How to draw Mickey Mouse

How to draw Mickey Mouse? If you have a quarter and two dimes you already have the basic shapes of Mickey’ face. I use these coins to get the dimensions right. I am going to draw Mickey Mouse from the thirties. It is a Mickey with the red pants and black eyes. The only thing you need is a pencil and some colouring pencils.

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From a Disney animator I learned a nice trick to draw Mickey Mouse. At least his face. Mickey’s face has three circles. One big circle for his face and two smaller circles for his ears. When you have a US quarter and two dimes you have the right dimensions of Mickey’s face. If you a quarter and two dimes you can use them to draw the basics of Mickey’s face. Just trace the coins. If you don’t have the coins, I will leave them on my drawing board, just for reference.
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1. We begin with drawing three circles. The first circle is Mickey’s head. Draw two circles the same size. Mickey is three heads high. Animators use the head to measure their characters. If you have a lot of different characters the circle will be a handy measurement to get the dimension of all your characters right.

2. Now we are going to draw the ears. You have the quarter and dime to see the dimensions. Mickey is going to look to the right. I sketch in his ears. I first draw capital T-s to measure his ears. And then I draw in the ears. They are not perfect circles. They are ovals. This is a very popular image of Mickey. You can find them on T-shirts and sweatshirt. They sell them in Disneyland and Disneyworld. When the design is finished, you will probably recognize it.  Now I sketch the guidelines to place his eyes and nose. Notice that his face is a globe. If you want to know more about drawing a globe, check out my video about the circle and globe. This is a three-quart view. When you draw a cartoon character it is always good practice to first sketch the global shapes.

When you draw a cartoon character it is always good practice to first sketch the global shapes.

3. The body of Mickey has a pear shape. Draw two lines downwards. The pants of Mickey are a circle as well. But when you look at the total shape of his body, you see a pear. This is Mickey Mouse of the thirties when he still had his red pants with two buttons and black eyes. This is my favourite Mickey. His arms are like rubber hoses. Very narrow arms.

4. Mickey has two buttons on his pants. I first sketch in a guideline to find the middle of his pants and then I sketch the buttons. They are ovals. Notice that the button that is closer to you is a little bit bigger. If you want to draw dynamically, it is essential that you keep this in mind.

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5. The left trouser leg you see a little bit from below. That’s why you look inside it. The trouser leg is also an oval. An oval is a flattened circle. The trousers are really round. I try and capture that by enhancing the round shape. The left trouser leg, you look at from the front. It also an oval, but I only sketch the front part of it, because the backside falls behind it.

6. Mickey’s legs are also a sort of rubber hoses. Then I sketch the big round shoe of his left foot. You look at the shoe from below. I first draw the outline of the shoe and then add the heel and the sole. Now I sketch in the right leg of Mickey. His leg is inside his shoe. The top of the shoe is also an oval. I Sketch in the entire oval. Later on we will not draw the whole part, but I will explain more later on when we are going to define the design. I draw a guideline from the bottom of the left shoe, to see where the right shoe is going to be placed.



7. We are now finished with the body. Let’s move on to Mickey’s face. Mickey has a white mask, that was very common of cartoon characters of the thirties. Look for instance at Felix the Cat. They head these masks to enhance their emotions on screen. In those days the movies had no sound and were in black and white. The guideline comes in handy to draw the top of the mask in place.

I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing — that it all started with a mouse.- Walt Disney

8. Mickey’s eyes are big ovals. The left eye is closer to you. So draw it a little bit higher than the right eye. Now draw the snout of Mickey. That is an oval as well. Mickey is smiling, so we first draw the smiley dimple on his check. Then we draw a round line toward his snout.

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9. Mickey’s mouth is open. Draw in the tongue and his jaw.

10. And finally his nose.

11. Leave an oval in the middle of his nose and sketch in the black part. This the gleam on Mickey’s nose.

12. I grab a black colouring pencil to draw the final outlines of Mickey. I have sharpened the pencil to get thin lines. Now we are going to continue with making the definite drawing of Mickey with single lines. Notice that almost all lines are round. This is what makes him so cute and adorable. Now we come to the upper part of his shoe. Don’t draw the total oval. Just leave a little space in between. Now we are going to do the ears. Now you have finished drawing Mickey. Now we are going to colour him. First the black parts. And his nose. Leave a little oval in the middle of his nose to make it shiny. If you colour with a pencil it is best that it is not too sharp. We colour mickey’s body. And finally his rubber like legs.

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13. Because I drew Mickey on coloured paper I need to colour his face with a white pencil. It is quiet hard to cover the background with a white pencil. You really need to press hard.

14. Now I am going to colour the tongue and trousers of Mickey with a red pencil.

15. And finally I am going to colour the buttons and shoes wit a yellow pencil.

History of Mickey Mouse

UbIwerksMickey has a very simple design. This is for a good reason. For drawing one second of animation you need 24 drawings. Ub Iwerks, who designed Mickey Mouse had to draw the first cartoons of Mickey all by himself. In 1928 Walt Disney lost all the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to his distributor Charles Mintz. Mintz had secretly bought out all of Disney’s animators except for one. Walt Disney’s best friend, Ub Iwerks. The Disney studio’s still had a contract to deliver several Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons. On a train trip back to Los Angeles Walt Disney came up with the character Mortimer Mouse. His wife changed it into Mickey. So Mickey Mouse was born. When Disney came back to his studio he worked together with Iwerks to design Mickey. This was done at night, because Disney did not trust his animators anymore. The first Mickey movie they produces was The Gallopin’ Gaucho and after that Plane Crazy. These were all silent pictures. In 1927 there was a revolution in Hollywood. The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson was the first movie with sound! Disney wanted to make Mickey Mouse a big hit, so he decided to make the first cartoon with sound. So they made a third film called Steamboat Willie. The short premiered in New York and was a huge success.

I have made a playlist with the first Mickey Mouse movies, if you would like to see Mickey in action click on the link: