How to Draw Ariel from The Little Mermaid | Disney Princess


(upbeat music) – Hi, my name’s Steve Thompson, I’m an artist for the Walt Disney Company, and today I’m going to be showing you how to draw Ariel from The Little Mermaid. So we’re gonna get started
with the first stage, which is a rough drawing. And with Ariel, it all
starts with a circle. I’m kinda hoping by breaking this down into some simple shapes for you, it give you an approach where you’re not feeling intimidated
just to get started. She’s turned a little bit to the side, so I’ve got her center line. And then again, towards the bottom, I’m starting to drop in where
her eyes are going to sit. And right around the bottom will be where her nose sits. I’ve dropped in this circle shape, I’m kind of getting an idea
of the angle of her head. She’s slightly tilted down
and looking to the side. This drawing isn’t going
to be the final drawing, so it’s just a matter of getting things in their approximate place. Next we’ll move on to her smile. Ariel has sort of a thin, smooth upper lip. There’s no dip in the middle of it, which most characters tend to have. It’s one of the unique features of Ariel. I’m gonna give her a bit
of an open-mouth smile. Ariel’s a really cheerful, fun character, so it’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’re drawing
someone who’s this fun. So this is gonna be her cheek. And if you follow this center line all the way down, you can see how the nose
is fitting on there, the center of the bottom
lip is sitting on there, and that’s about where we’re
gonna wanna drop the chin. And then, I like to come back
at it from the other side, get the side of her jaw, and then bring that line to connect. If you kind of are
instinctively going through the process of creating this character, for me, the eyes are
always super important, because that’s really what’s gonna dictate all of your drawing. Eyes lead to the nose, from the nose you draw the mouth, and from there, you have
the rest of her face. And then it just leads me right over here. It’s like, I know exactly
where her ear needs to sit. From her ear she has these, like, nice little widow points for her hair. And then, really the most
iconic thing about Ariel, to me, is her hair. She’s got this big swoosh of bangs. I feel like as soon as
we get to this stage, if you were wondering
who it is I’m drawing, it really starts to become clear. So inside the eyes, we’re gonna want to start dropping in
where those pupils are. You want to think about the
pupil as a full circle shape, but part of it is being
covered by the eye. But it’s easier if you think about this as a circle. And then to keep that
lined up, you can like… Sometimes you can just
kind of guesstimate, but it’s nice, you know, maybe you drop in another guideline there to help you figure out
where that pupil’s gonna be. Off of the back of this cranium is the natural place for
her neck to come down. She’s got some narrow shoulders, so I’m gonna kind of pop those in place. And then really, you can do
whatever you want with her hair. She is underwater, and… So the hair is gonna always
be moving, always floating. And you might throw in a bit of her top. So now that we have that
initial rough sketch done, this next stage is gonna help us to be able to refine the features, and get this looking a little bit more like the character we all know and love. I’m using animation paper, and so it’s easier for me
to flip back and forth. We’ll start tying that
character down a little bit and start worrying
about the final details. So I noticed a couple
things in my original rough that I wanted to change, and this is my opportunity
to get her there. You can see I always kind of start off a little bit lighter, until
I want to commit to it. It’s just changing a little bit, but everything you’re
doing is your own drawing. You’re making it look the way you want to. You’ll notice that I tend
to jump around drawings, it’s just a part of my process. You can change things, correct things. Maybe you want to push a
smile a little bit more, or you want to change the expression. Noticed I need to move this
chin over, ever so slightly. Ariel’s got these nice, full cheeks. This is starting to look a little bit more like how I imagined her when I first got started. This is also an opportunity to add details that weren’t in the original rough. So I’m might be putting
a little bit more detail into her hair, putting a little more
detail into the inner ear. Because we’re starting to like, really lock this character down. One of the things I like about working with a red pencil is that it allows me to kind of have a nice base for an under-drawing. I can keep it as light,
or as dark as I want. I can add nice little shading to give some dimension, but you might find a pencil that you like working with better. Maybe it’s blue, maybe it’s a marker, maybe it’s a crayon. But whatever it is, you’re gonna approach the
drawing in a similar way. And maybe I’ll add a little shadow from her hair. And since she’s underwater, I feel like the light is
coming from above her, so all the shadows will be cast down. You can see, one of the great
things about these guidelines, now that I’m drawing her hair, is if I started drawing
her hair too low over here, it wouldn’t work with her head shape. So I know that that hair
actually needs to go above, because there’s a thickness to it. So if this circle is where her… Where her head is, this hair needs to
actually sit on top of it. And she’s got a lot of hair, so it’s really easy to have
a lot of fun with this. So you can play with shapes, play with movement. And one of the last things I like to do, maybe throw in a couple bubbles. This last little detail, just as she really comes to her life, is to throw in those pupils, which is gonna be sort of a smaller circle within the main iris. And again, I really like to
draw attention to the eyes. I feel like that’s really
the essence of who she is. She comes to life here. So once I have it looking how I want, I’m gonna come back in and just really draw your attention here. And that’s pretty much Ariel. She started out as a circle,
and she ended up as a mermaid. So the third and final
stage of any drawing, for me, is the cleanup stage. This is where we take what we’ve done in the first and second stage, and really do a finished drawing. And you can either put down a fresh sheet of paper here, or you can do what I like to do, which is take any kind of eraser, and do what we call knocking this drawing just back a little bit, if there’s some areas that
are a little bit too dark. And I’ll just get us started here. We’re gonna take a graphite pencil, and put a nice, clean line on it. I always like to draw the eyes first, because to me, that’s
the most important stage, the most important feature. You’re going over your own artwork that you’ve already created, and you’re just adding another layer, another dimension of
detail to this character. You can really emphasize
thick and thin lines here that just give it a little extra personality. A little bit thinner
lines underneath the eye. And you can really see that, if this is the stage
that you wanna stop at, that’s great, you could take it from here. You could go straight into color if you wanted to try colored
pencils, or maybe even… Maybe even try painting with water colors. That might be fitting for Ariel. Even in this stage, you
can see I still keep lines a little bit… A little bit loose, a little bit sketchy. And with the soft-lead graphite, still keeps this really line on her. So it’s not about the line being perfect, it just kind of sometimes gives it a little bit more of a finished quality. So that’s Ariel. Thank you again. I hope you had fun, I know I did, and I hope to see you soon. (upbeat music)

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