Believe it or not, spring is almost upon us! In this tutorial, you
will learn how to create an adorable rabbit delivering a bouquet of
tulips just using basic shapes. You’ll also learn to recolor the flowers
in one easy step. Once you finish, you will have a lovely spring
illustration on your art board.
1. Drawing the Head
After opening your Adobe Illustrator and creating a new document 600 x 600 px Width and Height, we will start by drawing the head of the rabbit. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw an oval. In the image below, you can see which fill color you need. Then go to Effect > Warp > Inflate to form the head. Enter the options you see below.
Now, let’s create those googly eyes. Create an ellipse, using the Ellipse Tool (L). Add a tiny white circle to brighten up the eye.
Place this eye on the left side of the head. Keeping the eye selected, take the Reflect Tool (O). Hold down the Alt key and click in the middle of the head. In the new dialogue window, select Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and press Copy. You should now have two of those googly eyes. Who can resist them!
On to the nose. Now let’s create a dark brown ellipse (the same fill color as eyes) and make a sharp base using the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C). Add a tiny white ellipse as a highlight.
Let’s create the mouth. Draw two ellipses using the Ellipse Tool (L) with no fill and with the stroke color noted below. On the Stroke panel, check Round Cap and make the stroke thick.
After that, grab the Scissors Tool (C) and click on the left and right anchor points of the first ellipse as well as the second ellipse. Delete the upper parts of the two ellipses. Take the Line Segment Tool (\) and add a tiny line in the middle—we just created a cute mouth for our rabbit!
Place everything from the previous two steps on the head of our rabbit.
Using the Eye Dropper Tool (I), take the fill color from the head of the rabbit. We will create an ear from an ellipse. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move up the left and right anchor points. Create a darker pink ellipse in the front, but make it smaller.
Place the ear on the left side of the head. Rotate it a bit to the right. Take the Reflect Tool (O) and, while holding down the Alt key, click the forehead. In the new dialogue window, select Vertical, Angle 90 degrees and press Copy.
A tiny pink ellipse under the left eye will show the blush on the left cheek. The fill color is the same as the pink part of the ear. It has to be slightly rotated to the right. Using the Reflect Tool (O) again, create the blush on the right cheek.
This step is optional—using the fill color from the head, we can draw the fur. However, if you don’t feel comfortable using the Pencil Tool (N), you can just skip this step. Your rabbit will still look cute without it too!
For those of you wanting to add the fur, simply adjust the Pencil Tool (N) options: double-click on the Pencil Tool (N) and set the Tolerances Fidelity to 4 px and Smoothness to 50%. Check Fill New Pencil Strokes and then press OK. Try to draw the shape that you see in the image below. To close the path, you need to hold the Alt key as you finish the path. The rabbit head is done!
2. Creating the Body
Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw an oval. Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the handles of the anchor points to create a shape like the one in the image below.
Place the body under the head and behind it (Control-X, Control-B).
To draw the forelegs, start with an oval again. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the handles to create the shape shown below.
Create another copy behind the body and make it darker (R=242 G=237 B=226). Be sure to place this second foreleg in the back (Control-X, Control-B).
Let's draw the hind legs. Draw another ellipse. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the handles to create the shape shown below.
Make another copy in the back (Control-C, Control-B) and make it darker
(R=242 G=237 B=226). Again, using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move
the handles to create the shape shown below. That is the second hind leg.
Following the directions below, create the tail of the rabbit.
And place it on the body. Look how adorable it is already!
3. Creating the Tulips
Time to add some tulips to our rabbit. Let’s start by drawing a red oval. Create a copy of this oval in the back (Control-C, Control-B), and make it darker and a bit wider.
Now, select the lighter red oval, the one in the front, and make another copy in the back. Send this copy to the back (right-click > Arrange > Send to Back). This time, move and slightly tilt this oval to the left. Keeping this left oval selected, create a reflection (right-click and hit Transform > Reflect, Vertical, Copy). Move the copy to the right.
To finish off the tulip, let’s add a green oval behind everything. Position it slightly down.
Make a copy of the entire tulip that you just created in the previous step. Select the petals (without green oval) of this new copy and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork.
In the new dialogue window, press the Edit button, and then press the tiny button that looks like a chain, Link harmony colors (located at the bottom right), and then simply drag the color handles to your choice of color. Click OK.
Using this method, try creating a few more tulips in different colors.
Place them close to the rabbit's head. We’re going to add the stalks to the tulips now, so that our rabbit can hold on to the tulips.
Using the Arc Tool and a green stroke color (R=176 G=199 B=99), let's
create the stalks of the tulips. Make sure to increase the stroke Weight
in the Stroke panel and check Round Cap.
We’re almost there! As usual, to create a leaf, start with an ellipse. Then pick the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C), and make sharp anchor points by clicking on the top and bottom anchor points. You'll get a simple leaf shape. We’re going to need three of these.
Let’s warp these leaves. Select the first ellipse and go to Effect >
Warp > Arc. In the options window, set the Arc type to Vertical, and then
concentrate just on the Bend option and put the slider on -20%.
Select the second leaf, and go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Set the Arc Vertical, on the Bend option put the slider where you want, and see your leaf.
Repeat the same with the third leaf.
Place the leaves behind everything, except for the second foreleg (see image below).
4. Creating the Background
Let’s draw a large square by using the Rectangle Tool (M). Click on your art board and enter the Width and Height at 600 px.
Draw a circle in the middle.
Delete the fill color and set the stroke color that you see in the image below. Draw a few more of these circle strokes.
Now, delete the stroke color and set the fill color. We’re going to add a few more flowers to our artwork. Take the Polygon Tool and click on your work space. A new dialogue window will ask you how many sides and what radius you want. Make 5 Sides, and the Radius doesn't matter—just make it small. Create a few of them, randomly placing them around the circles.
To transform these into flowers, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat and set the slider to 86%. The first flower is ready. Apply these setting for each pentagon, transforming it to a flower.
Let’s create an ellipse once more with fill color R=194 G=210 B=136. Pick the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and make sharp anchor points as shown below. You'll get a leaf shape.
Copy-paste to create as many leaves as you want, and place them around the boundaries of the circles. You don't need to place the flowers and the leaves where the rabbit will be placed later.
Place the rabbit with the tulips on the background.
Knock, knock, knock! Open your door, a sweet, little rabbit has arrived with flowers for you!
Great job! I’m sure you’re very happy with the results and perhaps already thinking about transforming the rabbit into other cute animals. I hope the whole process was fun for you and that you learned something new this time. Never stop creating!