Hostingheaderbarlogoj
Join InMotion Hosting for $3.49/mo & get a year on Tuts+ FREE (worth $180). Start today.
Advertisement

How to Create a Cute, Nerd-Like Snake Character in Adobe Illustrator

by
Gift

Want a free year on Tuts+ (worth $180)? Start an InMotion Hosting plan for $3.49/mo.

Follow this tutorial and learn how to draw a cute nerd-looking snake character in Adobe Illustrator. The tutorial is composed of two main parts, creating the head and creating the body. You will start from basic shapes and with a few distortion techniques that involve the Direct Selection Tool, Round Any Corner script, Warp, Roughen and Transform effects you will easily create the shapes that you need. The Blend Tool also plays an important role in this tutorial along with some build-in Art Brushes and Blend brushes. This snake character is fun to create so let's begin!


1. Start a New Project

Launch Illustrator and go to File > New to open a New blank document. Type a name and set up the dimensions then select Pixels as Units and RGB as Color Mode.

Next, go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1px. These settings will help you throughout the drawing process.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_1

2. Create the Basic Shape of the Head

Step 1

Grab the Polygon Tool and draw a simple polygon having the dimensions shown. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select only the two points from the top then go to File > Scripts > Round Any Corner and apply a Radius of 15.

You can download the Round Any Corner Script via Tuts+, install it and restart Illustrator. You should find the script in the File menu under Scripts.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_2

Step 2

Take the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add an extra point at the top of the polygon. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select only this point and move it 10px down by pressing the Down Arrow Key on your keyboard ten times. Use the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) to generate the handles and transform the three points at the top from corner to smooth.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_3

Step 3

Select only the left and right points then go to File > Scripts > Round Any Corner and apply a Radius of 10. As a result you will get the rounded corners. Now, select the four points indicated and move them 5px down by pressing the Down Arrow Key five times.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_4

Step 4

With the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) add an extra point in the middle of the upper left and right sides then move them a little inwards. Next, select only the bottom points and move them 10px up.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_5

Step 5

Take again the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add an extra point on the lower left and right sides of the shape. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select only the point added on the left side and go to Object > Transform > Move. In the Horizontal and Vertical fields type 5px and 10px then hit OK. Also move the point added on the right side but use the other settings shown. When you are done, run the Round Any Corner script and apply a Radius of 20 in order to transform these two points into smooth points.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_6

Step 6

Move the bottom points a little inwards using the Arrow Keys then run the Round Any Corner script and apply a Radius of 30.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_7

Step 7

At this point the main shape of the head is basically ready. All you have to do is to make sure that every anchor point has two handles (we don't need corners) and that the curves are smooth. I will name this shape "basic-head".

diana_snakecharacter_tut_8

3. Color the Head of the Snake

Step 1

Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) the "basic-head" and lock the original shape for a moment. Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and drag a selection over the bottom points as indicated, then move these points down. The orange path is what you should get and I will name this shape "basic-mouth". Next, fill the "basic-head" with the color indicated.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_9

Step 2

Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the "basic-head" then bring it in front of everything by going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]). Now, take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw an ellipse over the head having the dimensions shown. Select this ellipse and also the copy of the "basic-head" and press Intersect in the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown and set the angle to 90 degrees.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_10

Step 3

First make another copy of the "basic-head" in front then draw an ellipse above. Select both and press Intersect in the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown and set the angle to 90 degrees.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_11

Step 4

Now, select the three green shapes created then go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and choose 40 Specified Steps. Go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B).

diana_snakecharacter_tut_12

4. Create the Mouth of the Snake

Step 1

Make another copy of the "basic-head" and bring it in front. Select "basic-mouth" and "basic-head" and press Subtract in the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the radial gradient shown. I will name this shape "mouth".

diana_snakecharacter_tut_13

Step 2

Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the "mouth" then take the Scissors Tool (C) and click on the two points indicated (1). This will cut the shape into two paths and you need to keep only the one from the bottom (2). Stroke this path with an Art Brush called "Tapered Stroke" that you can find in Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_Ink. Set the Stroke Weight to 0.5pt (3). Add another Stroke attribute from the fly-out menu of the Appearance panel and for this, use a black Blend Art Brush. Set the Stroke Weight to 0.75 pt (4). Use the stroke colors indicated.

I've explained how to create this Blend Art Brush in my glossy rating stars tutorial , at step 9. Just that instead of 200 x 5px this one has the dimensions 100 x 3px. This is the black version but you will also need the white version later. So make sure that you create both then save them in the Brush Library.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_14

5. Create the Snout of the Snake

Step 1

Draw an ellipse having the dimensions shown over the head of the snake (1). Distort this ellipse by moving the left and right anchor points a little outwards and also moving the handles (2). Make a copy of "basic-head" and bring it in front (3). Now, select this copy and the new shape and press Intersect in the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the color indicated (4). I will name this shape "snout-1".

diana_snakecharacter_tut_15

Step 2

With the Ellipse Tool (L) draw an ellipse like in the image then Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) "snout-1". Select this copy and the ellipse and press Intersect in the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown and set the angle to 90 degrees. I will name this shape "snout-2".

diana_snakecharacter_tut_16

Step 3

Select "snout-1" and "snout-2" then go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and choose 40 Specified Steps. Go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B).

diana_snakecharacter_tut_17

6. Create the Eyes of the Snake

Step 1

Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw two 40 x 60px ellipses then arrange them as in the image. As the pupils draw two circles and fill them with the gradient shown. Finally, draw two smaller circles and select white as the fill color.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_18

Step 2

Next, grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw three pairs of paths following the edges of the eyes. Stroke these paths with the black Blend Art Brush then double click in the Appearance panel on the stroke applied to open the Stroke Options window. There, set the Colorization to Tints and hit OK. Now, change the stroke colors as indicated. The Stroke Weight for the blue paths is 2pt and for the rest 1pt.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_19

Step 3

With the Pen Tool (P) draw four shapes like below and select white as the fill color. Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) these shapes and fill them with a linear gradient from black to white. Now, select one of the white shapes and also the copy above it and select Make Opacity Mask from the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel. Repeat the same thing for the other shapes. Finally, Group (Control-G) the four reflections obtained and reduce the Opacity to 50%.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_20

7. Create the Nostrils of the Snake

Step 1

     

Using the Ellipse Tool (L) draw two ellipses then arrange them over the snout as in the image. Fill them with the gradient shown then go to Effect > Stylize and apply the Drop Shadow effect. Use the settings shown for the left and right nostril.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_21

Step 2

Now you need to mask the shadow. First, make a copy of "snout-1" and bring it in front of everything. Delete the existing fill color. Select, this copy and also the nostrils and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).

diana_snakecharacter_tut_22

Step 3

Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw two paths following the top edges of the nostrils. Stroke them with the black Blend Art Brush then set the Colorization to Tints as you did earlier and change the stroke color.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_23

Step 4

Draw an almond-shape ("inside-nostril-1") then go to Object > Transform > Scale, type 20% in the Scale field and hit Copy. You will get the smaller shape in the middle and fill it with dark green ("inside-nostril-2"). Arrange these two shapes over the right nostril then reflect to the other side.

Select "inside-nostril-1" and "inside-nostril-2" above the right nostril then go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and choose 20 Specified Steps. Go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B). Repeat the same thing using the "inside-nostril-1" and "inside-nostril-2" above the left nostril.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_24

Step 5

Between the nostrils let's add a few freckles to enhance the cuteness. Arrange a few small circles as in the image and fill them with a radial gradient from black to white. Group (Control-G) all of them then set the group to Blending Mode Multiply and 15% Opacity.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_25

8. Create the Fangs and the Forked Tongue

Step 1

For the snake's fangs simply draw two shapes like below using the Pen Tool (P). The fill color indicated is 5% black. Send the fangs behind the snout of the snake.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_26

Step 2

Now, let's create the forked tongue. First, grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw two paths like below. Stroke them with an Art Brush called "Tapered - Sharp" that you can find in the Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_Ink. Set the stroke weights as indicated. To turn the strokes into fills go to Object > Expand Appearance then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) twice.

Select the resulting shapes and press Add in the Pathfinder panel in order to get a compound path. At this point, just make a few adjustments at the top and the tongue is ready.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_27

Step 3

Fill the tongue with the linear gradient shown then send it behind the snout of the snake.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_28

9. Create the Nerd Glasses

Step 1

Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw an ellipse then distort it by moving some of the anchor points and the handles like in the image. Fill the lens with white and reduce the Opacity to 35% (for clarity reasons I used another color instead of white). Reflect the right lens to obtain the left.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_29

Step 2

Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the lenses, delete the fill color and give them a 9pt Stroke using any color. Press the Align Stroke to Outside icon in the Stroke panel (1). To turn the strokes into fills go to Object > Expand Appearance then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) (2). To modify the shape of the frames, select with the Direct Selection Tool (A) the points indicated and move them a little in the direction shown by the arrows (3). The result should look like below (4).

diana_snakecharacter_tut_30

Step 3

With the Pen Tool (P) draw a shape like in the image as the bridge then the two shapes on the sides. Now, select the frames, the bridge and the two corners and press Add in the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting compound path with black.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_31

Step 4

Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the frame obtained at the previous step and change the fill color (1). Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the green frame and move it 3px to the left by pressing the Left Arrow Key on your keyboard (2). Now, select the green and orange frames and press Subtract in the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white and reduce the Opacity to 40% (3).

diana_snakecharacter_tut_32

Step 5

Next, draw a rectangle shape over the bridge and fill it with the linear gradient shown.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_33

Step 6

Group (Control-G) all the shapes that make up the glasses and since everything is vector, scale it about 44%. Position the glasses over the eyes of the snake then send them behind the nostrils but in front of the snout. Finally, draw two rectangle shapes as the legs of the glasses and send them behind everything.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_34

The head of the snake is ready now and this is his cute face:

diana_snakecharacter_tut_35

10. Create the Basic Shapes of the Body

Step 1

Grab the Rounded Rectangle Tool and draw two shapes having the dimensions shown. Go to Effect > Warp and apply the Arc Lower and Arc Upper effects. When you are done, select Expand Appearance and Ungroup (Shift-Control-G). I will name the resulting shapes "body-large" and "body-small".

diana_snakecharacter_tut_36

Here are the settings that I've used:

diana_snakecharacter_tut_36_2

Step 2

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a wavy path on the left side and stroke it with the "Tapered - Round" Art Brush. Set the Stroke Weight to 2.25pt. Select Expand Appearance then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) twice. Follow the sequence of images and modify this shape by simply moving some of the anchor points. The blue shape is what you should get and I will name it "body-neck".

diana_snakecharacter_tut_37

Step 3

For the tail draw another wavy path like in the image. Stroke it with the "Tapered - Sharp" Art Brush and set the Stroke Weight to 0.56pt. Select Expand Appearance then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) twice. Make the bottom portion of tail thicker by moving some of the anchor points.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_38

11. Color the Body of the Snake

Step 1

First, select "body-neck" and "body-large" and press Add in the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape is called "body-full". Fill this shape with the gradient from the left and set the angle to -90 degrees. Use the same gradient for "body-small" but set the angle to 0 degrees. For the tail use the gradient from the right.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_39

Step 2

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a path approximately through the middle of each portion of the body. Now, select "body-full" and the orange path above it and press Divide in the Pathfinder panel then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G). You will get two halves but keep only the light green shape selected below (called "belly") and delete the other. Repeat the same thing for "body-small" and for the tail using the other two orange paths.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_40

12. Add Texture on the Belly of the Snake

Step 1

Draw a slightly curved path with the Pen Tool (P) and give it a 1pt black Stroke for the moment. Drag it into the Brushes panel and choose New Scatter Brush.

Next, draw another wavy path over "body-full" and stroke it with the Scatter Brush saved. If you double click in the Appearance panel on the stroke applied to open the Stroke Options window you can change some of the values for Spacing, Rotation and Size if needed. The important thing is that the end points of each small path to cross over the edges of the "belly". When you are happy with your stroke, select Expand Appearance and Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) twice.

Now, select all the small paths obtained and Group (Control-G) them. Make a copy because you will need them again. Select this group and the "belly" and press Divide in the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting group of shapes with the radial gradient shown.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_41

These are the settings that I've used for the Scatter Brush:

diana_snakecharacter_tut_42

Step 2

Bring in front the copy of the group of small paths. Stroke them with the black Blend Art Brush then duplicate this Stroke attribute by pressing the Duplicate Selected Item icon at the bottom of the Appearance panel. Having the Stroke attribute from the bottom selected, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and apply the setting shown. The Stroke Weight is 1pt and the stroke colors are indicated (Colorization set to Tints).

diana_snakecharacter_tut_43

Step 3

Make a copy of the belly and bring it in front of everything. Delete the existing gradient fill. Now, select the group of stroked paths and the copy of the belly and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).

Repeat the same process to add this texture on the other two portions of the body ("body-small" and tail).

diana_snakecharacter_tut_44

13. Add Details on the Back of the Snake

Step 1

Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw a few ellipses and fill them with the color indicated. Rotate and arrange them along the edge of the "body-full" as in the image. Group (Control-G) all ellipses then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen and apply the settings shown below. When you are done, select Expand Appearance.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_45

Step 2

With the Pen Tool (P) draw a path over the back of the snake. Stroke this path with the white version of the Blend Art Brush. Set to 10% Opacity.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_46

Step 3

Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) "body-full" and bring it in front of everything by going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]). Delete the exiting gradient fill. Select this copy along with the group of dark ellipses and the white path and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).

Repeat the same process to add these details on the other two portions of the body.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_47

14. Add Details on the Belly of the Snake

With the Ellipse Tool (L) draw some small ellipses and fill them with the color indicated. Arrange them along the belly of the snake, one in each square. Also arrange a few smaller ellipses filled with white, from place to place. Do the same thing on the "body-small" and on the tail.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_48

15. Add Shadow under the Snake

First, draw two ellipses at the bottom of the snake. Fill both with black but reduce the Opacity for the bigger ellipse to 0%. Having the ellipses selected, go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and choose 50 Specified Steps. Go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B). Send the resulting blend group behind everything by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[) and you are done.

diana_snakecharacter_tut_49

Congratulations! You're Done.

I hope you guys had fun creating this cute nerd-looking snake character. I know I did. This is also my first character tutorial so let me know if you liked it.

Advertisement