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Free Preview: Cartoon Creature Design


  • Overview
  • Transcript

Character design is one of the most interesting fields of design and illustration. However, it can be tricky if you need to depict various characters of the same type, while making each of them unique and original. In this course Yulia Sokolova will teach you how to create a set of fancy cartoon characters with various facial expressions and body shapes. Such illustrations are very useful for video games, mobile applications, children’s books and advertisements.

You’ll be rearranging the elements, using them as details of a constructor, combining them with each other, and creating new kinds of creatures from the existing parts. Furthermore, you’ll learn different ways of recoloring the monsters and finish up by placing the created crew of characters on a bright alien background, forming a balanced composition.

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Hi everyone and welcome to cartoon creature design course at tuts+. My name is Uesa Calova. I'm a freelance illustrator and graphic designer working with digital art and vector graphics for ten years. I'll be your instructor guiding you throughout this course. This time we'll be creating fancy creations that can be used as company mascots or characters for video games, mobile applications, children's books, and many, many more. Funny fantasy monsters is one of the first things you want to make when you start training yourself in cartoon creature design. In this course, we'll start making our creatures from minor parts and details and gradually move on to more complicated shapes and forms. We'll learn to render various facial expressions and different types of bodies. The overall process is rather comprehensive. Whether you're just beginning to learn Adobe Illustrator or you are already an intermediate user seeking inspiration. Any way you're welcome to join this course and discover something new and useful here. Apart from using various tips and tricks in working with tools and shapes, we'll see how we can combine different elements, attaching them to each other and creating numerous varieties of new creatures making all of them look diverse. And right after that we'll see how we can recolor our characters using various Adobe illustrator functions and making this process fast and easy. At the end you'll be able, not only to create one character, but also boost up your creativity and imagination in order to get as much unique combinations as possible. I hope you're already willing to start this course and to create your first character. Let's move on to our next video and start making the face of our first creature using basic shapes, gradients, and blending modes to make it look vivid and dimensional. See you in the next lesson.

2. Creating Fancy Cartoon Monsters

2.1 The First Monster’s Face

Hello everyone and welcome back to Cartoon Creature Design course with Yulia Sokolova at tuts+. In this lesson, we'll start creating our first character. We'll be using simple shapes to create eyes nose and mouth. We will also learn to apply blending modes to make the eyes vivid and bright. Let's do this. Let's start by making a new document of 600 by 600 pixels, RGB color mode. Take the ellipse tool and make a 30 by 30 pixel circle. Let's click on the gradient slider to apply a gradient fill. Change the type of the gradient from linear to radial and play with the colors. Set the left side of the gradient, which is for the middle of the shape, to white, and the right side, which is for the edge of the circle, to grayish-blue. This way making the eyeball spherical and dimensional. Now we'll create a larger circle, Click right mouse button, arrange, send to back. Let's apply some dark radial gradient, perhaps dark red or dark purple. Move the shape around a bit, rotating it a few degrees to the left. Make the shape much darker forming a shadowed area around the eye. Go on and select the eyeball. Go to edit, copy, and then edit, paste in front to duplicate the shape. Make it much smaller holding down Alt+Shift or option+Shift and drag in to the center. This way forming the iris. Let's fill it with some contrasting radial gradient like red and dark red. Duplicate the iris and make the copy smaller, forming the pupil. Fill it with dark brown color. And now let's add some effect to make the eyes glossy and alive. Copy the red iris twice. And move the upper copy down and to the right of it using the arrow keys of your keyboard while holding down shift. Select two copies and open the path finder panel. Click minus front to cut the shapes. Select the crescent shape and move to transparency panel. From here, open the blending mode list and select screen to make the shape semi-transparent and bright. Let's apply a linear gradient, setting one of its sides to black. Black color becomes fully transparent in the screen mode. Set the other part of the gradient to bright orange, and adjust the position and direction of the gradient using the gradient tool. Lets add some more elements to dye. Take the rectangle to and make a narrow stripe. Go object parts and anchor points. Delete the bottom side anchor points shaping an up side down triangle. Find the Reflect Tool and double-click it. From the Options menu, select the Horizontal axis and click Copy. Move the shape down on the opposite side. And this time, double-click the rotate tool, set the value to 360/10. This way, you will get the proper degree for ten copies. Click the Copy button, press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D multiple times, repeating the last action and making more copies. Unite the shapes in the path finder. Apply a radial gradient of orange and black colors. Make the shape much smaller, and let's place it in the eye. Select both the iris and the shape. Hold Alt or Option key and click the iris, making it a key object. You will see a fixed stroke around it. Now open the align panel and click horizontal align center and vertical align center to combine the shapes. Make the top shape a bit larger. Said the blending mode is green. And change the center color to red making the shape more vivid and glowing. Now, we cancel like the shape and the last panel and move it right under the pupil. Let's make the eyes glossy by adding another highlight. Make a small circle. Use the eye dropper tool to pick the color and the appearance from the crescent shape. Adjust the direction of the gradient and change the orange color to white, making the highlight brighter. Make it overlap the pupil, placing the highlight inside the iris so that all the elements, right mouse click, and group them. Double click the reflect tool and flip the shape of the vertical access making the copy. Move the copy to the side, right mouse click, and isolate selected group. Select the elements of the iris, and use the reflect tool again to reflect the iris. We do so because we need the highlights of both eyes to be on the same side. In our case it is the last side of the iris. Now let's take the ellipse tool and form a funny nose. Make a squash shape and let's pick up the matching color. Apply a dark purple in your gradient. Take the direct selection to. Click the bottom anchor point and let's drag it down, making the shape more triangle. And another squished ellipse on top for the highlight. And pick the color for the highlight on the eye, using the eye dropper tool. Make a small ellipse for the nostril. Let's use the radial gradient to create an effect of a cavity, making the nose dimensional. Make the center of the gradient dark, showing the inner part of the nose. Let's copy the shape and paste it in back. Make the copy a bit larger. Give it the color from one of the highlights to make the nostril more realistic. Group both shapes and use the reflect tool to create the reflect copy moving it to the opposite side of the nose. Select the nose base and go to object path offset path. Set the offset value to -2 px. Pick the color from the highlight and edit the direction of the gradient to make the nose glossy. Make the nostrils a bit larger and groove them. Select all parts of the nose, and use the nose base and the key object by holding down alt and clicking it. Align all the shapes horizontally. Group the eyes and align horizontally to the nose as well. Make a smash squashed ellipse for the brows and apply a dark brown radial gradient. Create a second brow using the Reflect tool. Group the brows and align them to the other elements. Before we move on, let's create a new layout for the background so that we can make the white elements visible. Make a 600 by 600 pixel square and fill it with gray shield color. Let's get back to the nose. Copy it and paste in back. Select the output anchor point and drag it up. Switch the blending mode to multiply. Fill it with linear gradient, making one of its sides white. White color becomes transparent while the multi-play mode is applied to the shape. Now let's move on to the mouth. Find the Blob Brush Tool and double click it. Set the size value to say two pixels, select Pressure if you are using the graphic tablet. Make sure that the fidelity slider is coded to smooth so that we can make smooth, fine lines and let's try it out. If the line seems to be too thin, increase the brush size using the right bracket key of your key bot. These shapes can be easily edited with the direct selection tool. Now let's form the teeth. Use the ellipse tool to make an ellipse. Fill it with linear gradient from light yellow to darker grayish yellow placing the gradient vertically. Hold down ALT, select the tooth and drag it to the side this way, making a copy. Make more copies, rotating the teeth, rewriting their sizes and placing them so that they have the funny gaps. Group the teeth. And select them together with the mouse line. Take the Shape Builder Tool, hold down ALT and click the unneeded parts of the teeth one by one. This way deleting the unwanted pieces. Select the mouth and bring it to front. Take the Pencil Tool, and let's draw a simple arch shape under the mouth, leaving the path open. Pick the color from the shadow shade above the nose, which is multiply mode. And then the gradient, making the shapes semi-transparent. And send the shape to back. Finally, group all the elements, and the face is ready. Great job, guys. We've created the face of our first character using the basic shapes and tools of Adobe Illustrator. In our next lesson, we will be rendering the body of our first character using the drawing tools and combining the body parts. Stay tuned.