The face can be said to be the most important part of a cartoon character. This is because this is where the emotions can be expressed. Expressions on the face tell a lot whether the subject is happy, sad, angry and timid. It is therefore a requirement for any successful cartoonist to learn how to draw the various emotions.
Study people's faces for their emotional content. Forget about the shape, the hair, and the proportions at this stage. Study pictures of people. Learn to draw the emotions through the expressions on the face.
Some of the body languages do speak to us loud and clear even though the words are not spoken. For example, a person with arms crossed usually denotes defiance. So do standing tall with chin up. Shoulders shrugged up usually indicate timidity or uncertainty.
Some action sports have unique poses. A golfer's stance just before the swing is unique to golf. A ballet dancer has a unique tiptoe stand. A baseball batter has his own unique stance. Study the various body motions of people and it will add to your message.
The head can be used to indicate many things. With white hair, and wrinkles you can indicate an old person. So can the absence of teeth in the mouth. Various hairstyles can be used to fit women of different background.
Experiment with various types of noses, eyes, mouth, ears, hair, chin, cheeks and you will be able to create many types of people.
Study the proportions of the face. Divide the head into 3 parts - the forehead, the nose, and the mouth and chin area. Alter the proportions. Make the forehead larger. Or make the nose area smaller. Experiment.
Make a face in the shape of a square. Or a triangle, with apex up, or apex down. Maybe a rectangle, a circle, and oval. Or a pear shape, a diamond shape, a heart shape, a spade shape. Or an inverted U shape. There are many shapes of faces you can try. You can try the shapes not only with faces, but also with the body.
Do you notice that young children's faces are rounds? And the level of their eyes is almost at the middle of the face? Have you noticed that the body is shorter compared with the head?
But do not stick to the rules all the time. Sometimes proportions are exaggerated for laughs.
Clothing and accessories
Some clothing is the hallmark of certain occupations. Policemen are shown wearing uniforms. Nuns and priests their habit. A ballet dancer with their unique frocks.
Learn to associate clothing with certain groups of people. Spectacles may indicate a studious character. A pirate usually has an eye patch.