Lvl 1

Welcome to the beginning of the Level 1 Lessons. Hopefully you’ve read the Level 0 Lessons and are ready for the next step. If you haven’t, I encourage you to go through the Level 0 Lessons, that way, you’re sure not to have missed anything.

The Level 1 Lessons are meant to build upon the foundations laid down by the previous lessons.

You now know you can draw.  Drawing is not hard, BUT drawing well, is.

You’re here because you want to start drawing better.

To help you do this, the Level 1 lessons will focus on creating cartoons.

What do I mean by cartoons?

By cartoons I mean characters that range from any kind of lighthearted comic strip to funny animated cartoon characters. From simple comic strips like The Far Side, and The Oatmeal, to Looney Tunes style and even Disney Style.

What I DON’T mean is more naturalistic cartoons like Superman, Batman, or Terry and the Pirates. They belong to a more complex form of cartooning that I’ll cover in Level 2.

Why cartoons?

The Reasons You Should Draw Cartoons

There are plenty of excuses not to draw. You might think drawing is too hard. Maybe you can’t even fathom creating things from your imagination. How do you even start? What should you do? Perhaps you think that whatever you create will be no good, or too dull.

Drawing cartoons are the solution to these problems.

By the time we’re done talking about cartooning, you’ll know how you can take cartooning and springboard it to the next level.

Yet, drawing cartoons is a goal in itself. You can be very happy only drawing cartoons without the need to move further.

That said, here’s three reasons cartooning will help you reach a higher level of drawing:

Cartooning is an Easy Win

When it comes to cartooning, there really isn’t a “right” way. There might be appealing or less appealing cartoons, but there really isn’t a “right” cartoon.

There really is just YOUR way of drawing cartoons. That said, it’s possible you may not LIKE your way. That’s okay, that’s why I gave you the design lessons in Lesson 3 and 5 in the Level 0 Lessons. It’s so you can practice coming up with a cartoon style you’re proud of.

Still, there really isn’t a way to “fail cartooning.”

Because there’s no way to fail, it makes you more confident in yourself. It helps your skills move forward as you draw more and more.

The more you draw, the more you learn. The more you learn the more you experiment.

Soon, you’ll start trying different styles of cartoons. Which of course, will teach you even more about drawing.

It’s a win win. You simply can’t go wrong with cartoons.

Comfort Drawing From Your Imagination

I get asked this a lot,

“How do I draw from my imagination? I can draw what I see pretty well, but when I draw something from my head, it looks awful.”

Drawing from observation and drawing from your imagination are actually two different but complimentary skills. You can be good at one but not the other.

This is actually why I recommend cartooning. Because it’s such an easy win, you can learn to draw from your imagination without any pressure.

It’s really difficult to wrap your head around drawing from your imagination. Where do you start? The eyes, the head?

By drawing cartoons, you can take the guess work out of the process in small bite sized chunks. You can learn one simple style of cartooning, then another slightly more complex style, then more complex, etc.

Soon your cartoons can be very complex and you’ll be perfectly comfortable drawing in that style. Drawing from you’re imagination will become second nature.

Cartooning is a fun, easy way to learn to draw from your head.


Cartooning makes you a more versatile draftsman. More so than if you specialize in drawing naturalistic drawings.

This will become more apparent as you develop you draftsmanship skills. At first the cartoons will be so simple that they can seem valueless. As you develop your skills, your cartoons will become more advanced and sophisticated.

This sophistication will make the transition between cartooning and naturalistic drawings much easier.

Not only that but when you combine your cartooning skills with great design, the world starts opening up. The exaggeration and clarity of cartooning becomes a very handy language.

Here’s the interesting part though. Once you start going beyond cartooning and you begin to draw more naturalistic figures, suddenly everything you know about cartoons expands and informs your naturalistic drawing.

Style becomes easier. Expressions will become second nature. You’re drawings will become more dynamic. In short, your drawing will become much more versatile.

I’ve seen plenty of artists who draw naturalistic and can’t draw cartoons. Many of these artist’s artwork is really stiff and rigid and they can only draw in one style.

Had they started with cartoons first, they wouldn’t have had this problem. Cartooning gives a draftsman a greater visual vocabulary to draw upon.

So if you’re ready to begin…

Learn to Draw Cartoons

Let’s get our Toon Fu On!

The Secret of the Draw Fu Arsenal – Drawing Supplies 

Lesson 1: Draw Fu Perspective Secrets – The 5 Principles You Should Know

Lesson 2: Practicing Your Draw Fu Forms

Lesson 3: The Key to Flow, Power and Dynamism – Mastering Gesture

Lesson 4: Making  Your Cartoons Look Professional – Cartooning Design

Lesson 5: Use The Rhythm Luke

Lesson 6: Monkey Style Draw Fu – Copying

Lesson 7: Dynamic Picture Making and Environments

Lesson 8:The Art of Ink Fu 

Lesson 9: Color Like a Pro: Hue and Saturation


Cartoon Features and Parts Formulas



  1. Level 1 Recommended Reading


If you want to read the Lessons before anyone else, sign up to receive the NEWSLETTER.  I’m releasing the Lessons there in small bite sized chunks first before I post them in their entirety on the blog for everyone to read.


40 thoughts on “Lvl 1

  1. Ak says:

    Hello brother, you still updating level 1? Would love to learn more. Thanks so much

    • Luis Escobar says:

      Hi Ak,
      Thanks for the question.
      I sure am. I’m still working on finishing up the hand drawing lesson. If you want to see what I’ve written up so far, you can subscribe to the Drawing Website newsletter. I send out an email with the latest part of the lesson I’ve written in case you can’t wait.

  2. marwa.elakshar says:

    I loooved the course alot .. really thanks for your help
    & I ‘m really look forward to having the next level ,, when will they come ?

    • Luis Escobar says:

      Thank you so much Marwa,
      Well, I’m still working on finishing Level 1. I send out Level 1 updates every week, as I finish them to my newsletter subscribers. Once that’s done and I’ve published all the Level 1 lessons on the website, I’ll compile the lessons into a book and see about starting Level 2.

      Hope that answers your question.

  3. Lisa says:

    Hi Luis. You are a really good teacher and even though I’ve only completed Level 0, I’ve already improved so much with your method of focusing on lines, curves and proportions. I’ve tried other lessons (both books and online lessons) and yours is by far the best (and the fastest), thank you so much for doing what you do! 😀 I’ve signed up for the newsletter in order to receive all future lessons as I now believe in own skills and my ability to become halfway decent at drawing. I can’t tell you what a blessing it was to discover your site as you are helping me reach my goal of becoming a graphic designer. Keep rocking it Luis!

  4. artemiswillow808 says:

    These are very helpful lessons. I do have one question though? Are you still working on this website?

    • Luis Escobar says:

      Hi artemiswillow808,
      I am working on the site. I’m currently working the next lesson. I’m releasing every part, as I finish it, to my Newsletter subscribers. Once I’m done with the whole lesson I post it on the site.

      I hope that answers your question.

  5. T.W. says:

    When you’re scaling your characters to figure out the line of horizon, I noticed you’re scaling different poses than the ones you end up drawing. That doesn’t matter, right? So, to break it down for my slightly whelmed brain I can:

    1) Make some cool standard perspective grids to slide underneath my drawings
    2) Draw basic character poses and make .Gimp files outta ’em
    3) Scale my .Gimp’s up and down across my grid-underlined paper
    4) Redraw the poses I want once I have the size & positions figured out
    5) Remove the grid and have a drawing that looks better without messy grid erase lines

    *Should I just print out a set of different sized characters and use them like flat 2D models to move up and down for sizing? I ask because I’m still doodling old school, no digital pens for me.

    Also, I tried an H2 and an H4 from your last suggestion in Underdrawing/Tracing – I ended up falling for an H9, although if the store had any H7’s left I feel that mighta been my groove 😀 Can’t believe after all those years of feeling useless all I needed was a harder pencil!!! Haven’t tried the lightbox yet, but if I get better maybe I will reward myself with some cooler gear (the pencils are still blowing my easily-amazed, uninformed mind)

    Thank you again for explaining in a simple manner how to do something I’ve always assumed required talent. After a five hour plane ride I had a “click” moment drawing simple circle patterns that suddenly looked like old Roman walls. It was like the best thing I’ve ever drawn, I can’t explain why, but damn my circles look cool!!

    I’m gonna go back and redo Lv. 0 exercises a few more times but I wanted to see what I was getting into before I went back to the bunny slopes. This lesson was enough to scare me back into practicing more at my level, but not scare me so bad to give up before the next one — kudos sir!!!

    – T.W.

    • Luis Escobar says:

      Hi T.W.
      Yes, you summed it up well. I’ll just add the crucial detail that, when scaling the characters and placing them in their new position that you compare it with the older position and note what part of their body the horizon line passes through and make sure it passes through the exact same part of the body in the new scaled position.

      And yes, you can print out the characters on paper and use them. Before I started drawing digital, I used this method and had different sized copies of my characters for this purpose. I spent a lot of time at the copy machine at work and when I did freelance, I did it at Kinkos.

      I hope that helps,

  6. ladyteriTeri says:

    I’m a bit confused, are the full lessons available free online, or do I have to purchase the lessons? I’ve gone the Level 0, is there more to that level if I purchase the lessons?

    • Luis Escobar says:

      Hi ladyteriTeri,
      Thanks for the question.

      All the info is free online. If you finished Level 0, then you’re done.
      If you’re wondering where the rest of the lessons are in Level 1 etc., I’m still working on them. I post them as I finish them. It’s a lot of work, I’m only one guy, I have day job, a wife, six kids, and a lot of other projects I’m working on, including another blog and some other newsletters.

      If you want to keep up with the current lessons as they’re being written, as of the time of this writing I’m sending those out to my newsletter subscribers.

      I hope that answers your question,


  7. Jed says:

    When are the remaining lessons being released?

    • Luis Escobar says:

      Thanks for the question Jed,

      As of the time of this writing, the next Lesson will be released next week.

      I’m releasing each lesson as soon as I’m done writing it. However, if you want to read each lesson as I create them, I’m currently sending out the lessons to my newsletter subscribers. They get to read what I write for each lesson, every week. Once I’m done, I then post the entire lesson on the site.

  8. Vitor Fernandes says:

    Hi there.

    Are you gonna make a book from these level 1 (and maybe the next levels) lessons?

    Great job with your blog o/

  9. jesusvillegas3 says:

    Thanks for these lessons man, I really like em. I haven’t practiced for a while, but your emailed updates motivated me to come back. Thanks for what your doing!

  10. mohammad momena says:

    thank you very much for these great lesson , please keep up your work and dont be late pleeeaseee . love u 🙂 .

    • Luis Escobar says:

      Hi Mohammad,

      I’ll try not to be late. I work on new bits of info every week and send it to the newsletter subscribers. You can see the process there.

      Thanks for the kind words and feedback!

  11. nurimanikhmal13 says:

    Hi… When is the next lesson come? It’s June now…

  12. ladruner says:

    I have been learning drawing, and as someone with very little natural born talent for this your site has really helped me. Just wanted to comment and say thanks.

  13. Tad says:

    All lessons have been great so far, thanks a lot. Do you think next lesson will come out still in may?

  14. bearzachan says:

    I love this! You make everything simple, fun, and easier to remember than most lessons I’ve found 🙂

  15. Are you still working on this? I’d be excited to see more.

  16. yael says:

    I love this site! can’t wait for level 1!

  17. Hannah says:

    I am loving this course and your methods of teaching. I’m 37 and art skills never came naturally to me so I never even tried to be creative. I recently was inspired to give it an honest attempt and I’m stunned by what I’m able to produce. (It’s nothing wonderful but it’s nothing I ever dreamed I could do). Thank you so much. Do you know about an estimated date we should start looking to see level 1? I’m still in level 0 but am worried about what I’ll do once I finish and I don’t care to learn from another source now that I’m accustomed to you and how you do things. Pretty impressive and you’re a great instructor. Thank you.

    • Luis Escobar says:

      Thank you Hannah, it’s great to hear stories like yours.

      I’m currently working on the Level 1 Lessons. The first draft of what I have so far can be read weekly if you subscribe to the newsletter.

      Keep in mind it is a first draft. I have a feeling I’m writing too much information. When I publish the final draft, the info will be edited down a bit more.

  18. Lunar says:

    I think you’re the first person I saw who recommends starting with cartoons rather than drawing from nature. I’d all but given up on the idea of learning to draw, because I found that studying anatomy bores me to tears, but maybe there is hope for me yet?

    • Luis Escobar says:

      I started by drawing what I thought was fun, namely cartoons. I learned to draw from observation eventually. I went kicking and screaming but I did it and was glad I did. I now love it, but I don’t know if I would have kept drawing if I started with that.

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