Beginners guide to minimal character illustration - Draw a famous dance form | Dipanjan Biswas | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Beginners guide to minimal character illustration - Draw a famous dance form

teacher avatar Dipanjan Biswas, Visual & Motion Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Building the Skeleton

    • 3. Adding Costume

    • 4. Making the Face

    • 5. Introducing Colours

    • 6. Adding Minor Details

    • 7. Thank You!

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this short yet informative class, I will teach my technique to draw characters using simple & basic shapes inside Illustrator. 

By the end of the class, you’ll be able to make a character in a simplified form. As a class project, you will create a famous dance form of your choice in a minimal illustration style.

This class is for anyone interested in creating basic character illustrations and ideal for everyone who just started using Adobe Illustrator or, been using the software for years. I will take you through all the steps of my process so you can follow along even if you are new with the software. 


What you'll learn

  • How to simplify a complex form of human posture using basic shapes.
  • Limit the colour palette to complement your minimal illustrations. 
  • Basic yet effective tricks of Adobe Illustrator to speed up your workflow.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Dipanjan Biswas

Visual & Motion Designer


Hello, I am a self-taught illustrator and visual designer from India, living in London.

You can follow my works on Instagram, Dribbble, Behance and watch my process videos on YouTube, where I publish contents regularly.

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Welcome! : My name is the Bunge, Um, and this is beginner's guide to minimum Character illustrations. In this class, I will show you my technique on how to create a character using basic shapes and with limited color palette. For the class project, you'd be creating a famous dance form off your choice in a minimal illustrations. Tie. This class is great for anyone interested in creating character illustration. It would be great if you have some basic understanding off Adobe Illustrator, but anyway, I'll walk you through all my process when you can follow along, even if you are new with the softer I'll see you in class. 2. Building the Skeleton : I'll start the process by creating the stick figures. It's like building the skeleton or for character. This is the most important part of the entire process as this win, said the foundation of the illustration. But before that, we need to figure out which form of dance I would choose for this course and quickly search for the famous dance form. And I can see these are Something was done. Stein's in the world like Sands on a tangle, Break dance and so on. For this course, I will choose the famous valid ins from Russia. Let's search for some images off that, and these are some images. I think it will be a good idea to search for a couple for two. That way we can create at least two characters, and I can show you how to deal with a bit complex situation where the characters are interacting with each other. This photo could be a good example of what I'm looking for. Let's illustrate this one. All right, I'm gonna Lester Jin, now on, we'll create a new file by clicking this button All you can goto file menu and hit new. I'll choose the fine size as 800 by 600 pixels. Don't worry about the dimensions too much as this will be a vector graphics file, which can be scaled toe any size without losing inequality. If you name your file during this stage or letter when you will save it, no, it creates to get the new. While the interface might be a bit different radio case, I'm using the workspace load. Essential classic If you already have this one selected, and still the load is Nora's for my screen. You can reset this from here. A Limpert imager downloaded by clicking on the file menu on his place. You can scale the image by dragging one of the corners, but make sure you hold the shift key on your keyboard to scale proportionately. I'll start with the male body by choosing the rectangle a tool from the toolbar. You can rotate the box by hovering the mouse outside of the corner age for creating hands and legs. I'll use the pinto to leave the but open ended or return key on your keyboard. Let's get the other leg. Can you see the purple line, which is entering me to ally in the lines with other lines. This is called Smart Guide. If it's not done known by default, you control it from you and then smart guide. Can you see a tiny little gap here? This is because the fill calories on for this line, so just turn it off. Next, I will draw the hands off the character, using the same technique off mental. As I said, This is a stick figure, So don't concentrate too much on the details for the head. I will use the Ellipse tune, but for creating the female body, I will simply duplicate the male body. And to do that, I'll hold the option key on my keyboard while dragging. Let's wrote it a little Andi. Place it where it belongs. I'm just using the photo as a reference before moving forward. I think it will be a good idea to differentiate the male body with the female body and tragic that I will use some different colors, which will help us to arrange the objects forward or backward. Now I'll put some flesh into the skeleton. To do that, I'll increase the size of the stroke. I'll do that from the appearance men with the right Andi. I will trust the stroke size to 20 and to get rid off the sharp ages and the end of the stroke, I will click on the word stroke on Changed the Gap to rounded Cafe on the corner toe around the corner. Now let's apply some color on the female body and see it's no much easier to understand which object should stay forward. Andre, which run to stay backward to bring this object forward. You just need to rightly gone it on and click on errand and then savoring to front, make the head by duplicating the male head by holding the old direction and then dragging well. Generally, I don't use any color at all for this stage of the process. I prefer different shades of gray to address this problem. But for the sake off this training video, I am using the color so that it will be much easier to distinguish between the two figures . But later, before the coloring process, I will definitely re color everything two different shades of gray. Now let's make the arms of the women on the field color stayed on while the stroke color is not so I just need to swap those settings. And to do that, I will just simply click on this tiny little button to solve those things. Now again, let's change the stroke thickness on the stroke, setting to rounded cap and rounded corners and continue to draw the rest of the bigger Uh, I will just the enter finger a little bit here and there just to match. As for my liking and for the bombs, I will take a very minimal approach. I will use only ellipse for that on a tiny little endorsement here and there. And I think we are good with the foundation. We have finished our stick figure all the skeleton on. We're good to go for the next step. 3. Adding Costume : And now, as the foundation off your character has been built, I will concentrate on creating the costume. As I mentioned before that, I generally work with great skill. So before creating the costumes, I will change all the colors to a different shades of gray. I'll select on the characters and I will re color everything, but not with the usual technique. I will use one of the best feature of illustrator, which is called three Colorado Work. You can select that option from here. All you can goto edit it, it colors and then drink. Elrod took this will open up a new window and you can see all the colors I have used so far in this illustration. You can select the color that you wish to change from here at the top, and you can change the color here at the bottom. I will change all the colors into different shades of gray, and as you can see, this is a great technique to regular everything from one central area. I would start with hard dress unsealing the rectangle tool. I'm done off the field and turn on only the straw so that I can see what is happening in behind I will use the keyboard shortcut are to activate the voted tool to modify these rectangular. I use the direct selection tool from here. Using this tool, I can sell it any single anchor point and move it where I want. I want to add a slight curve at the bottom of for dress, so I will right click on the pen tool and select the anchor point tool. And then I will drink this line and lately, with down to a place some cough, great big discolor to apply on it now on to convert this sharp corner into around the corner. So I will select that anchor point with the direct selection tool and over about this tiny little Aiken and drag it a little bit down to apply. Some rounded on it on it. Let which is the color off address, elated with darker so that it will be easier to distinguish from her body. I will send a neck at the back can. I will do that my right leg and in center back, and now I'll get the neckline off address First, I will make a copy of her head by dragging while holding the old corruption came the keyboard. I had Justin movie 21 the neckline to be, and then I'll make a copy of the body by thing edit copy and then invested in front by saying maybe it in front. And finally our insulin toward the objects and events in the Intersect option from the Pathfinder tool to create the neckline and the color using the eyedropper tool. Next time, greater shoes and to do that first time, duplicate her leg. I'll do that by copying it on. Then I'll place it in front. And now I have two lines exactly in the same place, which makes it difficult to select which one I want to modify. So now I will show you how to select an object from the Layer Bannon unit opened the layer Bandel from here and now click this tiny little adult to expand the Lebanon. And if you scroll down, you can see the object which has been selected on the art board must be selected here on the layer panel as well. And just below that layer, you can see the original object. I love the duplicated object by clicking here and I will select the original object by clicking here. I will increase the stroke weight off that layer. Let me change the color so you can see the difference. And now I'll unlock the duplicated layer. I will just the direct selection tool from the toolbar, and I would selling this anchor point and move it a little bit inside, receiving the shoe from the back. But I don't want this all the way to talk. So I select this layer on the top and the point and just simply deleted. So now we have a shoe. I use the same technique to create a other show. Now let's move forward to create his shirt. And again, I will use the same technique to copy it based in front and select this anchor point and move it inside, and I will increase the stroke size as well. Next, I'll create the Nicklin off his shirt. It's nothing new. I'm just repeating the same technique I used appropriate her neckline, which is creating in the lips. Place it where he won the new, claimed to be copied the body based in front Cilic, board the objects and then select the Intersect option from the part. Find the tools to create the neckline, leveraging the color of his skin to a different shades of gray. For the time being, I'll change the color of heart dress as well on. So far, so good. I'm happy with the result. Next, I will create the face for our character. 4. Making the Face : all right. Now it's time to create the face for our characters I want to give. My characters are very happy and delightful face. I'm thinking off a smiley face with closed eyes. But being smile, I'll start with her face. I will duplicate her head and decrease the size of it, and that's one off a year now. I will copy the here, toe other side of the head by holding the all key and then drag with the mouse. Okay, lets one forward to create her eyes. I am making an ellipse off stroke width of three and no fake color selling the anger point in the water and had deal it and now select the pen tool and Senate one of the age and drove Attar lying to make her eyelash, did it using the on places where it should be. And now I will duplicate this, but not with the usual technique, as I have added a tiny little I Nash for hard. So I have to copy it as well as I need to flip it. And to do that, I use the reflective from the toolbar senate, the reflective on then hold the older option key on your keyboard and click to make a reference point from where you want to reflect the object and that will open up a dialogue box. And from the dialog box, you can choose whether you want to reflect it, or recently or particularly for our scenario. We will use the angle selling the number in the box and used up and down key on your keyboard to change it. Make sure the Privy weapon is on so you can see what is happening. Once I see the preview and happy with the result I'm looking for, I made the copy button that didn't create a copy of the original object. Next, let's make her mouth. I lose the plot. Find a technique to create 1/2 circle engines the color into white. I will use another Phillips to make her care, but and for the here and the front, duplicate her face, create a bigger certain and use the minus front option from the Pathfinder total to create a Christian moaned kind of shape, change the corner and move forward to create his face. I will use the same technique to create his face as well, his here. I use that term in tow, and I will convert the top left and bottom right corner of battery tangled into around the corner for the front. Here. I use the same technique I used for creating heart here. I will do some small tweaks here and there. Andi, I think I'm happy with this. Next, let's add some color into their life. 5. Introducing Colours : Okay, so this part will be very fun to work on. I have randomly selected this six colors, which I will apply onto our character. But before that I'll fix few things on the characters. Like I just realized that I haven't added any plan for this gentleman. So let me fix this quickly. I'll copy his body by saying common sea and based in front by saying, Come on, if Andi reduce the height of the new object to create his pelvis and no select the railways and bought the legs and apply some different shades of gray, I will river this rounded corner into a sharp corner by clicking on this icon and dragging outside next challenge in the color off her shoes into the same color off address. So now we have only six shades of gray in my illustration, which I will swap with the six colors I have shortlisted. I look in the swatches spending from here, and I will deal it all the preloaded colors which are there at the swatches panel. I would sell it on the colors by clicking the 1st 1 and then shift clicking the last one and then I will click on the deal It I can at the bottom right corner, and now I will create a color group off my selected colors, and I will do that by selecting all my colors and then clicking on this folder I can. Down here, you can name the color group whatever we want to name it, or you can just simply leave it as is and see The new color group has been added into the swatches panel, so I don't need these boxes anymore, so I'll select all of those on and the deal it and next hour insulin the characters and I'll kick on the regal rat work. Andi. Inside the re collateral window, you can see in the lift and penalties air the selected colors from the artwork and at the right. Inside, you can see the new color group, which we just created, and if I click on the color group, it will replace the Greek colors. And as you can see, the ordering of the color is not right, but you can swap it with each other. Just simply drive one color on top of another color and that into the trick. Let me in some color manually from here and now I will show you how you can edit a color group using the legal and after queen you Unity is the editor from here on and use the color will to find Eun any off your gun. I am happy with the results so far. Next, let some details. 6. Adding Minor Details : in this part, I will try to have some minor details into the characters, and at the same time, I will keep in mind that I'm not going to give the simplicity off it and start with the dress of the lady, where I will try to add some kind of pleated. The bottom of her dress early is the direct selection tool to choose the bottom line off address on top of the line by saying, Come and see andare vested in front by sin. Common if on the key book on Silent in the Color of the Stroke. So that would be easier to see and now insulate the line and effect distort and transform ons exact. I'll turn on the preview to see the live result and change the points from corner to smooth . I'll drive different numbers to see the variations on Do it. Okay, once I'm happy with the result, and now I have to join this with the dress. But technically this is still a straight line, and then, if it has been applied on top of it, what does that mean? I can not directly manageable at the line to solve this problem I need to expand the appearance of this line. I have to do that by clicking on the object menu, then expand evidence. And now I conjoined this line with the jails. But there is one more step to do right now. The dresses close, but I need the open part so that I can join this line with that open. But so now I have to cut the bottom line from the dress using the season tool, and you can see that this is it from here. And now that the season tool is being selected, I have to click on this point on and this point to chop that out of that men dress. So now I have two pieces of the jays, so I have to delay the bottom pace so that it will be an open part. So still in that bottom part with the selection tool and just deleted. And now drag this point from the dress and put it on top off one of the open part off the curved line on. By the way, I'm using the direct selection tool for that, and now I'm insulin bought the lines, obviously with a different selection tool, and then I'll just object part join to join those points. And now see this point has been joined, and now we have to join the other part as well. So now I will drag this point on top of this. Point said it bought the points, and this time I will use the keyboard shortcut. Come on, Jay. To join those parts, I don't know the stroke so insulated to fill on day, I went to the color from a shoe. I just realized that both her legs are too close to each other, and it's kind of hard to figure out which one is at the back and which one is at the front . So let's add some shadow to solve this issue. I'll start little rectangle with a darker shade of color, and then I will position it between the two legs, where I want the shadow to appear. Next. I'll click on the world capacity from the appearance panel at the right, and I will change the blending more from the left drop down menu too soft light and also and reduce the open city a little bit. This is fine, but I want the shadow to appear only on a leg, not on the background. So how can we solve this? Yes, you guessed it right. We're going to use the part finder tool. But her legs are made out of stroke, and the shadows made often object with solid color with no stroke. And the part finder tool doesn't work on objects, which has two different appearance. So I will create a copy off her leg by Common C. And I will best it in front by ST Common if and then our incident object. Five outlined stroke. And how would the legs on the shadow has similar appearance? And now I will select the Intersect option from the Pathfinder tool and see now it's looking good, and I think I can redo the amount of opacity and a little bit. Next, I will apply some pleat line on address until it the line tool on. I'll draw a straight line on top of her dress intellect, darker stroke color, increase the stroke weed, and we'll also change the blending moved from the opposite dependent too soft light. I'll copy the line by dragging when holding down the all your options just the Linus for my liking, and I would create another copy of that. I will add just all the lines now and Jim, the cap and corners of the stroke to round the cap and around the corner. I would like to add two additional lines in between these lines, and I can do that manually, just the way I just made these lines. But I will show you another technique. How you can do that. I will select object blend make on days will magically create the extra line in between all of these lines, and you can also find him the blending method using the blending tool from here. Instead of clicking on that, I will double click on the Blend tool, which will open up a dialogue box. I'll turn on the preview to see the effect in real time, and I will change the spacing from smooth color to specific steps, and you can specify the number off how many extra objects you need in between. For my case, it's only one, so I will keep it one on the benefit off. Using this method, ease if you modify one of the original line the generated line will online. As for that next, I would add some decoration on his chart. I'll make a tinted line using the line to and with that line selected, I will dominantly on the reflector, which will open this dialog box. I don't see the axis. Vertical on did the copy button to make a copy Off that line, Cilic both the lines and obligated by dragging while holding bound old are option key on the keyboard. Once you make one, copy you can it come on D on your keyboard. This will be the process of duplicating the object to same distance and direction from the original object. And now, until it all these items and I will change the stroke color from black to white. I loaded it skillet and place it while I want needs to be. Now I want to add a white line on his neck line. So again I'll copy this and I will. Based in front. And with the season to level card, these two coins selling the detached a line on just deleted. I think now I'll add a pair of boots to him. Well, I'm not sure. In Bali, the mill performer, even where both our shoes. But for this course, I'll add one on Why not? Let's do something different for this training video. I'll started copying one off his leg and placed it in front, using the same keyboard command of command. See for copy and commanded for press in front on. Then, with the help of the direct selection tool, select the top anchor point and deleted and say, like this anchor point from his knee and move it down. I will change the color to the same tolerances shirt. I will increase the stroke a little for the top part of the shoe. I don't need a rounded corner. I need a sharp corner. And for the tour, it should be other way around. So I need to different lines with two different properties. So again, and copy the shoe and based in front, I believe the anchor point from his tool and deleted Change the cap sitting from rounded captain but cap and then the top and appoint a little upward. I used the same technique for his other leg. Now, at a minimum, drop shadow Select the line tool. Andrew Online. The change, The stroke capacity and the stroke way to ask for your liking. This looks fine. Let's align the entire artwork in the center of the art on select everything and group it by people triggered. Come on, G. Then I will open the ally in window by taking on window on Been a line like this Little Air likens to expand the window to its food and click on the Align toe I can at the bottom right corner and tended to align to our board and now align it. Presently on vertically center, I will continue adding some more returns, like adding some color on Holly. It's at a hair band on some tiny little earrings. Let some color on her neck line using the same technique used for him. And now acts embodied color at the bottom of address as well. I will copy the lower part off address and based in front James. The filters drug on with the help of direct selection to Lanza Ladies and Points and deliver it. Now, I actually one very important thing to remember if at this point I want to skill the enter artwork by selecting and dragging it from one of the corner. It will end up like this. You say everything is now ruined. So I recommend you not to scale your artwork using the bounding box and stayed you the scale tool from the toolbar. So select your artwork and double Uganda skeletal. Would you look in this setting window say, for example, Lyman to reduce the artwork to 60%. I will turn on the preview to see the preview in real time and under the option section interject skill corners and skill strokes and efforts to scale everything proportionately I'm almost done with dot or before finishing. I think I can had one minor thing on our show. I want to show a small shoe strap on a leg. I would select one off a leg, and I want to draw a tiny little line in a line. With this. I will use the painful for that. But the problem is, as this line is already selected, and if I click anywhere on top of that, it will create a new anchor point on top of that line, which I don't want. I want to create a new line, and to do that, you need to hold the shift key on your keyboard while clicking, Can you see the cursor is changing from plus to a star sign. Blast means it will add an anchor point toe. That line and star means it will create a new anchor point. So let's add it on. Change the color and use the same technique for the other legs will. And this is it. I'm done with that work. Now it's your turn to create something exciting and share with me. I can't wait to see what you guys will come up with. 7. Thank You! : All right, There's end of this class. Congratulations on completing the course again. I just want to say thank you for taking my class this year to post your project in the project page. And if you need any help, feel free to leave me a comment in the comment section on now and get back to you as soon as I can tense again and I will see you next time.