white palette, either plastic or ceramic, for mixing colors, perfect for gouache painting ideas.

  • Recommendation:

    MEEDEN 12-Well Ceramic Paint Palette with Cover

    MEEDEN Studio Porcelain Watercolor Paint Palette


Part Two: Pencil Sketching Anime Characters

Step 1. Composition

Begin by carefully observing the composition and proportion of the anime characters to draw. Consider how to transfer those proportions onto your drawing paper. Start by using your pencil to mark key locations and sizes on the paper, like Goku's head placement and its size, as well as the positioning and outline of a dragon's head and torso. Simple dots and lines will suffice at this stage, as long as they help you identify where and how big to draw each element. This step might seem straightforward, but it's actually crucial. An off-balance composition at this point can lead to tedious corrections later on.

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Step 2. Drafting the Sketch

With our foundational framework in place, we progress to sketching the rough draft. Precision isn't the goal here—instead, aim to capture the general contours of key elements like body parts and attire. As you draw, continuously observe the spatial relationships and sizes of different sections. After the complete rough sketch of the anime figure is laid out, take another look to assess proportions and make necessary adjustments. For instance, if you notice Goku's arm should extend slightly past his leg to be parallel with the foot, add extra lines to tweak the positioning. It's in these moments that the rough sketch evolves, inching closer to a more accurate depiction of your envisioned anime drawing.

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Step 3. Refining the Sketch

With the general structure and outline established, our drawing Goku may still look a bit unrefined. It's time to meticulously detail each part of the anime character, a process that demands both concentration and patience. Take a closer look at the central aspect of our image, Goku's face. If the proportions are off, with the face appearing too wide or flat, it's necessary to narrow the facial structure, elongate the hair, and scale down the collar accordingly.

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Begin with light, experimental strokes to gently outline the correct shapes, searching for that precise line before making it bolder and erasing the unnecessary lines. This meticulous stage transforms your initial sketch, sharpening it into the definitive and precise depiction of baby Goku.

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Step 4. Detailing the Drawing

Once all the adjustments are made, it's time to bolden the key areas to clarify the overall outline and create a layered look. Then, it's all about the details - like the fuzzy texture of Goku's tail or the shadows and texture strokes on the dragon's horns. With every added detail, Son Goku gain more character and depth, preparing our artwork to come to life with color.

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Part Three: Coloring Techniques for Anime Characters

Step 5. The Art of Color Mixing

In anime coloring, coloring a single area usually requires just two shades: one lighter for the illuminated parts and one darker for the shadows. Take skin tones, for instance: start with a base skin color and simply add a touch of red to create the shadowed skin tone. If you don't have a premade skin color, try blending a small amount of red with a large amount of white. For beginners who find color mixing challenging, it's helpful to consult tutorials, such as a guide on mixing colors. Additionally, you can seek inspiration and assistance from online tools of color mixer.

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Step 6. Picking the Palette for Kid Goku and the Dragon

Feel free to play with your color mixing, and do a test stroke on scrap paper to ensure you've got the perfect shade before adding it to your anime painting. Here's a quick guide for coloring key areas:

Goku's skin: Start with Portrait tone; add a hint of red for shadows.
Goku's clothes: Mix Mid Yellow and Vermilion; more Vermilion for shadows.
Dragon: Start with Pale Green, add Sap Green for shadows.
Background: Ultramarine Blue.
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Step 7. Applying Color

For coloring anime, achieving even tones is crucial. Start with a light base color, then layer on the darker shades for shadows, repeating this process as necessary. When covering large areas, mix ample paint to avoid shortages, as finding the same pigment and water ratio can be tricky. If you run out of your mixed color mid-application on elements like goku's clothing and apply new mixed color, it may result in unevenness and a cluttered look. To fix this, allow the paint to dry before applying another uniform layer. This technique, however, requires quality paper that doesn’t buckle or crease. MEEDEN 100% cotton watercolor paper excels in this regard, accommodating multiple layers with ease and maintaining the integrity of your anime painting ideas.

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Part 8. Outlining

Once the colors are fully applied, it's time to outline. Begin with a thicker liner pen to trace over the larger contours such as Goku's hair, clothing, the anime dragon, and the anime clouds. Then switch to a finer liner pen for the details—Goku's stray hair strands, the fuzz on his tail, dragon's scales, and the textured shadows on the dragon's horns. With the outlining complete, our painting of Goku riding the dragon is nearly brought to life.

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Part 9. Layering the Background Hue

Should our background color looks a bit uneven, which often happens with variable water to pigment ratios, it's a simple fix. Just prepare a sufficient quantity of Ultramarine Blue diluted with water, and apply a fresh layer to the background. This additional pass can even out the color, enhancing the backdrop's overall smoothness and vibrancy.

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As we complete our artwork, we do more than just capture the image of Goku and his dragon; we honor the imagination and artistry of 'Dragon Ball' and its creator, Akira Toriyama. Each line drawn and every color laid down is a small tribute to this iconic series that continues to inspire. May your artwork reflect the adventure and spirit that 'Dragon Ball' embodies, and may your creativity always be as boundless as the series itself. Happy drawing and painting!


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