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In this tutorial, we'll explain how to create a create a grasshopper based on an image. We'll review how to trace the needed parts and alter them in order to make the little guy look good in all his vector glory. Let's get to it!

Final Image Preview

Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join VECTORTUTS PLUS for just 9/month.

Step 1

To make life a little easier for us, I went and picked a photo over at stock.xchng. You can download the photo here. Open a new document and place the image onto the artboard (File > Place). Lock the layer with the photo and double-click. In the pop up window, check Dim Image. This will fade out the photo.

Step 2

Create a new layer on top and start tracing the body with the Pen Tool (P). Choose a color either from the image or pick a green of your liking.

Step 3

Continue to trace the legs. Make a new layer for each important part. For example, one for the legs, one layer for the body, for the head, etc. This will make it easier to find shapes later on.

Step 4

Create two lines with the Pen Tool (P) following the sectioned body and head of the grasshopper.

Step 5

Now make a copy of the body you traced earlier and place the two lines on top. Then select both the body and the lines and choose the Divide option in the Pathfinder Palette.

Step 6

Now we created our sections for the body and the head in a few simple steps. Make a copy of the body parts. I changed the color of the top part to a light green to green linear gradient. Next, I added sections on top of the body with the Pen Tool (P).

Step 7

Make a copy of the shapes, we will need it again. Then select the lines and the body and repeat Step 5. This will give us even more detailed body parts. Start coloring the lower body parts with a green linear gradient. Drag the gradient in different directions so the parts won't look the same. This will help differentiate the parts and give them a more realistic look.

Step 8

Remember that we made a copy of the lines and the body before we applied the Divide option? Grab that copy now and select the lines. Increase the Stroke to about 4-5pt and apply a beige color. Then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Next, select the outlined lines and the body parts and apply the Divide Option in the Pathfinder Palette.

Step 9

Select the overlapping shapes and delete them. Then delete the body parts since we don't need them anymore.

Step 10

Let's move on to the leg. Select the traced back leg shape and fill it with a green linear gradient. Then make a duplicate of it and got to Object > Path > Offset Path. Apply a negative of about 1-2 pt. Delete the larger shape and fill it with a light brown color. Repeat that step one more time and fill the new smaller shape with a beige to brown linear gradient. Duplicate the last shape and fill it with a black to white linear gradient. Then duplicate that again and fill it with a pattern. I will explain in more detail in the next step.

Step 11

  1. Fill the main shape with a green gradient.
  2. Once the shape is offset and smaller, fill it with a brown gradient and set the Layer Mode to Multiply. This shape goes on top of the other.
  3. Offset the last shape again and fill it with a lighter brown gradient. Set the Layer Mode to Normal.
  4. Duplicate the shape from before and fill it with a black to white gradient. Set the Layer Mode to Multiply and Opacity to 40%.
  5. Duplicate the shape again and fill it with an animal pattern (Alligator). This is a standard Illustrator pattern which can be found in the Swatch Library. Set the Layer Mode to Overlay and Opacity to 10%.
    1. Create an arrowhead like shape and fill it with green. Duplicate and scale it. Place them apart.
    2. Apply a Blend (Ctrl + Alt + B).
    3. Create a line that seems to follow the shape of the leg.
    4. Select blend and line and apply Reverse Spine under the Blend Options.

Step 12

Now put all shapes on top of each other You should have a similar leg like you see in the image below.

Step 13

We will apply steps that we did earlier to the front legs. Take the traced leg shape and section it like we did in Step 5. Fill the section with a green gradient. You can leave the Stroke or take it off. It's up to you. Once the legs are colored, duplicate them twice . Fill one set with a black to white gradient and the other with an animal pattern (Turtle). Set the Layer Mode of the black to white gradient legs to Multiply, 46% and the patterned legs to Overlay at 46%.

Step 14

This is what the front legs should like when the shapes are put on top of each other.

Step 15

Let's go back to the body. Duplicate the two sections and fill them with a green to white to green linear gradient and Add a Stroke (0.5pt) of a light brown to the bottom sections. Duplicate the top section and apply Add to Shape Area in the Pathfinder Palette, then fill it with a white to green gradient. Set the Layer Mode to Multiply at 26%. Place the shape on top of the others. Then duplicate the sectioned top shape and add an animal pattern (Alligator). Set the Layer Opacity to 15% and place it on top.

Step 16

Fill the front traced right leg shape with a muddy green and apply a Gaussian Blur of 4pt.

Step 17

The steps are similar here for the lower part of the back legs, as in the previous step.

Step 18

These are the steps how to create the eyes. Trace the eye of the grasshopper and create duplicates. Follow the steps in the image below and apply a Blend Option with Spacing Smooth
Color (Ctrl + ALT + B).

Step 19

Now let's go and have a look at the head parts. I demonstrated below how they will look like. Start tracing the head parts. We will need five shapes altogether. Start filling the shapes with a green gradient and the smallest with a muddy green.

Step 20

Place the shapes according to the stacking order you see in the images below. Number one being the bottom shape. Duplicate for number 6 the shapes 2, 4 and 5. Next, fill them with an animal pattern. Set the Layer Mode to Overlay at 20%.

Step 21

Duplicate the body shapes and fill them with the Alligator pattern as well. Set the Layer Mode to Overlay at 15%. Then take the line shapes from Step 9 and set the Layer Mode also to Overlay at 100%.

Step 22

Here is a little extra shape created with the Pen Tool (P). It's shown filled with a green gradient, rotated, and duplicated 5 times. Select them and apply a Drop Shadow.

Step 23

This is the grasshopper body, head and eye. I hid the pattern shapes though. I placed the shape from Step 23 below the shown body shape, but above the line shape.

Step 24

Now start placing the back legs. I duplicated the leg we created earlier, but deleted the blend shape. Place it behind the body. Start assembling all the other legs.

Step 25

Create some antennas. I made them longer than in the original photo.

Step 26

Let's show the patterns shapes again.

Step 27

And here is the body pattern.

Step 28

This is our final assembled grasshopper. Not bad looking, the fella. :)


I added a dark background and some freaky reflection. That's it folks, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

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