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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Create a Lego Batman Figurine in Adobe Illustrator

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

In today's tutorial we're going to spend some quality play time together and unleash our inner child by learning how to create a digital version of the awesome Lego Batman. Woohoo! We're going to do all that in Adobe Illustrator, using simple geometric shapes that we're going to adjust here and there. Enough said—grab a fresh cup of coffee, and let's get started!

Oh, and don't forget you can always expand your universe by heading over to GraphicRiver where you'll find a great selection of Lego-themed assets.

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) for our project using the following settings:

  • 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 a Custom Grid

Even though today we’re not working on icons, we’ll still want to create the illustration using a pixel-perfect workflow, so let’s set up a nice little grid so that we can have full control over our shapes.

Step 1

Go to the Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid submenu, and adjust the following settings:

  • Gridline every: 1 px
  • Subdivisions: 1
setting up a custom grid

Quick tip: you can learn more about grids by reading this in-depth piece on How Illustrator’s Grid System Works.

Step 2

Once we’ve set up our custom grid, all we need to do in order to make sure our shapes look crisp is enable the Snap to Grid option found under the View menu (that’s if you're using an older version of Illustrator).

Now, if you’re new to the whole “pixel-perfect workflow”, I strongly recommend you go through my How to Create Pixel-Perfect Artwork tutorial, which will help you widen your technical skills in no time.

3. 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 couple of 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 two layers, which we will rename as follows:

  • layer 1: main figure
  • layer 2: mask
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).

4. How to Create the Figurine’s Legs

We’re going to kick things off by creating the lower section of the toy, so make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the first one), and then lock the other one so that we can get started.

Step 1

Create the main shape for the figurine’s lower body using a 100 x 16 px rectangle, which we will color using #53555E and then center align to the Artboard, positioning it at a distance of 224 px from its bottom edge.

creating the upper section of the legs

Step 2

Give the shape that we’ve just created an outline using the Stroke method, by creating a copy of it (Control-C), which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by first changing its color to #24252B and then flipping its Fill with its Stroke (Shift-X). Set the resulting outline’s Weight to 8 px and its Corner to Round Join, selecting and grouping the two shapes together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the outline to the upper section of the legs

Step 3

Start working on the left leg by creating its upper section using a 44 x 32 px rectangle (#6D6F77) with an 8 px thick outline (#6D6F77), which we will group (Control-G) and then position below the previous section so that they overlap as seen in the reference image.

creating the upper section of the left leg

Step 4

Create the center section using a 44 x 36 px rectangle (#53555E) with an 8 px thick outline (#24252B), which we will group (#24252B) and then position onto the smaller section.

creating the center section of the left leg

Step 5

Add the foot section using a 44 x 20 px rectangle (#6D6F77) with an 8 px thick outline (#24252B), grouping (Control-G) and then positioning the two as seen in the reference image. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the current leg’s composing sections before moving on to the next step.

adding the bottom section to the left leg

Step 6

Create the right leg using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will position on the opposite side of the lower body.

adding the right leg

Step 7

Add the divider holding the two legs together using a 16 x 36 px rectangle (#6D6F77) with an 8 px thick outline (#24252B), which we will group (Control-G) and then position as seen in the reference image. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the current sections before moving on to the next one.

adding the vertical divider to the legs

5. How to Create the Figurine’s Torso

Once we’ve finished working on the lower section of the body, we can move a few pixels upwards and start working on the upper part, starting with the torso.

Step 1

Create the lower section of the torso using a 108 x 12 px rectangle, which we will color using #6D6F77 and then position on the upper section of the lower body as seen in the reference image.

creating the lower section of the torso

Step 2

Add the upper section using a 108 x 76 px rectangle, which we will color using #6D6F77 and then position on top of the previous shape.

creating the upper section of the torso

Step 3

Adjust the shape of the rectangle that we’ve just created, by individually selecting its top anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then pushing them to the inside by 12 px using the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > + / - 12 px depending on which side you start with).

adjusting the upper section of the torso

Step 4

Select the torso’s two composing shapes and combine them into a single larger one using Pathfinder’s Unite Shape Mode.

uniting the two composing shapes of the torso

Step 5

Give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#24252B), selecting and grouping both of them together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the outline to the torso

6. How to Create the Figurine’s Hands

Once you’re done building the torso, we can move on to the sides and start working on the toy's hands.

Step 1

Select the Pen Tool (P) and, with the color set to #53555E, gradually draw the arm using the reference image as your main guide.

drawing the left arm

Step 2

Give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#24252B) using the Stroke method.

adding the outline to the left arm

Step 3

Draw the diagonal line segment where the arm would normally bend, using an 8 px thick Stroke (#24252B) with a Round Cap, which we will position as seen in the reference image. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all three shapes together before moving on to the next step.

adding the detail line to the left arm

Step 4

Create the wrist using a 20 x 16 px rectangle, which we will color using #53555E and then position on the arm, at a distance of 12 px from its bottom-right anchor point.

creating the main shape for the left wrist

Step 5

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by selecting and pushing its bottom anchor points to the left side by 2 px using the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > -2 px).

re positioning the bottom anchor points of the left wrist

Step 6

Continue adjusting the current shape, by selecting and pushing its bottom-left anchor point to the top by 2 px.

adjusting the shape of the left wrist

Step 7

Give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#24252B), grouping (Control-G) and then positioning the two underneath the larger hand (right click > Arrange > Send Backward).

adding the outline to the left wrist

Step 8

Create the main shape for the hand using a 36 x 36 px circle, which we will color using #6D6F77 and then position on the wrist, as seen in the reference image.

creating the main shape for the left arm

Step 9

Adjust the circle that we’ve just created by cutting out a 12 x 30 px rounded rectangle (highlighted with red) with a 6 px Corner Radius from its lower half.

adjusting the shape of the left hand

Step 10

Give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#24252B), selecting and grouping the two together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the left arm’s composing sections, positioning them underneath the larger torso (right click > Arrange > Send to Back).

positioning the left arm underneath the torso

Step 11

Create the right arm using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will vertically reflect (right click > Transform > Reflect > Vertical) and then position on the opposite side of the torso.

adding the right arm

7. How to Create the Figurine’s Head

Since we’re pretty much done working on the figurine’s body, we can shift our focus towards his head, and gradually build it one section at a time.

Step 1

Kick things off by creating the neck section using a 40 x 12 px rectangle (#DDA98C) with an 8 px thick outline (#24252B), which we will group (Control-G) and then position on top of the larger torso.

creating the neck section

Step 2

Add the actual head using a 76 x 64 px rounded rectangle (#F9C9A9) with a 16 px Corner Radius and an 8 px thick outline (#24252B), which we will group (Control-G) and then position on top of the neck section.

adding the head

Step 3

Finish off the blank figurine, by adding the connector section to its head using a 32 x 16 px rectangle (#DDA98C) with an 8 px thick outline (#24252B), grouping (Control-G) and then positioning the two as seen in the reference image. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the head’s composing sections before moving on to the next step.

adding the connector section to the head

8. How to Add Details to the Figurine’s Face

At this point, we have a completely blank version of our Lego figurine, which we will turn into the crime-fighting vigilante by gradually adding details to his different sections, and we will do so starting with the head.

Step 1

Start working on the eyes by creating the main shape for the left one using an 8 x 10 px ellipse, which we will color using #24252B and then position at a distance of 20 px from the head’s left edge and 16 px from its top one.

creating and positioning the main shape for the left eye

Step 2

Add the little highlight using a 2 x 2 px circle, which we will color using white (#FFFFFF), and then center align to the previous shape, positioning it at a distance of 2 px from its top edge. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) the two together before moving on to the next step.

adding the highlight to the left eye

Step 3

Add the right eye using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will position on the opposite side of the head, making sure to maintain the same 20 px distance from its outer edge.

adding the right eye

Step 4

Draw the eyebrows using two 4 px thick Stroke lines (#24252B) with a Round Cap and Join, following the reference image as your main guide.

drawing the eyebrows

Step 5

Start working on the mouth by creating a 24 x 10 px rectangle, which we will color using white (#FFFFFF) and then center align to the head, positioning it 12 px from its top edge.

creating the main shape for the mouth

Step 6

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by repositioning its top anchor points as seen in the reference image, giving the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#24252B).

adjusting the shape of the mouth

Step 7

Add the horizontal detail line to the right side of the mouth, using a 6 px wide 2 px thick Stroke line (#24252B). Once you’re done, select and group all of the current section’s composing shapes using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the horizontal detail line to the mouth

Step 8

As we did with the eyebrows, take a couple of moments and draw the two cheek lines using a 4 px thick Stroke (#24252B) with a Round Cap and Join, which we will position as seen in the reference image. Take your time, and once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the face’s composing shapes before moving on to the next step.

drawing the cheek lines

9. How to Add Details to the Torso

Once you’re done working on the face, move over to the torso, and let’s start adding details to Batman’s costume.

Step 1

Start working on the chest logo patch by creating a 44 x 28 px ellipse, which we will color using #FCCF4F and then center align to the larger torso, positioning it at a distance of 14 px from its top edge.

creating the main shape for the chest patch

Step 2

Draw the bat logo (#24252B) using the reference image as your main guide. Take your time, and once you’re done, select the two shapes and group them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

drawing the batman logo

Step 3

With the patch in place, start drawing the rest of the armor starting with the pectoral area, using a couple of 4 px thick Stroke lines (#24252B) with a Round Cap and Join.

drawing the pectoral lines

Step 4

Draw the abs using the same process, making sure that all the anchor points are positioned so that they overlap the lines next to them.

drawing the abs

Step 5

Finish off the armor by drawing the rib lines, selecting and grouping all its composing shapes afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut. Also, since we’re pretty much done working on the figurine, you can select and group (Control-G) all of its composing sections as well.

drawing the rib lines

10. How to Create the Cape

Next off our costume’s prop list is the crusader’s cape, which we will create in the following moments.

Step 1

Start by creating a 256 x 320 px ellipse, which we will color using #393B42 and then center align to the torso’s top edge.

creating the main shape for the cape

Step 2

Remove the shape’s lower half, by selecting its bottom anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then pressing Delete, making sure to close up the resulting path using the Control-J keyboard shortcut.

removing the bottom half of the cape

Step 3

Create four 64 x 32 px ellipses (highlighted with red), which we will position as seen in the reference image and then subtract from the cape using Pathfinder’s Minus Front Shape Mode.

adjusting the shape of the cape

Step 4

Give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#24252B), grouping (Control-G) and then positioning the two underneath the figurine using the Arrange tool (right click > Arrange > Send to Back).

adding the outline to the cape

11. How to Create the Mask

Since we need to protect the real identity of Batman, we’ll have to create his mask, so make sure you’ve positioned yourself on the second layer, and let’s get started!

Step 1

Create an 84 x 92 px rectangle, which we will color using #53555E and then center align to the head, positioning it over the neck outline’s top edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the mask

Step 2

Set the Radius of the shape’s bottom corners to 8 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

adjusting the bottom corners of the mask

Step 3

Add the ears using two 24 x 36 px rectangles (#53555E), which we will position on the shape that we’ve just adjusted.

creating the main shapes for the ears

Step 4

Select and unite all three shapes into a single larger one using Pathfinder’s Unite Shape Mode, selecting and pushing the ears’ top-outer anchor point to the inside by 16 px (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > + / - 16 px depending on which side you start with).

adjusting the shape of the ears

Step 5

Continue adjusting the resulting shape by selecting and pushing its ears’ bottom anchor points to the bottom by 24 px (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > 24 px), and then adjusting their curvature as seen in the reference image.

adjusting the shape of the mask

Step 6

Take a couple of moments and draw the little cutout which we will remove from the mask, using the reference image as your main guide.

drawing the cutout for the mask

Step 7

Cut out the shape that we’ve just created from the mask’s surface using Pathfinder’s Minus Front Shape Mode, giving the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#24252B).

adding the outline to the mask

Step 8

Add the eyes using two 20 x 14 px ellipses (#FFFFFF) with an 8 px thick outline (#24252B), which we will individually group (Control-G) and then position as seen in the reference image.

adding the eyes to the mask

Step 9

Add the detail lines to the mask’s ears using two 8 px thick Stroke lines (#24252B) with a Round Cap.

adding the line details to the ears

Step 10

Finish off the mask, and with it the project itself, by adding the remaining detail lines using a couple of 4 px thick Strokes (#24252B). Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the current section’s composing shapes before hitting that save button.

finishing off the mask

Great Work!

No matter if you're a fan of the original Batman or the more recent reincarnations, I really hope you had fun recreating this little fellow and learned a new trick or two along the way.

final result preview

Since the beauty of Lego is that you can easily create new worlds and characters with a switch of a few parts, I wanted to show you what you can achieve using the blank version of the figurine as a starting point.

Batman and Wonder Woman

If you have any questions, feel free to post them inside the comments area, and I'll get back to you with an answer as soon as I can humanly can!

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