When browsing the tutorials here in the Design & Illustration section, you'll find a huge base of educational content written by many authors from all over the world. Some of the names, though, tend to appear more often than others. We are Team Awesome—we support the site wholeheartedly, providing tutorials and articles on a regular basis.
We decided to step out of the shadows and tell the world about us by promoting the brand of Team Awesome. And, to mark the occasion, we're also teaching you a few things about how it's done!
Today I'm going to show you the process behind creating a mascot for Team Awesome. You'll see how we've eliminated some of the ideas, and you'll learn how to draw the final version step by step. Later on, you can use the sketch to follow the tutorial of the amazing Asher Benson in order to create a beautiful vector version!
A Sneak Peek Into the Elimination Process
Although mascots are usually not very complicated artworks, they're not that easy to create. The idea behind a mascot is as important as the execution, and it's the concept that takes the most time and effort in this process. Let's see the process behind the creation of the mascot we're going to draw today.
My first idea was quite elusive. All I knew was I wanted a cat-dragon hybrid. Team Awesome loves cats, and I love dragons, so that would be a nice mix. That little creature was supposed to have colored pencils as horns, and the Pen Tool at the tip of its tail. I was also going to use a lot of colors for it, to refer to a huge and varied base of tutorials you can find on our site.
However, it turned out to be too complicated for this kind of illustration. It was more of a painting than a simple design of a mascot.
I went back to the drawing board and rethought the idea. I made the whole body less realistic, more cartoon-like, to stress its symbolic form.
I also limited it to only a few colors to make it more coherent.
I also prepared more versions of the design to have more options to choose from. It looked quite nice, but another problem emerged. Because we've already got a logotype for Team Awesome, it was obvious that the mascot couldn't be that different from it. And while the logo was "sharp" and energetic, my design looked more soft and cute.
Once again I modified the body of my mascot. I changed the rounded shape of the wings, and added keen eyes, a more dynamic pose, and a tail referring to the logo. I removed the spots, leaving only one on the face, referring to our editor, Sharon Milne, who loves putting moles in her artworks.
Alas, it was still too soft, too furry and not as simple as could be.
I decided to remove all redundant elements—the hair tuft, the wing detail, the fur around the eyes. Even the nose got simplified, and I also experimented with the ears.
A bad side of this design was that it was turning out to be too aggressive, not very helpful. And that's not how we are!
Here's how it's looking after another round of simplification. The eyes have been opened again, and I've changed the legs to very symbolic ones. Finally, I found the right direction!
I've decided to make the pose more dynamic, while keeping it simple.
I've also removed the white around the eyes, giving up on realism completely and embracing the cartoon look.
Our last decision was to remove one of the bolts, as there were two of them in the design. So, this is how that little guy was born! Now let me show you how this particular drawing can be created step by step.
1. Sketch Your Idea
Sketch the idea. Do it on a very small scale—just add a few blobs and lines, and try to see some shape in them. Then work in that direction to see some more. You can sketch a lot of these, because they don't take too much time (and if they do, you're doing it wrong!).
In my case, I already knew what pose I was going for, but you can experiment and create a lot of different ones.
When you see the right shape emerging from the chaos, help it—add more defined lines, but still avoid details.
When you're sure you have what you wanted, it's time to prepare the sketch for working on a large scale. If you're working digitally, it's very easy, but if you're sketching it traditionally, you'll have to redraw the concept at a larger scale, keeping the proportions. If you have problems with it, try my tutorial for beginners about precision.
2. Plan the Body of the Mascot
We want the torso to be smooth, with a very clear shape. Draw a line for the front and the back, and then connect them to create a bean-like shape.
The head will be very simple, too, so just draw two bowls.
The legs can be created out of two simple curves:
The same applies to the arms:
Let's add a shoulder blade for a more realistic shape:
The wings should be quite symbolic in shape, too. Start them with a simple, general shape, and then create the cuts.
To add a proper tail, measure the rhythm of the body and make the tail follow it.
The body is done!
3. Plan the Head and Face
The face is the most important part of a mascot, so we need to pay attention to it!
Cross the head with two lines that will define its perspective.
Add the snout following this perspective.
Draw the mouth.
Use a gentle curve to create a space for the nose...
... then just put the nose in this spot.
Draw two curves to define the upper part of the eye sockets.
Now the lower part.
Add the eyes inside.
The pupils should be very large.
Dots of light are very important in a simple design like this.
To draw the horns, draw two ellipses at their base. Then find the center and lead lines up.
Use these lines to build a cone.
Cross the cone with a curve at the top to create the pencil tip.
The ears will be very simple, too. Draw two curves behind the horns.
Close them with another pair.
Now just go down from them.
We're almost done!
4. Finish the Picture
We're going to add a patch on the mascot's belly to make it look more 3D. Let's set the perspective first.
Now sketch the patch according to the perspective.
Time to draw strong lines for the design.
Use slightly thiner lines for the outlines of color patches.
You can also stress the main outline with a thicker line.
Finally, it's time to think of the color scheme. The colors of the Design & Illustration section are orange and white, and green is the color of the company behind our site, Envato. Even if you're a traditional artist, it's good to scan the picture and add colors in digital software. This way you'll be able to test many combinations with ease.
That's All for Now!
But it's not the end! You can now continue with the tutorial of Asher Benson to learn how create a vector out of our drawing. If you'd like to see more beginner-oriented tutorials like this one, let me know in the comments!