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Illustrator for Kids: How to Create a Cute Cactus Character

This post is part of a series called Easy Character Design.
How to Design a Quick, Quirky Character in Adobe Illustrator
Create a Fun Cartoon Character Face in Adobe Illustrator
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Hi kids! Today, I prepared a fun little character in vector—Cactus. This will be an easy tutorial, especially for those who already know Adobe Illustrator and vector. Let me tell you, you're a very cool kid, if you know this already. We will use basic shapes, the Line Segment Tool and a Warp Effect to create a cute cartoon character. 

1. Create the Flower Pot

Step 1

To create a New Document in your Adobe Illustrator, go to File > New and enter the following options:

creating the new document

Step 2

On the Tools panel, you can find the Rectangle Tool (M), which you will use to create the flower pot.

taking the tool to draw the rectangle

Step 3

Take the Rectangle Tool (M), and on the middle of your art board, draw a rectangle similar to this one:

creating the rectangle

Step 4

Then delete the stroke color and set the fill color which you see in the second image below.

deleting the stroke color and setting the fill color

Here you can see where to set the color (Window > Color):

Changing the rectangle will make it look like this:

Step 5

While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Arc. In the new dialogue window, adjust the options as you see in the image below:

warping the rectangle lower part of the flower pot

Step 6

Draw one more rectangle pretty close to this one:

creating another rectangle upper part of the flower pot

Step 7

While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Arc. In the new dialogue window, adjust the options:

warping another rectangle upper part of the flower pot

Step 8

Combine the two warped rectangles together. Just grab one rectangle and move to another while holding the left mouse button.

combining two rectangles into flower pot

2. Create the Cactus Shape

Step 1

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw an ellipse.

creating the cactus shape

Step 2

Now, go to Effect > Warp > Arc and in the new window, adjust the options as you see in the image below:

warping the cactus shape

Step 3

Take your cactus shape and place it in the flower pot. For this press Control-X, Control-B.

placing the cactus shape in the flower pot

3. Create the Eyes

Step 1

We're going to use the Ellipse Tool (L) again to draw an ellipse.

drawing the ellipse for the eye

Step 2

Add a small white circle. That's the eye.

drawing the highlight on the eye

Step 3

Create another copy of the eye by copying and pasting (Control-C, Control-V).

creating another eye

Step 4

Now, let's position the eyes where they belong.

placing the eyes

4. Create the Mouth

Step 1

Create a black ellipse.

creating an ellipse for the mouth

Step 2

Go to Effect > Warp > Arc and adjust the options:

warping the mouth

Step 3

Place the mouth between the eyes.

placing the mouth

5. Draw the Prickles

Step 1

Delete the fill color and set the stroke color.

setting the stroke color for the prickles

Step 2

On the Stroke panel, adjust the settings:

adjusting the settings for the prickles

Step 3

Using the Line Segment Tool (/), draw in the prickles.

drawing the prickles

6. Create the Flowers

Step 1

Take the Polygon Tool and click on your workspace. A new dialogue window will ask you how many sides and what radius you want. Make 6 Sides, and for the Radius, it doesn't really matter—just not too big. Once you're done, press OK.

drawing the polygon for the flower shape

Step 2

Delete the stroke color and set the fill color, which you see in the image below:

setting the fill color for the polygon

Step 3

To make the flower from it, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat.

warping the polygon to create the flower

Step 4

Using the Ellipse Tool (L) add a yellow circle in the middle of the flower.

adding the yellow circle to the flower

Step 5

Make another copy of this flower (Control-C, Control-V) and place it on the cactus.

creating another copy of the flower and placing them

7. Create the Background

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a square that is 600 px in width and height.

creating the background

Step 2

Place this square behind everything (Control-X, Control-B). Voila! That's it!

placing the background behind ev erything


Congrats, kids, you completed a huge job! Hope you got the most out of it and learned something new from this tutorial. If you have any questions, please ask me in the comments section below—I'm happy to help you!

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