In this tutorial I will show you how to create a detailed robot head in Adobe Illustrator. The tools that I will be used in this tutorial include: the Pen Tool (P), Ellipse Tool (L), Rounded Rectangle Tool and Eyedropper Tool (I). I will also using Pathfinder panel and Outline Stroke options in the process. Patience is needed when creating such a detailed illustration. So let's begin!
1. Prepare the Basic Sketch
Create a New Document (Control + N), name it "Robotic Head". Set the artboard size to 600px x 700px and Color Mode CMYK at 72dpi. All we need is a basic sketch in this first step. So we can start by creating a new layer, name it "Basic Sketch".
Draw a rough sketch of robot head with Blob Brush Tool (Shift + B). In this case, I will recommend you to do it with a graphic tablet as it will feel more organic to you. But if you don't have one, you can simply draw on paper and scan the result.
After finished, set its Opacity to 33% and Lock this "Basic Sketch" layer. This sketch will not interfere with the next process. Create New Layer which you can name it "Lines" or something up to you.
2. Create the Line Art of Section on Top of the Head
From this section I will transform it from rough sketch to clean vector lines. Hit the Pen Tool (P), set the Stroke to a 4pt Weight and begin drawing a closed path that's following the top head panel section. I'm creating a symmetrical design, so that means I'll only need to create half of it.
When the half part is completed, duplicate it by select the object then drag to the left by holding Shift + Alt.
This duplicated object has to be reflected by Right-clicking, then select Transform > Reflect. The dialogue box will be appeared. Check Vertical option then click OK.
Set their position so that both objects are sticking each other. Open the Pathfinder panel (Shift + Control + F9) and choose Unite to merge them.
I'm going to continue to create the front camera element. Create a closed path just like the image below. If you create a shape which goes beyond another, don't worry as you can use the Pathfinder panel to clean your edges up.
Here's a quick explanation :
- Copy (Control + C) the top head element and Paste in Front (Control + F).
- Select this copied part alongside the front camera part.
- Click Intersect on Pathfinder panel to remove the overlapping camera part.
Using this method will help you to create a path that looks neat and not deviate to each other.
Copy and Paste in Front the previous result of camera panel. Resize it by holding Control + Shift + Alt, so it should be a smaller piece inside. Set it's Stroke Weight to 3pt.
Create the left and right panel to give details of the angled corners on the top head element. Arrange them behind the front camera element. Make them all white fill, so you can see the true position of each part. Draw the camera circle also by using Ellipse Tool (L).
I'm sure now you can do the rest of the top head parts. The picture below shows that I've done with the horn, cranium, forehead and a head bulge.
All parts are made with closed paths and stacking on each other. Look at the basic sketch as a reference.
Make copy for all of them and drag to the right. Unite them one by one for the parts which are the same.
Give little details on the horn that could be air filter. I made this one by using the Ellipse Tool (L). Group (Control + G) them and make a copy of them for the right horn.
3. Work on the Bottom Section of the Helmet
Let's continue to the lower parts of the helmet. In this section, I will improvise the eye design since I think that the original sketch doesn't look as good to me. Just hit the Pen Tool (P) again and make the half shape of the robot eye. Reflect and Unite them when done.
When it's done, select this part and Right-click your mouse, choose Arrange > Send to Back.
Go to the bottom level and add the base mouth cover part.
Draw a panel line on it, set the Stroke Weight to 3pt. This panel line is also an improvement, since it doesn't fit for me in the basic sketch.
To give more details, I've added a pair of vertical panel lines. It looks better for now.
4. Create the Air Filter Parts
In this step, we're going to focus only to create the air filter parts, so you can hide all the completed parts from the previous steps for a while. Let's continue using the Pen Tool (P) to make filter box as referenced from basic sketch.
By adding more paths inside, the air filter is finally got more depth with the angled corners.
Create a fin to complete this part. Hold Alt + Shift to duplicate it straight to the bottom. Do this twice, so we have three fins in order to fill the vacuum space. Arrange each fin part to their right position. Select one fin and tap Control + [ to send it backward once.
Put this completed air filter part to the left side of the mouth cover as shown in the image below. Make copy of a completed air filter part and drag it to the right side of the robot head. Group (Control + G) both of these parts.
Add a pair of connectors behind each air filters.
Complete this step by adding a little flat detail behind the connectors.
So far this is what you'll get, but I think it's not enough. We need to create more panel lines and dimensions on this robot head and see if that really works. This is just the beginning, so let's continue.
5. Add Detailing Elements
I have added thicker lines and shapes around the helmet to add extra depth. I also change the visor color to solid black and create some panel lines to add further dimension.
Try to give some panel lines to the other parts. Use the "Intersect" technique to make each panel looks neat, just in case that you want to create closed path instead of open path for these panel lines. Set the Stroke Weight to 2pt as this is a smaller detailing line and not to be confused with the more chunky outline of the helmet.
I continue adding details and angled panels through out the helmet.
The image below is the end result. You can see that I've added more panel lines on the top head. I've also modified the camera dimension.
Small details are great for adding those finishing touches to a design. You can apply some shapes in whatever parts that you need. Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to create bulge parts or maybe just relying on the Pen Tool (P) to make details on the head. Don't forget to Group each pair of them.
The robot head now looks great with the refined detailing. More panel lines that have been added into it will give a strong impression of metal plates.
Just a few things that need to be done on the mouth cover part. I think we can make it better by modifying this part where it still looks deserted.
Zoom to the left side of the mouth cover. Create one new panel that protrudes into the mouth cover shape.
Make a copy for the right one also and Group them.
Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to make a hole of the mouth cover. Duplicate it so we have three holes and place them in the middle of it.
Add more panel lines here to complete the details. You can draw an open path for this panel line, but don't forget eliminate the Fill Color by tapping (/) on your keyboard.
Manipulate the lower section of panel by stacking black objects. Done for the mouth parts.
5. Add a Reflection on the Visor
We can use Rectangle Tool (M) to create a reflection effect to the visor. Simply make two vertical rectangles just like the image below. Change their slope by select both the objects and then use the Free Transform Tool (E). Click on the top middle objects node and hold Shift + Alt, drag the node to the right.
Move them to the right side of the eye. We have to erase the half part of this reflection effect. To do so, Copy the visor and Paste in Front (Control + F) of them. Select both the visor and reflection effect and Right-click > Make Clipping Mask. You'll see that the reflection effect is now limited by the eye field. Cut (Control + X) the effect and Paste in Front of the visor.
The result :
6. Refine the Line Art
Almost complete. You'd better check each pair of objects. Make sure that each twin objects on the left and right are in group. Select the whole image and open the Align panel (Shift + F7), change to Align To Selection mode and hit Horizontal Align Center to make all those paired objects exactly in centered position to each other.
This is the finishing step of line art. I just want to add more details for a better composition, also correcting some object appearances.
When it's done, we need to transform all the outlines to objects by selecting the whole image and then click menu Object > Path > Outline Stroke.
Keep selecting the whole images. Open Pathfinder panel and click the Trim option from it. This is to clean up the mess. I usually do this to eliminate all the overlapped and unused objects behind the parts, so it wouldn't distract the coloring process in the future.
7. Color Your Design
Before we start the coloring process, it would be better that we select all the same black color and Unite them all.
This is the color set that will be applied to the helmet. There are four gray colors here for the head plates, and one yellow/green color for the small parts.
Begin coloring process. Use this set to give the plates colors. You can do it quickly by select some of parts first then you click Eyedropper Tool (I) or alternatively you could use the Live Paint Bucket (K). Choose one from the color set and the color will be automatically applied to the selected objects.
Complete them. The source of the light will be in front of the objects, so the lighter gray color had the most applied in the front side of the head. Any other parts behind must be darker, including the panel folds. Keep the reflection effect in white and give the small details a yellow/green color. This simple color set would make it looks unique and harmonious with the lines. Add also a background with a black fill.
Make an extra colored outline behind the head by select the whole parts and then Copy and Paste In Back (Control + B). Unite these copied parts and give it Stroke Weight of 9pt. Convert this stroke to object by using Outline Stroke command and give the yellow/green color to it.
Congratulations! You're Done!
Your design is finally complete. It's always good to check some small errors and correcting them before sharing your work. I hope you enjoy the entire process and feeling good with the final result. Keep learning more to work up your skills and keep pushing yourself.