In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to make a cute yeti character in Adobe Illustrator using basic shapes, the Pathfinder panel, the Width Tool, and Strokes.
You will learn how to draw a yeti step by step, which will allow you to gain the knowledge to apply these techniques to create other characters. By the end of the tutorial, you will have become an expert kawaii character maker! Let's get started!
What You Will Learn in This Adobe Illustrator Tutorial
- How to draw a yeti using basic shapes and other tools in Adobe Illustrator
- How to use edit and change the colors of your cute character
- How to outline your yeti character
- How to use Adobe Illustrator to draw a kawaii body for your cute monster characters
Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:
1. How to Create the Body of the Yeti Character
Start off by creating a New Document (Control-N) and set the artboard size to 600 by 600 px. Create a square the size of the artboard using the Rectangle Tool (M) and fill it with a light blue color (R=182, G=235, B=239).
In the Layers panel, create two layers. The top layer is renamed "Character", and the bottom layer is renamed "Background." Lock the bottom layer.
Select the top layer, "Character". We are going to create the body shape now. Select the Ellipse Tool (L) and click anywhere on the board. Enter Width: 290 px and Height: 240 px. Fill with white.
Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the top point. While holding Shift, drag the top point approximately 80 px up.
Select the top point again. Select the left handle and drag it to the left, so it looks like this:
Select the bottom point, and Shift-drag down about 10 px.
Now, to make it symmetrical, create a rectangle that is larger than the body with the Rectangle Tool (M). With the Selection Tool (V), place it so that the left edge lines up with the center of the body shape. Select both shapes. Bring up the Pathfinder panel and click Minus Front.
Select the half and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Select the Vertical Axis and hit Copy. Drag the other half to the right so that they snap in the center. Select both shapes and, in the Pathfinder panel, hit Unite.
2. How to Create the Legs Using an Ellipse Base
We are going to create the legs now. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a circle 60 px wide. With the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the bottom point and Shift-drag down about 45 px.
To make the bottom less pointed, select the bottom point with the Direct Selection Tool (A). Drag the left handle slightly to the left while holding Shift. Do the same to the right side.
Place the leg at the bottom left of the body. Then drag a copy to the right. To do this, hold down Alt-Shift while dragging the shape.
Select the body and two legs and, in the Pathfinder, click Unite.
3. How to Add an Outline to the Body of the Yeti
Select the body and outline it with 6 pt Stroke Weight and click Round Cap and Round Join. I picked a dark brown color (R=96, G=60, B=54).
4. Give Your Character a Cute Face
To make the face shape, make an ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L) with Width: 210 px and Height: 120 px. Fill with a darker blue color (R=96, G=198, B=208). Direct select (A) the bottom point and Shift-drag up about 10 px.
Place this shape in the upper half of the body.
Now on to the eyes. Create an ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L) with Width: 30 px and Height: 38px. Fill it with the same dark brown color. Select the ellipse and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter -4 px in Offset and hit OK.
Select both shapes and in the Pathfinder panel, hit Minus Front. Create a larger rectangle with the Rectangle Tool (M) and place it over the bottom half of the shape. In the Pathfinder again, hit Minus Front, so you're left with an arch shape.
Stroke the eye with the same color using 3 pt Weight, Round Cap, and Round Join. Place the eye on the blue face shape and duplicate (Alt-Shift-Drag).
Next is the mouth. Create an ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L) with Width: 36px and Height: 38px. Fill it with the same brown color. Make a larger rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M) and place it over the top half of the ellipse. Select both shapes, and in the Pathfinder, hit Minus Front.
To make the tongue, create the same ellipse and place it over the semicircle shape. Select the semicircle, Copy it (Control-C ) and Paste in Front (Control-F). Now select the semicircle and the ellipse. In the Pathfinder, click Intersect. Fill the tongue shape with a pink color (R=238, G=96, B=146).
Select the brown semicircle shape and outline it with 4 pt Stroke Weight, Round Cap, and Round Join. Set Align Stroke to Outside. Select all the shapes of the mouth and Group them (Control-G). Place the mouth between the eyes.
Let's make the cheeks. Simply make an ellipse with the Ellipse Tool (L) 28 px wide and 14 px high. Fill it with the same pink color as the tongue. Place it below the left eye and drag a duplicate to the right side (Alt-Shift-drag).
5. How to Create a Quick Hairstyle for Your Yeti Character
Now we'll make the hair. Using the Pen Tool (P), draw out the hair with a white fill. Draw the left "leaf" shape first. Continue to draw the second and third leaf shapes. Do not close the path. See this great Pen Tool Guide if you're unfamiliar with the Pen Tool.
Place the hair shape above the face.
To make the hair's shadow, Copy the hair shape (Control-C) and Paste in Back (Control-B). Move it down by Shift-dragging. Fill it with a darker blue color (R=66, G=146, B=169).
The top-right corner of the shadow is still showing. To hide this, Direct Select (A) the top -right point and move it to the left.
Define the hairline by stroking the hair. First, Copy the white hair shape (Control-C) and Paste in Front (Control-F). Select the hair shape and Stroke with the same brown color, 5 pt Stroke Weight, Round Cap, and Round Join.
6. How to Add a Scalloped Edge Shape to Create the Tummy
Let's create the belly. First, create an ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L) with Width: 112px and Height: 80px. Fill it with the same blue color as the face. Then outline it with the same color with a 32 pt Stroke Weight and Round Cap. Check Dashed Line, entering 0 pt in dash, and 22 pt in gap. This will create a scalloped edge.
Place the belly below the face.
Create the belly button by making a line using the Line Segment Tool (\) 16 px long. Stroke it with the brown color, 5 pt, and Round Cap. Then Copy it (Control-C) and Paste in Front (Control-F). Rotate the copy 90 degrees. Select both lines, Group them (Control-G), and rotate 45 degrees.
Place it in the lower portion of the belly.
7. How to Give Your Character Some Simple Arms
Let's give it some arms. We will use the Pen Tool (P) and Width Tool (Shift-W) to do this. Start off by drawing a simple curved line with the Pen Tool (P) as shown below. Give it a white Stroke with 3 pt Weight and Round Cap.
With the line selected, select the Width Tool (Shift-W). Enlarge the top point to about 26 px and the bottom point to about 40 px.
To turn this into a shape, select the line and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.
Create the arm's shadow, as we did earlier for the hair. Copy the arm (Control-C) and Paste in Back (Control-B). Shift-drag it down and fill it with a gray color (R=109, G=110, B=112). Set the Opacity to 80%.
We need to open the path. Zoom in so you can see the points better. Use the Scissors Tool (C) to cut the path at two points towards the top. Delete the top portion.
The shadow is peeking through. Simply select the top point and move it down.
Now we can outline the arm. Select the arm and Stroke it with brown color, 5 pt, and Round Cap. Select the arm and its shadow. Group them (Control-G). Place the arm on the left side of the body. Then select the whole arm and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Reflect in the Vertical Axis and Copy. Shift-drag it to the right side.
8. How to Create Two Striped Horns
This monster needs some horns. We can make them the same way we did as the arms, with the Width Tool (Shift-W). Using the Pen Tool (P), draw a curved line and stroke it with yellow and 3 pt (R=255, G=240, B=104). With the Width Tool (Shift-W), enlarge both points like so:
Select the line and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke to turn it into a shape. Then, outline it with a 6 pt Stroke Weight in dark brown.
Now we need to place the horn behind the monster. Select the horn and hit Control-Shift -[. The horn was sent behind everything. Position the horn on top and rotate it if needed.
Let's add some stripes to the horn. Select the horn and go to Object > Expand and hit OK. Then Ungroup (Control-Shift-G). Select the yellow fill shape and Copy it (Control-C) and Paste in Front (Control-F). Select both fill shapes by dragging to select the whole horn and Shift-clicking the outline shape to deselect it. Now that you have the two fill shapes selected, go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).
Double-click the fill shape to get into the mask.
With the Pen Tool (P), a darker yellow color (R=242, G=212, B=66), Stroke 12 pt, draw three stripes. Then click out of the mask.
Select the whole horn and go to Object > Transform > Reflect and hit Copy. Shift-drag the horn to the other side.
9. How to Add Small Details to Refine Your Illustration
Let's add some details to the feet. To do this, use the same method as the previous step by making a Clipping Mask with the body. Click into the mask. Now let's create the foot detail. Make a rectangle that covers the bottom third of the leg with the Rectangle Tool (M). Fill it with the same color as the belly.
Then make three small equal ellipses with the Ellipse Tool (L) and place them on top of the rectangle. Group the ellipses (Control-G).
Select the grouped ellipses and rectangle, bring up the Pathfinder, and hit Minus Front. Duplicate it to the other side (Alt-Shift-drag) and click out of the mask.
The monster is almost complete! Add a gray shadow by making an ellipse 250 px wide and 28 px high. Place it behind everything with Control-Shift-[ and move it to the bottom.
The last step is to add a background. Yetis live in the mountains, right? I decided to create abstract mountains with simple triangles. First, lock the "Character Layer" and unlock the "Background Layer". Select the "Background Layer". To create a triangle, select the Star Tool and click anywhere on the board. Enter 10 px in Radius 1, 20 px in Radius 2, and 3 Points. Fill it with a pale blue color (R=235, G=251, B=252). Rotate the triangle 180 degrees. Duplicate and arrange the triangles to form "mountains".
Lastly, change the colors of the triangles to create a gradient effect.
ROAR! Your Not So Scary Yeti Character Is Complete!
Our yeti character monster illustration is finished! You can now create a variety of monsters using all the techniques you learned in this tutorial. I hope you enjoyed making this cute monster.
I later created a pattern and made a plushie of my yeti character. You can find out how I did it by checking out my plushie making tutorial over on Crafttuts+.
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Learn More Character Creation Techniques
If you liked this tutorial and are looking to learn some more character creation skills, check out the tutorials below! Expand your expertise by going through these in-depth guides. Happy designing!
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