Free vs. Hand-Drawn Avatar: Choosing Your Avatar Style

With the advancement of technology, we feel like we no longer need to invest time and effort in things that can be done by AI and developed. The free avatar generators try to stick out over other competitors and give us a unique experience with something that stands out from the rest, but as this article will compare them with a hand-drawn cartoon portrait service, you’ll see many differences.

The idea for these Pixel Art avatar services comes from the observation of big parts of users have left this increased attention to quality and detail.

What are the Pros and Cons of a hand-drawn cartoon portrait service?

Custom Cartoon Avatar


  • They have a remarkable likeness
  • Unique and personalized artwork
  • Excellent gift idea
  • Versatility – you can use them on different online platforms
  • Adds a creative touch to your page
  • It makes your profile look more approachable 
  • Convenience – order from your home from all over the world
  • Editing and customization options, in case you don’t like what you see
  • High-quality drawings
  • You can choose from different styles


  • They are not for free
  • You have to wait for the artist to finish your drawing
  • You may not like the drawing if you hire the wrong artist

If you’ve got the budget for it, one of the biggest pros to hiring a professional illustrator is that they are trained in emotional expressions. They can move beyond your caricature cartoon-style expectations and even draw your avatar’s visage with expressions that actually express what you are feeling.

At some point, we all encounter feelings we just can’t manage to capture or portray ourselves. This is where hiring an expert comes in extremely handy. An artist can perfectly capture a feeling through depictions of physical expressions and emotions, sometimes even conveying more than an effortless verbal description communicated between two people.

Hiring an artist is not free, but the results speak for itself. A good artist can create a custom drawing that will surely satisfy your needs. Also, because these are hand-drawn portraits, you must wait for the artist to finish the drawing. Before ordering your custom avatar from a photo, check the artist’s portfolio to make sure you like the style.

Why should you pay more attention to detail when ordering an Avatar?

Often, customers will pay more attention to detail when they go to order a meal from a diner rather than their mindset when ordering an avatar, which is understandable –– who really knows what makes a good avatar? And if this is the case, you’ll want to make sure your avatar generator provides a bit more for your money.

Free Avatar Generators VS Hand-Drawn Cartoon Portrait Service

There are many free designs for avatars available online. You may be wondering why you would need to consider using other services if it’s so easy to design an avatar through this portal. One reason is because of the lack of representation in the illustration that’s provided by the free services. If you want an avatar that stands out, hiring an artist is necessary.

A free avatar generator website often offers a basic design and a limited set of customization. Some paid avatar generator sites have higher quality, but it’s pretty clear that it was Ai generated. It all depends on your preferences and what you like. Go with the mainstream or go for something more special and unique. When ordering a hand-drawn cartoon portrait service, the artist will create a custom design tailored to your needs.

Read more >> Best Custom Digital Portrait Illustration Ideas

What is a free avatar generator?

Free Avatar generator

Virtual avatar makers are an internet-introduced way to customize avatars for personal use. The idea of having an avatar has existed for at least thirty years, but the first documented evidence of avatar design is attributed to Philip M Schoenfeld. In the early 1980s, Schoenfeld created a virtual avatar called CANTABOX, which was dependent on text and cursor substitution. More than 20 years later, similar industries as is used to produce avatars have stepped up the game. KITH is one such company that sells virtual products sales for.

How can you explain the popularity of free avatar generators?

In recent years, the response to popular animated avatar generators has been swift and outspoken. Whereas avatar creators were often limited to web resources that used a purely intellectual property framework in an earlier time frame, it’s now possible to generate an unlimited number of unique appearances for any character without taking up valuable CPU space.

From one perspective, this is good for users who can’t afford to buy original assets or depend solely on copyrighted materials; it allows them to build out their own world. From other perspectives, they see something entirely different- led astray by a generation that has normalized the concept of ‘alternate reality in the minds of many.

Should you use them?

It mainly depends on your needs. A free avatar generator won’t do the trick if you want something unique and custom-made. However, if you want something simple with less likeness, you can try one. Hiring an artist is a better idea if you prefer a more professional look, originality, and uniqueness.

Why choose a professional illustrator to get the desired picture?

In most cases, it is recommended to hire a professional illustrator when rendering a cartoon portrait service. Professional artists tend to create unique and intricate portraits every day, resulting in tremendous value for the client. These personalizations are also guaranteed and do not depend on one factor in particular for their success, like the quality of an image generated by an automatic avatar generator.

Working with an artist allows you to create a one-of-a-kind and original artwork that reflects your personality. This is why your custom-made pic will stand out. You can communicate how you would like the drawing to be or leave it to the artist. Usually, before the final version, the artist asks whether you like the drawing or want to make changes, ensuring you absolutely love what you see and pay for.

If you are committed to originality and quality, you should order definitely go for a cartoon portrait service.

How to avoid getting a bad hand-drawn cartoon portrait?

It is frustrating to pay for a service and not like the end result. Here are a few tips to avoid having a bad cartoon drawing.

First of all, you should check the portfolio of a website or the artist you are hiring to see what you can expect and to evaluate their style. If there are multiple styles to choose from, select your favorite. You can check the reviews to see what others think and the overall feedback. 

Look for attention to detail and if the artist can capture a person’s emotions, likeness, and distinct characteristics. Although it’s a cartoon representation of yourself, it is important to make sure the drawing still looks like you.

Check if the site offers revisions. Even if you like the overall style of an artist, your custom drawing could be one that doesn’t meet your expectations. Ensure that you can ask for changes if needed.

Send a high-quality image of yourself where the details are clear and visible. This is really important because artists need a good reference to create high-quality drawings. Avoid pixelated images or where you are at a distance.

Communicate your needs. If you have special requests or want to change a few details, send your notes to the artist to avoid getting something you don’t like or asking for a revision.

As a bonus tip: check the website for discounts, special offers, or extra options to get the maximum out of your money. Following these tips can minimize the chance of a bad experience and increase your chance of getting something you will love.

Read more >> How to turn your photo into a custom digital avatar

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are many differences between a free avatar generator and a custom hand-drawn portrait service. Both have their pros and cons; hopefully, after reading this, you can decide which works best for you.

If you like the idea of hiring an experienced artist, check out our work and choose from the different styles and designs we offer, and we’ll do our best to ensure you’ll get the artwork you need.

Let's get started. Step-by-step instructions.

Getting started is easy. We don't churn out avatars like the rest. No AI or filters here. Every avatar is made by a skilled artist in our unique style. We work with you until your avatar is a masterpiece fit for any project!

Upload Your Photo

Please upload a photo of yourself. We will use it to create your avatar.

Receive your avatar

Custom Avatar Creation Process illustrating Digital Interaction in a Messaging App |
Keep an eye on your inbox for your avatar - it will be sent once our artists are done.

Share your avatar

Customized Avatar Profile Picture depicting Social Media Interaction on |
Use your avatar for emails, apps, and share on social media with friends.

Don't Wait! Our Artists Have Limited Capacity.

Reviews? We've got plenty! And they're 5 stars.

Avatoon is the Perfect Remedy for Boring Headshots

I was looking for an avatar creator that could create a modern and professional looking avatar for a business associate and website. I found the perfect one in Avatoon. I am amazed by the work they did; it was finished within the time promised. Because of the positive experience that I had, I will be ordering 3 more Avatoons.
Sonya Wong

We love our Avatoons!

We love our avatoons and use them instead of traditional headshots on our company website. They always arrive within the production time promised, they're nearly always perfect, but even if someone on the team needs a little tweak to their likeness, our request is met with a smile and whatever change was requested is done in a flash!
Alicia S.

Professional Male Avatar sporting glasses and a suit in a digital portrait style |

Thank you!!

Thanks guys! Quality work on a reasonable time frame and price. This helps educate our customers about our team and the services we provide- and it improved our marketing instantly! We will be back for more!
Walker Simas - Global Turf Equipment San Antonio, Florida

I'm very happy with my Avatoon avatar.

I'm very happy with my Avatoon avatar. At the age of 53, I wasn't so keen to have my (out-of-date) photo on my blog anymore. My Avatoon avatar subtly and sincerely portrays my age range, yet helps me to come across as less self-important, and helps to make the blog more light-hearted.A personal email from the illustrator was a nice touch. Thank you
Grant Barker

Great Avatars, with lifelike likeness

Great Service, the quality of the Avatar was excellent, and so was the turn around times, the likeness of the Avatoon to real self was brilliant.I use the Avatoon Avatar on all my online profiles
Anup Nair

Questions? We've got answers.

Curious about how it all works? Wondering what you'll receive? We've got you covered. Check out our FAQ below to get all the details you need!

Ordering an avatar couldn’t be easier! Simply choose the number of avatars you need, upload your photo, fill in your details, throw in some cool extras, and hit that order button! And just like that, voilà! 🚀

When the artist gets their hands on the photo you’ve uploaded, they start with a rough sketch. After that, they tidy it up and then splash on the colors. It’s like a digital masterpiece in the making – first the outline, then the cleanup, and finally, the burst of colors! 🎨✨

When it comes to settling up, you’re in good hands with our trusty payment partner, Stripe. We picked them for their top-notch security features – double the protection, double the peace of mind! For those hefty orders, we’ve got your back. Simply shoot us an email, and we’ll zap over the details and a snazzy quote for you. And remember, big orders are like fine wine – they come in batches for that extra touch of class. So sit back, relax, and let us handle the rest! 🚀

Once you give the thumbs up to the avatar we’ve crafted for you, voila! The files will zoom their way to your inbox faster than you can say “email.” Ready to dive into the digital realm? Let’s make some magic happen! 🚀📧

Not happy with the outcome? No worries! If our results don’t impress, we’ve got your back with a money-back guarantee. Just let us know, and we’ll make sure your wallet feels the love again.

When you place an order with us, it’s like a choose-your-own-adventure book. Standard orders come in trusty JPEG or PNG formats. Feeling fancy? Add on those source files in .AI as an extra treat. 

Picture this: a neat zip file arrives in your inbox, holding the treasures of .AI and .JPEG files. Our default .JPG size is a generous 2400x2400px, 300dpi RGB – it’s like the goldilocks of image sizes, just right. Of course, if you want something different, just say the word and we’ll sprinkle some magic to tailor it to your wishes. 😉🎨

Unsubscribing is a breeze – just scroll down to the bottom of any email and wave goodbye with a click on the unsubscribe button. It’s like breaking up with emails, but without the drama. 😉💌