Create a cartoon character using Adobe Illustrator

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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

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