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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Draw a Cute Bat Character in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Phobia Week!.
How to Create a Flame Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop
How to Draw a Shark Step by Step
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Chiroptophobia is the fear of bats. Those who have this phobia experience intense fear and panic at the thought or sight of bats, and often they go to extreme lengths to avoid them. In many cases, the fear of bats comes from misconceptions of bats. Bats are seen as ugly creatures with beady eyes and large leathery wings, yet they are not dangerous to humans.

For these reasons, today we are going to draw a cute and totally friendly bat character in vector form, so be ready to improve your character drawing skills. Let's begin!

If you need more resources, head over to GraphicRiver and you will find a big selection of bat vectors and illustrations or maybe cartoon characters in general. 

1. How to Open a New Document 

Launch Illustrator and go to File > New to open a blank document. Type a name for your file, set up the dimensions, and then select Pixels as Units and RGB as Color Mode. Make sure that Align New Objects to Pixel Grid is not checked.

Next, go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1 px and while there, go to Units to make sure they are set as in the following image. I usually work with these settings, and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

how to open new illustrator document

2. How to Draw the Shape of the Head

Step 1

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw two ellipses as shown in the image below. The blue ellipse has dimensions of 132 x 67 px, and the pink ellipse has dimensions of 82 x75 px (1). I highly recommend using these dimensions because all future settings and effects will work best this way.

While the two shapes stay selected, press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to obtain a single shape (2). Now, with the help of the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), add a few extra points along the path and then switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move some of these points or move their handles to distort the shape a little (3). 

how to draw the head of the bat

Step 2

Select gray as the fill color for the face shape, and after that, go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown.

how to color the head of the bat

Step 3

Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a curved path at the bottom of the face, and give it a 5 pt Stroke (1). Next, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 5 px.

Select the face shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) in order to make a copy of it. Remove all existing appearances. Now, select this copy along with the curved path and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7) (2). You can see the end result in the image below (3). 

how to add shading on the bats face

Step 4

Let' add some details to the face. Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw two short paths on the sides of the head and two paths at the bottom of the head to define the “chin”. Stroke these four paths with the Black Blend Art Brush 100 x 3 (info below) and reduce the Stroke Weight to 0.5 pt. Set the Opacity to 20%.

I have an entire tutorial dedicated to Blend Art Brushes and how useful they are. I use them in my drawings all the time. You can find more information on the Black Blend Art Brush 100 x 3 that we are using today in How to Create a Set of Multi-Use, Blend Brushes in Adobe Illustrator

how to add details on the face of the bat

3. How to Draw the Eyes of the Bat

Step 1

Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw the shape of the eyes and fill them with the linear gradient shown. Reverse the gradient for the left eye (1).

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a path above each eye, following the top edge, and stroke them with the same Black Blend Art Brush. Increase the Stroke Weight to 2 pt (2).

Next, draw a similar path under each eye and stroke them with the Black Blend Art Brush again (3).

The Colorization of the brush is set to Tints. Therefore, if you choose any color from the Swatches panel, the brush will change its color as well, but now we are using different shades of gray. You can see the end result in the image below (4). 

how to draw the eyes of the bat

Step 2

Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw two moon-like shapes above the eyes as small lids. Fill them with a very dark shade of gray. 

how to draw the lids of the bat

Step 3

Still using the Pen Tool (P), draw two short paths on each eye as lashes. Give them a 1 pt black Stroke and select Width Profile 4 in the Stroke panel. 

how to draw the eyelashes of the bat

Step 4

Draw two smaller ellipses inside the eyes and fill them with a very dark shade of gray. 

how to draw the iris shape of the bats eye

Step 5

Use the Pencil Tool (N) or the Pen Tool (P) to draw five random paths starting from the center of the eyes (1) and stroke them with the Chalk Art Brush from the Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPencil. Reduce the Stroke Weight to 0.25 pt; then go to Effect > Stylize > Feather and apply a Radius of 5 px (2).

Select the right smaller ellipse and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) in order to make a copy of it. Remove the existing fill color. Now, select this copy along with the five paths on the right eye and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7) (3). Repeat the same thing for the left eye (4).

how to create the iris texture for the bats eye

Step 6

Select the two smaller ellipses and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to obtain two copies in front. Fill them with a radial gradient from white to black and then set the Blending Mode to Multiply (white becomes transparent). 

how to add shading around bats eyes

Step 7

Draw two smaller ellipses filled with black as the pupils (1). To add some sparkles, draw two circles of different sizes on top of each pupil and fill them with a radial gradient from white to black (2). Set the Blending Mode to Screen (black becomes transparent) for all four circles (3).

At this point, the eyes of the bat are done, and you can Group (Control-G) all the shapes that make up each eye. 

how to draw the pupils on the bats eyes

4. How to Draw the Nose and the Cheeks of the Bat

Step 1

Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a heart shape as the nose filled with a light shade of purple. While the shape stays selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply this effect twice. 

how to draw the nose shape of the bat

Step 2

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a path at the bottom of the nose and give it a 2 pt purple Stroke (1). Next, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 2 px.

Select the nose shape and Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) in order to make a copy of it. Remove all existing appearances. Now, select this copy along with the purple path and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7) (2). You can see the result in the image below (3).

how to add shading on the bats nose

Step 3

It's time to create the nostrils. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape of the nostril as shown below and fill it with purple. Draw a similar but smaller shape in the center and fill it with black. Now, select both shapes and go to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Once there, choose 10 Specified Steps and after that, go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B).

Repeat the same thing for the left nostril or reflect the one that you already have. 

how to create the nostrils of the bat

Step 4

To highlight the nose, follow the top edge and draw two paths. Stroke them with the Black Blend Art Brush, but set the stroke color to white, and the brush will become white as well. Set these two paths to Blending Mode Overlay and 75% Opacity.

At this point, the nose is ready, and you can Group (Control-G) all the shapes. 

how to highlight the nose of the bat

Step 5

To create the rosy cheeks, take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw two ellipses on the sides of the nose. Fill them with light purple and apply a 6 px Gaussian Blur.

how to create the rosy cheeks of the bat

5. How to Draw the Mouth of the Bat

Step 1

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a slightly curved path as the mouth. Stroke it with the Black Blend Art Brush and increase the Stroke Weight to 2 pt.

Still using the Pen Tool (P), draw a shape as shown in the image below to cover the top half of the Blend brush and fill it with the same shade of gray as the face. 

how to draw the mouth of the bat

Step 2

Draw the shape of the right tooth (1) and then draw a similar but smaller shape filled with white in the center (2). Select both shapes and Blend them using 10 Specified Steps (3).

Repeat the same thing for the left tooth or reflect the one that you already have.

how to draw the teeth of the bat

Step 3

While the teeth stay selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown below. 

how to add shadow to the bats teeth

6. How to Draw the Ears of the Bat

Step 1

With the help of the Pen Tool (P), draw the shape of the ears, and don't worry if they are not identical (1). Continue with the black paths as shown in the image below (2).

Select the right ear and then Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) to get a copy of it and remove the fill color. Now, select this copy along with the black path and press Divide in the Pathfinder panel (3). As a result, you will get two shapes, and you need to Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) them. Delete the shape at the bottom and keep only the smaller blue shape. Repeat the same thing for the left ear (4). 

how to draw the ear shapes of the bat

Step 2

Fill the shape of the ear with the shade of purple indicated; then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown (1).

Select the shape of the ear again and then Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) to make a copy. Fill this copy with gray and move it 1 px to the right by pressing the Right Arrow key on your keyboard once. Do the same thing for the left ear (2).

how to color the bigger part of the bats ear

Step 3

Now, select the smaller part of the ear and replace the blue color with the linear gradient shown. Reverse the gradient for the left ear. After that, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply this effect twice. 

how to color the smaller part of the bats ear

Step 4

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw two paths at the base of the ears following the shape of the head. Give them a 1 pt black Stroke and select the Width Profile 2 in the Stroke panel; then apply a 2 px Gaussian Blur. Set the Blending Mode to Soft Light for both.

how the add shadow at the base of the bats ears

Step 5

Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) the purple shape of the ear to make a copy of it and remove all existing appearances. Now, select this copy along with the smaller gray shape of the ear and also the path at the base of the ear, and then go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). Repeat the same thing for the left ear. Send the resulting groups behind the head. 

how to mask the bats ears

Step 6

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw two paths in each ear; give them a 1 pt black Stroke and use the Black Blend Art Brush again. Set them to Blending Mode Overlay and 20% Opacity.

how to add details in bats ears

Step 7

Let's add some highlights. Follow the edge of the gray shapes of the ears and draw two paths. Give them a 1 pt white Stroke and use the Black Blend Art Brush again. Set them to Blending Mode Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 75%.

At this point the ears are done, and you can Group (Control-G) all the shapes that make up each ear. Keep them behind the head.

how to highlight the bats ears

7. How to Draw the Wings of the Bat

Step 1

Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a rectangle with dimensions of about 168 x 111 px and use it as a size reference to draw the wing, otherwise your wing won't be in proportion with the head of the bat. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw four paths inside it, as shown in the image below. The red path has an 8 pt Stroke, and the three orange paths have a 4 pt Stroke (1).

While the four paths stay selected, go to Object > Expand and Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) if necessary. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move some of the anchor points in order to make these shapes thinner at the bottom and slightly wider at the top (2). The red shape will be the arm, and the orange shapes will be the second, third, and fourth finger.

Next, draw four droplet-like shapes at the end (3). Select the arm shape along with its blue droplet at the top and press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape. Repeat the same thing with each finger separately (4). 

how to draw the arm and fingers of the bat

Step 2

Fill the arm and the fingers with gray and then add a second Fill attribute at the bottom of the Appearance panel. Use light gray as the fill color; then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and apply the settings shown.

how to color the arm and fingers of the bat

Step 3

While the arm and the fingers stay selected, add a third Fill attribute at the bottom of the Appearance panel and use black this time. Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform again and apply the settings shown. 

how to color the arm and fingers of the bats wing

Step 4

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a long path on the right side of the arm and three short paths at the top of the fingers. Give them a 1 pt black Stroke and select Width Profile 4 in the Stroke panel; then apply a 1.5 px Gaussian Blur for the three short paths and a 2 px Gaussian Blur for the long path. Keep the arm with its shadow in front of everything else.

how to add shading on arm and fingers of the bat

Step 5

Let's add some highlights. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a path on the arm and each finger. Select white as the stroke color and use the Black Blend Art Brush. Keep the Stroke Weight for the three paths on the fingers at 1 pt, but increase it to 2 pt for the path on the arm. Set all of them to Blending Mode Overlay

how to add highlights on arm and fingers of the bat

Step 6

Now focus on the end of the finger. Draw the shape of the claw (1) and after that, draw a similar but smaller shape in the middle (2). Select both shapes, go to Object > Blend > Blend Options, and choose 12 Specified Steps. Go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B) (3).

how to draw the claw of the bat

Step 7

Draw a path on the claw and give it a 0.75 pt white Stroke using the Black Blend Art Brush. Reduce the Opacity to 66%, and this will be the highlight (1). Continue with the black shape behind the claw as the shadow (2). 

how to highlight the claw of the bat

Step 8

Group (Control-G) all the shapes that make up the claw, multiply it, and arrange one for the other fingers. For the arm, you need a bigger claw (which actually is called a thumb), so use the same technique and draw a bigger one (1).

Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a short curved path next to each claw as shown. Give them a 2 pt white Stroke and use the Black Blend Art Brush (2). Set the Blending Mode to Overlay for all of them, and you can see the result in the image below (3).

how to add the other claws of the bat

Step 9

Take the Pen Tool (P) again and draw the shape of the membrane as shown; then Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) to get a copy of it. Fill this copy with gray and move it 1-2 px downward with the help of the Down Arrow key on your keyboard.

how to draw the membrane of the bats wing

Step 10

Select the arm and the three fingers and then Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) to make copies of them. Keep the existing appearances and just apply the Drop Shadow effect (1).

Select the membrane and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it in front of everything. Remove the fill color (2). Now, select this copy along with the copies of the arm and fingers with the shadow applied to them, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). Move the resulting group behind the original arm and fingers but in front of the membrane (3).

how to create shadow on the membrane of the bats wing

Step 11

Let's add some highlights. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw three paths following the curves at the bottom of the membrane. Give them a 1 pt white Stroke and use the Black Blend Art Brush again. Set all of them to Blending Mode Overlay

how to add highlights on the membrane of the bats wing

Step 12

At this point, the wing is ready, and you can Group (Control-G) all the shapes. Rotate the head of the bat and arrange the wing as shown in the next image. Make a copy of the wing, rotate it, and arrange it behind the head. Select just the membrane shape and use a slightly darker shade of purple. The bat is starting to come together. 

how to position the head and the wings of the bat

8. How to Draw the Body and Fur of the Bat

Step 1

Draw a shape like the one in the next image, filled with gray, and send it behind the head and the wings. 

how to draw the body of the bat

Step 2

Grab the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a few paths that cover the bottom of the body shape. Select gray as the stroke color, increase the Stroke Weight to 22 pt, and use Width Profile 4 in the Stroke panel. Group (Control-G) all these paths. 

how to create the light pieces of fur on the bats body

Step 3

Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the group of paths from the previous step, reduce the Stroke Weight to 15 pt, choose a darker shade of gray, and keep the Width Profile 4.

Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the group of paths again, reduce the Stroke Weight to 10 pt, choose a slightly darker shade of gray, and keep the Width Profile 4

how to create the darker pieces of fur on the bats body

Step 4

Use the same technique to create a bit of fur at the top of the body shape. 

Finally, draw a shape with zig-zag sides as shown in the image below, and fill it with the linear gradient shown at a 90-degree Angle. At this point, the body and the fur are done, and you can Group (Control-G) all the shapes. Everything should be in the back.

how to create more fur on the bats body

Step 5

Now, you can add three pieces of fur on the head using the same technique explained earlier, and the cute bat character is done. 

how to add pieces of fur on the head of the bat

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is the final image of the bat character. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and that you learned new techniques today. If you recreate it, please share an image because I would love to see it. 

bat character final image
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