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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Affinity Designer
Design

How to Create a Funny Ice Cream Character in Affinity Designer

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

In today’s tutorial, we’re going to take a look at the process of creating a cute little ice cream character illustration in Affinity Designer, using some basic geometric shapes that we’re going to adjust here and there.

Also, don't forget you can always expand your library by heading over to GraphicRiver, where you can find a great selection of vector illustrations.

Now, assuming you already have the software running in the background, bring it up and let’s jump straight into it!

1. How to Set Up a New Project File

As we do with all our projects, we’re going to start by setting up a New Document by heading over to File > New (or by using the Control-N keyboard shortcut), which we will then adjust as follows:

  • Type: Web
  • Document Units: Pixels
  • Create artboard: checked
  • Page Width: 600 px
  • Page Height: 800 px
  • Portrait: checked
  • DPI: 72
setting up a new document

2. How to Set Up the Layers

Once we’ve created the document, it would be a good idea to structure our project using a couple of layers, so that we can maintain a clear and steady workflow throughout the entire process.

To do this, simply open up the Layers panel, and then create three new layers using the Add Layer button, naming them as follows:

  • first layer: background
  • second layer: ice cream
  • third layer: puddle
setting up the layers

Quick tip: as you can see, I’ve made sure to lock the Artboard itself, so that I won’t end up moving it by accident.

3. How to Create the Background

Now that we’ve finished setting up our project file, we can start working on the actual illustration, and we will do so by creating the colored background.

Step 1

Position yourself on the bottom layer, and then create a 560 x 760 px rectangle which we will color using #FFC050 and then align to the center of the underlying Artboard using the Arrange panel’s Align Center and Align Middle options.

creating and positioning the main shape for the background

Step 2

Since we’re going to be adding the remaining background elements later on, we’ll want to lock the current layer for the moment, moving on up to the next one once we’re done.

locking the background layer

4. How to Create the Ice Cream Character

Assuming you’ve positioned yourself on the next layer (that would be the second one), let’s start working on our little character.

Step 1

Create the main shape for the ice cream using a 224 x 280 px rectangle which we will color using #7C5B42, and then center align to the underlying Artboard, making sure to position it 176 px from the background’s top edge.

creating the body of the ice cream

Step 2

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by first unchecking the Single radius option found within the context toolbar, and then setting the radius of its top corners (TL & TR) to 112 px and its bottom ones (BL & BR) to 24 px.

adjusting the main shape of the ice cream

Step 3

Add a subtle highlight to the upper section of the resulting shape using the clipping mask method, by creating a copy (Control-C > Control-V) which we will then push to the bottom by 4 px using the directional arrow keys. 

Once you have the shape in place, change the color of the one from underneath to #996B4B, and then mask the top one by simply dragging it over the lighter shape from within the Layers panel.

adding the highlight to the upper section of the ice cream

Step 4

Create the highlight spot using a 32 x 48 px ellipse (#996B4B) which we will rotate 45º to the left by simply clicking and dragging the shape’s rotation handle until you get the right angle. Once you’re done, position the resulting shape as seen in the reference image.

adding the spot highlight to the upper section of the ice cream

Step 5

Start working on the eyes by creating the main shape for its left one using a 16 x 16 px circle, which we will color using #996B4B. Position it 52 px from the larger shape’s left edge and 86 px from its bottom one.

creating the main shape for the left eye

Step 6

Finish off the current eye by making a copy (Control-C > Control-V) of the shape from the previous step, which we will adjust by first changing its color to #664732 and then pushing it to the top by 2 px

Add the circular highlight using a 4 x 4 px circle (#FFFFFF), which we will position as seen in the reference image, making sure to select and group all three of them using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding details to the left eye

Step 7

Create the right eye using a copy (Control-C > Control-V) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will position on the opposite side of the larger shape, making sure to maintain the same 52 px gap.

adding the right eye

Step 8

Start working on the mouth by creating a 64 x 40 px ellipse (#996B4B), which we will adjust by removing its bottom half, positioning the resulting shape underneath the eyes as seen in the reference image.

creating the main shape for the upper section of the mouth

Step 9

Add the lower section of the mouth using a 64 x 4 px rectangle (#996B4B), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 4 px, positioning the resulting shape underneath.

creating the lower section of the mouth

Step 10

Unite the two sections into a single larger shape by first selecting them and then using the Add join operation.

uniting the composing shapes of the mouth

Step 11

Create a copy (Control-C > Control-V) of the shape that we’ve just finished working on, which we will adjust by pushing it to the top by 4 px using the directional arrow keys.

creating a duplicate of the mouth

Step 12

Add the tongue using a 36 x 48 px ellipse (#E89258), which we will position in the center of the darker section, masking it afterwards from within the Layers panel. Once you’re done, don’t forget to select and group all three shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the tongue to the mouth

Step 13

Create the main shape for the wooden stick using a 48 x 64 px rectangle (#EAA068), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners (BL & BR) to 24 px, positioning the resulting shape underneath the ice cream’s larger shape.

creating the main shape for the wooden stick

Step 14

Add the vertical detail lines using a couple of 4 px wide rounded rectangles (#BC794B) with 2 px corner radius, which we will position 4 px from one another both horizontally and vertically. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of them together, making sure to mask them afterwards using the stick’s larger shape.

adding the detail lines to the wooden stick

Step 15

Finish off the current section by adding the subtle shadow using a 48 x 12 px rectangle (#664732), which we will adjust by setting its Opacity to 60%. Once you have the shape in place, select and group all of the wooden stick’s composing sections using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the subtle shadow to the wooden stick

Step 16

Position yourself at the bottom left corner of the ice cream, and create the main shape for its thinner drip using an 8 x 16 px rectangle (#7C5B42), which we will adjust by setting the radius of its bottom corners (BL & BR) to 4 px. Position the resulting shape as seen in the reference image.

creating the main shape for the thinner drip

Step 17

Add the side sections using two 8 x 8 px circles (#7C5B42), which we will adjust by removing their outer nodes, and then uniting their remaining ones. Once you’re done, make sure you select and group (Control-G) all of the drip’s composing shapes before moving on to the next step.

adding the side sections to the thinner drip

Step 18

Create the thicker drip using a slightly larger 12 x 32 px rectangle (#7C5B42) with a 6 px bottom corner radius, followed by the side sections using two 16 x 16 px circles (#7C5B42), which we will adjust as we did with the smaller ones. 

Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all three shapes together, positioning them as seen in the reference image, doing the same for the entire ice cream afterwards.

adding the thicker drip

5. How to Create the Chocolate Puddle

As soon as we’ve finished working on the ice cream, we can move on up to the next layer (that would be the third one), where we will create the chocolate puddle.

Step 1

Start by creating a 160 x 40 px ellipse, which we will color using #996B4B and then center align to the underlying Artboard, positioning it at a distance of 24 px from the ice cream’s wooden stick.

creating the main shape for the chocolate puddle

Step 2

Make a copy (Control-C > Control-V) of the shape that we’ve just created, and then adjust it by first changing its color to #7C5B42 and then pushing it to the bottom by 4 px. Mask it afterwards using the original shape, which will add a subtle highlight to the upper section of the puddle.

adding the highlight to the puddle

Step 3

Add the vertical splash using a 12 x 28 px rectangle (#7C5B42) with a 6 px top corner radius, which we will position on the upper half of the puddle, at a distance of 32 px from its right edge.

adding the splash to the chocolate puddle

Step 4

Finish off the puddle by adding the spot highlight using a 16 x 8 px ellipse (#996B4B), which we will position 40 px from its left edge and 8 px from its bottom one. Once you’re done, make sure you select and group all of its composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the spot highlight to the puddle

6. How to Create the Decorative Elements

At this point, we’re pretty much done working on our cute illustration. All we need to do is add the little decorative elements and we’re good to go.

Step 1

Make sure you position yourself back on the background layer (that would be the first one), and create the halo using a 128 x 28 px ellipse with an 8 pt Stroke (#FFFFFF), which we will center align to the underlying Artboard, positioning it at a distance of 16 px from the ice cream’s top edge.

creating and positioning the halo

Step 2

Add the 'o's using a 36 x 36 px circle with an 8 pt thick Stroke (#FFFFFF), followed by a slightly larger 48 x 48 px one, which we will position onto the sides of the ice cream as seen in the reference image.

adding the circular details to the background

Step 3

Finish off the background, and with it the project itself, by adding the two 'x’s using two sets of 8 pt thick 20 x 20 px diagonal Stroke lines (#FFFFFF) with a Butt Cap, which we will individually group (Control-G) and then position next to the previous shapes. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the background’s composing shapes, before hitting that save button.

finishing off the illustration

Great Work!

As always, I hope you had fun working on this little project and most importantly learned a new trick or two along the way.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

finished project preview

Expand Your Affinity Designer Skills!

Want to expand and improve your Affinity Designer knowledge base but don't know exactly where to start? Well if that's the case, we took the time to put together this list of tutorials that should get you going in no time!

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