How to draw Bowser Jr.
The pint-sized nuisance of the Bowser clan, Bowser Jr. is just as popular as the rest of the Mario franchise as a subject for sketches. Despite how simple he looks, though, Bowser Jr. can be a little challenging to draw correctly. This hub will run through one method of simplifying the drawing process so you come out with a stylish, accurate Bowser. Jr.
Step 1: Draw your pose
Even if you don't follow it, even if you know exactly what you plan to do, always start with a wireframe sketch to figure out how you want your character to look in the finished product. Build up from there. In Bowser Jr.'s case, go with a stocky build that emphasizes width more than height.
Step 2: Circles
The Mario cast is kept simple through a simplification of shape. In Bowser Jr.'s case, the primary shape is the circle. Most of his body is composed of circles. Add to your wireframe by drawing a series of circles in the appropriate places on Bowser Jr. If nothing else, make sure you map out the four primary circles that make up his face, as well as his stout legs and feet.
Step 3: Face
If there's one part you absolutely need to get right, it's Jr.'s face. Like Bowser, he's basically three circles glued onto the bottom half of one larger circle, the rest of his head. Emphasize the nose to start with, then add two smaller circles to the sides. Once this snout is satisfactory, erase the bottom of the three circles and draw a low arc for his jaw. Beady eyes and eyebrows add personality, his tiny fangs make him appear young, and his crop of hair (think radish stalks) sets him apart from the other Koopas.
Step 4: Arms and hands
The Mario crew is like most cartoon characters in that they don't really have jointed arms, tending more towards curves. Jr. is no exception. Most of the time Jr.'s hands are curved inward as clenching claws, though in the example they're held out straight so you get a sense of how they look. Stubby, but not too stubby, with nails that are more rounded than sharp.
Also? Count the fingers. If you draw five fingers you've gone one too many.
Step 5: Legs and feet
Jr. stands with his knees at a slight angle like the other Koopas, making it rather easy to draw. Depending on your perspective, most of the time the legs will be nothing more than a large oval drawn over a smaller oval. Add three clawed toes on the feet after the second circle is drawn. Again, round out the claws unless you want a more realistic Jr.
Step 6: Torso
Jr. is one of the few Koopas to wear any clothes - in his case, a huge neckerchief with a jagged mouth. Draw a simple oval for the body, connecting his limbs, then cover virtually the whole thing with an oversized neckerchief. Though it's not pictured here, the neckerchief ends with a large, spiky knot tied around his neck. When drawing the mouth on the neckerchief, don't forget to make it bend with the folds in the fabric - it shouldn't look like a straight, perfect image.
Step 7: Shell
Unless you want to draw Jr. from the side or back, his shell will mostly be hidden. Show some evidence of the white edge of the shell as a long, blobby tube hidden behind his arms and legs, and include the green part of the shell as a slight hill on his back, sloping downward as it moves towards his neck and tail. Any spikes showing are large but rounded.
Step 8: Cleaning up
Got a completed Jr., or at least a reasonable outline? Time to get rid of excess lines and any guides you may have drawn. Most Mario characters feature very straight and clean line art, and Bowser Jr. is not an exception - unless you're looking at the mouth on his neckerchief. Be as sketchy as you want on that to give it a sense of childish scrawling.
Jr. really pops to life if you give him some colour to complement the art. If you're working on a computer, you can drag the first picture (or this one) into your graphics program and sample the colours directly. If you're working with pencil crayons, markers or paints, use close approximates. Jr.'s scale colours are typically a little oranger than depicted here, though the final decision is up to you.
Once you've successfully drawn Jr. in a neutral pose, you can begin to experiment with different postures. His limbs are nicely rounded regardless of posture, so draw him accordingly, downplaying on angles. Adjust the sizes of your circles to create a sense of depth.
Jr.'s especially fun to play with because his simple features allow for a great number of different facial expressions with minimal changes. Move the eyebrows around and change his mouth to make him mad, upset, quizzical or gleeful. Don't forget the tiny fangs!