Open Illustrator and set up a new document, any size you like, I'm using 800x600 pixels. Press (L) to select Ellipse Tool, click somewhere on you art board to bring up the Ellipse dialog box and enter values that you see in the image below, 320 pixels for Width and 250 for Height.
1. Now that we have the base for one of the lady bird's body paths we can star editing it.
2. Select the Direct Selection Tool (A) and click on the left anchor point , hold down the Shift key and press the down arrow key three times.
3. Reduce the size of lower handle of the same anchor point to about half of it's size.
4. Do the same thing to the lower handle of the right anchor point.
5. Click on the lowest anchor point of the path to select it, hold down the Shift key and press up arrow key twice.
6. Use Ellipse Tool to create another smaller (270x175) ellipse like you see in the image.
7. Press Ctrl + [ to send it back under the first path.
8. Select the main body path and give it a 2pt black stroke. Fill it with a three color radial gradient with the Aspect Ratio set to 80.5%. I used these colors: #E0532A to #E23A2A (position 74%) to #AF2D29.
9. Select the second body path and using Eyedropper Tool (I) click on the first path to apply the same setting to it. Adjust the gradient Aspect Ratio and position.
10. Now we start working on the head shape. Create an ellipse, the edit anchor points of the path to create an egg-like path. Make sure that it also have a 2pt black stroke.
11. Re-size it, rotate and then place it on the body of the lady bird.
12. Fill it with a linear gradient from black to 80% gray and set the Angle of the gradient to 126 degrees.
13. We're moving forward to highlights of the head and body. Let's start from the body. Select the Pen Tool (P) and try to achieve a path as you see in the image below. Fill it with linear gradient from white to white. Set the opacity of the first slider to 25% and the second to 5%.
14. Draw the second highlights path on the top of the first one and fill it with the same gradient but set the opacity to 25% and 0%.
15. Draw another highlight path and fill with the same gradient and the same opacity settings as the last one the make a copy of it and reflect it horizontally.
16. Select the head path, press Ctrl + C and then Ctrl + F to make a copy of it on the top of the original path and using Eyedropper t Tool click on the second highlight path that we've made. Adjust the gradient position.
17. Draw another two highlight paths with the same settings applied and place these two sub layers and the main body path sub layer.
18. With the Pen Tool still selected draw a black path between body paths. Move this sub layer under the head sub layer.
19. For the lady bird spots draw an ellipse with a 2pt black stroke, rotate it clockwise and place it on the body. Fill it with a radial gradient from black to #341211 with the setting that you see in the image below.
20. As we did with the body and the head, draw two highlights on this spot.
21. Make a copy of the spot (the spot path itself and the highlights), reduce it size and height and then place it near the first one. I've made the first spot a little smaller so the second one could fit better. Edit the gradient position of the second spot.
22. Make a copy of the biggest spot (without highlights) make it wider and place it that way so it intersects the main body path.
23. Select the body path, press Ctrl + C and then Ctrl + F. Select the new spot path that we've made and the copy of the body path and press the Intersect button on the Pathfinder palette.
24. Edit the handles of the corners to make them rounded. Make the path a little smaller and move it a little bit out of the body so it won't be blending with it.
25. Draw highlights like other spots have.
26. Create a copy of the last spot and place it on the second part of the lady bird body.
27. Now we'll start drawing the eyes. Select the Ellipse Tool and by holding down the shift key, create a circle. Give it a 2pt white stroke and fill it with a radial gradient from 10% gray to 50% gray.
28. Draw another, smaller circle inside this one, give it a 2pt black stroke and a linear gradient from black to 80% gray.
29. Draw another two smaller circle intersecting last one and each other, fill them with white, no stroke.
30. Select all eye paths and press Ctrl +G to group them together. Place the eye group on the head, scale it down if needed. Remember, it should still be pretty big.
31. Select the eye group and press Ctrl + C and Ctrl + b to create a copy of it and place it under. Scale down the copy and move it up and to the right.
32. As we did before, draw highlights on the bigger eye, but set the opacity of the first slider to 100%.
33. Draw a intersecting the body that we'll use for the belly.
34. Press Ctrl + Shift + [ to send this sub layer to back.
35. Using Eyedropper Tool, click on the head path to apply the same settings and gradient to it. Make the gradient radial and adjust Aspect Ratio and angle.
36. Select the Pen Tool and draw two black, 2pt stroke lines on the belly.
37. Drag a copy of the head path and set the angle of the gradient to -176.
38. Draw a highlight on it; make sure your head copy stroke is aligned to outside.
39. Draw another ellipse that is intersecting this path with the same gradient but set the angle to 161 degrees.
40. Group the result, scale it down and by making another four copies of it create the legs.
41. The middle part of every leg should be the biggest part. Create another three copies of this leg.
42. Use the same technique to draw two small antennas on the head.
43. Give your illustration a background and a shadow and we're done!
Lady Birds Final Result