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Design

How to Create a Geometric Flamingo Bird in Adobe Illustrator

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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 simple geometric bird illustration, which we will bring to life using some hand-drawn shapes in Adobe Illustrator. As always, we're going to be using some of the basic shapes and tools that you probably already work with on a daily basis.

Don't forget, you can always expand your project heading over to GraphicRiver where you'll find a great selection of animal-themed illustrations just waiting to be picked up.

So make sure you grab a fresh batch of that magic bean juice, and let’s jump straight into it.

1. How to Set Up a New Project File

Assuming you already have Illustrator up and running in the background, bring it up and let’s set up a New Document (File > New or Control-N) which we will adjust as follows:

  • Number of Artboards: 1
  • Width: 800 px
  • Height: 600 px
  • Units: Pixels

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color Mode: RGB
  • Raster Effects: Screen (72ppi)
  • Preview Mode: Default
setting up a new document

2. How to Set Up the Layers

Once we’ve finished setting up our project file, it would be a good idea to structure our document using a few layers, since this way we can maintain a steady workflow by focusing on one section of the illustration at a time.

That being said, bring up the Layers panel, and create a total of four layers, which we will rename as follows:

  • layer 1: background
  • layer 2: pond
  • layer 3: bird
  • layer 4: fly
setting up the layers

Quick tip: I’ve colored all of my layers using the same green value, since it’s the easiest one to view when used to highlight your selected shapes (whether they’re closed or open paths).

3. How to Create the Pond

Now that we’ve layered our document, we can start working on the project by creating the little pond, which we will use as our center point for the rest of the illustration. So make sure you position yourself on the second layer, and let’s get started!

Step 1

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 160 x 36 px shape, which we will color using #99C7F2 and then center align to the underlying Artboard, positioning it 112 px from its bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the pond

Step 2 

Zoom in on the shape that we’ve just created and add the center ripple using a 64 x 16 px ellipse which we will color using #AFD8F9.

adding the center ripple to the pond

Step 3 

Add the smaller ripple using a 16 x 4 px ellipse (#AFD8F9), which we will position on the right side of the larger one, at a distance of 16 px. Once you’re done, select and group all three shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, before moving on to the next section.

adding the smaller ripple to the pond

4. How to Create the Background

Now that we have our little pond in place, we can shift our focus to the background layer (that would be the first one), which we will quickly create one shape at a time.

Step 1

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw the background’s main shape using the reference image as your main guide, coloring the resulting shape using #696791.

drawing the backgrounds main shape

Step 2

Add the little sun using a 48 x 48 px circle, which we will color using #FFD399 and then position in the upper section of the previously drawn shape.

adding the sun to the background

Step 3

Draw the hard cloud lines (#FFFFFF) using the Pen Tool (P), making sure to select and group both them and the sun together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

drawing the clouds

Step 4

Mask the shapes that we’ve just grouped by creating a copy (Control-G) of the larger background, which we will paste on top of them (Control-F), and then simply select them and the mask and right click > Make Clipping Mask.

masking the main shapes of the background

Step 5

With the Pen Tool (P) selected, quickly draw the main shape for the left leaf using #99DD99 as your Fill color.

drawing the main shape for the left leaf

Step 6

Add the little detail lines using a couple of 2 px thick Strokes (#FFFFFF) with a Round Cap, using the reference image as your main guide. Take your time, and once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all the resulting shapes together, doing the same for the entire leaf afterwards.

adding the detail lines to the left leaf

Step 7

Finish off the current section by adding the right leaf, which we will create using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the left one. Then vertically reflect it (right click > Transform > Reflect > Vertical) and position it on the opposite side of the background. 

Once you’re done, select and position the two leaves underneath (right click > Arrange > Send to Back), making sure to select and group all of the shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the right leaf to the background

5. How to Create the Bird

Assuming you’ve finished working on the previous section, make sure you lock its layer and then move on to the next one (that would be the third one), where we will take a couple of moments and create our geometric bird.

Step 1

Create the main shape for the bird’s standing leg using a 120 px tall 8 px thick Stroke, which we will color using #FFD399 and then position in the center of the larger ripple, as seen in the reference image.

drawing the standing leg of the bird

Step 2

Add the upper connecting joint using a 24 x 24 px circle, which we will color using #D68383 and then position in the center of the Stroke’s upper anchor point.

adding the upper joint to the standing leg

Step 3

Create the bending joint using a smaller 16 x 16 px circle (#FFD399), which we will position 24 px from the larger one. Once you have the shape in place, select all of the leg’s composing sections and group them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the bending joint to the standing leg

Step 4

Draw the bent leg using an 8 px thick Stroke (#FFD399) with a Round Cap, following the reference image as your main guide. 

drawing the bent leg

Step 5

Adjust the resulting shape by selecting the anchor point of its bent ankle using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then setting its Corner Radius to 8 px from within the Live Corners input field.

adjusting the bent leg

Step 6

Add the joint points to the current leg, using the same size and color values used for the standing one. Make sure to select and group (Control-G) all its composing shapes together before moving on to the next step.

adding the joint points to the bent leg

Step 7

Create the bird’s main body using a 128 x 128 px circle, which we will color using #F49898 and then position on the upper half of the legs’ upper joints.

creating the main body of the bird

Step 8

Add the visible wing using an 84 x 64 px rectangle (#F49898), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom-left corner to 64 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

adding the visible wing

Step 9

Separate the wing from the body by adding an 84 x 4 px rectangle (#D68383) with a 4 px top-right Corner Radius, which we will position above the wing and then mask using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the larger circle (both shapes selected > right click > Make Clipping Mask). Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the current section’s composing shapes before moving on to the next one.

adding the shadow to the visible wing

Step 10

Create the main shape for the neck using a 76 x 176 px rectangle with a 12 px thick Stroke (#F49898), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom-right corner to 76 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties. Select the resulting shape’s top-left anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then immediately remove it by pressing Delete, positioning the new path as seen in the reference image.

creating the neck section of the bird

Step 11

Start working on the head by creating a 32 x 32 px square (#F49898), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 16 px and then positioning the resulting shape on top of the neck.

creating the main shape for the head of the bird

Step 12

Create the main shape for the beak using a 56 x 16 px rectangle (#FFD399), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom-left and top-right corners to 16 px, positioning the resulting shape as seen in the reference image.

creating the main shape of the beak

Step 13 

Add the beak’s end section using a 16 x 16 px square (#696791), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom-right corner to 16 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

adding the nail section to the beak

Step 14

Focus on the eye section by creating a 16 x 16 px circle (#FFD399), which we will position on the base of the beak as seen in the reference image.

creating the main shape for the eye section

Step 15

Create the actual eye using an 8 x 8 px circle (#696791), which we will center align to the previously created shape and then adjust by removing its bottom half by selecting its lower anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then pressing Delete.

adding the eye to the head

Step 16

Add the little curved segment to the neck, which we will create using a 16 x 16 px circle (#F49898). Adjust it by removing its bottom and right anchor points, uniting the remaining ones using the Pen Tool (P). Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the head’s composing sections, doing the same for the entire bird afterwards.

adding the circular section to the base of the neck

Step 17

Once we’ve finished working on the bird, we can add the little water drops to its bent leg using three 2 x 6 px rounded rectangles (#99C7F2) with a 1 px Corner Radius, making sure to select and group them together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the water drops to the bent leg

Step 18

Create the little water bursts using a couple of smaller circles (#FFFFFF), which we will adjust by removing their bottom halves, positioning the resulting shapes onto the two ripples. Take your time, and once you’re done, make sure to select and group (Control-G) all of them together before moving on to the illustration’s next section.

adding the water bursts to the pond

6. How to Create the Fly

We are now down to the last section of our little illustration, so assuming you’ve positioned yourself on the fourth layer, let’s prepare to wrap things up!

Step 1

Using a 2 px thick Stroke with the color set to #FFFFFF, draw the fly’s trail, making sure to turn the resulting line into a Dashed Line using the Stroke panel.

drawing the trail of the fly

Step 2

Finish off the illustration by creating the little fly using a 4 x 4 px circle (#FFFFFF), to the sides of which we will add two smaller 3 x 3 px ones (#FFFFFF), which we will then group (Control-G) and position on the left end of the path that we just drew. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) the two together before finally hitting that save button.

finishing off the illustration

Great Work!

As always, I hope you’ve had fun working on this little project and most importantly managed to learn something new and useful along the way.

That being said, if you have any questions, feel free to post them within the comments section and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as I can!

finished project preview
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