Learning to Draw – Adventure Time Style

I thought this was actually a really fun exercise to go through. While I advocate I’m not an artist, practice will always help me get a little better. The basic idea should be to stick to shapes that are solid and show weight and give a sense of energy. The one we focused on was Finn, one of the two main characters of the show, however this can apply to any of the characters. Thinking about how to break Finn down, all he really becomes is a series of tubes:


The above page from Tony’s PDF document shows perfectly how you can break down Finn’s body into a series of tubes. This includes his torso, arms, legs, and head (since his head is actually just an extension of his body, thanks to his hood).

I absolutely love the art style, humour, and story-telling of Adventure Time; I don’t feel it’s a show merely meant for kids, despite its simplistic art style. It’s fun to have the chance to learn about drawing these characters, even if it’s just about starting small. Tony suggested we started with drawing tubes in a variety of poses, much like the poses above, and gave us a bunch of ideas. The conditions were that the poses had to be dynamic, not just standing there star-fishing on the page.

With this in mind, in the half-hour we had to doodle some ideas, I came up with a few different poses:


For practice (until I could come up with some original poses) I drew a couple that were like what was in Tony’s PDF: a lying down pose and as if the character is dragging something. I actually really like these two poses, and I think they turned out well, but my favourite one ended up being the tubes with the sword. In the opening credits of the show, the very last shot is similar – Finn and Jake are standing in victory on a peak with Finn holding his sword aloft. Perhaps that’s where the idea came from, but I knew I wanted to develop it further into an Adventure Time version of me.


First, however, I thought it would be interesting to look at Finn’s female counter-part, Fionna, and her best friend Cake:


I liked the look of Fionna, and she actually has a more human-like structure. She also, unlike Finn, has a discernible neck and female curves. Her torso isn’t as tubular as Finn’s, but I think she’s a good reference for another way to break shapes down. Her arms and legs still are tube-like, and her face still is an oval with its features restricted to the space of her hood’s opening.

With this in mind, I brought my favourite pose I drew in class into Animate to try and refine the design with vector drawing. I actually quite enjoy drawing with vectors – I think I would have used Illustrator if I were a little more familiar with it. I initially tried to use it for this, but it just didn’t give me the lines and arcs that I wanted for my Fionna character.

Overall, I think it turned out all right – some of the angles of her body don’t quite match what I wanted as I’m looking at it more closely. I think it’s her left leg, which isn’t quite bending right, but overall I think it’s better than I expected. If anyone knows the show, I think they’d be able to tell who it is, at least!

While the tubes of Finn didn’t turn out to be as useful for drawing Fionna’s body shape I think using them to get the stance an general proportions correct worked out brilliantly. It feels like that’s the best part of Adventure Time – there aren’t many complicated characters and a majority of them can all be broken down into basic shapes, like Finn. I feel like this exercise has made me like drawing a little bit more, if only because it doesn’t have to be a complicated activity if you keep the basics (like most things can be broken down into shapes to start with) in mind.


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