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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Draw the Minions in Adobe Illustrator

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

Today’s tutorial is going to be an absolute blast since we’re going to take a look at the process of drawing and illustrating the Minions, some of the funniest characters that have ever made an appearance on the big screen.

Oh, and don’t forget you can always expand the pack by heading over to GraphicRiver where you’ll find a great selection of illustrated characters to pick from.

That being said, make sure you treat yourself with a cold glass of banana milkshake, and let’s get started!

1. How to Set Up a New Project File

Since I’m sure 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: 320 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 the Layers

Once we’ve finished setting up our project file, we’ll want to structure our document using several layers, since this way we can maintain a steady workflow by focusing on one character at a time. 

The way that we’re going to be using the layers is by digitally sketching out the anatomy and details of each character onto the “sketch” section, and then going onto the layer underneath and recreating them using basic geometric shapes combined with Pen Tool generated ones.

That being said, bring up the Layers panel, and create a total of six layers, which we will rename as follows:

  • layer 1: stuart
  • layer 2: sketch for stuart
  • layer 3: kevin
  • layer 4: sketch for kevin
  • layer 5: bob
  • layer 6: sketch for bob
setting up the layers

Quick tip: I’ve colored all of my layers using the same green value for the sake of the tutorial, since it’s the easiest one to view when used to highlight your selected shapes (whether closed or open paths).

3. How to Draw Stuart

We’re going to start by drawing the tritagonist’s basic anatomic shapes, and then gradually add details until we have a version that feels ready enough to add shapes too. That being said, make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the second one), and then lock all the other ones so that we can get started.

Step 1

With every drawing project, we want to start by figuring out the anatomy of the character, and we’ll do so by drawing the basic guideline for the head. We’re going to rely on the Paintbrush Tool (B) and use one of Illustrator’s default Calligraphic brushes (Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_Calligraphic) with a 1 px blue (#3994F7) Stroke to draw a simple circle positioned towards the upper half of the underlying Artboard.

drawing the head of Stuart

Step 2

Draw the face’s vertical guideline followed by the horizontal one, which we will position slightly over the head’s upper half as seen in the reference image. We’ll be using these lines later on to place the facial features, so make sure you portion them correctly.

drawing the guidelines for the head of Stuart

Step 3

Use the length of the lower section of the head’s vertical guideline to determine the height of the character’s body, drawing it using another line segment.

drawing the guideline for the body height of Stuart

Step 4

Separate the body’s upper section from its bottom one using another horizontal guideline, making sure to make the latter shorter.

delimiting the body sections for Stuart

Step 5

Delimit the body’s lower end using a second horizontal guideline.

delimiting the lower end for the body of Stuart

Step 6

Connect the character’s head to its body using two vertical guidelines starting from the center of the circle’s outer edges, going all the way down to the third horizontal line.

connecting the head of Stuart to his body

Step 7

Create the guidelines for the hands using two curved lines, which we will position onto the side of the body, right between the circle and the second horizontal line.

drawing the hands for Stuart

Quick tip: As you can see, I’ve gone for a more behind-the-body approach, but you can feel free to draw them using any position you’d like, making the project more your own.

Step 8

Finally, draw the legs using two short diagonal lines ending each of them with a similar length horizontal one. Now, before you move on to the detailing process, make sure you select and group all of the blue lines together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, so that you can quickly edit them if you find you need to later on.

drawing the legs for Stuart

Step 9

From this moment on, we’re going to start adding details to the basic anatomic structure that we’ve created, using red (#F46B3B) as our Stroke color. That being said, make sure you switch your color and then draw the outer section of the character’s eye goggle using a pretty large circle.

drawing the outer section of the goggle for Stuart

Step 10

Add the goggle’s inner section followed by the actual eye, which as you can see has a little top-right cutout.

drawing the inner section of the google for Stuart

Step 11

Next, focus on the strap which has two smaller side sections, followed by two larger ones.

drawing the side sections of the goggle for Stuart

Step 12

Quickly draw the goggle’s little bolt heads using a couple of curved lines as seen in the reference image.

adding the bolt heads to the goggle for Stuart

Step 13

Take a couple of moments and focus on the mouth, which is one of the facial features that will make the character stand out.

drawing the mouth for Stuart

Step 14

Draw the lower section of the pants using a curved line positioned between the second and third horizontal guidelines.

drawing the lower section of the pants for Stuart

Step 15

Add the pants’ upper section by drawing a nice curved line that goes all the way up to the head guideline’s lower edge.

drawing the upper section of the pants for Stuart

Step 16

Take a couple of moments, and finish up the pants by drawing the center pocket followed by the two diagonal suspenders.

adding details to the pants for Stuart

Step 17

Focus on the hands, by drawing the end sections of the gloves, followed by the actual hands which will go underneath the suspenders.

adding details to the hands of Stuart

Step 18

Move on down towards the legs and quickly draw them making sure to add the circular shadow once you’re done.

adding the circular shadow to the legs of Stuart

Step 19

Finish off the sketch, by adding the little hair segments, making sure to select all of the red lines (Select > Same > Stroke Color) and then group (Control-G) them together before moving on to the illustrating process.

drawing the hair for Stuart

4. How to Illustrate Stuart

For the next few minutes, we’re going to recreate the character using basic geometric shapes, following the guidelines that we’ve just laid out. That being said, make sure you lock the current character’s sketch layer, and move down to the one underneath.

Step 1

Start out by covering up the main sections of the body using different shades of gray in order to know which shape is which. Take your time, and once you’re done, move on to the next step.

creating the main shapes for the body of Stuart

Quick Tip: if you feel that sketch lines are too distracting, you can always go back to their layer and lower their Opacity to something that feels better to work with.

 Step 2

Once you’ve laid out the basic shapes for the character’s main composing sections, you can then start adding details such as the eye, mouth, hair, etc.

adding details to the body of Stuart

Step 3

At this point, we’re pretty much done working on the character, which means we can turn off the guidelines by hiding their layer, and then focus on adding a couple of finishing touches by casting a couple of down-facing shadows here and there.

adding finishing touches to the body of Stuart

Step 4

Finish off the character by swapping out the gray color scheme for a more vivid one using the values indicated below:

  • head, body and arms: #FFDA66
  • eye and teeth: #FFFFFF
  • hair, eye pupil, goggle band, mouth, gloves, shoes, and circular shadow: #2B3249
  • front section of the pants: #849ED8
  • suspenders, side pockets, front pocket, leg sections: #667EB2
  • goggle’s outer section: #BDC9E5
  • goggle’s inner section, side strap elements, and bolt elements: #7E8CA8
  • strap side elements’ inner section: #50617C
  • eye shadow: #D3D3D3
  • body shadows: #FFB266
  • pants pocket shadows: #516A96
finishing off stuart

5. How to Draw Kevin

Assuming you’ve finished working on the first character, lock all its layers, and then move on up to the next one (that would be the fourth one) where we will start drawing our second minion.

Step 1

As we did with Stuart, start out by drawing the basic anatomic structure, only this time use a smaller circle for the head and a longer line for his body. Once you’re done, make sure you select and group (Control-G) each of the blue guide lines together before moving on to the next step.

drawing the anatomic structure for Kevin

Step 2

Once we’ve laid out our basic skeleton, we can start adding details to it, and we will do so by creating the character’s eyes and goggles.

drawing the eyes for Kevin

Step 3

Draw the pants, making sure to end the upper section near the point where the right hand starts.

drawing the pants for Kevin

Step 4

Next, add the character’s mouth, hands, and legs.

drawing the mouth hand and legs for Kevin

Step 5

Finish off the sketch by adding the final details, making sure to select and group (Control-G) each of the red guidelines before moving on to the next part of the process.

drawing details to the body of Kevin

6. How to Illustrate Kevin

For the next part, we’re going to recreate the character using basic geometric shapes as we did with Stuart, so make sure you lock the current character’s sketch layer, and move down to the one underneath.

Step 1

Cover up the main sections of the body using different shades of gray as seen in the reference image.

creating the main shapes for the body of Kevin

Step 2

Once you’ve laid out the basic shapes for the character’s main composing sections, you can then start adding details such as the eyes, mouth, hair, etc.

adding details to the body of Kevin

Step 3

At this point, we can turn off the guidelines, and then focus on adding a couple of finishing touches by casting a couple of down-facing shadows as we did with Stuart.

adding finishing touches to the body of Kevin

Step 4

Finish off the current character by swapping out the gray color scheme for a more vivid one using the values indicated below:

  • head, body and arms: #FFDA66
  • eyes and teeth: #FFFFFF
  • hair, eye pupils, goggle band, mouth, gloves, shoes, and circular shadow: #2B3249
  • front section of the pants: #849ED8
  • suspenders, side pockets, front pocket, leg sections: #667EB2
  • goggles' outer section: #BDC9E5
  • goggles' inner section, side strap elements, and bolt elements: #7E8CA8
  • strap side elements’ inner section: #50617C
  • eye shadows: #D3D3D3
  • body shadows: #FFB266
  • pants pocket shadows: #516A96
finishing off kevin

7. How to Draw Bob

We are now down to our third and last Minion, so assuming you’ve positioned yourself onto the right layer (that would be the sixth one), let’s wrap things up.

Step 1

As we did with all the previous characters, start out by drawing the basic anatomic structure, making sure you select and group (Control-G) each of the blue guide lines together before moving on to the next step.

drawing the anatomic structure for Bob

Step 2

Once we’ve laid out our basic anatomic structure, we can start adding details to it, and we will do so by creating the character’s eyes and goggles.

drawing the eyes for Bob

Step 3

Next, draw the pants since we’ll use them to position some of the other details.

drawing the pants for Bob

Step 4

Take a couple of moments and draw Bob’s mouth, hands, and legs.

drawing the hands and legs of Bob

Step 5

Finish off the sketch by adding the final details, making sure to select and group (Control-G) each of the red guidelines before moving on to the last part of the process.

drawing details to the body of Bob

8. How to Illustrate Bob

As we did with all the other characters, we’re going to recreate Bob using basic geometric shapes, so make sure you lock the current character’s sketch layer, and move down to the one underneath.

Step 1

Start by covering up the main sections of the body using different shades of gray as seen in the reference image.

creating the main shapes for the body of Bob

Step 2

Once you’ve laid out the basic shapes for the character’s main composing sections, you can then start adding details such as the eyes, mouth, hair, etc.

adding details to the body of Bob

Step 3

Turn off the guidelines, and then focus on adding a couple of finishing touches by casting a couple of down-facing shadows as we did with the previous two characters.

adding finishing touches to the body of Bob

Step 4

Finish off the current character, and with it the project itself, by swapping out the gray color scheme for a more vivid one using the values indicated below:

  • head, body, and arms: #FFDA66
  • eyes and teeth: #FFFFFF
  • hair, eye pupils, goggle band, mouth, gloves, shoes, and circular shadow: #2B3249
  • front section of the pants: #849ED8
  • suspenders, side pockets, front pocket, leg sections: #667EB2
  • goggles' outer section: #BDC9E5
  • goggles' inner section, side strap elements, and bolt elements: #7E8CA8
  • strap side elements’ inner section: #50617C
  • eye shadows: #D3D3D3
  • body shadows: #FFB266
  • pants pocket shadows: #516A96
finishing off bob

It’s a Wrap!

Great work, fellow Minion lovers! I hope you’ve enjoyed the tutorial, and most importantly had fun while recreating these little guys.

finished project preview
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