Drawing kawaii animals

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How to draw cute animals

In this tutorial I’ll be showing how to draw cute animals in the “kawaii” way.

It works mainly for mammals, but you can go ahead and try to apply this in every creature you can think of.

Round is cute

First of all, think of what “kawaii” means to you. It’s something beyond plain “cute”, it’s something that will make you awwn as soon as you see it.

In my case, I try to make my cute animals as round as possible, even chibi style.
First, we make the first circular rough sketch. I’ll be drawing an old hedgehog lady here.

I started with an elipse and after that, added other details, but there’s no need to bee too detailed! As long as there’re some characteristic features that identify your animal, it’s fine.

And so, the draft is DONE! :D

Different type of faces, snouts, eyes and ears

Pay attention to the eye mouth ratio, the closer they are, the better, as for example;

The lef one is much cuter, right?

Why? Well, there’s an explanation for that, the bigger the eyes, the smaller the face, the cuter to the human eye, since we perceive it as baby’s features! Interesting, isn’t it?

So try to reduce your character’s features to a circle in the middle of the face.
As for the eyes, nose (snout) and ears, here you can find some examples of cute animal faces.

I hope these can inspire you!

Pay attention to each animal ears, it’s a very characteristic feature and can be used to easily identify your little fellow in a single glance.

Small paws

To make your design even cuter, give them small paws and legs, as in chibi form! Short legged puppies or kittens are SUPER CUTE, right? Do the same in your drawing.


For these kind of illustrations I like to use crayon, chalk or pencil like brushes for lines. It gives your design a childish look.

Also, I like to play with the line’s colours so I can make it look like out of a children’s book.

It sure changes a lot! Use this to change your lineart's colour and give your drawing a different feeling.


Colouring is very a important step if we want to make it look real cute!!

In my case, I use sponge and crayon brushes with light touches of G pen when needed.


Try to use soft and pastel colours to make it more pleasing to the eye. Start from light shades and then make a new layer in multiply mode for dark shades.

I also like to make a hard light layer to make highlights.

I use the spray for that and give it details with the G pen. I also use the crayon brush if I want to give it a special texture.

Finally, I select the figure's shape and make a special layer under all the colour layers to fill possible empty spaces.

Finishing touches

Finally, if you want it to be detailed, you can add more coloured shadows here and there, highlight some spots, give the animal a light blush… but don’t be TOO detailed. As I mentioned before, simple makes it cuter and you don’t want it to be too heavy on details.

Lastly, don’t forget to sign your creation and share it with us so we can all see your beautiful artwork!!

Good luck <3

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