Cartoon Portrait Drawing: Immortalize Your Likeness

You may be thinking about changing your profile picture or spicing up your social media page. Does it look dull? Do you want to make it more interesting? Or are you not happy with your picture because you feel like you’re not photogenic? Or do you just want to show how creative you are, or just want to see yourself from a different perspective? Well, in any of these cases, a cartoon photo drawing is a solution for all these problems.

What is a cartoon portrait drawing?

A cartoon portrait drawing is, as the name suggests, a portrait of someone drawn or made in a style that turns the subject into a cartoon. They can look many different ways, depending on how they are made since multiple methods are available. Some yield clearly superior results than others, but as with most things, quality comes at a price.

How to draw cartoon portraits?

Probably the easiest way to make a cartoon portrait of yourself is to use an application that turns your image into something that vaguely resembles a drawing with the help of a filter. These suck most of the time, though; everybody can tell that these are not real drawings. These also offer only the realistic approach when it comes to drawing styles; overall very limited, with questionable-looking results, but at least it’s free. If you have to pay for it, you’re better off with an upcoming alternative(not the generators).

Grey filter photo cartoon
This barely looks different than the original photo.

Lately, new AI tools have been available as well. These can be attractive since drawing cartoon portraits is not easy, so why not let an AI do it? These AI-generated portraits are often wonky and barely have any resemblance to the person they should portray. Also, these tools are locked behind a paywall, so if you are paying for it anyway, you are better off with a cartoon photo drawing made by a real artist.

You can also find an online avatar generator type of deal, where you manually select the features that make up the human face. The shape and color of the eyes, eyelashes, mouth, nose, ears, etc. There are usually a ton of hairstyles available in these generators, so at least they have that going for them since the end result is pretty generic and barely resembles its creator. This option is extremely limited since you have a set number of choices available.

Low quality cartoon avatar

The fourth (and best) way is to commission an artist to get a self-portrait cartoon drawing. They already know really well how to draw cartoon portraits.
These hand-drawn pictures can greatly differ, and this is great! They are more unique and personal than the other options I mentioned before. They can be realistic cartoon portrait drawings, where the subject looks almost like a photograph, and there are more stylized versions.

Realistic hand-drawn avatar prictures
A realistic style vs. a cartoony illustration

These artists offer a wide variety of styles, each having its own twist. For example, if you want a caricature made, the only option is through an artist. There are no generators, algorithms, or filters available that can really replicate what an artist does. These automated programs can only mimic what an artist does to a much lesser degree. They lack the touch of an artist.

Four signs you need a cartoon portrait drawing

Do your social media pages look dull?

Does your social media page look like everyone else’s? Then this is the best time to change your profile picture. A cartoon avatar can spice your profile page, make it look more interesting, and grab the attention of people by standing out of the crowd of traditional photos.

You are not 100% happy with the pictures you have

A cartoon portrait drawing is a great option if you categorize yourself as not too photogenic. I can count on one hand the number of times I said, “Yes, this is great!” to a photo taken of me, so I’ve been abusing cartoon portrait art for a long time. I like how much I can have different drawings of myself in different styles, always looking fresh, yet I’m still recognizable.

You need to create an image of a cheerful and creative person

Nothing screams creativity more than art. If you want to project creativity and cheerfulness, what better way than having a portrait drawing a cartoon of you?

Realistic cartoon portrait drawing

Of course, the only option in play here is a commissioned drawing. An image made with the help of a generator or filter will do the opposite; you’ll end up with a generic-looking flat, soulless avatar that screams the opposite.

You like to try something new and look at yourself from a different perspective

Have you ever wondered what you’d be like as a cartoon character? In this case, you may have already tried options one and two from the beginning (filters and generators), and I’m fairly certain you were underwhelmed by the results; at least, I know I was when I tried them. You may have even searched for how to draw a cartoon portrait of yourself, but there is no easy way to learn it.

Black Man Cartoon Avatar

The best way is to find a good artist who will capture in their portrait drawing cartoon what makes you, you. There are a plethora of styles available; you may get more than one drawing and switch between them to stay fresh.

What is the difference between a portrait and a caricature?

While both of these art forms focus on depicting the human face, there are some key differences. On the one hand, the portrait artist aims to depict the face in a more realistic fashion, meaning it tries to stay true to how the subject looks, not changing anything about it, maybe with small details to make it more flattering, but that’s it.

On the other hand, we have caricature artists who will take the most iconic features of their client’s faces and exaggerate them to ridiculous proportions. This can sometimes hit a nerve with people who are insecure about their features. Let’s say you feel like you have a big forehead and are insecure about it.

The caricature artist will likely exaggerate it to a point a helicopter could land on it. It’s important to understand that they are not trying to humiliate you; they just make a funny drawing that, oddly enough, still resembles the subject, so people can laugh about how ridiculous it is.

How to draw a cartoon portrait of yourself?

By now, it should be clear that the only real and meaningful way to create a cartoon portrait drawing is by leaving it to a professional artist. You can try making it yourself, but if you can’t draw well, you’ll end up with something silly at best.

Why is it better to make a cartoon portrait of yourself via and be sure of a quality result?

cartoon portrait

The problem is when someone sells their drawing services without the proper training. Many “artists” have misleading portfolios, with works of other artists, which don’t represent their work or skill. A dead giveaway that the person is not actually the author of the images they are showcasing is when the drawings are all in widely different styles and subjects.

During my search for a competent artist, I came across quite a few who had false advertising and delivered art that was not even close to the level they were showcasing. The results are guaranteed at a website like, with thousands of avatars already drawn in a consistent style.

What are some common challenges when creating cartoon portrait drawings?

The first and biggest challenge is to make the drawing resemble the face of the client. It may sound pretty simple, but there’s a catch. Humans are extremely good at recognizing faces; we can tell if something is off instinctually. As an artist, it is frustrating when you can tell that something isn’t right, but you can’t put your finger on it what it is. This can be overcome with experience comes the ability to faithfully illustrate the main characteristics of the face making it resemble your subject.

Another challenge is to keep your cool when your work is criticized and stay open to what people say; they might have a point, even if they are rude. A lot of people are not at peace with how they look, so even if you do a good job and depict them faithfully, capturing their likeness completely might backfire as they don’t like the original. In cases like this, it’s better to alter the drawing slightly to make it more flattering. I have drawn thousands of portraits so far and received complaints only a few times because they looked prettier on the drawing than in real life.

Doing a cartoon portrait requires you to simplify complex features of the face that can easily lead to your drawing losing likeness. As with many things, the only way around this is experience. 

How can artists develop their own unique style in creating these drawings?

You may find yourself at the point where you feel like you don’t have your own style and need to develop one. This process will take time but will eventually take place naturally; as you draw more and more, you will find that you draw some features in a certain way, there’s a way how you like these features to look, and over time these preferences of your will add up to what you can call your own style. 


Suppose you are looking to improve your social media presence. In that case, you want it to make it more exciting, or if you are not happy with the current photos you got, If you want to showcase your creativity or bring some lighthearted cheeriness to your life, a cartoon portrait drawing is the solution for you. Automated portrait/art generators will never be able to replicate the human component of art.

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