Adobe Illustrator Tutorial – The Bear

Tutorial details
Program: Adobe Illustrator
Difficulty level: Intermediate / advanced
Completion time: 30 mins

Here at Logo Design, we are often asked by clients to create illustrations for their projects.

In this article, I will be showing you some of the techniques that I employ when producing artwork quickly, accurately and professionally in Adobe Illustrator CS5.

Step 1

Here goes…

To begin with, quickly sketch out a rough draft of the character. Once you’re happy with the look and feel, scan the sketch.

Step 2

Open Adobe Illustrator and create a New Page (File > New). Place (File > Place) the scanned sketch onto the new page.
In the Layer panel (Window > Layer)(F7), lock the layer containing the sketch and create a new layer for drawing on.

Step 3

Symmetry is on our side with this illustration, so, from the Rulers (View > Show Rulers) at the side of the page drag a vertical guide and place it centrally over the sketch. If the guides aren’t visible, go to (view > guides) and make sure they’re turned on. Now that the guide is in place, we can begin drawing around the sketch. Select the elipse tool in the toolbar or press control L on the keyboard. Draw a circle that is similar in size to the head of the bear.

Now that the circle has been positioned centrally over the head, we can now adapt it to match the shape of the bear’s head. Using the Direct Selection Tool (keyboard cmd A), select the two side points (illustrated below) and drag them down to match the shape of the bears face.

The next step is creating the nose…

Step 4

To create the nose, all we do is simply select the head shape, duplicate (cmd c, cmd v), then select (Object>Transform>Reflect) and chose reflect on the horizontal axis. This will flip the nose. Resize the nose to match the sketch.

Select the elipse tool in the toolbar or press cmd L on the keyboard. Draw a circle that is similar in size to the left nostril. Once drawn, rotate (object, transform, rotate) the elipse by 20 degrees and postion. Duplicate (cmd c, cmd v) the nostril and reflect (Object>Transform> Reflect) on the vertical axis and postion the second nostril.

Group (object, group) the two nostrils, then select the three elements that we have drawn so far. We can now align these objects to maintain our symmetry (Window > Align). In the Align panel select (Horizontal Align Centre) on the row titled (Align Objects). Once done, make sure these objects are repositioned centrally over the vertical guide.

Step 5

We now duplicate (cmd c, cmd v) the head shape twice more to create the bears face and belly. Using the techniques we used previously, resize the shapes to match the sketch.

Step 6

Again, select the elipse tool in the toolbar or press cmd L on the keyboard. Draw a circle that is similar in size to one of the eyes. duplicate (cmd c, cmd v) it and position over the cheek. Duplicate (cmd c, cmd v) one more time to create the pupil. Scale down and postion centrally within the eye.

Step 7

To create the ears, select the elipse tool (L) once more and draw two elipses, an inner ear and an outer ear over the sketch.

Now that the elipses have been postioned, we select the Pen Tool (P) from the Tools panel and draw the tufts above the ear. Once drawn, select the two tufts and the larger elipse. Convert them from outline to fill and use the Add to Shape Area in the Pathfinder (Window > Pathfinder) menu.

If using one of the earlier versions of CS, make sure you click Expand in the Pathfinder window after joining the shapes.

Now that we have our ear shape, we select the inner and outer ear, duplicate it (cmd c, cmd v), then reflect it (Object>Transform>Reflect) on the vertical axis. Then position. Finally, select both ears and place behind the head (Object>Arrange>Send to Back).

Step 8

The mouth is simple to create. Use the elipse tool (L) to draw an elipse over the face, making sure it runs centrally through the two cheeks.

With the elipse still selected, we chose the Scissors Tool (C) from the Tools bar and make two cuts that lie within the two cheeks to create a nice smile. Select the remainder of the circle and press delete. We now have a smiling bear.

Step 9

As with some of the earlier steps, we again duplicate the body (cmd c, cmd v) and stretch it vertically.

Step 10

Here goes…

Using the Pen Tool (P) Draw around the sketch of the arm and leg.

Once drawn, we select them and duplicate (cmd c, cmd v), then reflect them (Object> Transform> Reflect) on the vertical axis and position.

Select the arms, legs, body and belly and place them behind the head (Object>Arrange>Send to Back).

Deselect everything but the legs. Now move the legs to the back (Object>Arrange>Send to Back).

We now have our bear.

Step 11

Now that we have our bear we can start to apply colour. Open the Swatch Palette (Window> Swatches) and create the following colours.

Colour 1.

c.30 m.50 y.75 k.10

Colour 2.

c.50 m.70 y.80 k.70

Colour 3.

c.25 m.40 y.65 k.0

Colour 4.

c.55 m.63 y.75 k.53

Colour 5.

c.35 m.60 y.80 k.25

Step 12

The bear is really getting there now. To give the figure more dimension we can use grads to create areas of dark and light. Open the Gradient Panel (Window>Gradient) and use the diagram above to apply the grads.

In addition to Colour 1, we also use the brown (below) to create the grads: c.40 m.65 y.90 k.35

Step 13

Now that the grads have been added to the bear, we can create some facial shading.

(a) Firstly, duplicate (cmd c, cmd v) the head once again and reduce the shape to the size opposite. Select the eyes and bring them to the front (Object>Arrange>Bring to Front).

(b) Secondly, duplicate the head twice and reduce the two new shapes a little. Over lap the two pieces with one sitting slightly higher than the other. Select the two pieces. Open the Pathfinder Panel (Windows>Pathfinder) and click on Subtract from Shape Area. This will leave us with a thin strip running around the chin.

Step 14

Now that we have our two new shapes we can apply some effects to them.

(a) First of all we will be applying a grad to the shape behind the eyes. Select the shape and in the Gradient Panel that we opened earlier (Window>Gradient) and add the following colours c.30 m.50 y.75 k.10 and c.40 m.65 y.90 k.35


Step 15

Select the two elements and apply a Gaussian Blur (Effect>Blur>Gaussian Blur) and set the Radius to 6.0, press okay.

The bear

Here it is, the finished illustrated

character. I hope you have enjoyed

this tutorial.