Tutorial: The Ultimate Guide to Cartooning/Bodykit Designing


The first stage of creating a cartoon is to set up the three layers you will need.

We need to open the image that we want to cartoon. In this instance, its the humble Fiat Seicento. This image will become the "background" layer. I shall refer to this layer as Layer 1.

Next, we need to create a new layer on top of that (easily done by using the keyboard shortcut Shft+Ctrl+N). Using the fill paint can tool, fill this layer totally with white, and then lower the layer opacity to around 60%. This layer shall be referred to as Layer 2

3 Okay... Once those two layers are done, we need another layer! (Ctrl+Shft+N). This layer is referred to as layer 3!


The line tool is the main tool used in the creation of these cartoons. Many people have trouble finding this on Photoshop, and many have problems setting it up adequately for this type of work. Typical problems are that it is hidden away on the menu, and the fact that each time you draw a line, a new layer is created... There are ways around this! To find the line tool, just hit the U key! Once you've done that, the options with show on the top tool bar (I know this is how it works on PS 7.0).  The settings should match exactly the same as mine.

All the problems should now disappear! Just make sure the colour selected is black and move onto the next stage!



Here's the boring bit! Flick onto layer 3 and begin using the line tool, as smoothly as you can, to draw around the edges of the main parts of the car! This is where you can concentrate on drawing new parts (ie bumpers etc) on the car. Just be very careful to make sure the lines are smooth.

Okay, here's a small section of the Seicento I shall cartoon to show you all the basic steps you'll ever need to do your own projects.

Here we can see the basic outline of the major parts.. I shall progress further in the next picture to show you the arches and bumper I have drawn on.











Drawing on parts isn't as hard as you would first think, as long you keep looking at the parts to see if they are in perspective and if they suit the car ok.

General tips are to first draw a quick bumper shape and then slowly build up shape and detail and learn where creases in the bumpers with occur.

The same can be done with the alloy wheels, new alloys can be placed in front of layer 1, and behind layer 2, so, on layer 3.. lines can be drawn! I hope I was clear enough then!!








1 Go to layer 2, go around the lines with lasso tool, then fill with any colour of choice.

2 Once the basic colour has been confirmed, it is then time to concentrate on building up detail. Examples of detail, would be the lighter edges on the top halves, shading in the bottom areas etc etc. I shall show you first how to make the arches the arches above look as though they come away from the bodywork, and curve around. This is simply done, using the following steps:

First lasso around the indicated areas

Select a slightly lighter colour (for lighter areas)

Select appropriately sized airbrush (indicated) and brush around the TOP halves of the bumper (in this case)









Here's the same picture after I've added lighter and darker areas for the shading.

It is a good idea to look at the original image to see where light and darkness falls on the car, so that it can be followed through onto the cartooned image.

This is all done using the lasso tool (as a mini mask) and the airbrush tool. Other tools, such as the blur tool etc, can also be adopted for use when cartooning.











Adding alloy wheels to a cartoon can be very hard or.. you can cheat and do it the easy way. Remember as with all Photoshop Auto work, the rims should be of the correct size, and at the correct angle.

1- Hard way: The hard way is grab the wheel and transform it (Ctrl+T) to fit the wheel arches. Then follow the steps above.. ie, line tool and airbrushing...
2- Easy way: The easiest way to make the rims look cartoonified (this is the way I do it!!) is to use the "Smart Blur" feature on Photoshop. First, grab the wheel and transform it (Ctrl+T) to fit the wheel arches. Then go to Filter>Blur>Smart Blur and then have the Radius set to 3.0 and the Threshold to around 50. Click ok, and your sorted :D

This is the Seicento with bigger rims added, this shows the results after using the "Smart Blur" method.