How to Draw Disney Style

A step by step explination of how to draw disney style.  Remember, style changes based on characters, but the basic process stays the same. This page focuses on face, body, and limbs.

Learning how to draw Disney style is not difficult.  Just pick your favorite character and grab a pencil and paper.  When you are first starting out, you should have a reference to look at, but as you get better the reference will not be necessary.

The first rule to remember is:

Work with circles and ovals to do your basic layout.Sketch the picture first, with correctly sized ovals to represent head, body, and limbs.  This is the beginning steps for how to draw Disney style.  Once you have the basic size and position outlined with ovals, it is time to start putting in details (view our scale and proportions page for information on how to correctly proportion your characters).

Beginning Details (face & body):

The easiest rule for drawing is:

  • Start with the head and work your way down.

You have the basic oval for the face; now work on restructuring that oval for a more accurate shape. If your character is a human:

  • Bring in the oval for a slight indentation beside the eyes.
    • This will make the top and bottom of the head larger, with curves around the eyes.
  • Then bring the chin down into a rounded point.

How to draw Disney style facial features:

Again, start with basic circles in place, outlining the size and placement of the eyes, nose, and mouth (see Facial Proportions).  Once you have the sizes and placement correct, begin reshaping the features.  These features will change depending on the figure, but one constant with how to draw Disney style is that the eyes will be slightly oval (or almond) shaped.  Keep the features simplistic, too much detail will take away from the whole.

How to draw Disney style bodies:

There will obviously be differences for animals and humans, but there are some constants.  Bodies should be done with rounded lines, never straight.  Don’t worry so much about the shape (as it will soon be covered with clothing – see How to Draw Clothes), but get the basic size correct. 

  • With females, hips and upper chest is more round and large than the waist.
  • With males the shoulders are the largest section (creating almost a rounded upside-down triangle).

Check out your reference for ideas on how to draw Disney style clothing.  Some characters will have clothing that molds to the body, while others will have very ruffled clothing.  Keep the clothing rounded as well.

Finer Details (Limbs & Appendages):

How to draw Disney style arms and legs:

Again, make sure to look at your reference.

  • What position is the figure in?
  • Are their arms behind their back?
  • Are they sitting on their knees, making the bottom of the legs invisible?

Use elongated ovals to sketch the arms and legs.  Learning how to draw Disney style arms and legs can be done in a few basic steps.  Arms are made up of two ovals, and legs are drawn the same way, two ovals making up upper and lower arm/leg.  The difference (besides the thickness) is that the legs have a circle between the two ovals, forming the knees.  Connect these circles and ovals using gently rounded lines.

How to draw Disney style hands and feet:

When beginning, the feet should always be covered (shoes are much easier than feet).  When drawing the hands, draw a rounded square for the palm, and then three connected ovals at the top of this square to form each finger.  Two connected ovals on the side of the rounded square will form the thumb.  Bring it together by connected with rounded lines.

Finally, trace over the finished lines with a pen and erase the original circles.  Your first pictures won’t be perfect, but you’ve now learned the basics of how to draw Disney style!

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