Our tutorial will create a very evil if not sinister rabbit named Orifice. The beauty of this tutorial is that all of this was achieved using only a mouse. ALL OF IT! I do hope this will encourage those who longingly stare at tablets and Cintiqs online to believe that they can achieve just as much with what they have. Your tools are what you make them... they can be what holds you back, or the driving force propelling you forward.
1. Fleshing Out the Sketch
Our first step will be to bring in our drawing. I used my scanner at 300 dpi to catch as much of the detail as possible. This process can be a bit difficult if you're using material in a bound sketchbook. You'll notice the slight blur of the tail. This happens when the book page curls inward at the binding.
We'll be working with a clean line quality from Adobe Photoshop and now we can begin. I'm working in Adobe Illustrator at a size of 8.5 x 11 inches for this specific project.
When I'm ready to start my layers, I'll label my first layer as "Sketch" and Lock the layer to make sure that I won't accidentally move or delete the sketch. We'll be loosely following this as our guideline.
I enjoy laying my main gradient colors down first and foremost. This is where I start to control the first signs of light and shadow and choose where my light source will be coming from.
I've chosen two slightly different tones, both of which I will be using in this tutorial. This Gradient on the right is made from a pure black to steel gray, and the gradient to the right is made from a pure black to deep moss color. Believe it or not, we'll be utilizing both of these. We'll start with the steel gray and apply it to our rabbit using our Pen Tool (P).
In our Layers tab, we'll assign one layer specifically as "Head", and start to create our pieces. If you want to make the process go as smoothly as possible, I would recommend also creating a "Body" layer as well. Using our handy-dandy Pen Tool (P), we'll start to follow the main pencil lines of our rabbit. I've started with the ear, but you can start just about anywhere. I prefer starting with the facial contours rather than the body.
At this point, we've vectored our "Head" pieces and "Body" pieces with our first color. I'm using this color first in order to see the color contrast later in my fur. This will become more obvious as we flesh and "fur" out our rabbit.
2. Adding Facial Details
I've started to use my Gradient to add details to his face. Half of my Gradient layer is comprised of a pure black, and the other is also a pure black but with its Opacity brought down to 0%.
Our next step is to create the white sclera, which will be our dead eye. We've also switched from a Linear Gradient to a Radial Gradient.
A simple Ellipse (L) has been used to represent the pupil. It gives off a very strained or blown-out look, which I prefer in my creepy-eyed characters.
Using our Radial Gradient again, we will create a new color for the "working" eyes. I went with a nice bloodshot red. With this color, we're bringing out the intensity of his gaze and making him a foe to be reckoned with.
We can now include our scar tissue, to illustrate that this rabbit has been through a few things. Scars give character. Don't be afraid to add a few.
Some of the scars need a little more definition, so after adding a stroke line of 0.25% I've used my Width Tool (Shift-W) to give them a little more girth.
Here is the end result. Notice that our scar looks a better and more defined. We won't stop there though. Read on to see where this magical scar ride ends.
The nose of our rabbit, Orifice, is fairly simple to make. Using a Linear Gradient for the main parts, we can speckle small Ellipses over the surface to act as dimples around the nostrils.
After we've covered the surface of his nose, we can add a simple highlight Gradient to show the direction of our light source.
Next, we can add Orifice's teeth. Using a light taupe in our Radial Gradient we'll follow our sketch's guidelines to form the teeth. We'll place our new teeth behind the upper jawline.
At this point, we've added a fine set of chompers to the sides of his mouth. We can leave this particular set on top of the jaw line. We've also added one tooth behind his head.
Add a few lines to define the teeth. The additional shading and highlights give Orifice's new teeth better form.
As promised, we've returned to our scar. I loved how it looked before, but this just adds that extra level of realism to our otherwise cartoonish Orifice. We're using the same color scheme, but our Opacity has been set to 40%.
The next view shows what a few layers of "scar tissue" can do to take your look from drab to fab.
3. Creating Texture With Fur and Skin
My first task is to create an entirely new Layer which we can call "Fur". You don't have to stick with this name, but it helps to separate newly completed, smaller pieces from your previous work. I prefer not to accidentally select work that I'm not working on, so both the "Head" and "Body" layers are locked.
In order to make the fur, I would recommend visiting Create a Fur Texture, Family Badger Scene in Adobe Illustrator. It's a great example of how to create your own fur strands.
We've started using our "Rabbit Fur" to create more texture to his skin. Check these images to see the progression.
The progress is going well with the fur on Orifice's face. To lessen the confusion, I'll contain all of my hairs into a Group (Control-G). I can then take this group and turn the Opacity to 40%. The hair on his body doesn't have to be a full on color to be appreciated. Sometimes it's the subtlety that is appreciated.
Our next step will be to apply staples to our scars. We'll use our Rounded Rectangle to create them.
When making your staples, try not to make them too neat. This is a monster who has essentially been put back together, most likely not by skilled hands.
The next step is to make a layer of shadow to go underneath the staples we created on his face.
In order to emphasize that this is the mouth of a bloodthirsty monster, we'll render some drool. One of the beautiful features of Adobe Illustrator CS6 is that you can make a Stroke line and include a Gradient to it.
As you can see, it conveys a whole new look to what we already have.
After completing the drool, I've moved on to accenting Orifice's face with more shadows. He's an animal that lurks in the darkness, so it's only fitting that we cloak him in it. This sharpens the work that we already have rendered as well.
Also, I've started changing his body from our steel gray to the more preferred deep moss color. Again, the first color was merely to allow me to see my fur texture in a better light.
I haven't used much in the way of blurs, but sometimes a nice Gaussian Blur gives a softness to your work. It's good for creating depth, as well as a great glow effect.
Add your highlighted hairs to Orifice's face. Since we know that our light source is coming from the right of our composition, this is where the majority of our lighter hairs will be made.
With our newly made light hairs layered over our head, we can now go in with a dark moss green. Notice that most of my new layer of fur is going against the scar tissue. This creates the illusion of the skin being uneven and partially jagged. Scar tissue is never completely smooth, and when you see hair growing around it, it conforms to the path that it is given to grow.
In the following shots, you can see the amount of detail applied with just the moss green hairs.
After applying a nice grouping of hair to the face, we can apply a few highlights using our Feather Effect. Doing this over the cheek bones, forehead, and the bridge of the nose takes our 2D image one step further and creates more realism.
To add to his intentionally evil look, I've added a few holes in his teeth using only one Linear Gradient. These cavities make him look almost weathered and dare I say it, "rotten to the core".
4. Creating a Spooky Sign
Using a similar technique that was used on his drool, we've created a symbol on Orifice's forehead. The idea is that this is made of fluid, so liquid-like highlights have been added to convey that it has reflective properties.
A new duplicate layer can be made of our sign and a Gaussian Blur Effect can be applied. We're using a blur effect of 4.4 px in this composition. The ending result gives us an eerie glow, fit for a monster rabbit. I've also decided that Orifice's drool would be more pronounced if we used the same color scheme. The green pops off the page and makes for a striking complement to the skin.
5. The Fur Hits the Body
We will be applying the same steps as we did to the face. Start with your darker hairs and work with the body contours.
After working on our body hair, we'll start to cover his arms and fingers. You will find it more helpful to group fingers and certain body parts as you finish them. This allows you to maneuver through all of your many pieces without clicking on something unnecessary.
This is a good example of how to apply a little highlight to the palms. After laying down our hair layers, we've gone back into our hand like we did with our cheeks, brow, and nose bridge. There's now a fullness to the hand that we once didn't have.
By the time we've finished applying our hair, shadows, and highlights, we will finally have an almost fully rendered bunny. So far, so good.
5. Adding Accessories
Next, we will proceed to lock our layers temporarily. The layer that we've entitled "Fur" will be our new construction area for creating our metal objects.
Using a Radial Gradient, we'll start to create Orifice's metal collar. It's meant to look clunky and uncomfortable, so if your collar looks similar to this to start off, you're on the right track.
Overlaying this collar are patches of discolored metal. Since Orifice is essentially a patchwork creation, it wouldn't be a stretch that his collar and other accessories would be as well.
At this point, we're applying rivets to some of his metal work. I'm again using our Ellipse Tool (L) to create these simple details.
Once those are completed, we can add a little texture to show that the rest of his collar hasn't held up as well through the years. Go to Windows > Brush Libraries > Artistic > Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPencil to locate this particular brush. Your new pattern can now Mask this layer to complete the look.
Use the same effect on his cuffs. Notice the gritty feeling you're getting from using this readily available brush.
What is a monster without his claws? Since you've been grouping your parts, this will be an easy process. He seems a lot more threatening now that he has these pointy digits.
We've given his nails a bit more shine, and we're also adding extra scars. Remember, scars build character and offer us a look into our character's past life experiences.
We're building an unwritten scenario that we want our audience to conclude for themselves.
Next, we'll start to add some scar tissue to his arm. I wanted there to be a feeling of him pulling out his own hair, or making a canvas out of his own skin in preparation for something very visual. This particular character has a very odd, almost serial killer trait. He collects his killings on his arm with small scratches.
Our rabbit's scratches have now been added, and to illustrate that maybe he has just "fed" or killed, we'll add a few highlighted scratches. I liked the idea of him using his own acidic saliva to carve out these scars, so I've also added a little bubbling to the skin. Very gross, but highly effective
6. From Flesh to Bone
Orifice is nearly finished. We're adding Orifice's lunch, with all the fix'ns to put it humorously. The skull is made from another Radial, and I'm sticking to the same color palette for the entire skull area. We'll use a softer tone, by incorporating a Feather Effect to main portion of the skull.
What would we be without our brains? We're going to give Orifice something to satisfy is voracious appetite. Since this is the brain of a deceased person, I wanted to make it just a little green. I wanted the appearance of rotting meat, and I think this color contributes nicely to the idea.
We'll also create a few maggots to sprinkle over Orifice's dinner. You can be as generous as you want with these little creatures. They only serve to enhance your piece.
I want you to believe that Orifice's saliva is very acidic, so I've added a few spots to show corrosion. Honestly, I don't know if I'd want to meet this character at all now.
Create a bit of a bone pile for your character using the exact color scheme used with the first skull.
Using our Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPencil Brush again, we've made dried blood to cover a few areas of our bone pile. Textures are very fun to work with, and just the right amount will enhance what you already have.
Next, we'll add a little shadow behind it all by duplicating the bones (excluding the spattered blood layer), and Uniting them with our Pathfinder Tab.
7. The Last Bits and Pieces
Even a scary monster can have a few boo boos. Even though he's a scary monster, he was still referred to as someone's pet. To indicate that he's still loved, I put a band-aid on his knee.
Last but not least, we'll add a few flies to buzz around the rotting flesh.
To indicate that they are moving haphazardly, I've created a Stroke Line to show the flight path of our bumbling flies. We'll lighten this and change the final color, but it's difficult to see white on white, so we're using a bright color to illustrate the new line. I've changed the settings to a Dash line as well.
Last, but certainly not least, I've added a bit of glow to our creepy crawlies.
Finished! Our Creepy Pet Orifice is Ready to Hunt!
I really do hope you've enjoyed this tutorial about my rabbit. I hope if you do try this tutorial, that you'll share your experiences and hopefully your art with us! If you're looking for a bit of suspense and mystery, you might want to stop by my tutorial entitled: Create A Haunting, Dia De Los Muertos Illustration Using Adobe Illustrator. Or if you're looking for something sugary sweet, you might want to try to Create a Colorful, 1940s Inspired Witch in Adobe Illustrator for your next project. Happy Vectoring!