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How to Create a Super Kawaii Collage in Adobe Illustrator

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Let's get super kawaii! There's little cuter than objects with faces (perhaps baskets of kittens and puppies take the cake). As such, a collage or pattern of squishy, colorful objects with adorable little faces will likely break your cute meter. Follow along as we build each object from the ground up (no sketches necessary) and compile them into a rounded-star shape.

1. Create the Background

Step 1

The chosen shape for this collage is a star. Other options include hearts, clovers, and blue moons. Or that was my breakfast. It's hard to tell.

Using the Star Tool draw a large star within your artboard.


Step 2

With the star selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. A dialogue box will pop up. Select Preview so you can check out what your star will look like before you commit to it. I opted for a Radius of 0.6in.


Step 3

Using the Rectangle Tool (M) draw a box around the star. Place it behind the star shape in the Layers panel. Whatever colors you choose are entirely up to you, the color palette you use, and your overall composition. Have fun!


2. Create the Kawaii Cherries

Step 1

Let's get cracking on those kawaii characters. Using the Ellipse Tool (L) draw a circle. Pink, red or purple, it's up to you.

Then, draw a stem using the Pen Tool (P) with dark brown as your stroke color and the Stroke Weight at between 10-15pt (really this depends on the size of your design).


Step 2

Select the curved line and go to Object > Expand. A dialogue box will pop up, select Fill and Stroke and hit OK.


Step 3

Add a couple curved lines for the top of the stem and the place in the cherry where the stem connects. Expand these too.


Step 4

Draw another circle for the second cherry. Make it a lighter color and keep it in front of the other cherry.

Add a couple curved lines to connect the new cherry to the previously made stem.


Step 5

The characters in this tutorial are all pretty simple, so it's already time for faces! On the darker cherry, draw an ellipse for the eye, and a less-than symbol for the other, winking eye. Add another line so it looks like an inverted chicken foot.

The other cherry has two ellipses for eyes and a wide, smiley mouth.


Step 6

Add little circles for the cheeks in contrasting pinks, white circles for highlights to make the cherries look shiny, and little white circles in the eyes. Reduce the Opacity on the circles on the cherries themselves. Finally, draw a little heart with the Pencil Tool (N) for the lighter cherry's tongue.


Step 7

Group (Control + G) together your cherries and all of their features. Copy (Control + C) and Paste (Control + V) the newly grouped shape, apply dark brown to it as the fill color, Unite the shapes in Pathfinder, and add a thick stroke to the shape.


Step 8

Align your new shape behind the cherries and alter the weight of the outlining shape's stroke as you see fit. Group these shapes together.


3. Create a Kawaii Apple and Peach

Step 1

We're going to start with the apple. Using the Pen Tool (P), start in the middle of the shape and bring it around to the left, down to a small curved bump and back straight up. This creates one half of the apple shape. Copy and Paste the apple shape and flip it over a vertical axis (right-click and hit Transform).


Step 2

Align the two shapes so it forms a single apple and Unite them in Pathfinder. the apple needs a leaf. Using the Pen Tool draw a dramatic curve from the top indent in the apple down and to the right. Move the handle back into the new anchor point, and connect a new curve back to the start.


Step 3

Draw a small stem shape (expanded stroke) and add a cute heart with the Pencil Tool. Add a thin curve slice to indicate the curves and veins of the leaf.


Step 4

For the face, draw three ellipses. Initially the apple looks like it's screaming. I want to make it a happy smile, though.

Draw a rectangle that crosses over the circular mouth. With both shapes selected, hit Minus Front in Pathfinder.


Step 5

Now you've been left with a cute, happy smile. Draw another heart for its tongue, add some highlights in the eyes, and create an outlining shape to complete your cute little fruit.


Step 6

For the peach, change the color of the apple from pink-red to peachy-orange. Delete the happy, open mouth and draw a thick, stroked curved line for a sweet smile.


4. Create a Kawaii Cupcake

Step 1

Draw a circle, in tan, with the Ellipse Tool (L). This creates the cake part of the cupcake.


Step 2

For the icing all you'll need are some ellipses (they're pretty key in making cute, chubby little characters). Draw a wide ellipse in a creamy, light yellow. Add little circles going along the bottom edge of the frosting ellipse. Select all of your icing shapes and Unite in Pathfinder.


Step 3

For the cup of the cupcake, draw a thin ellipse below the other two shapes. This will denote the bottom curve of the cup. Add another one, wider this time, to the area where you'd like the top of the cupcake's cup to be. For the bulk of the cupcake itself, draw a rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M) and zoom in to adjust the edges (highlighted below). Unite the purple shapes in Pathfinder.


Step 4

The top of the cup is scalloped. Start on the left side with the Pen Tool (P) and draw three curved scallops by manipulating the anchor handles and getting the curves you desire. Loop the shape back up and around to the start. Copy and Paste the scallops, flip it over a vertical axis, and line it up on the cup. Unite these two shapes in Pathfinder, select the scallop shape and the cup shape, and hit Minus Front and Pathfinder.


Step 5

Draw little circular sprinkles all over the cake's icing. Add a face similar to the one from the apple and add a final outline to complete the cake.


5. Create a Kawaii Balloon

Step 1

Balloons are easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Draw a vertical ellipse with the Ellipse Tool (L) and add a little bumpy shape at the bottom with the Pencil Tool (N). Unite the shapes in Pathfinder and adjust the balloon to be squishier or rounder to accentuate the cuteness.


Step 2

Using the Pen Tool draw a loopy line and apply a light yellow stroke to it (no fill color). Expand the stroke and add light blue circles to the top of the balloon.

Draw a cute little face and add a final outline to complete the character.


6. Create a Kawaii Hard Candy

Step 1

Little hard candies are a breeze. Draw a circle and add a looped shape to the left side. Copy and Paste the loopy shape, flip it over a vertical axis, and add it to the right side. Unite all three shapes in Pathfinder.


Step 2

To add a large heart to the center of the candy, draw two circles and place them close together. Using the Pen Tool, start on the left side and create a curve going down, slightly over to the right, and ending in the middle of the shape. Bring it back up and over to the starting anchor. Copy and Paste the new quadrant, flip it over a vertical axis, and line it up the the lower point and the right edge of the right circle. Once satisfied with your heart, Unite all four shapes in Pathfinder.


Step 3

Resize your heart, if necessary, and place it in the center of the candy. Add a cute face and outline to the candy base. With a darker creamy yellow, draw little teardrop shapes in the side of the candy.


7. Create a Kawaii Lolly

Step 1

Draw a brightly colored circle. Then, also using the Ellipse Tool draw another circle, this time darker and smaller, inside the first one.


Step 2

Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool draw a white shape that will be the lollipop's stick. Draw a larger one around it and reduce the Opacity of the second shape by 50%.

Select the larger stick shape and the outer circle, and using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift + M) select the portion of the larger stick shape that doesn't intersect with the light blue circle. Delete this extra shape.


Step 3

Group these parts together, move the darker blue circle above the stick shapes and reduce its Opacity. Add a thick brown outline shape to the group, draw a cute face and some little circles around the candy.


8. Create a Kawaii Watermelon and Orange

Step 1

To create the watermelon base, draw a circle and a rectangle over it. Select both shapes and either hit Minus Front or Intersect in Pathfinder depending on which half of the circle you'd like to remain.


Step 2

Recolor the watermelon's base as a darker green and add a pink slice shape for the inside of the watermelon. The outside of the fruit needs some sort of design. I layered circles on top of each other, alternating in green tones. Align the circles and Copy and Paste around the curve of the melon. Using the Shape Builder Tool, delete the portions of the circles that do not intersect with the melon.


Step 3

Using the Pen Tool draw angled heart shapes (they're basically two teardrops together) for the watermelon's seeds. Add a white curved strip between the pink and green of the melon. Finally, add a face and outline your shape. Group it all together. for an orange, change the greens to oranges and yellow, the pink to yellow, and the brown seeds to white.


9. Create a Kawaii Pencil

Step 1

For the pencil point, draw a tan cone shape. Add an overlapping dark brown shape, select both, and delete the non-intersecting parts with the Shape Builder Tool.


Step 2

For the body of the pencil, draw a yellow rectangle with the Rectangle Tool. Add tan circles to form a scalloped edge between the pencil's tip and body. Delete the bits of circles that extend beyond the pencil shape with the Shape Builder Tool.


Step 3

Add light and dark yellow rectangles to the body shape in order to create the varying planes in the pencil's body. Delete the non-intersecting parts of the additional rectangles with the Shape Builder Tool.


Step 4

To create the pencil's end, use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to create three grey shapes and a pink eraser. Place the eraser beneath the other pencil shapes and add some small circles in the grey bits for the little holes in the metal pencil end.


Step 5

Add a cute face and an outline to complete the design. Copy and Paste the pencil and change the pencil's body colors for additional cute pencil friends.


10. Create Kawaii Stars and Form Collage

Step 1

Following the steps from the first section in this tutorial, create a cute little rounded star. Add an outline and start drawing a face.


Step 2

Vary the facial features, as you'll be making a few of these little stars for the final collage.


Step 3

Arrange your characters around the star shape. Add variations on some of the characters by changing their colors.


Step 4

Using the Pencil Tool, draw a cute eight-point sparkle shape. Scatter these around the design along with little hearts, small stars, and circles.


Step 5

Play with the characters in varying colors and rotating them so they don't look so uniform.


Step 6

Group together your character designs, Copy and Paste the group, Unite in Pathfinder, add a light yellow to the fill and weight the stroke (also light yellow) to around 12-14pt.


Awesome Work, Well Done!

Your sparkly, super kawaii collage design is complete! Add other cute foods, fruits, and objects to the collage or vary the colors for a bolder theme. Cute designs like this can also be easily made into patterns for printed material. The possibilities are endless.

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