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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Create a Boston Terrier Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Some time ago, one of our readers asked me to teach her how to draw a Boston Terrier. I decided to create a tutorial to show everybody how to create it. 

Besides the fact that I had to create not just a dog, but a dog of a certain breed, this tutorial also had to be adapted for a beginner level of illustrators. It was challenging. After looking through a large number of pictures of Boston Terriers, I came to the illustration presented to you today. 

As always, we will use simple shapes, and by applying a variety of tools and effects we will transform them into a cute Boston Terrier puppy. And you can decide if it turned out well or not.

If you don't know what a Boston Terrier looks like, browse some PhotoDune images and get inspired.

1. How to Create the Puppy's Head

Step 1

After creating a new document (850 x 850 px Width and Height), we will start by forming the shape of the puppy’s head. Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, create a dark grey rounded rectangle. To get a rounded rectangle with very rounded corners, create the small rounded rectangle first and then stretch it. Or you can go to View > Show Corner Widget and modify the corners by dragging them inside.

Now let’s modify the bottom part of this shape. We’ll use the Fish effect: go to Effect > Warp > Fish and enter the options below. Finally, we need to expand this shape. Select it and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

creating the head

Step 2

For the eyes, create a gray ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L) and slightly rotate it to the left. Add a slightly rotated black ellipse (for the pupil), followed by a small white circle as a highlight. To make an even circle, draw it using the Ellipse Tool (L) while holding the Shift key.

creating the eye

Step 3

Place the eye on the head. Keeping the whole left eye selected, right-click your mouse and select Transform > Reflect. Once you get a dialogue box, select Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and press Copy. Move the new eye to the right. Also move the white circle to the right side, because the highlights should always be on one side.

I know that currently it looks like a cute alien! But believe me, it will be a Boston Terrier.

placing the eye and creating another one

Step 4

Now let's create the nose. Start by creating a grey horizontal ellipse with the Ellipse Tool (L). Then, using the Direct Selection Tool (A), shift the top anchor point a little bit down. Add another grey circle behind the deformed ellipse in the same fill color. 

On the top part of the transformed ellipse, add a light-grey ellipse. And finally create two tiny black ellipses for the nostrils. These black ellipses should not have white strokes; I just added them so you can see it better. You will see that it will change in the next step.

creating the nose

Step 5

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a beige oval and place the nose on it. Select the two side anchor points of the ellipse with the Direct Selection Tool (A), and move them down using the Down Arrow key on your keyboard. 

Add the same beige colored rounded rectangle (use the Rounded Rectangle Tool), laying it horizontally. Then rotate it to the left, as in the image below. Make a vertical copy of this rounded rectangle (Transform > Reflect, enter Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and press Copy). Move the copy to the right.

creating the muzzle

While creating the rounded rectangle, try to avoid having it long and with corners that are not well rounded. To achieve the proper rounding of the corners, create a small rounded rectangle and then stretch it.

how do not make the muzzle

Step 6

Keeping all the beige objects selected (the deformed oval and the two rounded rectangles), unite them by pressing the Unite button on the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder). Be sure that you work only with the beige muzzle and do not touch the black nose. 

With the beige muzzle selected, apply the Round Corners effect: go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners and select the options presented below. 

Next, expand the shape (Object > Expand Appearance). Create another copy of the beige muzzle behind the original one, making it slightly darker and moving it down just a bit to get a shadow.

creating the muzzle 2

Step 7

For the mouth, create a dark ellipse with the same fill color as the shadow of the muzzle from the previous step (use the Eyedropper Tool (I)).

Make another larger beige ellipse the same color as the basic muzzle, and make sure it is behind the mouth (Control-C, Control-B).

Now make the shadow of this beige ellipse: create a slightly larger ellipse behind (Control-C, Control-B), make it darker, and move it down a little bit.

creating the muzzle 3

Place this cute muzzle on the head of our puppy.

placing the muzzle

Step 8

For the ears, let’s start by drawing another grey ellipse. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move down the left and right anchor points. To create the shape shown below, move the handles by using the Direct Selection Tool (A). Make another copy of this shape, change it to a pink color, make it a bit smaller, and place it inside the larger one.

We will place the ears on the head later.

creating the ear

Step 9

To make a light spot in the middle of our Boston Terrier's head, create another beige ellipse. Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the left and right anchor points up. To further modify this ellipse, we’ll use the Fish effect: go to Effect > Warp > Fish and enter the options below. Don't forget to expand this shape (Object > Expand Appearance).

creating the white line on Boston Terriers head

Step 10

In this step we will place the spot and the ears on the Boston Terrier's head.

First, place the spot we created in the previous step in the middle of the head. Also, place the ear on the left side of the head. To make another ear, take the Reflect Tool (O) and while holding down the Alt key, click the forehead (in a new window enter Vertical, Angle 90 degrees and press Copy). 

The head of our puppy is ready!

placing the ear and creating another one

2. How to Create the Glasses

Step 1

Delete the fill color and set a black stroke color. Hit the Rounded Rectangle Tool and draw a small rounded rectangle, and then apply a warp effect: go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Expand this shape (Object > Expand Appearance). Create a vertical copy of this shape. Move the new shape to the right.

creating the glasses

Step 2

To make the bridge of the glasses, place a black rectangle with no stroke color using the Rectangle Tool (M). Go to Effect > Warp > Bulge and set the warp options. Expand it.

creating the glasses 2

Step 3

Now let's create the hinge, the little part you see on the side of the glasses. Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool and place a tiny rounded rectangle as in the image below. After that, using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the anchor points which need to be hidden behind the frame. And then create a vertical copy of this tiny shape (you already know how to do it, right?).

creating the glasses 3

Finally, place the glasses on the dog. How cute and smart does he look now!

placing the glasses

3. How to Create the Puppy's Body

Step 1

Let’s first slightly rotate the head of our puppy. Now, using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw a dark grey oval. Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move down its right and left anchor points. Place the body under the head (Control-X, Control-B).

creating the body

Step 2

Create a copy of the body on top of the original one (Control-C, Control-F) and change its fill color to beige. Finally make this shape smaller and make sure it's at the top.

creating the body 2

Step 3

To draw the foreleg, start with an oval again. While keeping this oval selected, go to Effect > Warp > Arc. In the new window, adjust the options from the image below. Expand this shape. Next create a small ellipse below and move down its side anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and use the Down Arrow key on the keyboard to help.

creating the foreleg

Step 4

Make a copy of the small deformed beige ellipse behind the original (Control-C, Control-B), make it darker and move it slightly up. Use the same darker color as for the shadows from the muzzle (use the Eyedropper Tool (I)).

Next make another copy of a deformed beige oval on top of original (Control-C, Control-F), make it darker (use the same Eyedropper Tool (I)) and narrower (use the Selection Tool (V)). Keep it selected and make a copy in front of it (Control-C, Control-F), making it little narrower and lighter. Expand the foreleg.

creating the foreleg 2

Step 5

To create another foreleg, make a vertical copy of the existing one. Move the created copy of the foreleg to the right using the Right Arrow button on your keyboard.

placing the foreleg and creating another one

Step 6

Let's create the hind leg. Take the copy of the paw from the previous step, where you created the forelegs. Draw another dark grey ellipse and place it behind the paw. In the end, slightly rotate the big vertical ellipse to the left.

creating the hind leg

Step 7

Attach the hind leg to the puppy’s body. Place it in front of the body but behind the forelegs. To create another hind leg, create a vertical copy of the existing one. Move this new hind leg to the right side.

Our cute Boston Terrier is ready.

placing the hind leg and creating another one

4. How to Create the Chair

Step 1

Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, create a rounded rectangle. In the image below, you can see which fill color you need. Slightly deform this shape to make the back of the chair. Select the rounded rectangle and go to Effect > Warp > Inflate. Enter the options you see below.

creating the back of the chair

For further transformation select the same object and apply another effect. Go to: Effect > Warp > Shell Upper. The necessary options are presented below. Finally, expand this shape.

creating the back of the chair 2

Step 2

Now let’s make the seat. Create a rounded rectangle and apply the Arc effect (Effect > Warp > Arc and use the options below). Expand this shape. Add an ellipse of the same color behind, go to the Pathfinder panel and press the Minus Front button. For both shapes, you don’t need a black stroke. On this image, the black stroke color is only for better visibility.

creating the seat of the chair

Step 3

Let's continue to create the chair. To make rounded corners for the seat, go to View > Show Corner Widget. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select these two sharp corners of the seat and drag inside using the dots that appear.

Attach the back and seat of the chair together. To make a visible dividing line, select the seat and make a copy behind (Control-C, Control-B). Change the color of it and move this part up.

Let's make a cushion seat. Add a new ellipse over the chair’s back, but behind the seat. The color of this ellipse should be the same as the main color of the chair. Create a copy of this ellipse behind, make it darker, and move slightly up.

creating the seat of the chair 2

Step 4

For the leg of the chair, create a rectangle with the Rectangle Tool (M) and attach it to the bottom of the chair. Next, we will use the Polygon Tool to make a triangle. Take the Polygon Tool and click on your artboard. In the new dialogue window, type 3 Sides with any Radius. Then click OK. Now flatten this triangle to get a result similar to the image below.

creating the leg of the chair

Step 5

Create a small circle (for an even circle, use the Ellipse Tool (L) while holding down the Shift key). After that, behind the circle create a very narrow, long, vertical ellipse. While keeping the ellipse selected, press the Rotate Tool (R) and then the Enter button on your keyboard. In the pop-up window, enter 90 degrees and hit Copy.

Select all three shapes and while holding the Shift and Alt keys, drag them to the right. This way, you’ll create a second copy of them, which will be horizontally aligned. While the newly created three shapes are selected, press the Control-D buttons twice to repeat the previous step and create new groups of these shapes exactly the same distance from the previous one. Now select the whole line of these shapes and while holding the Shift and Alt keys, drag them down. And again, press the Control-D buttons to repeat the previous step.

If you see you need more lines with these shapes, feel free to repeat pressing Control-D until you get enough. It will depend on the shape of your chair.

creating the texture effect

Step 6

Place the grouped objects (right-click > Group) on the chair’s back. Now, keeping them selected, go to Effect > Warp > Arc and use the options below. Our comfortable chair is ready.

placing the texture effect

5. How to Create the Background

Step 1

First, we want to place our Boston terrier on the chair.

placing the Boston Terrier on the chair

Step 2

Create a light beige square behind the image, 850 px Width and Height, by using the Rectangle Tool (M).

creating the background

Awesome Work, You're Now Done!

If you wish to add some decorations like home plants, you can follow one of my previous tutorials on how to create some indoor plants.

Awesome work, you're done! I hope you’ve enjoyed following this tutorial. Now you are ready to create your own interesting illustrations with fancy characters and pets. If you have any suggestions for more tutorials, please let me know. I will try to make a tutorial adapted for beginners.

End Result
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