Tag Archives: illustrator

Character Design: 12 Wonderful (and Fresh) Tutorials

Character design plays a huge part in the design world. It’s a great way to draw in customers of all ages, from Toddlers to Grannies! In this post I have rounded up 12 wonderful (and fresh) character design Illustrator tutorials.

In the list, you have the opportunity to learn how to create typographic characters, monster illustrations, various animal characters and a character inspired logo design.

Draw a Happy Monster Illustration
  • Use Gradients to make a 2D object appear three-dimensional.
  • Put the Intersect Pathfinder Tool to good use to create custom shadows.

Create a Curious Owl Illustration
  • Use Radial Gradients with multiple colours to create curious eyes.
  • Use a Gradient Mesh to produce a three-dimensional looking beak.

Create a Vector Bilby Character
  • Create different compositions before heading to the computer.
  • Make a custom drop-shadow using the Motion Blur tool.

Create a Cute Vector Bear Illustration
  • Use simple Shape Tools to produce a vector bear.
  • Make use of various different Pathfinder Tools to easy manipulate shapes.

Create a Typeface Character
  • Use a Typeface of your choice to make your own effective typography characters.
  • Create outlines of text to make individual letters easy to manipulate.

Draw a Punk Kid Character
  • Use the Pen Tool to make vector hair look three-dimensional.
  • Use a Scatter Brush to create stubble.

Create a Vector Clip-Art Style Snowman Character
  • Use the Pen Tool to create a snowman from scratch.
  • Use Pathfinder Tools to apple custom patterns to shapes.

Design a Cute Hamster Avatar Illustration
  • Use the Gradient Tool to make objects appear three dimensional.
  • Use Blending Modes to make different areas of your character stand out.

Draw an Angry Little Samurai Character
  • Use the Transform Tools to make your character symmetrical.
  • Make use of the Gaussian Blur Tool to add reflections to shiny surfaces on your character.

Create a Happy Sun Character
  • Make eyes pop from their sockets by backing them up on additional shapes.
  • Use the Warp Tool to change the shape of simple star and triangle shapes.

Create a Funny Insurance Agent Character
  • Use block shapes to create a original and funny composition for your character.
  • Define custom patterns and apply them to your shapes.

Create a Fun and Three-Dimensional Character Logo
  • Use different Stroke Options to make 2D text appear 3D.
  • Use a Pathfinder Tool to merge your artwork into one piece.

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Create a Vector Clip-Art Style Snowman in Illustrator

Create A Vector Clip-Art Style Snowman In Illustrator

With Christmas just around the corner and the days getting colder and colder, we’ll soon be out building snowmen. But before that, lets build our very own vector version!

We’ll be using simple shape tools, the pen tool, the brush tool, the drop-shadow effect and various pathfinder tools in this tutorial, making it great for those in the festive mood and learning their way around the UI of Illustrator.

Step 1

Open up Illustrator and create a new Basic RGB Document. The default settings for this tutorial are fine – I’m using an A4 sized document.

Grab the Ellipse Tool and drag out a circle whilst holding the Shift key down to keep it round. Select the Direct Selection Tool. This tool allows you to select each individual anchor point and move it around to change the shape of the object. Click and drag the anchor point on the left of your circle outwards and downwards a little until you have something that looks like below.

Repeat the process with the bottom, right side and top anchor points. We don’t want to lose the main shape of our circle too much, but everybody knows real snowmen aren’t perfect, so we don’t want our illustrated one to be perfect, either!

Step 2

Repeat the step again but this time making sure the circle is smaller and a little longer.

Once again, repeat the step again, this time even smaller for the head of our snowman.

Step 3

We’ve got the main body shape of our snowman complete. Easy, huh? Now it’s time to add a scarf shape. Select the Pen Tool and draw a shape similar to as you see below.

With the shape still selected, go to Object > Arrange > Send Backward to hide the unwanted area of the scarf shape behind the snowmans head.

Reselect the Pen Tool if you don’t already have it selected and draw a couple of scarf ends as seen in the image below.

With the two shapes still selected, send them back two layers. You can do this by hitting Cmd+[ (or Ctrl+[) twice.

If they don’t look right at first, use the Direct Selection Tool to change the shape of your scarf, and try rotate the scarf. This is what I ended up with:


 

Step 4

Select the Paint Brush Tool and select the 5pt Angled Brush. Paint a couple of blobs on the snowmans face – these are to be his eyes. Stones are NEVER circle, so I went for a jagged and messy look!

Reselect the Ellipse Tool and drag out a small circle whilst holding the Shift key to keep it round. Remove its stroke if it had one, and changes the foregroud color to Orange.

Using the Direct Selection Tool, drag one anchor point out to the side.

With the orange shape (it’s a carrot incase you hadn’t guessed!) still selected, go to Object > Transform > Shear and enter the settings you see below. This alters the shape of the carrot for us, making it look more three-dimensional with very minimal work!

Step 5

Select all three of your main body shapes (lower, middle and head) by holding the Shift key and clicking. Add a Light Grey (1.5% Black) to White Gradient to the body shapes.

Select the Pen Tool and draw a big black shape as seen below.

Reselect the three main body shapes. Once you have them all selected, go to Edit > Copy and then Edit > Paste in Front. This will duplicate the three body shapes directly in front of our originals. Go to Window > Pathfinder and with the three body shapes still selected hit the Unite icon to merge the shapes together. Go to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front. Remove the fill color and stroke, and with the shape still selected hold the Shift key and select the big black shape. With the Pathfinder window still open, click on the Intersect Icon. You should be left with a cut out of our black shape – you may need to turn it black again!

We want the black shape to be above our main body shapes but below our scarf. Select your three scarf shapes and go to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front. Change the Blending Mode of our black shape to Soft Light.

Step 6

Select the Rectangle Tool and click somewhere on your canvas. Change the measurements to 5mm wide and 150mm long.

With you long rectangle still selected, press Cmd+C and then Cmd+F to duplicate it. Press the enter key and move it horizontally by 5mm.

Repeat this process until you have a long line of black rectangles.

Select the remaining black rectangles and change the foreground color to green.

Select all of your rectangles and group them together by going to Object > Group. Rotate the rectangles so they look something like below:

Select one of the dangly shapes from the scarf. Copy and paste it and move the selection on top of our stripy pattern. Select the scarf shape and the pattern at the same time, and in the Pathfinder window click on Crop. Move the scarf shape back into position.

Repeat the step again to fill the other areas of the scarf with our stripy pattern.

Select the floaty part of the scarf on the right hand side. Go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and enter the settings seen below.

Zoom right into our scarf and using the Brush Tool paint a small black area as seen below.

Change the Opacity of the shape we just drew to 10%.

Select the main area of our scarf and in the same way as earlier add a drop shadow using the settings seen below.

Select the Brush Tool again and add a few more scriggly lines as we did earlier to other areas of the scarf.

Select all of our new scriggly lines and lower the opacity to 10%.


 

Step 7

We’re getting ourselves quite a handsome looking Snowman now! Zoom into the Snowmans carrot nose and add a 1px stroke in a slightly darker orange.

With the same orange still in your palette, choose the Pen Tool and start adding some detail to the carrot as see below. Use a 1px stroke with no foreground/fill color.

Select the Ellipse Tool and drag out a black circle whilst holding the Shift key to keep it round. Drag out another circle, this time about a one third of the size and in white, place it on top of the black circle, lower the opacity to about 30% and then group the two shapes together by going to Object > Group.

Open the Brushes Palette by going to Window > Brushes. With you circle shapes still selected, click on the New Brush symbol, and select Pattern Brush. Make sure your brush settings are the same as below.

Select the new brush from the palette, and with the brush tool draw a straight line down the center of our snowman. This should leave you with a nice row of buttons – you may need to position them underneath other objects!

Step 8

Grab the Pen Tool and draw a stick-like shape similar to below for one of his arms.

Repeat the step again for the arm on the other side.

Zoom right in to the end of our arms where they meet with the snowman. Grab the Brush Tool and in a light grey draw a shape similar to below. Position it beneath the arm by going to Object > Arrange > Send Backward.

Repeat the same step on the other side of the Snowman. Lower the Opacity of both of the new shapes to 35%.

Select the two stick arms and add a dark to light brown gradient.

Select the three main shapes of our Snowmans body and change the stroke color to a light grey.

Step 9

Zoom into the scarf and resize it so the top two corners match with the edge of the snowmans head.

Add some stringy bits to the scarf using the pen tool, and we’re done! That’s one Mr.Frosty the Snowman finished! Very simple, but snowmen are!

Vector Snowman Illustration Tutorial

 

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How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

Illustrator has a lot of features a lot of people don’t even know about, one of them is the 3D Rotate Tool. In this beginners Illustrator tutorial you’ll be using that tool to create a cube icon in 10 very simple steps. Your outcome could be used as part of a logo design, backgrounds for stationery products, advertisements or even favicons.

 

Step 1: Create Your Document

I made my document using a simple web preset at 800x600px.

 

Step 2: Draw A Square

Select the rectangle tool and click on your empty canvas to bring up the Rectangle options. Make sure it’s square – mine is 100x100px.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

 

Step 3: Repeat The Last Step …Twice!

Repeat the last step twice, or just copy and paste the square two times.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

 

Step 4: Going Isometric…

Select one of your squares and go to Effect > 3D > Rotate. Select Isometric Top from the drop-down menu and hit OK.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

 

Step 5: Repeat The Last Step …Twice …Again!

Repeat the previous step on your other squares, this time using the Isometric Left and the Isometric Right options from the drop-down menu.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

 

Step 6: Stitching It All Up

The main shape of our cube is almost finished. Select each one of your sides and change it’s colour, it doesn’t matter what at this point. Whilst your there, remove the strokes.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

Select each one of your sides again and go to Object > Expand Appearance. With the strokes gone, zoom right into your sides and use the cursor keys to position them up right.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

 

Step 7: Getting That Shading Right

At the moment, our cube looks like some kind of cheesy logo. Make your mind up which direction you want your light coming from, and choose a main colour. I’ve decided my light source is going to be coming from the right, and I’m going to use a nice blue colour.

Select the top side, and fill it with a colour of your choice. Open up the Colour Guide (Window > Colour Guide) and from the drop-down menu select shades.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

Select the right side, and using the colours now in your colour guide, select a colour lighter than your original. Do the same with the left side, but this time selecting a darker colour. You might want to play about with the different shades to see what you come up with.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

 

Step 8: Adding Some Depth

Grab the Pen Tool and make a custom shape round the bottom left side of your cube (in my case, the darkest area). I’m using a bright red just to show you my shape. Repeat the step on some other areas of your cube.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

Looks like a complete mess, uh? Not to worry, this is where the Pathfinder comes in. Select the left side of your cube, copy it and place it in place (Cmnd/Ctrl+F). With the shape still selected hold the shift key and select the first custom shape to select both objects at once. Open the Pathfinder window (Pathfinder > Window) and click Intersect. This should cut the edges away. Change the custom shape to black, and lower the opacity to about 5%.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

Repeat the steps again with all your other shapes – remember to use white with a low opacity for highlights.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

 

Step 9: Adding Some Text…

Our cube is now becoming a little more 3D like. To add something a little more interesting I’m going to add the word ‘CUBE’ in the corner of one side.

Select the Type Tool and in your chosen font type a word of your choice. I’m using the font ‘American Typewriter’. With that done, select your word and go to Type > Create Outlines. With it still selected, go back to Effects > 3D > Rotate, select Isometric Left from the drop-down menu and hit OK. With that done, go to Object > Expand Appearance. Change your words colour to white and it’s opacity to about 70%.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

 

Step 10: Adding A Back Shadow

Select all 3 of your original sides by holding the shift key down and selecting each individual side. Duplicate them by copying and pasting. Manually convert the shapes to B&W by selecting different shades of grey.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

Reselect the grey cube and go to Object > Group. Stretch the cube whilst holding the shift key to make it bigger. Select all of your shapes and objects used in your original coloured cube and go to Object > Group.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

Select the grey cube and align it to the centre (both horizontally and vertically), make sure ‘Align To Artboard’ is selected when doing this. Do the same for your colourful cube. Lower the opacity of the grey cube, and there you have it, your very own simple cube from scratch made in just 10 simple steps.

How to Work with Isometrics to Create a Cube Icon in 10 Simple Steps

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How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

In this tutorial you’ll be learning several Photoshop tools and techniques, as well as a couple of Illustrator techniques to create a trendy, retro/abstract style Hippy Van poster from scratch.

I use my Hippy Van Vector in this tutorial, which you can make yourself by following a tutorial I wrote a few weeks back called ‘How to Create a Hippy Van Vector in Illustrator‘. If you’re looking for some Hippy Van inspiration, check out my photos from Bug Jam 23. I also use several textures in this tutorial, so head over to my other blog Circlebox Textures or Lost + Taken to download some awesome textures.

Lets get straight to work. Before opening Photoshop, or any other piece of digital software for that matter, grab a pen and a notebook. As followers of Circlebox will know, I turn to the notepad for almost any project of any form or size – it’s a great way to brainstorm and get some ideas down on paper without spending too much time on it …or staring at a blank canvas in Photoshop, which can be quite daunting with so many tools at your disposal!

This is the kind of look I want to go for (excuse the drawing – I did say I don’t spend to much time on it!):

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

With some rough ideas in your head, head over to Photoshop. Open a new document, I’m not planning on printing mine so I’m just opening a simple screen document (72dpi RGB). If you’re planning on printing in large scales, you’ll probably want to set up bleeds, use a Resolution above 300dpi and use CMYK instead of RGB. I’ve used an A4 size document.

Before I start anything else, I’m going to use a nice paper texture to give myself something to start with. Download a nice simple texture, I’m using one of my Red & Yellow Dyed Paper Textures. Fill the background with a creamy colour (I used #F2EBD7), and place (File > Place) your texture on top. Resize and move your texture into a suitable place and then desaturate it. Change the blending mode of your texture layer to overlay.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Locate your hippy van (or any other object your planning on using) and place it in your document. Resize, rotate and move it into a place you’re happy with. Remember it can be moved later!

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

With our vector placed, duplicate the layer. Hide the bottom one and rasterize the top one. This way, incase there are any problems, you always have a duplicate layer to work on underneath.

Grab the Burn Tool, and on our rasterized van, add some custom shadows round the bottom of the van. Do the same to the paper texture and background colour directly beneath the van – don’t over do it though! You can reverse the effect of the Burn Tool with the Dodge Tool.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Already our hippy van is looking more involved with the background. Grab another texture, and place it on top of all other layers. I used one of my own Grunge Watercolour Textures. Hold Cmnd (or Ctrl on a PC) and click the thumbnail image of our Hippy Van in the layers palette. Select the inverse of the selection and hit delete to remove any texture outside the van.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

 


 

Desaturate the new texture layer, change the blending mode to overlay and lower the opacity to about 50%.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Repeat the step we took before with the Burn Tool, but this time only burning some areas of the most recent texture.

Open up Illustrator and create 4 25x25px squares placed directly next to each other. Change each square to a different colour, something you think will match your poster.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Select all your squares and create a new Art Brush by clicking the New button in the Brushes palette. Name it a suitable name and make sure the Direction is either heading up or down.

Grab the Pen Tool and make an interesting line. With your line selected, select the Art Brush we just made. Repeat the process to make another pattern.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Select both objects, copy and paste them into your Photoshop document as a Smart Object. As they’re smart objects, it allows us to resize and stretch them without being distorted. Once your lines are in place, make sure you rasterize them to turn them into pixels.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Duplicate your straight line. Rotate one of them, and place it above the original, set it to Difference and lower the opacity to 25%.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Select the Elliptical Marquee Tool and draw a circle whilst holding the shift key. Fill it with the same colour you used on your outer line of the art brush. Place the circle below your other straight line and merge the two layers together. Set its Blending Mode to Colour Burn.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Duplicate the straight line once again but this time leaving it in place. Lower the Opacity to 50%. All this does is makes the colours a little more intense.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Select the curvy line layer. Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, delete some areas of the end of the line. You might decide, like me, to move the line a little. Use a soft eraser to get rid of any areas you don’t want.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Repeat the process we took with the circle on the straight line to produce some ‘filler’ shapes. I call them this because they’re main purpose, other than looking cool, is to fill in some empty space. Try removing some areas inside the circles for an even cooler shape. You can of course use Illustrator to do this if you wish. You can also use gradients on circles, or a soft brush, to create lighter looking shapes.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Choose yet another texture and place it on top of the curvy line. Get the outline of the curvy line by Cmnd (or Ctrl) clicking on the layer thumbnail, select the inverse of the selection and delete. I’m using another Grunge Watercolor texture.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Set the blending mode of the new texture to Overlay and decrease the opacity to 50%. Merge it down to the curvy line layer. Duplicate the now combined layer. Move the bottom curvy line to somewhere else on the screen and set it to overlay. Now set the top curvy line to Linear Burn.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Make a new layer and fill it with a colour using a soft brush that goes with your design.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Make sure Monochromatic is ticked and add some noise to your newly painted layer – I used 35%. Set the layer to Overlay, and with a soft brush, erase some areas of the noise. Lower the opacity to 50%.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Duplicate the hippy van, and on the lower layer go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Use settings that best suit your piece.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

 



 

Once again grab the eraser tool, using a large soft brush, delete some areas you don’t need.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

The post is getting there. Select a soft brush and open the Brush Panel. Select scattering, and change the scatter percentage, as well as the count. I used 1000% for scatter, 1 for count, and 60% for count jitter. Make sure your brush is white, and on a new layer brush over your canvas. Make a new layer and repeat the process a couple of times with different brush sizes.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Change the blending modes and opacities of your new layers. I used Overlay at 45% for one, and Soft Light at 65% for the other.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

If you feel it’ll improve your work, you can repeat the process again using different shaped brushes at different sizes, different colours and different blending modes.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

I want a little bit of text in my poster – I’m just going to use the words ‘Retro Van’. Select the text tool and type your words. Select a font that goes with your poster, I used ‘Steiner’. I used a mid-dark red colour from my poster that I selected using the eyedropper tool.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Duplicate your text layer, and resize the text on the bottom text layer so that it’s bigger than the original text. Select another colour thats been used in your design, I went for a lighter yellow this time. Reposition the text and select a different blending mode: I used overlay.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

I repeated the previous step again using the same size text and a blue which I took from the hippy van.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Make a new layer, and using the polygonal lasso tool, make some custom shapes to make some ends of the letters come off the screen.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Time for some finishing touches. Make another new layer, and select a large soft brush. Select a colour from your design using the eyedropper tool and brush over some areas on your screen. Create another layer, and do the same again with a different colour. Repeat the process until you have something that looks like this:

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Change the blending modes and opacities of each layer to something different. Make sure to experiment, as different blending modes on different layers will give you different effects. This is how mine turned out using a combination of overlays, hard lights, soft lights and vivid lights:

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Make yet another new layer, and select a dark blue soft brush. Brush round the edges of your poster so you have something that looks like this:

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Change the blending mode to Colour Burn and lower the opacity to about 7%.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Repeat the process with a smaller black brush, this time using the blending mode darken set to about 10%.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Enhance your image a little by increasing the contrast, and save! Here’s my final result:

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Visit PsPrint and learn how you can create effective and excellent-looking posters.

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