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Design

How to Create a Cute Monster Character in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Easy Character Design.
Create a Fun Cartoon Character Face in Adobe Illustrator
How to Create a Valentine's Day Cupid Illustration in Adobe Illustrator
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In the following steps you will learn how to create a detailed monster character in Adobe Illustrator. For starters you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to create the main body shape using basic tools and effects. Using basic blending and vector shape building techniques along with a simple blend, you will learn how to add shading and highlights for that body shape. 

Taking full advantage of the Appearance panel, using Warp and some other effects, you will learn how to create the eye and the mouth of your monster. We'll continue with the antennae, where you will learn how to add gradients for a simple stroke and how to create compound paths. 

Next, we'll create the hands and you will learn how to use the Rotate Tool and how to add subtle shading and highlights using linear gradients. Finally, as you add the final touches, you will learn some neat stroke and blur techniques.

1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width and height boxes, and then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72 ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters, you will need a grid every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, and enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-' keyboard shortcut.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

setup grid

2. Create the Main Shape

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke and then select the fill and set its color to R=23 G=161 B=210. Move to your artboard and simply create a 165 x 200 px rectangle—the grid and the Snap to Grid feature should make this easier.

rectangle

Step 2

Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), focus on the bottom side of your blue rectangle, select both anchor points, move to the top bar, and simply enter 20 px in that Corners box.

This feature is only available for CC users. The best solution to replace this effect would be the Round Any Corner script that can found in this article: 20 Free and Useful Adobe Illustrator Scripts. Save it to your hard drive, return to Illustrator and make sure the Direct Selection Tool (A) is active. Select the same anchor points and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter a 20 px radius, and click OK. Things should work fine in this situation, but keep in mind that in some other cases you might have to increase/decrease the value mentioned in that Corners box.

Keep focusing on your blue shape, making sure that the Direct Selection Tool (A) is still selected. This time select the top anchor points and enter 80 px in that Corners box. In the end your blue shape should look like in the second image.

live corners

Step 3

Make sure that your blue shape is still selected and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Check the Horizontal box, drag the Bend slider to 10%, click the OK button, and then go again to Effect > Warp > Bulge. This time check the Vertical box, drag the Move slider to 15%, click the OK button, and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

warp effects

Step 4

Make sure that your blue shape is still selected and make a copy in front using the Control-C > Control-F keyboard shortcut. Select this copy, focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance), and replace the existing fill color with a simple green (R=57 G=181 B=74). Make sure that your green shape is still selected and simply send it to back using the Shift-Control-[ keyboard shortcut.

green shape

3. Create the Body

Step 1

Select your blue shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -60 px Offset and then click the OK button. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and replace the existing fill color with R=137 G=215 B=245.

Return to your artboard, focus on the bottom side of your new shape, and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the bottom anchor points, move to the top bar, and simply enter 20 px in that Corners box.

Disable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-') and then go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 5 px. Make sure that the shape made in this step is still selected and simply hit the up arrow button from your keyboard four times, which should move your selected shape 20 px up as shown in the second image.

second blue shape

Step 2

Focus on your Toolbar and simply click on the Blend Tool to open the Blend Options window. Select Specified Steps from the Spacing drop-down menu, enter 115 in that box and then click the OK button.

Now, select both blue shapes made so far (make sure that you're not selecting the green shape too) and then simply hit Alt-Control-B (or go to Object > Blend > Make) to create a new blend. In the end things should look like in the second image.

Focus on the Layers panel (Window > Layers), open the existing layer and lock that blend solely to make sure that you won't accidentally select/move it.

blend

Step 3

Disable the Grid (Control-').

Make sure that your green shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 10 px up using the up arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Minus Front button.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front using the Shift-Control-] keyboard shortcut, and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black (R=0 G=0 B=0) and then click that "Opacity" piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel. Change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 5%.

bottom shading

Step 4

Make sure that your green shape is selected and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 5 px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black and then lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

bottom shading

Step 5

Go again to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1 px.

Make sure that your green shape is selected and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2 px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]), and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black, and then lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

bottom shading

Step 6

Go one more time to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 5 px.

Make sure that your green shape is selected and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 25 px to the right using the right arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black and then lower its Opacity to 5% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

left shading

Step 7

Make sure that your green shape is selected and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 15 px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black and then lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

left shading

Step 8

Make sure that your green shape is selected and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 10 px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black and then lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

left shading

Step 9

Make sure that your green shape is selected and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 5 px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black and then lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

left shading

Step 10

Make sure that your green shape is selected and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 25 px to the left using the left arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black and then lower its Opacity to 5% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

right shading

Step 11

Make sure that your green shape is selected and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 15 px to the left. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black and then lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

right shading

Step 12

Make sure that your green shape is selected and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 10 px to the left. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black and then lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

right shading

Step 13

Make sure that your green shape is selected and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 5 px to the left. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black and then lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

right shading

Step 14

Enable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 35 x 20 px, a 15 x 10 px and a 10 x 5 px shape, use a random yellow for the fill color, and then place them as shown in the first image. Make sure that these three shapes are selected and simply hit Control-8 (or go to Object > Compound Path > Make) to turn them into a compound path.

Focus on the Layers panel, reselect that green shape, and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy along with your yellow compound path and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected, turn it into a new compound path, and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black, lower its Opacity to 20%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

black compound path

Step 15

Focus on the Layers panel and unlock that blend. Reselect all the shapes that make up the body of your monster and group them using the Control-G keyboard shortcut. Keep focusing on this group, rename it "body", and then lock it.

body group

4. Create the Eye

Step 1

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 65 x 80 px shape, make it white and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this white shape stays selected and go to Effect > Warp > Shell Lower. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click the OK button and the go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click the OK button and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

eye shape

Step 2

Disable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Select your white shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset and then click the OK button. Make sure that the resulting shape is selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 5 px up using that same up arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=39 G=170 B=225 and lower its Opacity to 10%.

eye shading

Step 3

Make sure that your white shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 10 px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=39 G=170 B=225 and lower its Opacity to 10%.

eye shading

Step 4

Make sure that your white shape is selected and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 5 px down. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=39 G=170 B=225 and lower its Opacity to 10%.

eye shading

Step 5

Reselect that white eye shape and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill, replace the existing color with R=235 G=255 B=255, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

eye inner glow

Step 6

Make sure that the eye shape is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing stroke, set the color to black, lower its Opacity to 30%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Then click that "Stroke" piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel. Make sure that the Weight is set to 1 px and check the Align Stroke to Outside button.

eye stroke

Step 7

Make sure that the eye shape is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a second stroke using the Add New Stroke button. Select this new stroke, set the color to R=33 G=171 B=220, lower its Opacity to 10%, and then open that Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 5 px and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a third stroke for your shape using the Add New Stroke button. Select this new stroke, use the same color mentioned a few moments ago, lower its Opacity to 20%, and then open the Stroke fly-out panel. Set the Weight to 2 px and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

eye strokes

Step 8

Reselect your eye shape, focus on the Appearance panel, make sure that the entire path is selected (simply click on that "Path" piece of text from the top of the panel), and then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the left window (in the following image), click the OK button, and then add the other two Drop Shadow effects shown below.

eye drop shadow

Step 9

Enable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 15 px circle, place it as shown in the following image and set the fill color to R=169 G=32 B=32.

pupil

Step 10

Make sure that your red circle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button.

Select this new fill, set its color to R=216 G=57 B=63, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -3 px Offset, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click the OK button, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat. Drag that slider to -10% and click the OK button.

pupil

Step 11

Reselect your red circle, focus on the Appearance panel, make sure that the entire path is selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

pupil

Step 12

For the following steps you will need a grid every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 3 px circle, place it as shown in the first image, and set the fill color to R=96 G=57 B=19. Using the same tool, create a 3 px circle and a 5 px circle and place them as shown in the second image. Make sure that both shapes remain selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple white, lower the Opacity to 70%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

pupil

Step 13

Reselect all the shapes that make up the pupil, and Group them using that same Control-G keyboard shortcut. Make sure that this new group stays selected and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

pupil warp

Step 14

Reselect all the shapes that make up the eye and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel, rename this new group "eye", and then lock it.

eye group

5. Create the Mouth

Step 1

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 35 x 40 px shape, set the fill color to R=169 G=32 B=32 and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this oval shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 5 px down. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black, lower its Opacity to 20%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

mouth shape

Step 2

Make sure that your red oval shape is selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

mouth inner glow

Step 3

Make sure that your red oval shape is selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the left window (in the following image), click the OK button, and then add the other two Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

mouth drop shadow

Step 4

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 15 x 20 px shape, place it as shown in the first image and set the fill color to R=122 G=25 B=26. Using the same tool, create a 5 x 10 px shape, place it as shown in the second image, and set the fill color to R=169 G=32 B=32.

inside mouth shapes

Step 5

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 35 x 20 px shape, place it as shown in the first image, and pick a random yellow for the fill color. Make sure that this new shape stays selected and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points.

Now, you will need a gridline every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Keep focusing on your yellow shape, pick the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and simply click on the top anchor point (highlighted in the second image). Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select that same anchor point and simply drag it 5 px down as shown in the third image.

tongue shape

Step 6

Reselect that red oval shape that makes up the entire mouth, and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy along with your yellow shape, and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and fill it with the simple linear gradient shown in the following image.

tongue

Step 7

Reselect that shape filled with the linear gradient and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset and click the OK button. Fill the resulting shape with a simple white.

Select the 15 x 20 px shape that lies in the back, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]). Select this copy along with the white shape made in the beginning of the step, and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple white, lower its Opacity to 30%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

tongue highlight

Step 8

Reselect all the shapes that make up the mouth and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel, rename this new group "mouth", and then lock it.

tongue group

6. Create the Hands

Step 1

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 15 x 50 px shape and set the fill color to R=33 G=171 B=220. Keep focusing on this blue shape, pick the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C), and simply click on the top anchor point. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the left and right anchor points, and simply drag them 10 px down as shown in the third image.

Now, reselect this entire blue shape and go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click the OK button, and then go to Object > Expand Appearance. The resulting shape will be the main hand shape.

hand shape

Step 2

Make sure that your hand shape is still selected and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Enter a -25 degrees Angle and then click the OK button. Keep focusing on this shape and place it exactly as shown in the third image.

roate hand shape

Step 3

Make sure that your hand shape is still selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select it and pick the Rotate Tool (R). Drag that reference point in the top corner (as shown in the first image), and then simply drag your selected shape as shown in the second image.

Move to the Layers panel, reselect that green shape, and make a new copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy along with the shape that you rotated a few moments ago, and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 25%, and make sure that it lies behind your hand shape.

hand shadow

Step 4

Disable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-'). Go one last time to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1 px.

Make sure that your hand shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px down and 1 px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below and change its Blending Mode to Soft Light. Keep in mind that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

hand highlight

Step 5

Make sure that your hand shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px up and 1 px to the left. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Remember that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

hand shading

Step 6

Make sure that your hand shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3 px up and 3 px to the left. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below, lower its Opacity to 15%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

hand shading

Step 7

Make sure that your hand shape is still selected and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image. Now, reselect this hand shape along with the rest of the shapes used to highlight it and simply Group them (Control-G).

hand recolor

Step 8

Enable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Make sure that your hand group is selected and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical box and then click the Copy button. Select the newly made group, drag it to the right and place it as shown in the third image.

second hand

Step 9

Reselect all the shapes that make up the hands and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel, rename this new group "hands", and then lock it.

hands group

7. Create the Antennae

Step 1

Disable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Using the Pen Tool (P) (or the Brush Tool (B)), create two curved paths roughly as shown in the first image. For starters add a simple black for these paths and make sure that there's no color set for the fill.

Make sure that both shapes remain selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and select the existing stroke. Replace the existing color with the linear gradient shown in the following image, and then open that Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 5 px and check the Round Cap button. Now, select only the left path, focus on the Gradient panel, and simply invert the Angle.

antennas paths

Step 2

Enable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Focus on the right antenna, pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 10 px circle, set the fill color to R=13 G=124 B=184 and place it as shown in the first image.

Disable the Snap to Grid (Control-'), make sure that the circle made in this step is still selected, and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2 px up and 1 px to the left. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Enable the Snap to Grid (Control-'). Switch to gridline every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 4 px circle, place it as shown in the fourth image, and set the fill color to R=30 G=151 B=203.

right antena end

Step 3

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box.

Focus on the left antenna, pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 10 px circle, set the fill color to R=13 G=124 B=184, and place it as shown in the first image.

Disable the Snap to Grid (Control-'), make sure that the circle made in this step is still selected, and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2 px up and 1 px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 30%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Enable the Snap to Grid (Control-'). Switch to gridline every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 4 px circle, place it as shown in the fourth image, and set the fill color to R=30 G=151 B=203.

left antenna end

Step 4

Disable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Pick the Brush Tool (B), select the 5 px Round brush from the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and draw two simple paths roughly as shown in the following image. Use a random orange for the color and make sure that these paths fit perfectly behind the antenna paths as shown below.

antennas shading

Step 5

Reselect both orange paths and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Make sure that the resulting shapes are selected and turn them into a new compound path using that same Control-8 keyboard shortcut.

Move to the Layers panel, reselect that green shape, and make a new copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy along with your orange compound path, and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a new compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected, and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing color with a simple black, lower its Opacity to 40%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

antennas shading

Step 6

Reselect all the shapes that make up the antennae and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel, rename this new group "antennae", and then lock it.

antennas group

8. Add a Dashed Stroke and Some Shading

Step 1

Focus on the Layers panel, reselect that green shape and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]). Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the anchor points highlighted in the first image, and simply remove them using the Delete button from your keyboard.

Make sure that the remaining path stays selected, send it to back (Shift-Control-[) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Remove the color from the fill and then select the stroke. Set the color to R=13 G=124 B=184 and then open that Stroke fly-out panel.

Increase the Weight to 7 px, click the Round Cap button, and then check that Dashed Line box. Enter 0 px in the first dash box and 12 px in the first gap box, check the Align dashes to corners... button, and then move to the Profile drop-down menu. Open it and simply select Width Profile 1. In the end things should look like in the second image.

dashed stroke

Step 2

Enable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-'). Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 165 x 30 px shape and set the fill color to R=13 G=124 B=184. Place this new shape as shown in the first image, lower its Opacity to 20% and then send it to back (Shift-Control-[).

Using the same tool, create a 165 x 40 px shape and set the fill color to R=13 G=124 B=184. Place this new shape as shown in the second image, lower its Opacity to 10% and then send it to back (Shift-Control-[).

shadow

Step 3

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 165 x 30 px shape, set the fill color to R=13 G=124 B=184 and place it as shown in the following image. Lower the Opacity of this new shape to 70%, send it to back (Shift-Control-[) and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 10 px Radius and click the OK button.

shadow

9. Add a Simple Background and the Speech Bubbles

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 610 px white square, send it to back (Shift-Control-[), and make sure that it covers your entire artboard.

background

Step 2

Make sure that the white square made in the previous step is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select the new fill, simply replace the flat color with the radial gradient shown in the following image, and use the Gradient Tool (G) to stretch your gradient as shown below. Don't forget that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

background gradient

Step 3

Finally, you can learn how to add a simple speech bubble in the finale of this fun tutorial: Create a Fun Cartoon Character Face in Adobe Illustrator. You will only have to change the colors used for shapes and text. Simply follow the color codes shown in the following image.

speech bubbles

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

final product
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