Designing a Friendly Character from Sketch to Finished Vector Illustration | Blake Wilton | Skillshare

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Designing a Friendly Character from Sketch to Finished Vector Illustration

teacher avatar Blake Wilton, Designer, animator and thinker.

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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

7 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Intro to Friendly Characters

    • 2. Sketching

    • 3. Airdrop

    • 4. Using Simple Shapes to Add Depth

    • 5. Designing your Character's Face

    • 6. Adding Finishing Touches

    • 7. Conclusion

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About This Class

In this class I will walk through my illustration process from ideating with preliminary sketches through to finished vector illustration of a fun character based on your favorite food using simple shapes and tasteful gradients. Thanks for watching and I cant wait to see what you create!

Meet Your Teacher

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Blake Wilton

Designer, animator and thinker.


Hello, I'm Blake, a designer, illustrator, artist and cyclist from Seattle living in Washington DC. Live curious, craft with purpose.

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1. Intro to Friendly Characters: it was up. I'm Blake Shelton. I'm a graphic designer and illustrator, and today I'm going to be talking about my process for designing a friendly character from sketch to finish back to an illustration. Some of the things I'm going to be talking about in my lesson going to be how to get started, drawing your character, how to improve your process there, sketching and iterating and finally, some nice tips and tricks that I like to use when I'm designing in Adobe Illustrator knowledge, we have that out of the way. Let's get started. 2. Sketching: Hi. Welcome back. So before we get started drawing our character, we need to have a few materials ready. We need some pencils, good pencil sharpener and eraser and a sketchbook. So the question is, Will watch yourselves Now is what will our character be? This can sometimes be the hardest part getting started, but we're going to get really easy. Knew something called anthropomorphizing, which is giving human characteristics or features to nonhuman things. Example that we're going to use this exercises food so this could be pizza. It could be sushi, but I'm used ice cream. So here's some characters ideo earlier. You have a possible guy, this ice cream cone. The things I'm doing make my characters like friendly. It's amusing round eyes, which is something that goes back to the early days of cartooning. We're not gonna get into that too much, but there's a lot of great resources out there if you want to learn more about that music, rounded corners, simple shapes and Amanda seems cool sneakers for extra flavour. So let's go ahead and try to combine these four things into a new character to add to this ensemble. So we're gonna try that. Now I'm thinking, since we have used to ice creams, why don't we try adding an ice cream sandwich? I think that will be now. We pretty cool. So I screamed Sanders. They're pretty simple because they're basically rectangles. So I kind of stacking a few rectangles on top of each other and kind of filling in the gaps and kind of get the idea of a nice game of sandwich pretty fast. That's a pretty good start. Know what's Let's try giving it some features. So maybe you could get a pair of sunglasses and because sunglasses our eyes, let's try to make these look pretty rounded, so it kind of keeps it looking friendly. Let's clean this up a little bit. It is a cruel King Shane's. Now let's try giving little mouth keeping a simple Azul Your friend here. All right, folks, it's pretty cool. Let's try getting some legs by. Using curves will keep your illustration from looking really rigid, which is something that you don't want, especially when drawing characters like this. Okay, this is a pretty good start. We have a few different characters, but we want to try and do now and This is one of the most important things when doing illustration and during character design. Rain designed, for that matter is finding a way to improve on what you just did. If you're happy with where you are now, you can feel free to skip ahead to the next lesson. But what I'm gonna do is I'm going to try to find a way to give these guys some different personalities and different expressions, some different shapes, different sunglasses. Just try to play around with it, and that's what I do know. That was pretty fun. Most important thing about sketching when doing character design or any kind of design, is the owner of process where you open up. Opportunities for happy accidents, for instance, is drawing this character. His body looked like the paper cup of a snow cone, which I drew down. Here is a whole other character, something going on I thought about before. But we have a lot of material that we can play with now, So let's move on to the next step and jump into illustrator 3. Airdrop: Okay, So in this part of the lesson, we're going to be importing our sketch into the computer, so I don't own a scanner. So right like to do is I just use my phone's camera at a snap. A good picture of our page tap into the picture. That looks pretty good. I press send, then from there where it says airdrop. I just tap this icon and it just send straight to a computer via Bluetooth. So now there you can see our sketch in our Downloads folder, and now it is. Drag this into a folder called Sketches and we're ready to jump right into Illustrator, That's it. 4. Using Simple Shapes to Add Depth: Okay, so now we have our sketching the computer weaken. Just fire up, illustrator and get started. Something creative document in name or project friendly character in a press enter. Okay. And here we go. So here's our board. And so I'm just going to tad back over to find her in this dragger sketch right on to the r party Does created, um for this is the employment of focus on the Popsicle character. So I'm going to turn on layer. There are sketches onto template motors, turns that transparent locks it. This is good, because we don't want to be moving around when we're trying to draw on top of it. The name, our new layer Popsicle. And then we're going to grab or shaped tool. And it's like rectangle, and it doesn't get out of the stroke. We don't really want that in. Have our shape be good. Creamsicle kind of orange. There s okay. Listen and draw the shape right on top of our sketch. Just like this, with our new layer. Extend little that more. Okay, so his heads around this room to use the quarter tool in illustrators around that out. Gonna hold on option to duplicate the shape, send it backwards and change this color to a little bit darker. Orange to give are possible. Some dimension. All right, so now I want to work on the hats. I'm going. Teoh, hold down the option key. Duplicate this over a little bit, and, um, used the knife tool which allows you manipulate shapes by kind of in half. Hold on options shifting cut in a straight line. I use this feature a lot for a lot of my work and said, Delete these bottom shapes. I don't really need these anymore. Okay? And rustiness, select these and move them back on top of our possible shape. Okay, so that's the start of the hat. So we're toe change this color to good complementary Come, are maybe good purple, some with that And for the other shape, something a little bit darker. All right. Yeah, that was good. Okay, So for the bill of the hat, or listen to duplicate this shape, the option key and artisan to squish this down. Maybe we're that anchor point. This rotated a position. It's looking pretty good. And just around this out in, send it backwards. Once we have it in a good spot. Okay, Cool. So now let's do the cut out of Ah, it's hats kind of snapped back that fitted. So we're it's going to shrink this down a little bit and put in a position. And when you use the eyedropper tool to turn to the same color as the head, a little bit of rotation more. Okay, so now we're to work on his legs, which are possible six. So we're just going Teoh do that with a stroke. So we're gonna pick a good color for a stroke. Good Popsicle stick color. Something like this. There we go and listen to draw that in needs the convert anchor point tool to give it some little bit of curve. Give us stocks. Um, Thickness, something like Team Point looks pretty good. I wasn't duplicate this ever with the option key. Select them both and we're going to duplicate these to give it the same kind of three d effect like we did with the hat in the body and shoes and darker color and send it backwards and maybe something a bit lighter, actually, much better. Okay? No, we just want to do these behind possible shape. That's why I wanted great. So, um, let's make these endpoints rounded. Use n capital. Throw that out and reposition is a little bit. We want the bottoms of our shape to be around it off. Give it those nice roundness, make it really soft edges and make it look really friendly. Okay, that's looking pretty good. In our next step, we're going to start designing his face. 5. Designing your Character's Face: Okay, So in this part of the lesson, we're going to be working on designing our characters face. So I could a new layer and name it face one. You want to use layers as much as you can, because it really allows you to non destructively experiment with different versions of your design. So I'm to switch to the Ellipse tool and we're going to draw in our first Isom. Just do this by putting this right on top of our sketch like we've done before and give us a nice little Phil. And now we're going to add in pupil. So when you go back to the Ellipse Tool Anderson and drawn Ellipse right on top of our original circle, so drops in, they play around with that. Stretch it out. So the white guy, he's a little bit rounder with me this black. All right, Maybe this people need to be a little bit bigger. Yeah, that's certainly what pretty good. So I want to add a glimpse to his eyes. I'm gonna select the white area that we created earlier Anderson to shrink this down if we duplicate it and place it right on top of our pupil area. This will give Give her I nice kind of cartoony look, which is pretty classically friendly in a cartoon sense. Um, so I'm going to want to move this white circle from our black circle. So I'm gonna do that by using the Pathfinder tool and hitting minus back That will remove the top circle from the bottom one from the shape that looks pretty goods of. I've duplicated that over. Um, but I really like this white coming in from the edge, so move this over. But what's happening now is our eyes are no longer circles. The black people area is no kind of protruding past the white circle that really like this . So I'm going to copy this over in trying to find a way to clean, to clean this up. So I always do that by using the divide tool, which cuts the vectors up by their edges so you can never see that we have these little pieces that are outside of our original circle area. Understanding. Delete these. That looks a lot cleaner. I said, move this back and get rid of this and then get rid of this one too. and get this. Now we have to much cleaner approaches to this, uh, 70 work on his mouth. So I think we do that by using the pen tool on just drawing a simple triangle. The fewer anger points you have, the easier it is to work. Uh, so I would assume used the pennant total. That kind of creates some Bosnia curves actually going to use the converting, A point told, which is C on your keyboard, Teoh Add busy occurs evenly to this anchor point. Mr Look pretty good. So I'm going to use in the middle of the mouth and then for the corners. I'm going to use the corner tool that we use earlier in the lesson that's starting to come together. Something to play around with us until we get something that I like, Busy occurs to me incredibly useful once you get the hang of them, they could be a little frustrating at first, but really takes just takes some practice. All right, that's looking pretty good. I only see what see what this looks like with their Popsicle layer turned back on. Our character is really coming together, so let's see what happens when we add a new expression. So I'm going to do is create a new layer and name it face to Doesn't get hide that they were layer and me. Let's try giving him some of these sunglasses that we drew on one of our earlier sketches. Switch over to the pencil tool, which allows you to free draw vectors this mule but challenging on your track pads. So I'm using a welcome tablet. But either way, it'll work out. So once I finished, this will shape. I want to simplify it because, like I said, working with a lot of anchor points on shapes could be really challenging. You want to try to use your busy occurs as much as you can, so that looks pretty good. So duplicate this over. Use the mirror and reflect tool, which is O on your keyboard to put this shape around its position. It all right? Like it, um So I'm to give us an outline so I can still see my shape below. Because we're going to work on now is I think it's glint in the sunglasses. Um, so I'm gonna go back to the pencil tool. I'm just going to free draw the shape to kind of give it a bit more organic. Look, um, I've copied this over its position. It it doesn't really matter that the shapes air overlapping the sun lashes shaped because we're gonna use the Pathfinder tool to get rid of that missile emergencies together. And so what? They're connected. I'm listening to make these glints on some buses. White got that over. So now we're going Teoh, try to make the glens fit inside of the sun. Lots of shape. So we're going to just get rid of those and select with these and move back to the lips Pathfinder tool. So one of these is gonna work. Not be that one. Um, no, not yet. There we go. So, ups? Yeah, that's what I wanted. Okay, So, no, it isn't it, do we? These artifacts and there aren't that Gwen Syverson laws is so that's pretty nice. So now they fit just right where they were just the right amount of shape area. Um, it's That's a good position for them. Okay, much better. Some of the bridge to some less is know the pen tools gonna be a little bit finicky. So I switched to the pencil, just P on your keyboard and this in something like that that's coming together. There's a quick just spend some time kind of cleaning up the shapes really quick. It's a little bit closer. I want this kind of smooth curve on the top. So the move these round the link appoints that's pretty good. So no going to select myself buses because of even the amount a little bit using a D? No, actually, I like that. Okay, where does it move these losses? On top of our obstacle shape, Position them right. Um, used the, um transformed tool which will allow us to kind of add a little askew. Well, skew effect. Is that a nice bit of perspective? You want to be using the free transform, I'll give you the most freedom. No, you can see that some lessons were bigger on one side and smaller on the other to kind of account for the angle that he's kind of standing eso when you add in his mouth. So what I'm going to do is use the Ellipse tool. I understand. Used the knife to cut this in half. Um, don't give us a pretty good start drawing a mouth the middle point and then using the corner tool we used earlier kind of round out the edges to make a nice, even shaped smile where you just see that looks like when we put a bell on it. Okay, that's looking pretty good. Be some lessons. Look a little bit oversized now. So select these. Do you select the layer Balu and shrink them down just a little bit. Great. There's enough. Okay, that's pretty cool. So we'll see what that looks like, and I like it, but I kind of put this other face back on. That's pretty nice. So listen pretty good options for faces said, unless we have ahead Teoh as a nice finishing touches to finish out of this little character. 6. Adding Finishing Touches: Okay, So in this lesson, we're going to be adding the finishing touches to your character. So hidden North schedule here. I'm going to move her character to the middle of the art board. I just want to go ahead and create new layer moving behind her Popsicle and add a nice cower Phil behind it. Just just make this a bit more fun. Time to go ahead and lock that layer because they don't want to be messing with it. When I had were detailed to her character, So I want Thio added a depth to the sky. So I'm gonna use the knife tool on a duplicate of the shape which in with a layer on top of or shape and I'm a bit of ingredient to it. So I'm grounding the swash and drying it onto a radiant because I want this greening into kind of feather into character kind of fade in. Um, some doesn't choose an angle. Fisk radiant because they want the orange to be touching the rest of the body. So uhm, I'm going to lower the surpass iti just at a little nice subtlety, Um, me a little bit less? No. Here we go is an extra color on there. Okay, some distance from the father that in a little bit more. That's looking pretty nice. So when I want to know is do the same bit of adding depth to his legs. So I'm going to duplicate the leg shapes and then by using by going Teoh, the object dropped down This, like expand. This will make the stroke into a shape. Don't do the same thing with these legs here. Okay, so in the Pathfinder to only use the merge tool to merge these two overlapping shapes together and then going back the knife tool and just going to cut these good spot, we're going to be wearing these on top of the leg shapes, kind of out of it, a shadow. So selecting our shapes, I'm going to go to greedy and tool. Um, I just wanted linear ingredient from black to white, with the black coming down from the top of the shape into white Syverson to put these right on top of the leg shapes just like that. And then in the transparency setting. Simmons said this to multiply, so you can see that is already kind of in a shadow going on here. Just a give this guy a bit more duff. It's gonna There we go. It's a lot better. So what I want to do now with focus on adding more detail to his hat. So when I duplicated these shapes over, there's this bit of a gap right here, understand? Use the pen tool and fill this in. Does anything a simple triangle, um, eyedropper tool to grab that color? This. Send it backwards. All right, that's looking a lot better. It's not quite where I wanted to see the shape of quite a line that is going to move its anchor point over. Clean it up. I still really want that overlapping. There we go. That's a lot better. Okay, so what I want to do now is out of it or detail. First, I want to just lower this a passage. It's just a little bit not subtle enough. Okay, back to the hat. So what we do know is that more detail to a snap back. So I'm going Teoh, add some stitching like we had done in one of our sketches seventies asses, tool just to break this shape apart is I just want to stroke. So I'm going to just delete something's anchor points that were created by the sitters tool Transit with stroke. I'm gonna make this white just warrior that right on top of this edge in in the stroke palette, I'm going to select dashed line. This is a play with these numbers to kind of give it a bit more detail. It's avoid that, um, these strokes a little bit too close together. So I think going to you and some numbers into this gap. Well, gap setting whiter and a little bit of a white capsule were to set this to five. I was pretty good. Um, I don't really want this line going the entire length of that edged. So I'm going to use this is to all the kind of trim it down a little bit some more. Not quite the look that I want yet. All right, dogs a lot better. So I do now is and a clasp to the snapback. So I'm going to go ahead and use the rectangle tool. Uh, members may draw this right on top just right off to the side. Okay. It was out of feel to it. Sort of a stroke. And I'm just in a position Is rectangle right on top of the hat? A little bit of rotation. I remember. Just duplicate this, so we're trying to do is get the strap to go through this class. So I'm going to duplicate this over in using the direct fleck tool use the corner tool that we used earlier to round that out. And it's like this. Make this purple. And when that adds holes to this little guy faithful detail on, Just copy this over a few times. Okay, Looks very nice. Just take a little bit further in this, playing the alignment of this cut out shape. There we go. Look at that. So in her sketch, we had talked about adding sneakers. So I have just brought some sneakers in from another file. Doesn't turn those on position. Them only did was drew the outline of a sneaker and copy that twice and then filled in the gaps or some other shapes and colors. Um, so I think what he means no is a skateboard. So I'm going to create a new layer and move this behind the possible layer and make something a bit of a torpedo shape. We can make this yellow. That's pretty good. Um, service, nads and wheels. And we can make these wheels blue. Nice. Little. That's pretty good. Um, is that people get the shape and make this lighter blue, right? And I mean, a copy of this shit again, and I'm gonna make it smaller And black is this will be the bolt middle of the wheel, axle me a little smaller, okay? And play at the alignment. Horizontal and vertical. So it's right there in the center Anderson position. That's right on top of the skateboard and send it backwards. Okay. No, we just need to add some screws to the top of the skateboard of where the wheels would be bolted on. Um, it's a copy. This circle a few times, and it's like them in reposition a little bit. Okay, that was pretty good. A little bit and, uh, fill in the gaps with busy handles. A little bit simpler than having holder sheep, especially at this size. Uh, most okay. Make us almost more. Okay, that's better. Okay, grab this skateboard in position right behind him. Add this all the rotation? Okay, dogs pretty good. I like this little character, so I think that we can call it done. 7. Conclusion: all right. Thanks for watching. Everyone has had a great time designed their characters, and I cannot wait to see them. Then it has any questions at all. Feel free to reach out to me. Otherwise I'll see you next time.