SEARCH
Newsletter
Subscribe to get design tips, latest trends, free stuff and more.
It doesn't look like an e-mail address

hosting

  Tutorials Vector Graphics Adobe Illustrator Create a Cute Vector Monster from a Pencil Sketch

Create a Cute Vector Monster from a Pencil Sketch

image 1

Starting with paper and pencil, sketch out the rough shapes with quick and dirty circular shapes. With reference to the head in particular, don't worry about drawing a perfect shape - the disproportionate features is what I think makes this monster so cute.

image 2

Sketch in some additional circles to plan out the limbs and ears.

image 3

Continue to draw in the facial features, large eyes and a drooling tongue are a must.

image 4

Concentrating more on the overall form and shape of the character, outline the building blocks to develop the body.

image 5

I like to go over any final pencil marks with a black marker to give a better view of how the illustration is looking, this also helps when it comes to scanning or photographing the image for tracing.

image 6

Open up Adobe Illustrator and create a new document. Under the File > Place document select a scanned or photographed image of the initial sketch. Select the Template checkbox to set the image as a locked translucent picture ready for tracing.

image 7

Begin with an oval using the Circle Tool to outline the rough shape of the head.

image 8

As mentioned before, the disproportions of the monster is what adds to it's character, use the Pen Tool to add in extra points and move these into position with the Direct Selection Tool to rough the oval into a more inaccurate shape.

image 9

Just like when sketching out the character, add in building blocks to make up the body shape.

image 10

Use Rounded Rectangles for the ears and rotate into place.

image 11

The eyes and nose are simply made up of basic circles, draw these up and move into position.

image 12

The head shape needs modifying to allow it to merge into the body. Using the Pen Tool add two additional points where the shape begins to stray away from the initial sketch. Use the Direct Select Tool to then delete the excess area leaving an unclosed path.

image 13

Use a similar process on the ovals than make up the limbs, this time the use of additional points isn't needed, simply delete one of the existing points to alter the shapes.

image 14

Back with the Pen Tool, hover over the unclosed path of the head and notice the icon with a minus sign appear, continue to click and drag the path following the curvature of the neck. When you reach the top of the arm look out for another icon change, this time a little circle that indicates that you will be joining the path.

image 15

Extend the paths of the other limbs to give a complete outline of the monster character.

image 16

Use the Direct Selection Tool to delete out the lower two points of the rounded rectangles.

image 17

With the Pen Tool use the same technique to extend the paths to merge into the head.

image 18

Select the shape that makes up the head and add points at the areas that intersect with the ears.

image 19

With the Direct Selection Tool delete these additional points to remove the line that cuts right through the ears.

image 20

Select the points of the two separate pieces (ears and head) in individual groups of two and press Ctrl / CMD + J to join them together into a single shape.

image 21

Add a little detail to the ears with the Pen Tool, simply clicking and dragging a shape into place.

image 22

Open the Artistic-Ink brush library from the Brushes Palette and choose a nice tapered effect to remove the square edges.

image 23

Using the same brush preset draw in the mouth dragging in the rough shape with the Pen Tool.

image 24

Also draw in the shapes that make up the tongue and teeth.

image 25

Draw in a simple oval to outline the belly area.

image 26

At this point the visibility of the sketch layer can be toggled off to view how the illustration is looking and to tweak any points with the Direct Selection Tool.

Adjust the thickness of the strokes, with the main outline being the thickest at 7pt.

image 27

Adjust the thickness of the eyes to 5pt, making them less than the main outline, but being important features they are still given prominence.

image 28

Begin adding colour by first creating a new layer underneath the vector lines. Use the Pen Tool to roughly draw around the complete outline of the character, paying attention not to stray out of the black area.

image 29

Fill the complete with a desired colour, this monster is a nice vibrant slimy green.

image 30

Some elements obviously don't want to be filled with green, such as the teeth, tongue and eyes. Use the same technique to add blocks of colour behind the lines.

image 31

The following is a technique I personally like to use on characters to give a nice little touch of depth and dimension.

Copy and paste in place (Ctrl + F) the main outline strokes, go to Object > Expand and check the Stroke option.

image 32

With all of the shapes of that make up the outline selected, merge them into one single shape using the Add to Shape Area option from the Pathfinder Tool.

image 33

With the Direct Selection Tool, click on the outer path and press delete a couple of times to completely remove it. The result will fill the whole character area in black, but simply swap the Fill and Stroke checkboxes around.

image 34

Swap the original black stroke for a darker green, bump up the weight and set the alignment to the Inside to give a simple shading effect to the character.

image 35

Select the facial features and add the same green stoke, this time aligned to the outline. Remember for objects such as the eyes that already have a stroke applied, simply Copy and Paste Behind (Ctrl / CMD + B).

image 36

Add some extra shading to the eyes by drawing in the desired shape with the Pen Tool, concentrate on a smooth curve across the ear then roughly complete the path within the confines of the black outlines.

image 37

Adjust the order of the shading so that it is placed underneath the black outlines, hiding the rough edges of the path.

image 38

Using the Star Tool drag a triangle onto the artboard, reduce the points by pressing the down cursor key while dragging. Drag the uppermost point vertically with the Direct Selection Tool to stretch out the triangle a little.

image 39

Duplicate the triangle and move slightly to the left, go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp and add a slight vertical Arc.

image 40

Duplicate this new curved triangle and head to Object > Transform > Reflect to create a mirror image.

image 41

Go to Object > Expand and select Object to reset the Warped shapes into editable objects.

image 42

Position the groups of triangles in place as toes on the feet of the monster character.

image 43

Let's work on the tummy area and add a little interest. Begin with a radial gradient and stroke with complimentary shades of green.

image 44

Draw a long thin rectangle, Copy and Paste in place (Ctrl / CMD + F), then move to the right. Use the shortcut combinations of Ctrl / CMD + F then Ctrl / CMD + D to repeatedly paste and move an additional rectangle until a large group has been made. Group these together by clicking Object > Group.

image 45

With both the group of rectangles and belly oval selected, use the Intersect from Shape Area option from the Pathfinder to trim out the excess rectangle. Press Expand to reset the shape.

image 46

Adjust the colour, blending mode or transparency to suit. Here I use Soft Light to blend in the lines with the gradient.

image 47

While working with gradients, drag a very slight gradient across the main body of the character to add a little variation in tone.

image 48

Using a random colour along with the Pen Tool roughly draw in some spots/scales across the whole body of the character.

image 49

Use the Magic Wand to select one of the scales, with them being the same colour all of the objects are selected together. Go to Object > Path > Simplify and adjust the settings to smooth out the shapes and remove any sharp angles.

image 50

Adjust the colour, blending mode and transparency to blend in these scales. Keep them subtle enough to add a little texture to the character while not being too prominent.

image 51

That's one cute little monster character complete, now all that is needed is a name - any suggestions?

Create a Cute Vector Monster from a Pencil Sketch

subscribe to newsletter