How To Create a Cartoon Avatar From Photo? Step by Step Guide

Image Source: Charlie Walker

Creating a Cartoon Avatar a Step By Step Guide

Toss a pebble out into the digital ether and you’re bound to hit a website, service, app, software, or tech’ trinket whose sole purpose is to make a cartoon avatar out of your pic’. Think those funky artists down by the boardwalk that are prone to hand-drawing you for a buck or two, only less flesh and bones and more 1 and 0. It’s all the rage and there’s a reason for the madness. The same reason that compelled our cavemen ancestors to graffiti the caves of Altamira in Spain. It’s an operating backlash of that which we call self-awareness. They are fun, they are a hoot and a half, and above all they let us express ourselves and continue our meta-cognitive stream. 

What is a cartoon avatar?

We are going to hedge the metaphysical boundaries in our explanation. The last thing you actually thought you were going to read in an article about cartoons is a spiritual/historical diatribe. Well, anyway – aside from James Cameron’s life action Smurf film – comes from Hindu philosophy. It is a Hinduism concept that proscribes the appearance or incarnation of a deity in the martial plane. The idea was later adopted in computing as a graphical representation of a user in two-dimensional form. The earliest use of an avatar in computing was for a role-playing game from 1979 called, you guessed it “Avatar.”

In games of vita forums, avatars are a rather big trend. Most of the time they allow a user a certain level of anonymity. As the internet grew, so did our options for cartoon avatars and quick-dirty ways to make one up at the drop of a hat. Thousand of sites, some a bit more expert with greater quality and supervision than others, have popped out on the net. In the beginning, your only choice for an avatar was Photoshop and countless hours behind the screen trying to get Adobe’s brainchild to make sense. Now, that’s no longer the case. Websites can create caricatures from photos, through drop and drag software. You can create avatars with just one click. From an avatar of yourself in the style of South Park, to a personalized Funko bobblehead.

Cartoon Avatars are just a subset of this fad. They are widely used in social media outlets like Facebook and Bitmoji. They serve as a fun, jovial, oftentimes extremely colorful counterpart that can go online and join lots of adventures, conversations, and activities. 

Cartoon avatars come in all shapes and sizes. Some lean towards realism while others can be as crazy as a Picasso painting edited by Jackson Pollock. The reality is that the sky’s the limit as far as these funky representations are concerned. Each app has multiple filters and customizations. Each software has a special feature of the artistic vein it likes to sell as the original. 

How to Make a Cartoon Avatar of yourself

Choose the right photo  

In most cases, you’ll be asked by your preferred website to upload a photo. We’re going to give you some tips from the pros on how to take the best photo for your cartoon avatar.

  • For best results, we suggest using a tripod. If one is not available try a selfie stick or balancing your camera on a flat surface.
  • Use a camera with a flip screen.
  • Position your camera slightly above you and as far away from you as possible. Photos naturally look better when taken this way.
  • Use a timer or an intervalometer, this will allow you to take a couple of photos over a period of time. 
  • Light is critical. Lower light sources will more evenly illuminate your features. Lights directly overhead will make harsher shadows. 
  • Be wary of using flash. 
  • Most smartphones and cameras have special simple portrait shooting modes, use them.
  • Use an online photo editor to touch up any imperfections.

Pick a site

Like we’ve said, there are dozens upon dozens of sites that work on the idea of uploading an image and creating, after a couple of clicks your avatar. For example Google you just have to type “cartoon avatar photo maker” to get dozens of results. Pick your favorite one and the one that goes along with your personality. 

Get started

Upload your photo, and follow the necessary instructions. Fill out the necessary forms and if asked, convert the photo to their requirements.


Most websites and apps allow you a certain level of control and edit over the final product. It depends on the flexibility and tailor-made possibilities of the service you choose. At Avantoon they give you full control over the personalized nature of your avatar and allow you to speak to illustrators for all manner of changes.

Upload your Avatar

Finally, download your cartoon avatar and upload it to your profiles.

Professional Vs Software

There are three exact ways of getting an avatar nowadays. 

  • Do it yourself.
  • Using a fast free generator.
  • Hiring a professional illustrator.

Each has a price-point and each has different delays. The main thing to understand is that aside from those two key factors, the one thing that sets each service apart is quality. A professional illustrator will draw you a cartoon avatar that’s unique, exclusive, sui-generis, and complete your own, separate from all the types and themes other services might give you. They can also adapt to your personal wishes, however uncommon they might be.

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