How to draw Goku from DragonBall Z


Hello everyone and welcome to another tutorial from the Drawing Factory, as always, it’s Vince today who is going to teach you how to draw Goku from the Japanese manga  DragonBall Z invented by Akira Toriyama and published by Toei Animation.

Son Goku is a fictional superhero and the main protagonist of the Dragon Ball manga series. He is based on Sun Wukong, a main character in the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West. Goku is introduced as an eccentric, monkey-tailed boy who practices martial arts and possesses superhuman strength. He meets Bulma and joins her on a journey to find the wish-granting Dragon Balls.

For this tutorial, I used the drawing software SketchBook Pro and a graphic tablet. If you are looking for a guide to buying a graphic tablet you can check out my top 10 favorite drawing tablets. Also if you want to try out SketchBook Pro, you can Download Free Autodesk Software Trials Now!

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So let’s get started on how to draw Goku step by step.

Here You can see where I started with my drawing and the reference image I used for this tutorial.

I have already overlaid my SmartGrid to the reference drawing which I use in most of my tutorials as a visual guide to reproduce accurately the reference drawing. If you want to know more about SmartGrid please let me know in the comment section below, I might eventually decide to make a tutorial to explain exactly how it works.

And this is the SmartGrid without the reference drawing underneath. It’s here for your convenience, in fact, if you are using a drawing software for this tutorial you can simply download this image and use it directly for your reference. You can thank me later

As usual start with the head, torso, and hips, three big masses that are easy enough to draw and will help you then position the remaining of Goku’s body.

Proceed by drawing the legs and feet. Use the grid as a reference. You can draw directly the trousers however a different and more correct approach would be to draw the legs first and then draw the trousers on top.

Now draw the left arm of Goku and given this particular pose he is in, you won’t need to draw the other arm which is almost completely occluded by the body, except for the very tip of the right hand which can be seen poking out a little.

If you want to learn how to draw Goku correctly you have to learn how to draw Goku’s hair. No one knows how Sayans can keep those crazy hairstyles however that is one of their main distinctive elements. So, take your time here, and using the SmarGrid try to match the shape of the hair as closely as possible to the reference.

Ok, the first step of this tutorial was basically to establish the main parts of Goku’s body, so now it’s time to start adding detail to the drawing.

As always before moving on make sure you are happy with the proportions and the various parts so far as it’s going to be more difficult to change them when more detail is laid in.

Start here by working at the upper part of Goku’s uniform.

Keep moving down and start adding detail to the trouser portion of the uniform. Here it’s important to capture the looseness and bagginess of the trouser so make sure you add a lot of side folds here to both legs.

In this step of “How to draw Goku” tutorial. make sure to finish off the application of the details working on the boots and finally the face of Goku. Use the SmartGrid as a guide to position eyes, nose and mouth and try to capture the expression of Goku.

Here I worked on the left hand as well and refined it a bit.

Before moving to the inking part I encourage you to refine even further the basic drawing.  You do not NEED to do it if you want but it’s nice to have a very solid base and a clear idea on where the ink is going to go.

Some artists leave the sketch very sketchy and they actually make actual decisions on the drawing at the inking stage and you could definitely do that. As for me I prefer to have  a solid drawing underneath so that the inking becomes very relaxing as I know already where all the lines that need to be inked are. Create a new layer (if you are using a drawing software) on top of the sketch and use a simple round brush with a constant size to ink the whole drawing.

If you look at the reference drawing the inking is very simple and without much line variation so we are trying to emulate this kind of style here.

Start inking top to bottom and left to right (if you are left-handed is obviously right to left) to minimise ink or pen smudging. If you are using a drawing software do as you please

Now it’s time to colour you drawing! From now on make sure to create all your colouring layers underneath the ink layer.

As usual we’ll lay down the flat colours first and then we’ll add shadows and lights on different layers. However in this case due to the particular style of the reference image there will be no blending between the different tones, instead the various tones will be separated by hard edges. To create this effect we’ll be using the lazoo tool to select the different areas to colour to keep edges very well defined.

First thing let’s colour the uniform.  in a light orange. Here I decided to also apply a cooler grading to it that’s why you’ll see that the bottom is lighter than the top part of the uniform. You do not need to apply this grading if you do not want.

Continue filling the various areas of the drawing with base colours, here are the armband, the boots and sash.

Now lay out the hair colour and the main skin tone.

That was easy wasn’t it? At this point we start adding the shadows. As I anticipated, to add the shadows use a selection tool to ‘draw’ the areas that you want to colour with the darker tone. This simple trick will keep the hard edge of the shadows as we want them not to blend with the flat colour underneath.

In this particular drawing the light is coming mainly from underneath the character so the dark spot should be applied accordingly. In practice follow my drawing or the reference image and use it as a guide to position all this spots as accurately as you can.

Here you can see how I finished positioning all the dark sections on the uniform and the same identical technique will be used for the remainder of the tutorial, so arm yourself with patience and keep on drawing these shadows, the result will be well worth it.

Apply then the actual lights on the body using the same technique.

Now you can add shadows and lights to the ha, sash, and arm-band that Goku is wearing. See how the whole drawing really comes together. I feel you are really learning how to draw Goku, aren’t you?

How to draw Goku

And here is the final result! Gorgeous isn’t it? I have added a few final touches to the drawing, in particular, some roguish single hair coming out from Goku’s head AND I have finished drawing the tip of the right hand with is poking out from the side of Goku’s body and it’s important to finish the drawing correctly.

If you notice I have also drawn the little symbol on Goku’s uniform and you can actually add in your own details if you want to personalize further the drawing.

I am so happy about how this turned out for me but what about yours? How did your turn out? I’d love to see it. Have you learned how to draw Goku?

I hope you guys liked this tutorial, and if you want me to make more of these please let me know in the comment section below or using this form. It’s really important for me to understand what kind of content you would like me to make so if you could spare the time that would be absolutely fantastic.

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For this week is all from me and I’ll catch you all drawing next week with a new tutorial!


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