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Create a Colorful, Vector Carnival Mask

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Read Time: 10 mins

This tutorial is about how to draw a colorful, jolly, full-face, carnival mask in Illustrator. I explained how every part was made like: the jolly hat, the border seam brush, the bells, the small mask on the face, the glitter symbols and the other decorations on the face. Hope you enjoy it.

Final Image Preview

Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Illustrator CS3
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Estimated Completion Time: 2.5 hours

Step 1 - Draw the Face

Open a new web document. Take the Pen Tool and draw half of the first shape you see below, go to Object > Transform > Reflect and then join the two points shown (Command + J).

Now we need to define the empty area where the eyes should be. For this, draw the shape of the eye using the Pen Tool, like in the image below. Reflect it to make the second one, then place them on top of the face shape and go to Pathfinder Panel > Subtract From Shape Area and Expand.

Now Copy and Paste In Back the face shape we made. Use the Direct Selection Tool to move the points shown below to obtain the red shape, and do the same to obtain the green shape also. Make sure the eye has empty areas for each of the three faces that are on top of each other.

Step 2 - Add Some Color

Fill the first face shape with a linear gradient from peach (R=249, B=224, G=224) to another shade of peach (R=248, G=246, B=238). Fill the other shapes with linear gradients also, for the second blue shape colors I used are: (R=0, G=148, G=185), (R=174, G=212, G=226), (R=0, G=119, G=142) and for the third shape: (R=249, G=199, G=38), two times (R=255, G=249, G=202), (R=236, G=212, G=134) and (R=249, G=199, G=38).

Step 3 - Make the Black Outline of the Eyes

Use the eye shape made earlier and scale it using the Scale Tool, then move it a bit to the right. Now select both, go to Pathfinder Panel > Subtract From Shape Area, and Expand to obtain the second shape from the image below. Fill it with black, and make the same with the other eye, or reflect this one.

Step 4 - Draw the Small Mask

Take the Pen Tool and draw half of the shape you see below, then reflect it and join the points shown. Subtract the eye shapes just like for the face to obtain the empty areas, and make sure all of them overlap. Fill the shape with a linear gradient using the colors: (R=93, G=202, B=114), (R=212, G=231, B=189), (R=255, G=235, B=67), (R=252, G=224, B=211) and (R=210, G=85, B=216).

Step 5 - Divide the Small Mask

Copy and paste the small mask so that we can use it to obtain the shapes below. Take the Ellipse Tool and draw an oval shape, select both then go to the Pathfinder Panel > Intersect Shape Area and Expand.

Now draw another shape like below on top of the one we just made, select both and Intersect Shape Area > Expand. Place them like you see in the next image and do the same to the other side, or group these two shapes and reflect them.

Step 6 - Create the Glitter Symbols

Draw some small squares and place them like below. Fill them with different green and purple tones. Some of the colors I used for the green glitter are: (R=58, G=114, B=40), (R=92, G=189, B=98), (R=64, G=138, B=66), (R=213, G=255, B=192), (R=81, G=123, B=58) and for the purple glitter: (R=101, G=41, B=110), (R=184, G=58, B=180), (R=253, G=158, B=239), (R=147, G=49, B=118), (R=236, G=211, B=232), (R=241,79, B=137) and white. Now Group and drag them into the Symbols Panel.

Step 7 - Spray the Glitter

Next take the Symbol Sprayer Tool and start spraying on top of the shapes we made earlier using the green and the purple glitter symbols. Settings that I used are: Diameter of 49 px, Intensity at 10 and Symbol Set Density at 9.

Copy and Paste In Front the first two shapes, after there is plenty of glitter, and you're happy with the result. Now select all the green symbol sets and the corresponding shape pasted on top, then go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make. Do the same and create another clipping mask for the purple symbol sets. Also do the same for the right side of the small mask.

Step 8 - Define the Glitter Scatter Brush

Make the squares group from below and then drag it into the Brushes Panel and select New Scatter Brush, similar to how we did previously. We will use this to stroke the small mask and other decorations on the face later.

Now Copy and Paste In Front the small mask shape, delete the fill gradient, select a 1 pt white stroke and also select the scatter brush we just made from the Brushes Panel. Double-click on Stroke in the Appearance Panel and change the values like in the image below. Now we have a golden glitter stroke all around the small mask.

Quick Tip: If you change the blending mode of the stroke to Luminosity you will get a silver glitter all around.

Step 9 - Draw the Gems

To draw the gems, first draw a circle, and then with the Polygon Tool draw the shape inside the circle. Now use the lines between them. Group them and use the the Live Paint Bucket Tool to fill the shapes with a light gradient. Make more copies because we will use them again later.

Now place the gems following the black outline of the eyes like in the next image. Also see the result of the golden glitter stroke around the small mask that I explained earlier.

Step 10 - Draw the Lips

Take the Pen Tool and draw the shapes from below and fill them with a linear gradient using different red tones. I also added an oval shape on top filled with a light pink and a 1,1 px Gaussian Blur for some glow.

Now behind the lips draw a very flat oval. Fill it with 90% black, add a 1,3 Gaussian Blur, and lower the Opacity to 50%. This will be a light shadow once the lips are placed on top of the face.

Step 11 - Draw the Decorations on the Face

Draw the curly paths that you see below using the Pen Tool. Now we need to define one more scatter brush like I explained in Step 8. I made a blue one using the colors: (R=9, G=95, B=56), (R=45, G=204, B=176), (R=143, G=204, B=175), (R=95, G=231, B=217), (R=1, G=167, B=136) and white.

The golden one is the same one we made earlier. Drag them both to the Brushes Panel and select New Scatter Brush. Next stroke the paths using this brushes like you see below.

Here are the settings for the golden scatter brush stroke and for the blue one.

Place the decorations like in the next image and reflect them to the right side also. Here is our mask so far.

Step 12 - Make the Nose Shape

Draw two paths to define the nose shape, stroke them with 60% black, add a 1,5 px Gaussian Blur, reduce the opacity to 60% and set the mode to Difference. Next draw two shapes to define the nostrils.

The selected one in the image is filled with 70% black and has a gray Outer Glow with the settings from below. Also the shadow shape between them is filled with 10% black and has a 1,8 Gaussian Blur added.

Step 13 - Add Color in the Cheeks and Glow

Draw an oval shape with the Ellipse Tool and fill it with a linear gradient from white to light pink and add a 7 px Gaussian Blur, then do the same for the other cheek and place them on top of the face. To add more glow I made another oval, filled it with a linear gradient from white to light yellow, and added a 6,6 px Gaussian Blur, then I made more copies.

See in the image below that I placed this glow shapes on top and beside the nose, on the forehead and above the eyes. I also made more curly paths (the process for that is explained in Step 11). I combined them to obtain an interesting design and place it on the forehead with more gems added.

Step 14 - Draw the Bells

First draw a circle with the Ellipse Tool, then draw a flat oval shape and use the Direct Selection Tool to modify it to obtain the middle ring as shown.

Next for the hanging ring, draw one more oval shape and use the Offset Path to make a smaller one. Now take the Direct Selection Tool and move the middle points closer to each other. I colored them with gradients using different yellow tones, or you can use the gold gradients from the Swatches Library.

Step 15 - Draw the Jolly Hat

Here is the outline view of my jolly hat. You don't have to worry about drawing it perfectly because some parts are behind the others and also there will be a border seam all around each shape.

Draw the two shapes shown below with the Pen Tool, and then place them as shown. The colors that I used for the gradient are: (R=40, B=40, G=128), (R=80, B=135, G=189) and (R=13, B=0, G=76).

Step 16 - Define the Border Seam Scatter Brush

To make the border seam we need to define a scatter brush first. For this go to Swatches Library > Patterns > Decorative Classic > Weave Cane and drag it into your work area.

Now we need to edit the gray group from the image until we get what we want. First Expand and Ungroup, then fill and stroke each of the small shapes with different yellow tones. Some of the colors I used to fill are: (R=255, G=255, B=0), (R=250, G=213, B=92), (R=255, G=249, B=202), (R=236, G=212, B=134) and to stroke: (R=249, G=199, B=38), (R=193, G=144, B=46). Group all the shapes and drag them to the Brushes Panel, then select New Scatter Brush.

Step 17 - Apply the Border Seam

Now Copy the two shapes made earlier for the hat and Paste In Front. Delete the fill, select them both, go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Now stroke it using the Scatter Brush I just explained above to obtain the border seam look all around it.

In the second image below are the stroke settings that I used for the scatter brush. Next Copy and Paste In Front the first two shapes one more time and delete the fill. Now go to Swatches Library > Patterns > Decorative Ornament > Chinese Spirals Color and set the blending mode to Overlay.

Make the same with the other shapes of the hat and the red ones, then place a bell on each one of them . Also remember that the border seam is always on top of all the other shapes.

Step 18 - Add More Design Elements

Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool and draw some rectangles like in the next image, adjust them if needed, fill them with a linear gradient from yellow to a darker yellow and stroke them using the same scatter brush like above to obtain the seam look again.

When you are done and happy with the result, group all the shapes and reflect them to the right side as well. Now copy the face shape and the blue one behind it, select them both, and Subtract From Shape Area to obtain the second shape below.

Now place the group of rectangles on top of the original blue face and the shape we just made on top of this one, select both and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make.

I also added to the third face shape (the golden one with the border seam look) using the same Scatter Brush like I explained for the hat. Just change the mode to Multiply.

The Final Image

The work is done. Here is how the mask looks now.

Hope you enjoyed it and learned some useful techniques. The final image of the Jolly Carnival Mask is below. All that's needed to finalize the image is to add a complimentary background.

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