How to draw a cowboy

Learning how to draw a cowboy like the one found in this lesson can be an easy task, but how can you know the exact level of details needed to make this character even more enjoyable? If you cannot answer this question, then this tutorial might help you solve this intriguing question!

Cowboys have been around for quite some time now. Mostly found in novels and old movies from the 60s and 70s, these rough characters are often portrayed as being tough, dirty and ready to do anything to win a lady's heart. Before learning how to illustrate this simple character, let's see what makes a cowboy so special. :)

How to draw a cowboy

A cowboy can easily be recognized based on its clothing. Indeed, all cowboys are wearing a large hat, a belt, a gun, a beard and dirty clothes. What else should you look for? Let's see ...

  1. A large hat colored in brown.
  2. Simple stripe made of leather on the bottom part of the hat.
  3. Short hair on both sides.
  4. A bright scarf around the neck.
  5. Brown jacket that is open in front.
  6. Don't forget the belt to hold the pants and the accessories of the cowboy.
  7. Large shoes.
  8. Light pants that are slightly dirty.
  9. A weapon so that the character can protect himself.
  10. Below the jacket, a simple shirt filled with a light color.
  11. A short beard to increase the dirty look of the character.

Good! This cartoon cowboy seems ready for some action! Are you? Great! Let's begin this lesson by learning how to draw a cowboy made from simple shapes and filled with plain colors.

Step 1 - A simple template before proceeding

I really like to draw some basic shapes to get all proportions right before proceeding with the creation of the character itself. This step is quick, but highly recommended to end up with a beautiful character. You can start by drawing two large rectangles (one for the head and the second one for the body) before drawing the neck and the feet using more rectangles.

How to draw a cowboy

Step 2 - more basic shapes for a better looking template

Next, draw the arms using more rectangles as shown in the illustration below. The hands are represented by small oval shapes. You can draw two more rectangles to illustrate the feet and one last shape is added between the legs to complete this template. It's now time to learn how to draw a cowboy using all the basic shapes drawn so far.

How to draw a cowboy

Step 3 - LEt's draw!!!

Cool! You can now draw the character using a combo of curved lines and straight ones. The top of the head is missing since the hat will be drawn later in the tutorial. Also, the posture of the character means that you don't need to draw fingers on the hands. Once you are finished, you can erase all basic shapes used to create the template (the ones with the orange outlines).

How to draw a cowboy

Step 4 - Adding details inside (and around) the head

Let's continue this lesson by sketching the eyes, the pupils, the eyebrows, the nose, the mouth and the ears of the cartoon cowboy. Notice how the pupils are small and how the nose is created from a long broken line. Also, make sure that the ears are located just below the eyes of the character.

How to draw a cowboy

Step 5 - More accessories please!

Excellent! This lesson on how to draw a cowboy is progressing nicely. Let's add some accessories on the character. First, draw a large hat using curved lines on top of the head of the character. Then, sketch some hair using small lines. The jacket is done using rectangles made from pointed lines. Finally, draw a small line below each foot as shown below.

How to draw a cowboy

Step 6 - The final touch

Inside the hat, draw a thin stripe using straight lines. You can also draw a beard using a small line above the mouth. The scarf is created from additional curved lines and the belt is thin and almost as large as the shirt. You can also draw a small weapon on the left side of the belt using round shapes.

How to draw a cowboy

Step 7 - Brown is the most obvious option!

A cool cowboy not dressed in brown would not be a real cowboy. The shirt can be light, the scarf red and the beard darker. Simply remember to select colors that are related to the earth, the dust, the sun ...

How to draw a cowboy

Choosing the level of details needed to create a nice cowboy

So far the character found in this lesson on how to draw a cowboy was rather simple and easy to read. Plain colors are quite effective to create a good-looking illustration that is practical and fun to read. But how can we make this drawing even more interesting? 

Adding digital effects like shadows, reflections and gradient fills could be nice, but that's not mandatory to create something that is visually appealing. A few lines on strategic areas can also be a good alternative.

Let's see how we can add more textures, more details, more depth to this cartoon character without spending several hours using tools that are not needed here ...

Let's start with a few basic additions ...

In this version, a few lines were added to make the drawing more appealing. You can see new lines above the hat, near the elbows, inside the scarf, in the middle of the shirt and on the knees. Pockets were also sketched on the jacket. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated. These simple additions are good enough to enhance the character just a little bit.

How to draw a cowboy

More lines and more dots to create textures and details

In this second attempt, several dots were drawn inside the beard to create texture. More lines were also added inside the scarf, near the elbows and near the knees. Buttons were also sketched inside the shirt. Finally, small lines were drawn inside the shoes to make this character visually more challenging. We are not done yet! One more version can be found in this lesson on how to draw a cowboy filled with cool details! :)

How to draw a cowboy

More is better

In this final version of our little cowboy friend, lines were added inside the hat, the shirt and the pants. Dots were also drawn inside the jacket, the belt and the weapon. All these new additions are giving more depth and attitude to character that was already cute and fascinating.

How to draw a cowboy

Good job learning how to draw a cowboy like this one!

Details are important to depict characters, objects or accessories properly. You don't need to create complex shapes and patterns to achieved your goal. Just a few basic lines and dots are needed to create the desired effects. Once you are comfortable with this level of details, creating more animals and characters will become relatively easy.

Don't forget to try more characters and animals from this site to learn additional tips on how to create textures, shadows or play with colors while drawing fun cartoon illustrations. :)

How to Draw a Clown
Selecting the proper color palette

How to Draw a Magician
The power of using contrast and colors

Drawing Toons How to Draw People > How to Draw a Cowboy