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Create a Thanksgiving Illustration With Basic Shapes Using Illustrator

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Read Time: 7 min
This post is part of a series called Easy Character Design.
Create a Super Happy Octopus Character
How to Create a Hanging Monkey Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

Thanksgiving is here! In this tutorial, you will create a pilgrim character, bowl and roasted turkey in Adobe Illustrator. Using just simple shapes - it's easy, festive and fun.

1. Create the Pilgrims Face

Step 1

Start with creating a New document. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and holding the Shift key, create a circle (R=223, G=178, B=139).


Step 2

Create the eye by drawing two even circles with the Ellipse Tool (L). Use a dark brown color (R=30, G=1, B=1) and a simple white highlight.


Step 3

Drag-Shift-Alt and move this eye to the right. You will have a second eye.


Step 4

Draw two circles like in the image below. The smaller pink circle (R=214, G=117, B=112) and bigger one of any color. Select both circles and go to the Pathfinder panel and press Minus Front.


You will get a mouth.


Step 5

Put it on the face of the pilgrim. He is now smiling.


Step 6

Draw two circles at both sides of the head with the same fill color as the face.


2. Create the Hair

Step 1

Select the Pen Tool (P) and start to draw the hair (R=67, G=3, B=0). You should create any haircut you want, or just follow these steps.


Step 2

The hair is done. Don't forget to close the path.


3. Create the Body

Step 1

Now we will make the pilgrims collar. Take the Polygon Tool and click on your workplace. In the dialogue window, select 3 sides. Set the color (R=229, G=223, B=214) for the triangle. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the anchor points to create one part of a collar. Then make a reflection of this triangle: right-click your mouse and select Transform > Reflect. In the dialogue window choose Vertical Copy. Move the duplicate shape a little to the right. Then Group the shapes together (Control-G).


Step 2

Put the collar in place.


Step 3

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), make an oval (R=35, G=31, B=32). Using the Direct Selection Tool (A) move the side anchor points down.


Step 4

Put the body in place.


Step 5

Create a circle (R=22, G=19, B=19) behind the whole body. This will be the arms for the pilgrim.


4. Create the Legs

Step 1

Create an oval with the Ellipse Tool (L). Incline a little to the left created black oval. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A) move anchor points. Then make a reflection: right-click mouse Transform > Reflect, after that Vertical > Copy.


Step 2

Put the breeches under the body.


Step 3

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), draw two identical rectangles (R=223, G=178, B=139).


Step 4

Place them under the breeches. That's the legs.


Step 5

Again, draw an oval (R=35, G=31, B=32). With the Direct Selection Tool (A) move left and right anchor points down. You will get a shape like a bread loaf. Keep it selected and make a copy behind (Control-C > Control-B). Move this copy a little bit down and apply a black color. That's the boot of the pilgrim!


Step 6

Make a copy of a whole boot and put them on a pilgrim.


5. Create a Belt

Step 1

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create two ovals. The first one is gray (R=130, G=120, B=88) and second of any color as it's cutter. Select the two ovals together and go to the Pathfinder panel, then press Minus Front (1). Put this shape on the body of a pilgrim. Make one more copy of the body (Control-C > Control-F), keep selected the new copy and with the Shift key select the newly created cut oval. Press Intersect on the Pathfinder panel to create the belt (2).


Step 2

Create two rounded rectangles with the Rounded Rectangle Tool. The largest set to gray (R=184, G=168, B=131) and smaller any color. Put the small one over the big. Select both and press Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel.


Step 3

Put the belt on our pilgrim.


6. Create the Hat

Step 1

For the hat, first we need two ovals of different sizes (R=35, G=31, B=32 for both), see the image below. Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and shift the bottom anchor point from the small oval to connect to the big one. After that go to the Pathfinder panel, press Unite and you will get one shape from two these ovals (1). Then remove the two anchor points in the corners on this new shape. For removing the anchor points you need the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-). Now you have one part of a hat (2).


Step 2

Create two black ovals and place them like in the image below.


Step 3

Grab the belt from the pilgrim, created earlier and set the color R=232, G=217, B=40 and R=246, G=237, B=68 for the buckle. When you will put this belt on a hat, you should make it smaller, but you still will have the odd overlapping shapes. They are marked by on the image below.

Select the shape which you made in step 6.1 and make one more copy of it (Control-C > Control-B). Keep it selected and with the Shift key select the belt (but not the buckle). Go to the Pathfinder panel and press Intersect.


Step 4

Put created hat on a pilgrim's head. He is ready!


7. Create a Bowl

Step 1

Make an oval with the Ellipse Tool (L) (R=143, G=144, B=16) and cover up the upper half with a rectangle.


Step 2

Keep selected both shapes and press Unite on the Pathfinder panel. You will get a basic bowl shape.


Step 3

Choose the Rounded Rectangle Tool and create two long rounded rectangles - big and small. Place the bigger on a top of the basic part of the plate and the smaller below.


Step 4

Let's decorate the bowl. Create a yellow rounded rectangle, apply the color R=232, G=217, B=40. Now you need to incline this shape. Right-click your mouse and choose Transform > Rotate. Rotate by angle 45 degrees and press OK. Right-click your mouse and select Transform > Reflect. Choose Vertical axis of reflection and hit Copy.


Step 5

Let's decorate the plate with the crosses. Place the cross on the rim of the bowl and then Drag-Shift-Alt the shapes to create a duplicate in a straight line. Press Control-D to duplicate this action until the crosses decorate the rim of the bowl.


Step 6

Not yet finished with decorations, just two more stripes. Create two yellow stripes using the Rectangle Tool (M) and as previously used, trim the sides of the shapes using Pathfinder > Intersect to complete the decoration.


8. Create a Turkey

Step 1

Draw a brown oval (R=161, G=79, B=27). Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the anchor points to achieve the shape as shown below.


Step 2

Use a light brown oval (R=202, G=110, B=42) will be a leg from a turkey. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) try to make a shape similar to this:


Step 3

Creating the bone is very easy - one rectangle, two circles and apply the color R=242, G=239, B=235. Two circles put on top of a rectangle.


Step 4

Put them all together: the bone, the leg and the body. Now it's looks like a roasted turkey!


Step 5

For such a tasty turkey, you need a nice decorated bowl.


9. Put all together

Step 1

Now we have a handsome pilgrim and a tasty turkey. By following my Halloween tutorial on creating a retro pumpkin, you'll be able to create the pumpkin for this scene.


Step 2

Also, you should add a background - just any color of a square and darker ovals for a shadow. I made the color R=88, G=52, B=56 for the background and R=56, G=88, B=32 for the shadows.


Awesome Work, You're Now Done!

You are done. In one tutorial you learned how to create three things - a man, a bowl and a turkey. They are perfect for a lot of Thanksgiving themed projects: greeting cards, invitations, printed decorations and many others. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and have a great Thanksgiving.


Here's another thing to give thanks for: free stock illustrations over at Mixkit. Discover a wealth of free art that you can use for Thanksgiving or any other event of your choosing.

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