Create a cartoon character using Adobe Illustrator

Cool mascots are found all over the web and usually represent companies like design firms and restaurants.

If you’ve ever seen one of these fun cartoon characters, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, “How can I create a cool character like that?” Well I’m here to show you!

But before we jump into Adobe Illustrator, let’s get some quick inspiration:

First things first… grab some paper, a pencil and start doodling fun characters from your mind.

After a little brainstorming, I came up with this:

Put the sketch into Adobe Illustrator using File > Place (of course you need to scan your sketch in).

Double click on the Layer with the sketch and set it to Template in the Layer Options palette. Then:

  1. Dim the image between 10 to 20%.
  2. Or you can make it transparent by reducing the Opacity numbers.

This will allow you to see the Path lines you create.

Set the Pen Tool to No Fill with a stroke of 0.25 pt, so we can ‘path’ each section with it.

If you are not familiar with the Pen Tool then check out this article, “Turning sketches into vector art with the Pen Tool.

After you’ve outlined your shape, copy and paste it in front then make it slightly smaller than the original shape. The original shape will act as an outline when you fill both with color.

This helps give your character varied line weights so you don’t have to use Strokes.

Continue making other shapes such as the eyes, nose and mouth. Once you’ve built most of the shapes, fill each section with base colors. For example, I’ve used a base color of brown.

Below is an example of the sub-layers:

Continue using the same steps as above for each section. And don’t forget to create a new layer for each part!

Next, change the solid colors into gradients — this adds depth to your character.

When you have the base colors complete, start highlighting your character with smaller gradients.

And here is the final result:

That’s it! Simple right? Good luck creating your own character! :)

Have any questions about this process? I’m here to help!

Related articles:
11 Illustrator tips for web designers who prefer Photoshop
Design an End Of The World poster using Photoshop and Illustrator
Create Cupid for Valentine’s Day using Adobe Illustrator

Mustag Firin
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  1. acilku

    Great tutorial of new ways to make design with funny character :)
    Love it, Acilku

    Reply November 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm
    • Mustag Firin

      Thanks :)

      Reply November 1, 2012 at 11:11 pm
  2. annie

    how much maximam time it requires……and `i am more comfortable with corel draw, `i can create such character there……why do people prefer illustrator when corel offers the same effect….

    Reply November 2, 2012 at 5:01 am
    • Mustag Firin

      About three hours maybe more.

      it doesn’t matter what graphic software do you use, as long as you can create terrific works and make people happy with it .. so why not ?

      Reply November 2, 2012 at 9:51 am
  3. wahid

    how interesting.

    Reply November 4, 2012 at 2:28 am
  4. keno

    very good tutorial thanks

    Reply November 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm
  5. Racquel delos Santos

    It’s so great!:]
    Thanks for the tutorial and it’s really helps a lot.More often I use Adobe Photoshop when I make some of anime character.Illustrator is more complicated for me but as soon as possible I can master it.
    Again thank you…
    more power and God Bless….

    Reply November 5, 2012 at 4:05 am
  6. najam47

    Simple and easy :) just great!

    Reply November 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm
  7. jonte williams


    Reply November 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm
  8. ashi

    looking nice and easy. Thanks for the tutorial

    Reply November 21, 2012 at 8:30 am
  9. levy

    what is the different if we make it on coreldraw??

    Reply March 11, 2013 at 12:19 am
    • Mustag Firin

      I think there is no difference, you can use any “vector oriented graphic program” whichever you like.

      Reply March 11, 2013 at 8:02 pm
  10. Aira

    when I can you tutorial private???

    Reply April 5, 2013 at 9:49 am

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