How to draw gothic comics like Tim Burton

how to draw gothic comics like tim burton
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Wondering how to draw gothic comics? You have good taste! This guide shows you how to draw in a darkly gothic comic art style echoing the world of Tim Burton. Bat-terrors not included.

You have an artistic streak and a knack for wielding the pencil. You love toons – whether they come in the form of comics, graphic novels, cartoons or manga. Want to explore a new, gothic art style? Look no further, art maidens! For I am here to teach you the dark, devilish ways of cartooning: Tim Burton style.

Oh, and did I mention that comics art also happens to be one of the most inexpensive art forms to date?

Drawing gothic comics: The tools of this dark trade

  • 1 x 2b pencil
  • 3 x Fine-liner pens, graded small to large
  • 1 x thick, pro-marker pen
  • Eraser/sharpener
  • Plain white paper
  • White gel-pen (optional)

Drawing gothic eyes, Tim Burton style

Now that you’ve got your tools (draw with them! Don’t stab bats with them! Bats are an endangered species!), it’s time to begin. One of the most prominent details of any Burton-esque toon is the presence of a very large pair of (calm down now!) eyes. These, my darlings, are the most important feature of any gothic comics art.

Please cast your gaze to figure A: notice the wide, waspish rotundity? The ghastly glare of the pupils? And how about the hollowing crease of the lids, and the sharp, sunburst of lashes? What of the dark, prominent lines?

Here’s how:

Using your pencil, begin with two large circles; as large as you like. Remember, the bigger they are, the more ghastly the effect.

On completing each circle, curve the pencil down and strike in around three crease lines to create a deathly effect.

Next, go over the inside line of the eyes (closest to the nose) to thicken them, and do the same to the bottom; this contributes to the hollow-look. At this point, you may also like to duplicate those crease-lines to the eyelids, accentuating their size.

Next, draw a line from the inner corner of the eye and curve round, gradually thickening it as you approach the outer corners. I like to do a little flick at the end, but that’s entirely up to you.

For the lashes, go crazy! Dot your pencil and flick out with a jolt of the wrist for the same effect shown.

Creating a gothic nose

Burton often likes to give his characters a long, thin nose, with slight nostrils; However, if you prefer, a small semi-circle can create a cute, snubby effect for Chibi-style cartooning.

Drawing gothic hair

Figure B. This part is equally important to the eyes. Burton and artists like him like to create bizarre, birds-nest, crazy-cat-woman hair styles, though a straggly, wet-look works well too.

Try to frame the face with something intricate: curve outwards from the face in large swoops to create a bouffant, and squiggle downwards to create wild tendrils. Here, I’ve mimicked a Victorian up-do.

Check out Burton’s hairstyle creations to get some inspiration for your own.

Line Thicknesses

Once you’re happy with your toon, use your fine-liners to go over the lines, and apply the different grades where needed (you should indicate this with your pencil beforehand). Rub out the pencil after.

The pro-marker should be used in key areas, such as the eyes, lips and hair. It’s also useful for outlining the entire picture.

A white gel-pen can be used for highlighting dark hair and lips, or adding sparkles if you so wish!

Final tips for drawing gothic comic art that’s Burtonesque

Always use black prominently in key areas to make them stand out.

Large heads and thin necks create a skeletal, ghostly appearance, and large eyes can give your toons a psycho witchy-bytch touch.

Caricature your friends and create dark, funky self-portraits!

Gothic comic art

Figure A – gothic eyes

Gothic comic art

Figure B – gothic hair

Gothic comic art

The endearingly cruel finality


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