Advertisement
  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Vector
Design

How to Create a Cute Gingerbread Man in Adobe Illustrator

by
Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Character design is always fun and creative. If you love it as much as I do, then jump into this tutorial and learn how to create a cute gingerbread man character in vector form.

At the beginning you will create the body of the gingerbread man, and then you will create the gingerbread texture using two effects and a Scatter Brush. After shading and highlighting, your gingerbread man will look 3D, and after that comes the creative part, where you will create the face, add the icing and all the decorations. 

If you are interested in other character designs, you can purchase vector characters over on Envato Market. Let's begin! 

1. Start a New Project

Launch Illustrator and go to File > New to open a blank document. Type a name for your file, set up the dimensions and then select Pixels as Units and RGB as Color Mode. Make sure that Align New Objects to Pixel Grid is not checked.

Next, go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1 px and while there, go to Units to make sure they are set as in the following image. I usually work with these settings, and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

start new illustrator document

2. Create the Body of the Gingerbread Man

Step 1

Start with the head and draw a circle with the Ellipse Tool (L). Continue with the legs, which are two rounded rectangles.

create gingerbread man body 1

Step 2

Grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw the shape of the body between the head and the legs. After that, draw the hands like in the next image.

create gingerbread man body 2

Step 3

Now, select the head, the body and the legs and press Unite in the Pathfinder panel. Make some extra adjustments, if needed by moving some of the anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and also use the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) to generate handles because the corners should be smooth.

create gingerbread man body 3

3. Create the Texture of Gingerbread

Step 1

Select all shapes and fill them with a warm brown; then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown. Before you continue, send the hands behind the body.

create gingerbread texture 1

Step 2

With the shapes still selected, go to the Appearance panel and add a New Fill above the first. Use white as the fill color; then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain and apply the settings from below. Set this Fill to Blending Mode Soft Light and 22% Opacity.

create gingerbread texture 2

Step 3

Still with the shapes selected, add a New Fill in the Appearance panel. Use white as the fill color; then go to Effect > Texture > Texturizer and apply the settings shown. Set this Fill to Blending Mode Multiply and 77% Opacity.

create gingerbread texture 3

4. Add Shadow to the Gingerbread Man's Arms

Step 1

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a path right between the left arm and the body. Select a 3 pt Stroke and the Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel. Next, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 3 px. Reduce the Opacity to 75% and after that, send this path behind the body but in front of the left hand.

add shadow to gingerbread arms 1

Step 2

Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) this path, change the fill color and delete the Gaussian Blur effect from the Appearance panel. Bring this path in front of the body to create more definition.

add shadow to gingerbread arms 2

Step 3

Next, draw a path right between the right arm and the body with the Pen Tool (P). Select a 1 pt black Stroke and the Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel. Go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 4 px and then reduce the Opacity to 50%. Send this path behind the body but in front of the right hand.

add shadow to gingerbread arms 3

5. Add Shading to the Gingerbread Man's Body

Step 1

Grab the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N) and draw the five paths in the left side of the body (1). Select a 10 pt Stroke and the Width Profile 4 but press the Flip Along option in the Stroke panel (2). Keeping all the paths selected, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 5 px (3).

add shading to gingerbread man 1

Step 2

Next, draw six paths like below following the edge of the gingerbread man's body (1). Select a 10 pt Stroke and the Width Profile 4 in the Stroke panel (this time don't flip) (2) and then apply a 5 px Gaussian Blur (3).

add shading to gingerbread man 2

Step 3

Draw a path at the neck, select a 10 pt Stroke and the Width Profile 4 in the Stroke panel. Go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 5 px; then set to Blending Mode Color Burn and 15% Opacity.

add shading to gingerbread man 3

6. Add Highlights to the Gingerbread Man's Body

Step 1

Use the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N) to draw five paths following the right side of the gingerbread man's body (1). Select a 10 pt Stroke and the Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel (2). Still having these paths selected, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 5 px (3).

add highlights to gingerbread man 1

Step 2

Next, draw a path like below. Select a 10 pt Stroke and the Width Profile 4 in the Stroke panel. Apply a 3 px Gaussian Blur and then set the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add highlights to gingerbread man 2

7. Mask the Gingerbread Man's Body

Step 1

Select the body and the hands and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V). Remove all existing appearances from the Appearance panel and press Unite in the Pathfinder panel. Let's name the new shape “full body” and before you continue, make a copy for later.

mask the gingerbread man 1

Step 2

Select everything on your artboard and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).

mask the gingerbread man 2

8. Add Details to the Gingerbread Texture

Step 1

Grab the Pencil Tool (N) and draw five paths like in the following image, one over each hand, each leg and one over the head (1). 

Select a 0.5 pt yellow Stroke and the Ink Spatter 1 Scatter Brush that you can find in the Brush Libraries Menu under Artistic > Artistic_Ink

Open the Stroke Options window from the Appearance panel and change the settings as shown (2). Group (Control-G) these paths and set the Blending Mode to Soft Light (3).

add details on gingerbread texture 1

Step 2

Grab the Pencil Tool (N) again and draw six random paths like in the next image (1). Select a 0.5 pt black Stroke and the Ink Spatter 1 Scatter Brush and then change the settings in the Stroke Options window (2). Group (Control-G) these paths; then set to Blending Mode Overlay and 55% Opacity (3).

add details on gingerbread texture 2

9. Create the Eyes of the Gingerbread Man

Step 1

Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw two white circles as the eyes of the gingerbread man. With both eyes selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and then to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown.

create gingerbread man eyes 1

Step 2

Draw two smaller circles and fill them with brown.

create gingerbread man eyes 2

10. Create the Eyebrows of the Gingerbread Man

Step 1

Draw two paths above the eyes (1) and give them a 9 pt blue Stroke. In the Stroke panel, press the Round Cap option to obtain the rounded ends (2). With both paths selected, go to Object > Expand (3).

create gingerbread man eyebrows 1

Step 2

Select the eyebrow shapes and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Apply the settings and hit OK.

create gingerbread man eyebrows 2

Step 3

Still with the eyebrow shapes selected, add a New Fill in the Appearance panel above the first. Use white as the fill color; then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and apply the settings from the next image. Now, go to Effect > Stylize > Feather and apply a Radius of 8 px.

create gingerbread man eyebrows 3

Step 4

Still having the eyebrow shapes selected, go to Effect > Stylize and apply the Drop Shadow effect.

create gingerbread man eyebrows 4

11. Create the Mouth of the Gingerbread Man

Step 1

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a path as the mouth and give it 7 pt red Stroke. Go to Object > Expand in order to turn the stroke into a fill.

create gingerbread man mouth 1

Step 2

Select the mouth shape; then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings from below (1).

Add a New Fill above the first and select pink as the fill color. Go to Effect > Path > Offset Path and apply an Offset of -2 px (2) then go to Effect > Stylize > Feather and apply a Radius of 3 px (3).

create gingerbread man mouth 2

Step 3

Still having the mouth shape selected, apply the Drop Shadow effect using the settings from the next image.

create gingerbread man mouth 3

12. Create the Hair of the Gingerbread Man

Step 1

Use the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a curly path as the hair of the gingerbread man. Select a 6 pt brown Stroke, Round Cap and then go to Object > Expand.

create gingerbread man hair 1

Step 2

Having the hair shape selected, apply the Inner Glow effect using the settings shown below and after that, apply the Drop Shadow effect using the same settings as for the mouth shape.

create gingerbread man hair 2

13. Create the Buttons

Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw two circles as the buttons on the body. Select blue as the fill color and apply the Inner Glow effect using the settings shown (1).

Add a New Fill above the first and set the fill color to white. Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform, apply the settings from the image below and hit OK. Now, go to Effect > Stylize > Feather and apply a Radius of 8 px. Reduce the Opacity to 66% (2).

Still with the buttons selected, apply the Drop Shadow effect using the same settings as for the mouth shape (3).

create gingerbread man buttons

14. Add Icing on the Gingerbread Man

Step 1

Grab the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a wavy path on the arms and legs. For the two paths in the left side (closer to us) select a 9 pt Stroke and for the two paths in the right side, select a 8 pt Stroke. Also select the Round Cap option in the Stroke panel. After that, go to Object > Expand.

create icing on gingerbread man 1

Step 2

Having the icing shapes selected, apply the Inner Glow effect and then the Drop Shadow effect.

create icing on gingerbread man 2

Step 3

Next, grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw the shape of the pants followed by the two lines. Give them a 5 pt white Stroke and then go to Object > Expand.

create icing on gingerbread man 3

Step 4

Having the pants shape and the two lines selected, apply the Inner Glow effect using the settings shown and then the Drop Shadow effect using the settings shown earlier.

create icing on gingerbread man 4

Step 5

Draw a new wavy path on the pants, give it a 6 pt white Stroke, and then go to Object > Expand. Apply the Inner Glow effect and the Drop Shadow effect using the same settings.

create icing on gingerbread man 5

15. Create the Bow Tie

Step 1

First, draw two triangle-like shapes and a small circle between them, and select red as the fill color.

Having only the triangle shape from the right selected, apply the Inner Glow effect using the settings from the next image. Add a New Fill above the first and set the fill color to white. Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and apply the settings shown; then go to Effect > Stylize > Feather and apply a Radius of 8 px. Reduce the Opacity to 66%.

The other two shapes have pretty much the same settings, but for the triangle on the left side delete only the Inner Glow effect from the Appearance panel.

create gingerbread man bow tie 1

Step 2

Apply the Drop Shadow effect using the settings shown to the three shapes that compose the bow tie. At this point the gingerbread man is ready.

create gingerbread man bow tie 2

16. Create the Shadow of the Gingerbread Man

Step 1

Grab the copy of the “full body” that you made earlier in the tutorial and fill it with black. Move this shape to another layer behind the gingerbread man. Now, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Free Distort and drag the corner points as shown below to distort this shape.

create gingerbread man shadow 1

Step 2

Still with the black path selected, go to Object > Expand Appearance in order to expand the Free Distort effect. Make the shadow shape a little longer by dragging the bounding box with the Selection Tool (V) upwards or use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select only the top portion of the shape (head and arms) and move these points upwards.

create gingerbread man shadow 2

Step 3

Replace the black fill with the linear gradient shown. Go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 3 px and after that, reduce the Opacity to 80%.

create gingerbread man shadow 3

Congratulations! You're Done 

Add the background of your choice, and the illustration with the gingerbread man is ready. I hope this was a fun tutorial, and let me know if you want more character design.

final gingerbread man character
Advertisement
Advertisement
Looking for something to help kick start your next project?

Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.