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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Character Design
Design

How to Create a Group of International Friends in Adobe Illustrator

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

Did you know that 30th of July is International Friendship Day? In honor of that, I will show you how to create an image that shares a message of friendship.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use Adobe Illustrator to create a group of international friends: a white man, an Asian woman, and a Muslim woman. We will use basic shapes and warp effects, and we'll move anchor points to deform the shape and achieve the result we want. After completing this tutorial and using some techniques, you'll able to create any sort of person.

If you are here to get a completed character, you can find plenty of those over at GraphicRiver. But if you are here to learn something new, then let's start our tutorial!

Also, if you like this tutorial, you might be interested in these:

1. How to Create the White Man

Step 1

After you've created a new document with 850 px Width and Height, we will start to create the man's head. Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool. If it's your very first time using AI and you can't find this tool, then look at the Tools panel on the left side of the artboard. Click on the Rectangle Tool (M), hold for two seconds, and a pop-up menu will show up, and there you will find the Rounded Rectangle Tool. So, using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, draw a rounded rectangle. This will be the head of the man. Delete the stroke color if you have one, and set the fill color to R=247, G=197, B=156.

Then change the fill color to R=114, G=72, B=51, and now we are going to create the eye. Hit the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a tiny circle. In order to create an even circle, hold the Shift button while creating it.

Now delete the fill color and set the stroke color to R=210, G=132, B=76. Take the Arc Tool (it's hidden under the Line Segment Tool (/)) and draw an arc as an eyebrow.

Select the eye and eyebrow using the Selection Tool (V) while holding the Shift key. Then click on the Reflect Tool (O) and press the Enter key at the same time, because you want to make a reflection of the eye and eyebrow. A new dialogue window will pop up. Enter Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and press Copy. Move the new eye and eyebrow to the right while holding down the Shift key so it will be perfectly aligned.

how to create the face

Step 2

Hit the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a white ellipse with no stroke. I added a black stroke, so you'll be able to see it. If you have a newer version of AI, then near the selected ellipse you will notice a handle on its right side. Use this handle and move it counterclockwise until you get half of the ellipse. We will use it as a mouth.                         

how to create the mouth

Step 3

Place the mouth in the right position on the face.

Take the Eyedropper Tool (I) and click on the face. You just took the same fill color as the face, because you want to draw an ear with the same fill color. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw the ear.

After that, hit the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a small rectangle as the neck. Rotate it a little to the right.

how to create the neck

Step 4

Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, draw a long, thin rounded rectangle over the guy's ear. Change the fill color to R=193, G=120, B=70.

Create another long rounded rectangle behind the head.

After that, add a long, horizontal ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L) for the fringe.

While keeping the ellipse you've just created selected, go to Effect > Warp > Flag. In the new dialogue window, enter the options you see below and then press OK.

how to create the hair style

Step 5

Now we are going to create the man's upper body. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), draw a rectangle under his neck. Set the fill color to R=194, G=209, B=173.

Take the Direct Selection Tool (A), and select the bottom left anchor point of the new rectangle and move it to the left using the Left Arrow key on your keyboard.

As you want to create the sleeve with the same fill color, press the Swap Fill and Stroke (Shift-X) button on the Tools panel. Then take the Line Segment Tool (/) and on the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke) check Round Cap. Increase the stroke Weight on the Stroke panel as we need it to be very thick. After that, draw a line as shown below.

Return to the Stroke panel, uncheck Round Cap, and draw a new line in order to finish off the left arm.

Finally, delete the stroke color, set the fill color to white, and add two long horizontal rectangles on the guy's pullover.

how to create the upper body

Step 6

Let's make the hand. Using the Eyedropper Tool (I), take the fill color from the face. Then press the Swap Fill and Stroke (Shift-X) button, because you want to turn the fill color into the stroke color.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw a small ellipse. While keeping it selected, take the Scissors Tool (C) and click on its stroke, in the places I marked in the image below. As you just cut the upper side of the ellipse, you should be able to take it off and delete it. You need just the bottom part.

how to create the hand

Step 7

Place the hand under the sleeve (Control-X, Control-B).

Then click on the sleeve in order to use the same stroke color, and using the Line Segment Tool (/), draw another sleeve. This arm will hug a woman standing close to him in the future.

how to create the another arm

Step 8

Let's add a belt using the Rectangle Tool (M)—the fill color is R=193, G=120, B=70. Notice that the belt is behind the pullover.

Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, add a rounded rectangle (R=250, G=178, B=91) behind the belt.

Create a long vertical rectangle with the same orange fill color.

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select its left bottom anchor point and shift it to the right. Then, select the right bottom anchor point and shift it to the left. That's how we make the leg narrower at the bottom.

Then, to get another leg, make a copy of this one in front (Control-C, Control-F), and move it to the right. The trousers are done!

how to create the legs

Step 9

Now let's add one more detail to his pants. Draw a yellow rectangle (R=247, G=200, B=94) at the bottom on the left side of the trouser's leg. Then, while holding the Shift and Alt keys together, move the yellow rectangle to the right. The Alt key will create a copy for you, and the Shift key will make it perfectly aligned.

Add a leg: behind the pants, draw a new rectangle which should have the same fill color as the face.

While holding the Shift and Alt buttons together, create a new leg.

continue creating legs

Step 10

The last objects we need to create for the man are his shoes. Draw a brown rectangle (R=193, G=120, B=70).

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the two top anchor points inside so you'll get a trapezoid.

Add two tiny rounded rectangles (R=155, G=95, B=55).

Create a new copy of the mouth, rotate it upside down, change its fill color, and place it as shown below.

Finally, add a darker rectangle (R=155, G=95, B=55) for the sole. Group the whole shoe (right-click > Group).

how to create the shoe

Step 11

Transfer the shoe onto the man's leg.

Create a new shoe and place it on the other leg. And the man is ready!

how to create the another shoe

2. How to Create the Asian Woman

Step 1

Create a copy of the man's face, and change its fill color to R=249, G=208, B=178. Then create a copy of the man's mouth, and place it on the woman's face. 

Add two ellipses for the ears, which should have the same fill color as the face. Draw a rectangle under the face as the neck. 

how to create the face

Step 2

Draw a small brown circle (R=114, G=72, B=51) for the first lens of the sunglasses (remember to hold the Shift button while creating).

Create a copy of this circle to get the other lens of the woman's sunglasses.

Turn this brown fill color into the stroke color (Shift-X) and, using the Arc Tool, draw the bridge of the sunglasses between the two circles.

Create two more arcs for the temples.

Using the same tool, but a darker stroke color (R=91, G=79, B=74), draw two eyebrows.

how to create the glasses

Step 3

Now we are going to give her a hairstyle. Draw a few ellipses to create bangs for the woman.

Then add a rounded rectangle behind the head as the back hair.

Make sure you have the Corner Widget on (View > Show Corner Widget). Now, select the two bottom anchor points of the back hair using the Direct Selection Tool (A), and slide them out. You should end up with a shape that has two smooth upper corners and two sharp bottom corners.

While keeping the back hair selected (just be sure you selected it by using the Selection Tool (V)), go to Effect > Warp > Fish. In the new dialogue window, enter the options you see below and press OK.

how to create the hair style

Step 4

Add a white rectangle which will be her top.

Let's add a neckline under the woman's neck. Make sure the top is selected, take the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) or just the Pen Tool (P), and click under the woman's neck, right where it is marked in the image below. Add three anchor points close to each other.

Then take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the middle anchor point down. See the neckline now?

Add a longer rectangle under her shirt, which will be the body.

Change the fill color we used for the body and face and make it the stroke color. Grab the Line Segment Tool (/) and make sure you increased the stroke Weight on the Stroke panel. Then draw an arm.

Finally, add another one.

how to create the upper body

Step 5

Delete the stroke color and set the fill color to R=155, G=95, B=55. Draw a rounded rectangle for the backpack behind the woman's body, but in front of the hair.

Delete the fill color and set the stroke color to R=193, G=120, B=70. Draw two narrow lines for the backpack straps. They should stay in front of everything.

Finally, add two more backpack straps behind the backpack, but in front of the hair.

how to create the backpack

Step 6

To create the skirt, start with a red horizontal rectangle (R=242, G=128, B=109) for the belt.

Then add a bigger, vertically oriented red rectangle.

While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Bulge, and enter the options you see below.

how to create the skirt

Step 7

To create the woman's leg, we will create a few different shapes. Return to the man, create a copy of one of his trouser's legs, and stretch it vertically. Change its fill color to R=249, G=208, B=178.

Add an ellipse on the top left side of the stretched rectangle.

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the handles and anchor points of the ellipse to achieve a result similar to the one below.

After that, add a new ellipse under the previous one. Group the leg (right-click > Group).

how to create the leg

Step 8

Place the leg on the left side of the woman's body.

As you can see, I created a copy of the man's shoe, changed it a little, and gave it to the woman. Keep her shoe in yellow tones, but actually there is no need to follow the exact RGB numbers.

Select the whole leg with the shoe. Take the Reflect Tool (O) and, while holding down the Alt key, click close to the right side of the existing leg. In the new dialogue window, enter Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and press Copy. The Asian woman is ready!

how to create another leg

3. How to Place the Two People Together

Be sure that each character is grouped separately, so that it will be easy to move them. Now you can place them together and see if everything looks good. If you need to change the positions of their arms, use the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move one anchor point of the arm, as each arm is a line, and adjust the position however you want.

how to place together the boy and girl

4. How to Create the Muslim Woman

Step 1

As you can already guess, you can take a copy of the previous woman's face, change the skin color (R=216, G=158, B=104), change the colors of the eyes and eyebrows (R=91, G=79, B=74), and leave the same mouth color. Make the new face a bit smaller, because usually you can just see the face without hair on Muslim women.

Create a new pink rounded rectangle (R=252, G=173, B=162) behind the face.

Add a pink vertical ellipse behind the rounded rectangle.

Add two horizontal ellipses under the head.

Delete the fill color, and set the stroke color to R=242, G=146, B=136. Now, using the Arc Tool, draw a few arcs as shown in the image below to create the folds of her hijab.

how to create the face and headwear

Step 2

Create a yellow rectangle (R=247, G=200, B=94) behind the woman's head. Move the top right anchor point to the left so it's covered by her hijab. Change the yellow fill color into the stroke color, and draw a thick line as her right arm. 

Draw her other arm, but this time don't check the Round Cap button on the Stroke panel. Change the stroke color to R=216, G=158, B=104 and use the Arc Tool to draw her hand. 

Decrease the Weight of the stroke on the Stroke panel and draw her thumb.

how to create the upper body

Step 3

On to the legs. A mint-colored rectangle (the same fill color as the man's pullover) on the left side will be the woman's left leg.

Make a copy of the previous woman's shoe, change the fill color to some red tones, and then place it behind the trouser leg.

Select the whole leg with the shoe, hold the Shift and Alt buttons together, and move it to the right. The Muslim woman is done!

how to create legs

5. Bring the Group of Friends Together

Place the new character next to the two friends we've already created. Make sure the Muslim woman's right arm goes in front of the Asian woman's hair but behind her body.

Select the Muslim woman's thumb, so the stroke color will stay in the memory. Then, using the Line Segment Tool (/), draw her fingers on the other woman's backpack. Now everybody is hugging each other.

placing three people together

6. How to Create the Background and Scenery

Step 1

Delete the stroke color and set the fill color to R=254, G=244, B=232. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and click on your artboard. In the new dialogue window, enter 850 px Width and Height. This will be our background.

Cut off the background (Control-X) and place it behind everything you've created so far (Control-B). Make sure your background stays in the middle of your artboard.

how to create the background

Step 2

Use a slightly darker fill color and draw a rectangle under the friends, which will represent the floor.

how to create the place they are standing on

Step 3

Grab the Star Tool and create a giant star behind the friends. And that's it!

how to create the background star

Conclusion

What an image! I hope you learned something new and had fun creating it. I appreciate that you went through this tutorial with me. Feel free to post your results down below.

See you next time!

final
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