In this tutorial we’ll be designing stylized flat characters, depicting a happy couple getting married. We’ll be modifying a lot of basic geometric shapes, applying various warp effects and using handy tools and functions of Adobe Illustrator to make the characters look fancy and lively.
By the end of this tutorial you’ll be able to design a bride and a groom in fancy flat style and change their appearance to your liking, varying hairdos, suits, skin color and other details. What is more, we can combine the characters, depicting both heterosexual and same-sex wedding couples!
If you want to take a closer look at how each character was designed or to use it for your designs of wedding invitations, postcards or other, make sure you’ve check out these 9 Wedding Couples with Flat Characters on GraphicRiver to discover all the numerous combinations of happy couples and all the variety of their appearance!
1. How to Create the Face of a Flat Groom Character
Start by making the head with the help of the Rectangle Tool (M) or the Rounded Rectangle Tool, which you can find in the same drop-down menu of the Tools panel. Make a 65 x 80 px yellow shape and set the Corner Radius to 20 px. We can do this by selecting our shape with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then either using the Live Corners feature (by pulling the tiny circle markers) or from the control panel on top.
Let’s add the eyes. Take the Ellipse Tool (L), hold down Shift and make a 6 x 6 px brown circle. Select it with the Selection Tool (V), hold Alt-Shift and drag to the side, creating a copy for the second eye.
In order to keep everything organized and aligned, select both eyes and Group (Control-G) them. Then select both the eye group and the head and click the head once again to make it a Key Object. You will notice a thicker selection outline around the head, indicating that all other objects will now be aligned to the Key Object. Let’s open the Align panel and click Horizontal Align Center to make the eyes perfectly centered.
Keep the eyes closer to the lower half of the face, forming a large forehead.
Now let’s depict the eyebrows in order to give the face a lively expression. Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to make a 7 x 3 px blue shape with fully rounded corners.
Keeping the brow selected, double-click the Rotate Tool (R) and set the Angle value to 15 degrees. Click OK to apply the changes.
Double-click the Reflect Tool (O). Flip the brow over the Vertical Axis and click Copy to create a second brow.
Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and let’s make a nose. Hold Shift and create a 10 x 10 px yellowish-orange circle. Select its top anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A), hold Shift and drag the point up, creating a drop-like shape for the nose.
Remember to use the Align panel to center the nose to the face, using the head shape as a Key Object.
Now we'll form a wide, smiling mouth using the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a 25 x 10 px white shape. Select its bottom anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool and pull the circle markers of the Live Corners, making the corners 6 px rounded.
Switch to the Rounded Rectangle Tool and let’s draw the ear. Make a 10 x 20 px shape of a slightly darker color than the face. Hold Alt-Shift and drag the ear to the right, creating a copy for the opposite side of the head.
Finally, select both ears, Group (Control-G) them and right-mouse click > Arrange > Send to Back or simply Shift-Control-[ to place the ears behind the head.
Now let’s style a fancy hairdo for our groom. Arm yourself with the Rectangle Tool (M) and create an 85 x 50 px blue shape. Select both the rectangle and the head shape and Horizontal Align Right, using the head as the Key Object to snap the hair to the right part of the head.
Take the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C), hold Shift, and pull and position the handles of the top left anchor point vertically, as shown in the screenshot below.
Now let’s select the opposite (top right) anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and pull the Live Corner marker to make this part of the shape really smooth and rounded.
Repeat the same for the bottom left corner, making it rounded to create a stylish fringe.
We can fix the hair shape, using the Direct Selection Tool (A) while pulling the anchor handles on top of the hair, making it flat to preserve the overall geometric style with straight lines.
Let’s add a neck before we proceed to build the body. Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to create a 20 x 35 px shape with full rounded corners. Press Shift-Control-[ to Send the shape to Back, beneath the head.
2. How to Design the Body of the Flat Groom Character
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and let’s start drawing the body from the shirt. Make an 80 x 150 px white shape, select its bottom anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and make the corners fully rounded, setting the Corner Radius to 40 px in the control panel on top.
Take the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), place a new anchor point in the middle of the top edge, and drag it up, using the Direct Selection Tool (A).
Let’s form the top part of the trousers. Place a dark-grey rectangle over the bottom of the body, as shown in the image below.
Select both the body shape and the rectangle and switch to the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M). Hold Alt and click the piece of the rectangle outside the edges of the body. This way we can delete the unwanted parts of the shapes.
Add a couple of blue stripes on top of the trousers, using the same technique with the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) to delete the unwanted pieces outside the body shape.
Let’s move on to the groom’s jacket. Create a grey rectangle (of a slightly lighter color than the trousers) and make it cover the left part of the character’s body. Select both the rectangle and the body shape and delete the unneeded part, using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).
Select the bottom right anchor point of the rectangle with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and make it rounded.
Now let’s add a second half of the jacket. Select the created half and double-click the Reflect Tool (O) to mirror the shape over the Vertical Axis and click Copy.
We need to Align the created part to the opposite side of the body. In order to do this precisely and easily, select both the mirrored piece and the body and click the body shape once again to make it a Key Object. Head to the Align panel and click Horizontal Align Left to snap the jacket to the left edge of the body. Easy as that!
Let’s add lapels to the suit. Grab the Polygon Tool and single-click anywhere on the Artboard to open the pop-up options window. Set the Sides value to 3 and draw a triangle. Select its side anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and shrink the shape, making it much narrower.
Attach the lapel to the left half of the suit and use the Align function to Horizontal Align Right and Vertical Align Top, using the suit as the Key Object in order to snap the lapel to the edge.
Let’s add a shadow beneath the lapel. Copy the lapel and Paste in Back (Control-C > Control-B). Move the side anchor point of the bottom copy down and to the left, making the shape a bit wider, and make its Fill color somewhat darker as well.
Group (Control-G) the lapel and its shadow and use the Reflect Tool (O) to flip the lapel group to the opposite half of the suit and snap it to the edge, using the Align panel.
Let’s depict a bow tie to make our groom look elegant. Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to create a 10 x 15 px shape with 2 px Corner Radius and fill it with the same blue color as the hair. Use the Eyedropper Tool (I) to pick the color from one shape and apply it to the other.
Attach a 10 x 12 px rectangle of a slightly darker blue color to the left edge and use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select the top and bottom left anchor points and move them in opposite directions with the help of the arrow keys in order to make the shape wider.
Use the Reflect Tool (O) to add a second half of the bow tie.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) and the Polygon Tool to add a tiny pocket with a blue triangular handkerchief inside.
Add two round dark-grey buttons to the jacket, and let’s proceed to the arms of our character.
Use the Arc Tool (you can find it in the same menu as the Line Segment Tool (\)) or the Pencil Tool (N) to draw a smooth arched line for the right arm.
Set the Stroke color to the same tint of yellow as we have for the face. Open the Stroke panel and set the Weight to 20 pt, making the line really thick. Set the Cap to Round Cap in order to make the tips of the line fully rounded.
Find an anchor point in the middle of the arm or, if you don't have one, create it using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+). Select it with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and make the anchor handles a bit shorter in order to bend the elbow in a more realistic manner.
Add a short stroke for the thumb, setting the Weight to 10 pt.
Let’s add a sleeve to the jacket. Select the arm with the Selection Tool (V), Copy it and Paste in Front (Control-C > Control-F). Change the Stroke color to the same dark grey as we have for the jacket. Switch the Cap to Butt Cap, making the tips straight. Move the top and bottom anchor points of the arm together with the sleeve to make them fit the shoulder of the jacket.
Add and remove the anchor points of the tips of the lines to make the strokes shorter, if needed, but try to keep both lines combined with each other, so that the yellow stroke is right beneath the grey stroke.
Add the second arm, using the same technique, but this time change its position as shown in the image below.
Now let’s draw the legs. Use the Line Segment Tool (\) or the Pen Tool (P) while holding down Shift to make a straight vertical line. Apply a dark-grey color for the Stroke and set the Weight to 20 pt and Cap to Round Cap, making a thick line.
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a 50 x 16 px dark-grey shape for the boot. Select its top left anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and make the corner fully rounded, setting the Corner Radius to 16 px.
Use the Arc Tool to create a smooth arched line to the second leg, making it look slightly bent.
Looks like our groom is finished! Let’s move on to the bride!
3. How to Draw the Head of a Flat Bride Character
Let’s start by forming the head from a 55 x 80 px yellow rectangle. Select both top anchor points and make the corners rounded, setting the Corner Radius to 20 px.
Make the bottom of the rectangle, which is for the chin, fully rounded.
Select the bottom anchor point in the middle of the chin with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and click Convert selected anchor points to corner in the Convert menu of the control panel on top to make the chin pointed.
We can also drag the chin point up a bit to make the face shorter.
Add the eyes, nose and neck in the same way as we did for our previous character with the only difference that we also need to draw eyelashes. Use the Arc Tool to make a tiny arch with 1.5 pt Stroke Weight and Round Cap.
Let’s add a smiling mouth. Continue using the Arc Tool to make an arched red line with 1.5 pt Weight and Round Cap.
Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and make a 15 x 6 px light-pink shape for the lips. Send Backward (Control-[), beneath the stroke.
Select both side anchor points of the ellipse and move them a few pixels up using the Up Arrow key to make the lips fit the red stroke.
Add two pinkish ovals on the cheeks for the blush, and let’s move on to the hairdo.
Place two brown ovals over the forehead and make them overlap, as shown in the image below. Select both ovals and Unite them in the Pathfinder, merging them into a single shape.
Now we need to delete the unwanted part of the hair, which is outside the head. Select both the hair shape and the head and use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) while holding Alt to click and delete the piece.
There we have it! An elegant hairdo is ready!
Make a 40 x 30 px ellipse for the bun and Send to Back (Shift-Control-[), beneath the head. Make the color slightly darker than the overall color of the hair.
Add two 5 x 5 px white circles for the pearl earrings. Use the Pencil Tool (N) to draw an arched line at the bottom of the neck for the necklace, and let’s see how we can add pearls here in a few clicks.
Apply white color for the Stroke and open the Stroke panel. Set the Weight to 5 px, Cap to Round Cap and tick the Dashed Line checkbox. Set the dash value to 0 px and the gap value to 4.5. This way we’re forming a nice necklace with round pearls. If you happen to have some gaps between the pearls, try adjusting the gap value, thus eliminating the unwanted spaces.
Now we’ll be adding flowers to make the hairdo more festive. Take the Polygon Tool and set the Sides value to 6, creating a pink hexagon. Place it in front of the bun, and let’s see how we can actually turn it into a flower. Go to Effects > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat and move the slider to the Bloat side, setting it to 60%.
Go to Object > Expand Appearance in order apply the effect, making the flower editable.
Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to add a few minor details to the flower.
Finally, let’s add a veil to finish off the hairdo. Create an 85 x 85 px light-pink rectangle and make its top part fully rounded by using the Live Corners feature and the Direct Selection Tool (A).
Now we can move on to the body!
4. How to Draw the Body & Dress of the Flat Bride Character
Create a 60 x 105 px yellow rectangle for the body and make its corners fully rounded, using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and the Live Corners feature.
Let’s add a couple of anchor points in the middle of both sides of the rectangle with the help of the Add Anchor Point Tool (+). Select the point on the left and press Enter to open the Move options window.
Set the Horizontal value to 5 px and the Vertical value to 0 px. Click OK to move the point 5 px to the right.
Repeat the same for the opposite point, but this time apply a negative value (-5 px) in order to move the point in the opposite direction, forming a wavy waistline.
Keeping both points selected, click Convert selected anchor points to smooth in the control panel on top, making the edges smoother.
Now let’s design the dress!
Place a light-pink rectangle over the body, select both shapes and use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) while holding Alt to delete the unneeded piece outside the body.
Add two overlapping circles for the bust and Unite them in the Pathfinder. Delete the unwanted parts, using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).
Let’s add two more circles (40 x 40 px each) for the sleeves, applying a slightly darker color. And now we need to cut the circles to make them fit the body.
We could just move the shapes beneath the body, but we actually need these shapes to remain on top of the body shape in the Layers panel, as they will be covering the top parts of the arms.
So, let’s select the body shape, Copy and Paste in Front twice (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Then select the top body copy and the right sleeve and use Minus Front function of the Pathfinder to cut off the left half of the circle.
Repeat the same for the left sleeve, using the second copy of the body shape.
Now let’s draw a long puffy skirt. Start by attaching a 55 x 230 px rectangle to the body. Select its bottom right anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and hit the Enter key to open the Move window. Set the Horizontal value to 80 px and the Vertical value to 0 px. Click OK, moving the point 80 px to the right.
Repeat the same for the opposite point, applying a negative value (-80 px), thus making the skirt wide at the bottom.
Keeping the skirt selected, go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Set the Vertical Bend value to 40% and click OK. Continue by using Object > Expand Appearance to apply the effect.
Finish up with the skirt by adding two darker wide stripes in the bottom.
Let’s design a festive bridal bouquet, using the flowers that we’ve already created for the hairdo.
Make a 47 x 47 px green circle and fill it with white flowers and tiny circles. Add a darker green rectangle under the bouquet, making the bottom part of the shape somewhat wider.
Use the Arc Tool or the Pencil Tool (N) to add the arms holding the bouquet. Set the Stroke color to yellow, Weight to 12 px and Cap to Round Cap.
Position the arms beneath the sleeves in the Layers panel.
There we have it! Our happy couple is ready to get married! Put our characters next to each other and add any minor details to your liking. For example, here I’ve used the Line Segment Tool (\) to add some horizontal lines for the floor.
Congratulations! Our Flat Wedding Characters Are Finished!
I hope you’ve enjoyed following this tutorial and designing fancy characters. You can actually change their appearance to your liking and even depict yourself together with your other half or someone from your friends and family in a stylized flat manner!
Take a look at the variety of couples that we can create using our characters and varying their hairdos, skin color and suits. What is more, we can depict both heterosexual and same-sex happy couples! If you wish to discover how the characters were made or you want to get a full set for your designs in various formats (both vector and raster), make sure you check out these 9 Wedding Couples with Flat Characters on GraphicRiver.