Create Cacti Characters with Google | Tiff Duncan | Skillshare

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Create Cacti Characters with Google

teacher avatar Tiff Duncan, High School Teacher & Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

10 Lessons (40m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Student Materials

    • 3. Getting Started With The Template

    • 4. Importing a Photo

    • 5. Drawing the Pot

    • 6. Now For The Cactus

    • 7. Let's Add Details

    • 8. Adding Character

    • 9. The Project

    • 10. Wrapping Up

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About This Class


  • Do you want to learn vector art and illustration but you are not ready to invest in expensive¬†software?¬†
  • Do you already have the expensive software, but you are overwhelmed with the interface and tools that make no sense to you?¬†
  • Maybe you are an experienced designer and you are just curious about the possibilities using Google Drive.

 If any of these describe you, then you are in the right place! 

In this class, you will learn to use Google Drawings, a free program in Google Drive, to create vector artwork you will be proud to share. 

All you need to get started is a computer, an internet connection, and a free Gmail/Google account. 

See you in class :)

Meet Your Teacher

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Tiff Duncan

High School Teacher & Designer


Hi, I am a high school digital art, animation, and photography teacher.
I love to kindle creativity in others and I believe that anyone can draw and create!


See full profile

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1. Introduction: Oh, hi. You must be here to learn how to create Catic characters and Google drives. I'm so glad you're here. My name is Tim Duncan and I have a passion for teaching art. I'm a high school graphic art and animation teacher. I also run a Web design business. This classes for anyone who wants to learn how to draw on Vector. You don't need any special equipment, just a computer Internet connection, a mouse and a Google account. Also known as a Gmail account. It's totally free to create one, and chances are you already have one. Have you been wanting to drawing Vector? But you're not ready to splurge on fancy programs like Adobe Illustrator or do you already have Illustrator? And every time you open it, you get really scared of a complicated interface and slam it closed and run away. That's the beauty of the simple interface in Google. You'll be surprised what you can make in this program. You do not need any drawing skills to take this class. You'll learn those skills along the way. Project for this class is you create a cat characters frames to use with your social media profile it will be. So find to brag that you created it yourself. I'm so excited to teach, learn and grow with you. Most of all, I'm excited to make new connections with people who love to create as much as I loathe. Most important, take away. I want you to happen. This class is that you're having fun learning these skills and you feel challenged. So what you waiting for? Let's get started. I'll see you in the next video. 2. Student Materials : but those of you who are new the skill share you confined your student materials in the your project area. So if you just click on your project and then scroll down, you'll see a description of the project that we're gonna be creating. And then if you just scroll down underneath that, you're going to see the class materials. Now, these are live links that take you directly to those materials. So if you click on this, your point, it's gonna take you to where you can open up a Gmail account for free. And this link takes you to where you can download the chrome Web browser if you don't already have it. Now, this is the template that I created for you to draw it, so that link takes you directly to the temple. The next video. We'll show you exactly how to use each of these links. If you need more direction with that, sure, just scroll down and check out my next class, which is Digital Bullet Darling and Google. If you follow me on skill share, you'll be notified of upcoming classes like this one. That's coming soon. All right, you guys ready to learn how to Google like a guru? Let's go 3. Getting Started With The Template: creating a Google account is super easy. If you already have a Google account, you can skip this part, but you're gonna put in your first name your last name's. Choose a user name and a password, then confirm password and click on next. It's best to use chrome when you're doing Google drawings, because chrome is the Google browser and it's free to download. So click on the link provided and go ahead and click on download Chrome. And when you get in here, you're going to want to read the terms of service and make sure that you're okay with the terms of service. And then I always tell people, Make sure you check uncheck the set. Google Chrome is your fall if you don't want it to be your default and then we're going to after reading through the terms of service except in install using the chrome browser, you're gonna open up the template that I provided you and you're going to click on file, make a copy and then you're going to change the name of the file to your name. Kept I characters or something like that. Whatever you prefer. Once you have your name put in. Then you're just going to go ahead and click on OK to create the template. Given a second, it's going to open up. And now this is your own template and it's going to be in your Google drive. Okay, Great. Now that you have your template, let's get started. I'll see in the next video. 4. Importing a Photo : all right, here we are in our template. And now we need to get a reference photo. Though we're gonna go over here to these links that I provided and what these are our copyright free image links. And if you click on the link, it will take you to a website where you can get free images meaning images that you can use without having to site the author or ask for permission to use. And you can just put in the Search CAC dire cactus and look through what they have there. I personally really like the UN slash site. I always find a lot of really good things there. Just type in what you're looking for. And, well, uh, it's right there. You have so many things to choose from. We're looking for a picture that's a little bit on the simple side, and also we want to see it from a side angle. So take your time looking for something that works for you, that you think, um, looks cute or that you would like toa recreate. I really like this one. It's got a nice shape to it and it's in a pot and it has a pretty flower on top, so I'm gonna click on that one and click on download That's gonna automatically go to my Downloads folder. And then what I can dio is I can click at the top here. Insert or I can also click down here. Upload from computer image. There's two different ways you can get a photo in Gonna click on Downloads folder a man double click on the letter that I want Now when you're re sizing a photo, you want to make sure to hold down the shift key so that the aspect ratio remains intact because you don't want to get all wonky. So hold down the shift key and then just pull, push or pull from the corner to resize the photo. That's it. Easy peasy. You ready to drawn out? Let's go. 5. Drawing the Pot: Hey, guys, here we are in our template, and this is the shortcuts card that I created for you. Depending. If you're on a Mac or a PC, you can just click on the tab for the appropriate computer that you're on and then right click and choose order. Bring the front for whatever one that, um, that you need that works for you. These were just really, you know, shortcuts that you can use for things like duplicating or grouping things that you do a lot . And, you know, you might want to get used to the shortcuts. Some people like to use shortcuts rather than the menu. This is the select tool this tool you'll be using to select anything that's on your canvas or here on the sides like we are. If you select something it will to have a Blue Marquis box comes up around it to show that it's been selected, and that's how you know what you've selected. These are all the lines that are in the program. Don't feel like you have to know everything right away. I use the curvature of curvature in line tool. Most of the time, that's my favorite tool. I don't feel like when you're in a new problem like this, you have to learn every little aspect of it. Generally, you just figure out things as you need them. So you know when you need a text box, you'll figure out how toe put text in. And when you need a shape, you'll figure that out. This is the outside line that would go around anything. Any object that you have in there so you can, you know you can change, whether it's dotted or or if it stashed. And then we have the canvas here where we'll be drawing. All right, let's get to it. So we're looking at this cactus and we're thinking about how we're going to draw the pot. And whenever you're drawing, you're really just seeing things really, really well. So take a look at the pot and think about how can you replicate that? Well, you could use shapes. You could pull down some shapes and replicated that way. Um, the shape might work. I personally, I really like to use lines to draw it, because then it's just a little bit more personable, and I can manipulate the lines. A little bit easier. Um, so that's how I generally do it. But that's up to you. So I'm gonna start with a line and just slowly, kind of, You know, I'm looking at the cot, and I'm just really just drawing the outline of the front of the pot. When you're driving in Vector, you always kind of want to think in layers. So you want to draw the front of the object and then draw the back of the object kind of, um, separately, and you'll see why you do that in a minute. Once you've drawn it, you can double click on it and you get these little nodes that you can move around and manipulate anyway what you want. That's really why I like to use the line tool to draw things because you just get so much more control over how it's going to look. And I also don't generally like things toe look perfect. So sometimes I like that look of like that hand drawn kind of feel, so noticed as I move the nodes around what happens? So you just want to really play with this so that you can kind of get to know, um, what's going to happen when you move it left or right and how that's gonna react? And now, as you can see, it's starting to look a little bit like the front of apart next. What you want to do is you're going to draw the back of the pot. So as you're drawing the back, it just kind of picturing what it would look like with the outline of the back of the pot would look like when you get down here to the part that's not going to show, remember that that part is really gonna be in the back. You don't worry too much about how perfect it ISS, because also, remember, we'll be able to manipulate it after we're done drawing in full shape. Now, when you're using this tool, you want to make sure that you complete the shape. If you don't complete the shape, it won't let you fill it in with a color. So right now I'm feeling in the back with a darker brown and the front with a lighter brown , and then I'm going to move the back by clicking on order. Sent back should back so that now it's starting to look a little bit more like a pot and you can see that you know something should go inside there. If you click on any shape and double click it, then you can move the little notes around and control where those go. If you draw a marquee over the entire thing, then you can move the entire thing like you see me doing. Now let's go ahead and click on Zoom so we can see what's inside the pot on our reference cactus picture MSM way into it. We can see that there are rocks inside, so we're gonna think about how can we replicate those rocks? Since rocks don't necessarily common a perfect shape, I'm gonna use my favorite curvature line tool and just kind of draw some wonky shapes and make sure again that you're closing the shape completely. If you press down too hard with your mouse, then it ends the shape and you'll send That will happen to you at some point. So, um, when that happens that you know, I just undo and start over. What I'm doing now is I'm just filling these different shapes with different colors of gray darker and lighter, great colors to kind of replicate the colors that we see in the rocks. I can also make a shape transparent to by clicking on the transparent part of the top. But for these, I'm going to fill them with color. And I'm going to make the outside line transparent. So as you see right there, what I just did once you're happy with a few rocks of a few different colors and you can draw Marquis around all of them and then click on control D on a PC or command E on a Mac and duplicate them to save some time, I'm gonna go ahead and speed up the rest of this so you can see how I'm doing it without getting to board. What I'm doing here is I'm bringing that front of the pot to the front by clicking on it and break it, clicking and going toe order bring to front. And then that way I can then move around the rocks inside the pot. Now I'm just kind of fussing around with the rocks and getting it the way that I like it. I spent that up a little bit so they wouldn't have to suffer through all that with me. And the next step is we're gonna draw the cactus so exciting I'll see in the next video. 6. Now For The Cactus: All right. You ready for the cactus? Now we're going to look at some different ways that we can draw cactus. We could use shapes or lines. I prefer to use the curvature line because that's my favorite tool in here. And I'd like you get more control. So I'm gonna start my line down here kind of inside the pot, almost as if you know, the cactus is growing about the pot, and I'm gonna take my time just drawing a roundish shape. You know, it doesn't need to be perfect, because in nature, very few things are a perfect shape. And make sure that you finish the shape as we talked about before, or else you won't be able to fill it with the color and just kind of moving those knowns around a little bit until I feel happy about it. And once I get it into place, then I can go ahead and fill it with the color by clicking on the paint bucket tool. Now I'm going to go ahead and move some of those rocks in front of my cactus and then I'm going to After I moved some of the rocks in front I'll have to move the front of the pot in front of those rocks, so you're just kind of layering your different elements of the composition to make it look right. I just did the transparency off with lying around the cactus because we're going to take a look at the cactus closer and think about how we're going to get those little nodes and the little spines on the cactus. So it's like a kind of a circular shape, sort of puffy, And we want to sort of mimic that texture if we can a little bit. So we're gonna go and take a look at some of the shapes that we have as options. When we opened up the Shapes panel, we can see a lot of different shapes. I'm kind of looking for something a little bit irregular, so I think I might choose this cloud shape cause it's a little bit of regular and it has some texture already invented to it. And we'll take a look at the color palette to choose a color that's similar to our reference photo. That's a little bit too late. I think I'm gonna go with something a little bit darker. Here we go. And now we're gonna think about how are we going to get those little spine characteristics in there? Well, I think over the best way is just to do a regular line. Um, because those lines are gonna come out straight. I'm going to draw over here to the side a little bit on and just slowly kind of draw a star with these lines, and I don't want them to be exactly the same links. Um, I want that irregularity a little bit, so I'm just gonna go ahead and and draw those in. Don't forget all those done. We're going to select them all. And then I'm going to change the color. Two white appear in line color. Now, what you're going to see that happens is it's going to kind of disappear because over the background does the backgrounds wait so we can actually change our background to a light blue color by white right, clicking on the background and choosing background color. Now, what I'm doing is I'm zooming weight in that way. I can kind of just move around some of these lines to where I really want them to be. And then I'm also going to click on the little yellow node thinking that we created, and I'm gonna take off that black outline so that it looked a little bit more like what we're trying to represent. So, you know, take your time. Just kind of moving things around until you feel like they look kind of like what you want , and it's don't have to look exactly like your reference picture. In fact, it shouldn't. You should always add your own personality into these things and change it around and make it yours. That's the fun in it. I slowed this down a little bit, cause I want you to see that when you have something like this, that's all these little pieces together. You're gonna want to select it all. And then you're gonna want a group all those pieces together. So that that way, when you go to move it around and duplicate it, you don't have to sit there and move every tiny individual piece. So that's a no important part. And right now I'm just, you know, putting all of them and order. I used to control the to duplicate them, and I'm just moving them around to where I want them. So now that we have our cactus looking kind of the way that we want, we're going to take a look at the flower on top of the cactus and think about how we can represent the flower. Well, when you're looking at it, it's really just thes pedals kind of coming up into a spike. So I'm gonna use the curvature tool again, the curvature line tool. I'm just going to kind of look at the puddles as I'm drawing and I'm drawing over here. I'm actually drawing on top of the photo s so that I could be right next to it And really look at if you're brand new to drawing, it's absolutely okay to trace over the photo just to get an idea of how the lines should look and how, um, how they should curve and everything. That's a great way to practice. Um, as faras the color. You can actually choose custom colors if you don't see the ones one that you like in the color palette, which is what I just did. I'm just adding to these these little pedals, as you can see and I'm making that rule irregular because it's kind of like the look that I want. I want it to be kind of a regular looking little leaves, so just take your time seeing it, really seeing it. And also, don't worry if it looks. If it doesn't look exactly like the picture like we talked about, you don't really want it to look exactly like the picture. You just you just wanted to have the same idea as a picture. Okay, so that's looking pretty good. I'm going to go ahead and click on each one of these and hold down the shift key as I do that so that I could select all of them. And then I'm going to hold the shift key down and then resize down. So bring the scale down a little bit. Now, I just need to move our flower down on top of the cactus. So I've got everything selected, and I'm just moving it down slowly and positioning it on top of the cactus where I want it saying, Isn't this fun? We're almost there. We're gonna go add details now. See, in the next video 7. Let's Add Details : Hey, guys, that's time to add some details. And you might notice as I zoom in here that I changed a little flower a little bit, um, to have the little yellow node b in the front. So, um, you know, just part of the details. So looking at this flower, there is a little bit that we can do to kind of at the details a little bit, and we can actually change the color of a pot to live. We want to be more like the reference photo. We can change it toe white and then change the back of the pot to make, like, a dark, darker weight, or like a grayish color, and that makes it look a little bit more my car for reference photo. It's interesting how, when you change the color of a pot, how much that really changes. The overall look and feel of the catch is so we can also take off me outside line of the pot every want, and that will make it look a little bit different as well. So I encourage you just, like experiment with some different things and see what you think you like as far as how the pot should look. One thing you can do with the flower is you can make a copy of it after you've grouped it all together and then overlay that on top. And then you can actually change the color a little bit by clicking on the fill color and custom and maybe a little bit darker color. And then you can go into the custom editor and you could turn down the transparency a little bit. This parts that's the fill color. Uh, this part right here that I'm moving up and down. That's the sole color, and you can change that a little bit adjusted. But then you can also adjust the transparency. Transparency is your friend in Google Strong's because you don't have all the fancy tools like you have an illustrator and everything else. So you have to kind of think out of the box a little bit and use that transparency tool to kind of give the illusion of maybe a shadow or maybe, um, different colors and the petals of the flower. So you have to play around with it. And right now what I'm doing is I'm just kind of clicking in the flower and clicking on individual pedals and changing the color of those to kind of or changing the size and shape of those to kind of give it a little bit of variation, so you have to play with it until you are happy with the details. But don't get too caught up in the details because we're just making like a cute little cactus character doesn't have to be perfect to really life actually add a shadow illusion by copying the outline of this and then turning that into black and then lowering the opacity of that as well. So that's another way that you can kind of detail is to sort of try to get that shadow in there that you see in the in the reference Fogo. Another way to add detail is to decorate the pot so you can add a little squiggly line on it. You got straight lines on it. You can do polka dots, stripes, all kinds of different things. I encourage you that maybe just Google hot shots and pot decoration to get ideas. If you're not sure what to do if you have something that's kind of on the edge here like this. Just double click it and then just manipulate the nodes toe look like it's kind of coming around the edge. Girl on the corner. Great. Now it's time to add character I'll see in the next video. 8. Adding Character: Okay, so now for the fun part, we can't add character to our cactus. So first thing that we're going to do is add some eyes because that adds character. You can experiment with lots of different kinds of eyes. This cactus to me looks kind of like a kid or like a cute little person or something. So you want to kind of look at your cactus and desired Well, what does your cactus a look like? What character is it already sort of exuding. And you just kind of pull from that. So I think this looks like a little child cactus, if you will. And so I'm gonna go ahead and give it some cute eyes that make it look childish. You can look up eyes on Google, different types of illustrated eyes, and that can give you some good ideas about different ways that you could make it look. Or you could just experiment with different eyes and just try it out until you find what looks good to you. Usually it's good to add a little highlight in the eye, and that gives it even more character. Generally, if you bring down the opacity of the highlight that makes it look a little bit more like an actual highlight that you would get from, you know, a light source. You can add even more character by adding a mouse. Tom. There's lots of different ways that you had a mouth. You can just go ahead and draw it in with the curvature line tool and then fill that maybe with like, a pink color, or sometimes even just like a dark color. I wouldn't experiment a little bit with different mouth until you find one that you like or you don't even have to have our mouths. A lot of times I won't even put a mouse, but sometimes I will. It just depends on the character. After trying even some little rosy cheeks on different miles, I actually ended up to society a simple mouth for my character, because I just think that sometimes simple is the better way to go. Another thing that you can do that character is accessories, so this little guy, I think, could look really cute with a pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses are super easy to make. You can just use shapes, two circles and the connector line tool can make a pair of sunglasses pretty quick E had and show you in high speed just a way to do another type of a character. And that just will give you some more ideas for the rest of your characters. Now that we have are two characters, one looks a little bit like a grandpa. I think, um, we're going to go ahead and go over and you are project, so I'll see you there in the next video. 9. The Project: Now we get to do the project. So what we're gonna do is we're going to select everything and then resize and make sure you hold on the shift key. Unlike what I just did as you saw. Go walking. So when you re sizing, you always want to hold down the shift key to keep the aspect ratio. And I'm just gonna kind of move this grouping together first and then move it, move aside for a second and going to go and find my picture. So you'll need to have a profile picture for, you know, whatever social media did you want to use, I'm just pulling in this random stock photo to show you how to do this. So I'm reciting the photo a little bit and just kind of playing run with it. And now I'm gonna put the Texas is in front on the photo, and this is where you can just kind of play around, uh, you know, decide how you would like it to look and just always remembering the whole down that shift key. When you're sizing that way, everything resize is together and just positioning your cactuses where you think that they will look cute. Next, we're going to add some word art. So we're going to go up to insert word art and type in something cute that you want that has to do with kept us. You can use tact itude, if you like, or whatever. You know, whatever you want to come up, and I'm gonna turn it a little bit just to give it, um just to make it look a little bit more like one of those transparent frames that you see kind of social media And, you know, you're gonna have position it until you're happy with it, and then you can come up to front, and you've been to the different Khan for it. I kind of like this phone because it kind of reminds me of cactuses, um, you know, long, skinny, kind that grow up. So I'm gonna add change the Phil of the of the words here to match the cactus color. And then it might be fun to add a few little captaincy spines to the words themselves to kind of just give a little but even more character and fun elements. So I'm gonna use the, um, the connector line tool for that because it just makes a nice little wonky lines, as you can see. So for the social media part, I do have a little Lincoln here that will take you to a site where they will always give you the size of the exact sizes for social media images. Eso If you want to do it that way, you can resize your canvas in Google drawings to match. Um, but it doesn't have to exactly be that size. Uh, generally, like, if you're gonna be using instagram, you can just size it as a square. And I can show you how to do that, using the ruler and the Google drawings. So if you just group everything together, including the picture and then resize using the shift key, you know, to keep your aspect ratio, you can pull this little corner down here a the bottom up to make it a little bit smaller. Um, for, uh, social media, your general gonna want it a little bit smaller than what the default is. You can go to page set up and see what size it's already at, and you can resize it in pixel inches or whatever you want. I prefer to just I know that the Instagram is square, so I'm just gonna use the ruler at the top and on the side to see, um, to kind of set mine up as a square. I'm just doing it at about a four by four. Um, exact square size. You don't want to go to two small because then you lose a lot of, um your detail in your cactuses and things just get kind of weird because you have to remember, this isn't illustrator, so it doesn't It's not gonna, you know, resize infinitely small. So you shouldn't play with it until you get it. Um, tore you like it and then to export it. You're just gonna go to file download as and you can do a J peg or a candy. Um, generally gaping is good for no posting. The social media, P and G is usually what you use when you wanna have Ah, a clear, transparent background. And we're not worried about that in this case. So on. That said, don't forget to share your project in the project section, and I'll see you in the next video to wrap things up 10. Wrapping Up: to find your Google drawings, you're just gonna open up a tab in chrome and just type in Google Drive and then click on or it says, Google Drive, and you're going to log in if you're not already logged in. If you have more than one account, pay attention to which account you're using and what you get loved into Google Drive. It's pretty easy to find your way around on the left side. You have all of your your menu of everything that you might want to dio. If you want to create a new document, just click on the plus sign and then go down to more and then click on Google Drop drawings and then that will open up a brand new document for you to start drawing in. You can, of course, also just make a copy of the template that I provided for you. You can make as many copies of that completed you want Teoh, and every time when you make a copy of it, it will become your own copy in your drive. If you want to start for a particular document, you just type in the search box. The search is really, really good. And Google because they are Google. So, um, any of you if you name it well, you'll be able to find it really easily by typing it in the search. Like how I just found the template that I had made for you really quickly. So everything this is stored in there very nicely for you. And the nice thing that I love about Google is it saves everything for you. Don't ever have to save anything. It's all say they are. Okay, It looks like you made it to me under the class. I'm so glad that you got to go on this journey together of dry on the computer. If you really enjoyed this class to be sure to check out my next class on digital bullet journaling, bullet journaling is so much fun to dio, I think that everyone should get the opportunity to try bullet journaling and believe it or not, everything that you see here in this Google drawing was actually created in here and Google . None of this is a photograph, um, the only thing that well, with the exception of the background image of the wood, that's the only thing in here That is actually a photograph. So the washing tape is created in here. Everything is created here, and Google. If you're interested in learning how to do this, then I encourage you to take my next class on bullet journaling, which will also cover just the basic elements of what it is the bullet journal and what the benefits are of doing. Bullet journaling. If you already are a bullet journal, ER, then I think you'll probably really enjoy learning how to do it digitally instead of analog . If you've never heard of bullet journaling, I encourage you to surgeon because there is so much stuff out there about it. It's so much fun to Dio, and it actually really does help you with your keeping your agenda and order and making sure that you get everything done. I've been using it for about four years now, and I can't really survive without able a journal to help me remember everything that I have to dio and to track different things that I want to keep track of. So it's really, really fun. There's a whole following of people out there that do it and a huge community of people that teach each other and freely give out different layouts and everything and is gonna be so much fun. And I hope to see you there. Thanks for joining me. See you next time.