Digital Character Illustration: Create A Memorable, Whimsical Character | Justyna Stasik | Skillshare

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Digital Character Illustration: Create A Memorable, Whimsical Character

teacher avatar Justyna Stasik, Illustrator

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

12 Lessons (1h 3m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Love of Characters

    • 3. Your Project

    • 4. Sketching Your Character

    • 5. Creating Your Composition

    • 6. Tracing in Adobe Illustrator

    • 7. Duplicating and Mirroring

    • 8. Choosing a Color Palette

    • 9. Adding Details to Your Main Character

    • 10. Using Details to Add Balance and Emphasis

    • 11. Adding Textures and Exporting

    • 12. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Learn to use Adobe Illustrator and unlock the skills to create vibrant, dynamic characters!

Join illustrator Justyna Stasik, known for her relatable and body-positive character work, as you work together to make a daily annoyance into a work of art. With Justyna as your guide, you’ll learn how to combine analog sketching with digital design tools to create an engaging mirrored design for your character illustrations.

Key lessons include:

  • Duplicating and mirroring shapes to create patterns and interesting compositions
  • Using Illustrator’s pen tool to create symmetrical and asymmetrical shapes
  • Breaking symmetry to emphasize details or the overall message of your work
  • Making a character personal to you and memorable to others

This class is the perfect first project for anyone looking to get familiar with Adobe Illustrator, from those just starting out to seasoned professionals trying their hand at a new skill. With a warm and welcoming teaching style, Justyna's method of character design will give you new tools that you'll incorporate into your creative process time and again!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Justyna Stasik



Justyna Stasik is Polish illustrator based in Montreal, Canada.

She loves good stories, nice people, late summer afternoons, movies about gangsters,
watching YouTube videos about tiny houses, zucchini pancakes, and eggs, and you.

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1. Introduction: I think what makes my style unique is that I tend to get the inspiration from within, and I think that's a very useful approach because this way, you always get something that is you. Hi, I am Justyna Stasik, Polish illustrator based in Montreal, Canada. Today, we will be creating character illustration based on an everyday struggle. I'm a self-taught illustrator, I didn't go to art school. I was illustrating just for myself for fun, and never thought I could actually make a job out of it. Then I landed an internship as an illustrator, took my personal projects and the way I was working on my own, to my work environments, and made it happen. I'm really excited to teach this class today because working with character illustration is a lot of fun and I hope you're going to see it yourself. One of the techniques I will be showing you today is something that I actually used quite a lot in my own work and it's the mirroring and repeating the characters, which allows us to create a very clean, very symmetrical, and cohesive composition. I hope that after the class, you will be able to create a character that has tons of personality, and also hopefully will adjust your approach to inspiration and learn how to find it in everyday life. I'm really excited about the characters we'll be creating today. Let's get started. 2. The Love of Characters: Before we dive into the project, I would like to talk a little bit about the character illustration in general, and what I love about it. When I'm creating my characters, I like to think about the connection it will have with the audience. I like to think about creating a character that is very relatable, very approachable. Think about this one person at the party that you really connect with. Maybe you might think that you have not much in common, you look differently, you behave differently, but there is this instant connection, and this is what I really want to achieve with my work. One of the first projects that help me build my personal style was actually also related to personal struggle. It was a series called Almost Naked Sport Chubbies, and it's basically a pattern of girls working out. Not really enjoying it, struggling with it, and you can definitely tell they're not into sports at all, but in this struggle and in these characters, you can see a lot of personality and a lot of expression, which helped me to realize that this is what is quite important in character illustration. What was very helpful with creating my own style that comes to character illustration was obviously looking into other people's work as well, and I personally I'm a really big fan of illustration and character illustration that is very simplistic and it is like a formal abbreviation and it is using as few elements as possible, making it still very expressive and very fun looking. Let's get a look at artists and their work that I'm the most inspired by. One of my favorite artists who create amazing characters is Saul Steinberg. What I love the most about their work is how simple it is, and how using just one squiggly line, he is capable of creating this amazing character with tons of personality. You don't need any color, any particular shapes, it is just one line that is telling all the story. Another example of Saul Steinberg's work are those three ladies. Again, they are created with very, very simple technique, just using a line work and it's very impressive to see his ability to create those impactful characters in the most simplistic way. Another example of an artist that is very inspiring to me is Vittorio Florucci. He is an Italian Canadian poster artist illustrator. What I love the most about his work is his ability to create characters that are very fun, very amusing. This is a very good example of use of the character, where it is not really focused on the character itself, it is like a pattern of the characters and they might get lost in the whole piece a little bit. But if you look close enough, you can see that those characters are actually really fun. This is also a great example of repeating the character, it's a technique that we will be using later on. Jan Mtodozeniec is probably my earliest influence. He is a Polish graphic designer, illustrator, poster creator. I was introduced into his work very early on. In my home, we always had a subscription of this magazine called Big Format, where they ran reprints of Jan Mtodozeniec's work, and I used to cut them out and either framed them or make collages out of them. So his work is bringing a lot of nice feelings to me and memories from childhood, but he is just an amazing artist. This is Jan Mtodozeniec's poster for Steven Spielberg's 1941 movie, and what I love about it the most is the fact that those characters seems very oblivious to whatever is happening around them and I think that sums up the movie pretty well, and its hectic nature. The characters are created in this very thick line, but all the details are there and not much more is needed. You can find inspiration for your characters basically everywhere. It doesn't have to be illustration per se. It could be any field you imagine. It could be sculpture, ceramics. You could look for characters you like in the movies, in the literature and find characters that you are drawn to and that you relate to, then take them and translate them to the illustration or any medium you would like to work. Before we start working, try to find 1-2 characters either in illustration or any other field that you feel a connection with or you feel inspired by and maybe use that to work in your piece. So once you get your inspiration, let's dive into the project. 3. Your Project: So the project today is a character illustration based on an everyday struggle, we will be using mirroring and repeating technique. I feel like there's quite a few benefits of using an everyday struggle as an inspiration. First of all, we all are going through different things in life and we all struggle with different things. So chances are whatever you choose, it's going to be very unique and very personal to you which will probably help you to create something very original. Other than that, I think people are very passionate about things that tend to annoy them and they struggle with. Probably even more than the things that are fun and people like and are happy with. So we're going to use this energy and this passion for something that is slightly annoying and something we struggle with, translated into illustration that will hopefully show it. Additionally, chances are that by taking something that is difficult for you and that is irritating or annoying and making it serve a purpose as an illustration, it will be easier for you to overcome that thing. Basically, it's a therapeutic art in action. A struggle I picked for myself today is basically I think that forced itself on me by its repetitive character. I own this one pair of Doc Martens that constantly common tie and I have to retie it two, three times a day. At first it was quite annoying, but after some time I was amused with the fact that I have to stop myself constantly to retie the shoe. There was something very meditative to the process and I figured I could use that as an inspiration for illustration too. This is also an approach that I've been toying with a lot in my work lately and the repeating and mirroring characters to build specific narrative and composition as well. So I'll be creating my illustration based on this idea of my Doc Martens pair of shoes. You can choose any other struggle that you feel are personal to you, and the way we'll go about it is we will start with sketching our single character and finding out character that feels expressive and fun enough to work with. Once you have this one character that you really like, we'll be using a tracing paper to create the final composition. We'll be tracing the chosen character repeating it, and narrowing it to nail down the composition. After that, we will move on to Illustrator and digitalize our arts. We will be tracing our character this time in Illustrator, creating shapes and lines and the whole competition. We'll start with just one character and then in Illustrator we will be repeating the Character and mirroring it. After that finally, we will move to Photoshop to add another bit of texture, maybe some grains, maybe some effects to it. Finally, we'll be exporting our file for you to share it. So now let's just dive into the first step, which is sketching the character. 4. Sketching Your Character: The first step on the process is sketching your character. I personally prefer a paper and pencil sketching, it feels more natural to me, more organic and it allows you to loosen up a little bit. So when you're creating a character for this project and this type of composition with repeating and mirroring, you might want to create a character that is a bit more expressive and a bit more dynamic. So when we repeat it and mirror it, we'll achieve a whole looking composition. So for example, instead of going with a character that is like kneeling down, which would be a natural pose for tying your shoe, we might want to go with a character that is probably standing up with her arms on her hips, and with her legs wider apart. This is just a thumbnail, so don't worry too much about the details now, it doesn't have to be perfect or anything. What we will achieve here is the character that when it's going to be mirrored, it will create all those spaces between. So when you're creating a character for this type of composition, you might want to think not only about the character itself, but also about the way it will interact with the character that will be repeated after that. So we will have this space here, and here as well. So we want to show a little bit of a struggle and we're going to show that with the way the character is positioned, but also using the facial expression as well. I personally, with my characters like to create them in this very natural looking way with not necessarily perfect body, not something very typical. It serves two purposes, it makes the character again more relatable, more body positive, but also it is interesting to look at. Again, at this point don't worry too much about the details, this is just to set up the position of the character, the mood but also we will always have plenty of time to tweak any details, later on with sketching, with tracing with paper, but also in Illustrator later on. So if you want you can experiment with facial expressions, what I sometimes do is I draw head shapes, we just circle in my case. I don't know hers so you know it's a character, and then you can play with different expressions. In this case, we want to convey the struggles, so maybe we'll want to go with eyes closed and looks like that and just lying, or maybe we could see this bored already look with eye looking up and face like this. Or maybe we could go with amusement and it's just such an annoying struggle, you're just like at this point you're just having fun with it. So we might want to try with different positions here as well. Maybe character that is facing us in this case and just pulling laces both sides. It doesn't have to be too close to how it looks in real life, have fun with it and make it as obstruct and weird as you want to. So when you're sketching the character and thinking about their composition, you could just quickly try mirroring it like that and mimicking the final composition, just to have an idea how the characters would look like next to each other. So I'm starting to feel that this position might work quite well with what we have in mind here. So what I'm going to do, I'm going to try to draw it again and see where it will take me and what will come out of it, maybe we'll another a little bit more. The final thing that I would like to tweak here is this leg in the back because now it's basically a straight line. So if we would put in there a character next to it, it won't create any interesting space between them, it will be just like this. Whereas if we would have this back leg bend a little bit more, like so, it will create another character next to it, the space that will happen between them will be looking like this instead of this boring straight line. So this is what I would like to think about when reworking this again. So I want to bend this back leg, this one will be straight, if you don't like anything you can always erase it and tweak it. So if you're trying to refine the position you like, you might want to try to keep it a bit cleaner, but again, don't worry too much about it. At this point you might want to play with the way the character look like, so for example this like different kind of hair or clothes. I feel like the hair being down actually adds to the piece a little bit, because not only the struggle with the shoe but also the hair falling down, so it kind of makes it more fun to look at. We go down to a little bit of detail like patterns and stuffs to see if you like it and if it's something you'd like to continue with. So that might be a position that we actually like and want to go with, what I would probably change is make this curve here a little bit even more visible. So I would take those two parts, the top of it, it's sticking out a bit more and this one as well. So the line is even more visible. 5. Creating Your Composition: Next step is creating the composition of our illustration. For this, we'll use the tracing paper to mirror and repeat the characters. You can do that in Photoshop but, I think it's just more fun this way and it's feels more of organic. So now we'll be tracing our character using tracing paper. Remember that we will be repeating the character on the left here, so leave yourself a bit of room here to work with later. Now when we're tracing, you might want to adjust some lines if you feel like it, so it's basically just an outline. You might want to color some elements if you want like hair or shoes if you feel you like it. Now we'll be mirroring the character. What we're going to do here is, we will flip the tracing paper like so, and create the character on the other side. So we did basically the same thing. Just tracing the character like we did before. So we keep using this one character that we created as a guide here. So it's basically one character repeated over and over again in the composition. So once we have the second character merged, we want to just flip tracing paper, and now basically trace the tracing paper to have both the character's outlined on the same side. This way we have two mirrored characters next to each other. At this point, you can decide if you want to leave it like this just to have two characters next to each other, and tying the shoes, or if you want to take it a little bit further, you can repeat the characters next to the characters you created to make it even more repetitive and create this narrative of struggle that is just like coming back and hunting you all the time. I'm choosing to overlap this arm of this first character with this leg of the character that's behind it, which will make the illustration a bit less busy and more cohesive. So you want to be mindful about what you want to include in this sketch and in the composition? We might hide the leg behind but we definitely want to show the laces and the hand holding it. We're going to do the same thing we did before, we're splitting the tracing paper, and we tried to put the tracing paper in the same position as with the other side, where we did with the other side, and again we're just going to repeat half of the character. Remember that you will be tracing it back on the other side so, it doesn't have to be too precise here. Again, [inaudible] paper and just tracing what we did on the other side. Again don't worry too much about the details at this point because we might be tweaking them later in illustrator, right away, I can see that I will be probably closing this space here by moving the back leg a little bit to the middle like this. But then we can easily do it illustrator later on. So we're basically done with our composition here. We use tracing paper to create the final composition, again you can use it, you can do it in Photoshop but I feel like with tracing paper is just more fun. The next step is bringing the sketch to illustrator. I usually use my iPhone to take a photo of it and then I drop it to my computer, but you could do it anyway you want. You could scan it, you could take a photo and send it to yourself, via texts or e-mail. Basically any way that works for you. We just want it in illustrator. 6. Tracing in Adobe Illustrator: So now, when we have our composition done, we're going to move to illustrator and start digitalizing our file. So we're going to create a new document by clicking on the "Create New." At this point we're going to choose the size of the document we're going to be working with. We know it's a little bit elongated, not necessarily a square. I like to work with pixels and so I would go start with 2,000 pixels by 1,600 and then we hit "Create." Now, we will place our final composition and illustrator by just dragging it and dropping it directly into Illustrator. Now, using Shift key we will resize our sketch so it fits the Artboard. Remember that you can always resize the Artboard, change its proportions, so don't worry too much about it at this point. What we want to do is to create layer with the sketch, and then a new layer on top of that to work with. I like to set the opacity of our sketch to let's say 50. Then we will lock the layer, create a new one on top and this is where we will be tracing our composition. So we started with the Pen tool and you can either select it from the tool panel here on the left by clicking it, or you could also just hit the "P" on your keyboard. Using a space bar, you can move your art design around. I would like to zoom in a bit to start working on the shapes that we have here. We will be tracing just one of the characters and then repeating it and narrowing it. So we focus on the one that we like the most and start tracing. So we pick a starting point, click it, and drag the cursor a little bit so we have those handles show up. This is like a helpline for us to have an idea where the line will be going. We can release it and then we find another point, click, and again, drag it a little bit, and we continue like so. It might feel weird and difficult at first, but it's just a matter of getting to know this flow of the lines that that Pen tool is creating. To create a straight line we just once click on the Artboard without showing those handles that we used before. To remove them, here we just click again, and then holding a Shift key we could just click anywhere we want and it will create a straight line. Actually, here we could also use a straight line and join with the starting point. Now, you can click away. You hit "Command" and you can deselect the shape that you just created. What we want to do here is to create shapes that are closed. This will make it that much easier later on to add colors to it and play with the colors as well later on. We will be using just lines as well and not necessarily only closed shapes but for the main parts like the pens here or the whole body, it makes sense to create closed shapes. Now, I want to do something that I mentioned before about closing this space between those two characters. To modify a shape that you already created, you can use the direct selection tool here in the tool panel, or you could just hit "A" to select it. This way you can just select any point you want in the shape you already created and move it. In this case, I will be using the Shift key to move it. You can now adjust any curves, any lines you want. So I will continue with the rest of the body and the main shapes using the same technique and the same tool. So at this point we might be tweaking a little bit to the shape of the main elements if we feel like it. To remove the part that you are not happy with or you want to change, you could always use a scissor tool. You can either find it in the panel or a hit the "C" key. Now to remove the part that we don't like, we select the shape with command and now by clicking at the ending points of the part we want to remove, we cut it out like this. If you ever need to use more geometrical shapes like a square or a circle, you can always use the tool in illustrator. In this case, I will be using it for the head of the character. So you just choose ellipse tool from the panel. Holding a Shift you create a circle, maybe a little bit too big, so I just selected and make it a bit smaller, and now we're back to Pen tool to continue creating our main shapes. So we create the hair on top of the head and then we will have this part of the hair that is behind the head. It's going to be hidden behind both the body and the head. So we just create the shape that is pretty loose, it doesn't have to be too perfect, and then we can move it to the back using Shift Command and the Square Brackets. Now we're going to create the clouds. So what we can do, when we already have the shape of the body, we can just cut out the shape of the clouds and that goes on top of that. For that we will use the pathfinder tool. So we create a shape that is on top of the body and of the shape that we want to cut the new shape from, doesn't matter the size, and we're just going to cut it out. So first, we select the shape that is behind and that will act as our guide and the shape that we wanted to get. We'll copy it. I hit "Enter" key, put zeros here and then hit "Copy". Now we will be selecting the shape that we created on top of the body shape that we want to cut out of and then select the one that we copied. We're going to open the pathfinder panel and we will use the mode from the shape modes row, and we'll use the "Intersect" option. This way we created the shape that is in the shape of the body behind it. That's going to be our clouds. Now we can tweak a little bit of the shapes, add some missing lines like this, we can add color to the hair so we have an idea how it looks like, and the head I will set to just white for now so it will cover the hair behind it. Now I feel like we're just missing the shoelaces. So let's work on them. Now we have it filled. We don't want that so I'm going to remove the fill using this option here, order Backslash key on your keyboard. Okay. So we have our main character. We can now switch off the layer with the sketch to see how it looks like. Marvelous. So before we start repeating the character, we might want to do the last tweaks to the lines. So what I want to do here is to align this part of the shape here with the end of this part. So I want to move it like that. We either have this guideline appear here that will show us that it is aligned. If we prefer, we can bring the guideline out. We can hit "Command-R" to bring out the rule and then we just drag it and have this guideline here. Now we know where those parts align. So I will keep tweaking the lines here to make the shapes and the lines look exactly how I want it. 7. Duplicating and Mirroring: So now we will take this character that we created, and we will repeat it to see if everything works fine. To do it, I will for now, just fill the shapes with white. So you can not see the character beneath. I'm going to group it all, Command T. So now we will just duplicate the character we have. We will select a character, hold Alt key, and just move it to the position we want. We could also hold the Shift key while we're doing it. This way we'll move it in the same position. Then we are using the Command Square Bracket Key to bring it to back. Now we can see more or less how it will look like when a character is duplicated. We may want to move it a little bit to the left. So this space here between the characters is created. Now we can continue tweaking the domain character to make it work better with the repetition. So what do we want to do here, is to create this harmony between the characters. So the negative space is repeating itself here and there. Then we have this nice composition out of it. We might be making this space a bit bigger to make it breathe a little bit more. It's not too big a change. We just like tweaking small lines here and there. If you want to see if it's working better or not, you can always remove the character that you previously duplicated and do it again with the main one. So now I can see that here, the lag from the character behind, you can see it, and I don't really want that. I want to align the line of the hand of the fourth character with the leg of the one behind. So I'm going to do it in the main character. First of all, you don't want to be tweaking things twice but also it is just more symmetrical this way. So you just want to tweak and it's the same in all characters. Let's now see if it's working as well if we mirrored the character. So we going to duplicate a character once more, and go to Object Transform Reflect. Now we can align it and see if it's working as we wanted to. I think it works pretty well. So now we will duplicate the nerd character once more. What you might want also do is just to make sure that everything is symmetrical. You might duplicate both of the characters, add ones. So we select both of them, duplicate. Now we have our characters smart and repeated and our composition finalized. The next step will be adding details, patterns, and colors and basically fleshing out the illustration. 8. Choosing a Color Palette: So the next step is adding the color to our illustration. After that, we will be adding some smaller elements and details to it like patterns, facial expression, et cetera. You could start with any colors you like. So it's useful to have a file with colors that you often use and like. I myself have that file here. With my favorite colors that I often use. It doesn't have to be anything perfect. I just basically doubled the colors that I like in one file and I use it when I need it. So I'm going to copy the colors that I will be probably using for this piece. You paste the colors here. If you want, you can create the swatches out of the group that you just placed in your file. So to select a group of swatches out of the shapes that you just placed in your file, you just have to select all the shapes, go to the swatches menu here, and from a drop-down menu, you just add selected colors. You have them here. Again, we're working with just one character here for now. So now the colors you brought from your color file are here in this swatch panel, so you can use them as swatches. So in my work, I really like using primary colors and really bright ones. I feel like they work really well together and also add a little bit of fun and lightness to the piece as well. So remember the colors don't have to be close to real life, and you can go crazy with it 9. Adding Details to Your Main Character: Now, we'll be adding some details to the piece. I think I will start with the facial expression of our character. As I mentioned before, we can play with it and use different expressions and see if it's working for us. I will start with just an eye, a dot for an eye and maybe just a straight line for face, for the mouth. Yeah, she looks pretty disappointed. So let's keep going and trying maybe to more smiling face. We don't want to have too happier of a face because at the end of the day, it is a struggle that we're trying to illustrate. So we want to see and show a little bit of effort. I don't necessarily like this really pointy corner here. So to remove it, we go to the Stroke panel and we choose the corner to be rounded. I quite like this face. So let's continue it on the details and see if it's going to work with the rest. If it comes to facial expression, it's going to be a key point of our illustration, especially if you want to convey the struggle. So you might want to spend a little bit more time on tweaking it and making it really look perfect. Now, I would like to do the pattern on the pants of our character to make it more interesting visually and to add some color as well. How I like to work with it is to create the patterns and by hand. I don't use pre-made patterns and I think it makes it that much more organic and natural looking, especially if you're working with fabric. So I want to go with a circle patterns like polka dot pants. So create one circle and I will be applying color to it. Let's say, let's start with pink. Now holding down the Alt key, I will be just duplicating the circle, trying to make it interesting but natural and organic. Some of the circles will be cut here. So it will be only half of it visible. We will continue with that. What I'd like to do in pieces like that with characters, almost touchy is to have one part of the pattern overlapping both of them. So it's going to be creating this whole dot when it is put together. So since we have our character grouped before, to cut out the shape for the pattern, we might want to bring all the dots as well as the facial expression and a group of our character. So we're going to cut it and to the group and paste there. Now, we're going to be cutting the shapes to the shape of the pants. So again, as with the clothing here and the body will copy the shape of the pants as many times as we have the dots that are outside of the shape of the pants. So seven times. Now, we're going to be using the Pathfinder. So we're going to be selecting both shapes, the shape of the pants that we just copied and the shape of the dot that we want to cut it to the shape. Use the Pathfinder intersect. We do that with all the dots that are slightly outside of the shape of the pants. To make the pattern look a bit more natural, we're going to create this sense of it being shifted here a little bit. So we're going to take this dot here. Using scissor tool, we're going to cut it in half, and we're going to just move it a little bit, then we're going to bring this line to the top using Command Shift and a square bracket. This way, we'll have this more natural looking pattern. For this piece, it's a struggle and not the most fun looking topic. I would say, I think I want to go with something a bit fun looking, and then I think I'm going to do the different colors for different dots, like a little bit like a clown pants. Again, you can use any pattern you want, you don't have to use patterns, but I find them always making the piece a bit more interesting. I'm trying to make the pattern look pretty consistent and the colors to be distributed evenly throughout the whole fabric here. For example, right now I can tell that those three white dots create almost a line, so I don't want to see that. I don't want to be too unified, so I'm going to switch it to some white color and see if it's working better. I think we're good for now with the pattern. Now, I would like to create a little bit of a shadow, especially in here in the pants area. I will use this line that we created before to close it and make a little bit of a shadow. Now, we're going to fill it with black. This way, we have a little bit shadow. I'm going to make it a bit longer using just a line. It will add some depth and definition to the piece and will make it feel a bit more realistic even though we are not trying to be too realistic, but it will create a disillusion. We want to add a little bit of shadow on the shoes as well. I'm going to be using pen tool here. Again, it's not a lot. It's just a tiny little box, but it makes all the difference. If we happened to have some shape that is not closed, we can always select it, go to the drop down menu, and hit Join. This way, we're closing the shape. We have the shoe. So it's looking good for the first layer of the details. In the next lesson, we'll be adding some more details to flesh it out even more and bring it to life. 10. Using Details to Add Balance and Emphasis: The next step is adding other bit more details to the piece, to flesh it out even more. But before we do that, it's a great idea at this point to save your file. I should have probably done it before, but let's just do it now. Okay. So the file is saved, now we are going to keep adding details to our illustration. So I'm going to continue here and move to the shoes now. I think I'm going to go add a bit of flesh and some socks. So I'm going to do it, I'm just going to copy the shape of the shoes as we did before with different shapes, and I'm going to use the eraser tool and just remove the top of the shoes. I'm going to use the eyedropper to get the shade of the skin for the legs as well. So you can either pick it from the tool panel, or just hit "I" on your keyboard. Since it's Dr. Martens that we're talking about, I think I want to make them a bit higher. So to do so with the selection tool, I can select just the bottom of the shoes, and using arrows just make them a bit longer. Then you might just have to adjust the shape a little bit. It's always helpful to zoom out to see the main piece, especially if you're working on details, it's just helpful to see the direction you're going to and to have an idea of the general composition as well. Since the struggle I picked is tying your shoes constantly, I want to focus a bit more on the shoe itself and on the action of tying your shoes. So think about your struggle and idea you picked, and spend all the time you need on tweaking the elements that are important in it. Since we are working with symmetrical composition, it might be very useful and time saving to just copy the elements that are supposed to look the same. In this case, I'm going to copy the element of the shoe because I know it's the same shoe, it's going to look the same anyway. It just saves time, but also it makes the composition look cleaner and symmetrical. Okay. Now, I will be adding the actual shoelaces, the star of demonstration. Since this one is untied, I can remove the top. Again if you don't like any shape you created, just feel free to remove it and start over. So to add a little bit more detail to it, to make it more interesting and since this shoe is actually not untied, I will just add the bunny ears here. If you want to make it look fun, you can really scale it up to add to this low like a clownish vibe of the pants as well. Okay. That looks good. I think the shoes are done, and now I will be moving to adding a little bit of details to the hand. I think it would be really nice to add a little bit of color here because it's pretty big shape that we have. So I'm going to use a little bit of nail polish. So since it's like a big shape here, it will make sense to add a little bit color in this area as well. So I'm going to go with this one, just take red fingernail. Well, just not a lot, but it is definitely enough to add some color here. Thanks to this nail, we are also adding a little bit of balance if it comes to color here because we have a little red on the pants, and this way we kind of balance it out a bit more. So if you're working on your piece, you might want to keep that in mind, and add colors that would just like balance the whole piece. So we don't have just a bunch of reds in one corner and nothing like that bright color in the other side of the piece. It always is more pleasing to the eye to have that balance. I will continue with the details here in this area. I will add a little bit of shadow here as well under the arm in the same way we did it with pants. Again, nothing too big, but it adds that dimension and I think it looks that much more interesting this way. Okay. It looks like all the details are in place, and now will once more duplicate the character. So we can delete the ones we have here, and do it exactly as we did before. Again, we're using the lines align to the characters. So we have this hand overlapping the leg of the character behind it. Now, we will set both of them and mild. As you can see, we created this one dot that's somehow belongs to both of the characters tying them together, same with this one. There's one more detail that I think I would like to tweak at this point, and it's this little part here. We have this pattern from the character behind, but it's just like sticking this tiny little bit, so it would make sense to either remove it completely or bring it out a bit more so we know that that's a dot. I think removing it will make more sense because here we have the fingernail which is red, and then it would be another weird looking red stain. So I will just remove this part from both the characters. The other thing is this part here, as you can see we have two white dots altogether. So I think it would make sense to change the color of one of them using eyedropper to something else, so it doesn't create this weird looking hole here. Well, you could be spending a lot of time tweaking tons of details, but at some point you just have to decide that that's how you want it to look like. So the last detail I want to add is this little frame created out of the shoelaces. I feel like it's going to bring all the characters together a bit more, and also it will emphasize the struggle by making those choices be long, and it's the only place in this illustration that I am not going to try to be symmetrical. I want the shoelaces to be a bit wilder, and have the life on its own. So what I would like to do, is to select the shoelace and just make a little squiggly lines with them. If you feel more comfortable, you can always go back to your sketch book and draw those lines because sometimes it feels more natural and easier especially if you didn't master the pan tool yet. When working on your illustration, you can look for places where you want to break the symmetry to make the struggle more visible or more emphasized. We're using symmetry for a nice clean composition, but we don't have to really follow it that closely. We can definitely break from it, if we feel like it. So I'm going to go ahead, and continue with the laces and to basically finalize the frame that we have here. Again, this is something that you might be tweaking for the longest time, especially if you want those lines and the curves to be really smooth. So it's really up to you, how much time you spend on it. So we're going to move to the other side. Again, I'm not going to try to make it look too symmetrical because normally we would just copy it and place it on the other side. But in this case, I'm just going to create another shape that's a bit different than the previous one. Again, if you want to, you can just always sketch it. Sketch the line you want exactly, and take a photo of it, place it in illustrator again, and then just trace it and incorporate it into the illustration. You can do it at any point. If you are missing an element that you wanted to add, or if you're missing a hand in a certain position, anything, you could always go back to sketching, and bring this element to illustrator and work on it. I'm going to make this frame a bit wider so I have more space for those lines to actually fall more naturally. Okay. So what I want to change here is this line here mimicking the floor, and also finally joining all that together. The last thing I want to do is to round the corner of this shape here. We're going to select it, and if we click on the shape, we'll have this little dot appear here. If we click on it, and drag it a little bit, the corner will be a bit more round and we'll do the same on the other side. Okay. Lastly, I would add other bit of detail to stake some black dots around it. It's really not serving any purpose besides the fact that it makes the piece a bit more interesting, and more fun to look at. It also adds a little bit of this handmade quality to it. We'll be adding a little bit more of that speckles and dots later on in Photoshop, but I'd like to add a few of them at this point as well. Now, when we have all our details, we will just add the background. I will select the color I want, and just create a shape, and the size of our art board, and bring it to the back. Now, I am going to adjust the size of the final piece. So we're going to go to "Documents Setup", "Edit Artboards", and we can adjust the size of the artwork there. I'm going to center the composition, and that's it. Now, when we have our illustration portion done, we will be moving to Photoshop to add a little bit of texture and this handmade field to the final piece. 11. Adding Textures and Exporting: Okay. The main portion of our work is done. If you want to go with this more sleek vector field to the illustration, you can definitely stop here and then your piece is done, but if you feel like you want to add a little bit of this more handmade feel to it, we're going to continue in Photoshop by adding a little bit of texture. Okay. So now we're going to move to Photoshop. What we'll be doing, we will copy the main piece together with the background, Command-C, then we're going to switch to Photoshop, hit Create New. At this point, we should be having a file that is in exactly the same size as our artwork in Illustrator. So we can just hit create, and then we'll paste it in Photoshop. Good thing to keep in mind is to work with smart objects and not pixels, especially if you feel like you might be tweaking the work still and won't be that much easier to go back to Illustrator, do some changes, and those changes will appear in your file in Photoshop. So I'm going to paste it as smart object. So the benefit of working with smart objects is that you can always access your vector file again, and you can do all the tweaks you want and then they will automatically appear in your Photoshop file. To do so, you just have to double click on the thumbnail here in the layer and it will open up in Illustrator. Then you can just do some changes. Let's say I remove this dot here, and maybe I add here, and then you can just save it. If you go back to Photoshop, the changes will appear. This way you can always change things and have the benefits of Illustrator while still working with texture of Photoshop. Okay. So now we're going to be adding a little bit of texture to it, not too much, we don't want to take it to extreme. We don't necessarily want just like super handmade feel, unless you personally are going for it. I'm going to stick to this vector vibe, but adding just a tiny little bit of texture. So what I'm going to do, I'm going to apply some noise effect. So go to Filter, Noise, Add Noise, and then you can see in the preview and on the file here as well. How heavy the noise will be, I definitely want to dial it down. Let's try seven, that's more like it. You can play with it a little bit and see what's working for you. I'm going to stick with six and as you can see, it's really sad, all there's nothing crazy going on, but it adds a little bit of depth and this can may feel to it. So you just hit Okay. Then you want to create a new layer on top of your design. What you might want to do is adding a little bit of added like brush texture, especially that we have those dots here so maybe it will make sense to add some speckles or maybe some grain to it, whatever you prefer. So on top of the noise effect, I will be adding a little bit of brush effect, a little bit of speckles. You can use any brush you like, I'm pretty sure you have your preference. I like the really light, dusty kind of brushes that don't add too much of a heavy handmade created vibe to it. But feel free to use any brush you like. I'm going to be using the spiral brush here. So I choose brush from the tool panel, then I go to this drop down menu here, and I'm going to just choose this and brush here. It might be a bit heavier than I like, but it's not a problem. We'll be just like erasing the dots that are too much in our opinion. So we're adding the brush here under, just really randomly to have this organic field to it. Now, I will be just erasing some of the speckles because I feel like it's too heavy at the moment. So I'm just randomly choosing which one I will be erasing, and it makes sense to just take zoom out and in to see what's working and what's not. So as you can see I'm not really leaving too much of them, it's really just like very subtle brushwork. Okay. That looks great. We're done with the illustration. I think we really hit the sweet spot between the vector illustration and a little bit of more of this handmade feel to it with the textures that we added. Again, very subtle, but I think it makes it that much more interesting. So our goal in this illustration was to convey the everyday struggle that we might be going through. We achieved it in a couple of different ways. First of all, it is the expression and the dynamics of the way the character is supposed with this pooling and full of effort, motion. The other thing that we kept in mind was the facial expression, and I feel like with just a line and a dot, or three lines you can achieve so much and you can really convey the struggle that your character is going through. So definitely think about that when you're working on your own piece. Okay. So now we're done and the last step is to export our file so you can share it. So we go to File, Export, Save for Web because we are creating a digital piece that you probably will be sharing on your social media or whatnot. We go with in G24, we can deform the switch off the transparency because we don't have any transparency in our illustration, and that will save and size of the final file. Then we just hit Save, and we export it. Once it's saved, you can now admire your whole piece. Understand? 12. Final Thoughts: Okay. We're done. Congrats, you created your illustration. Hoping you're happy with it and you're excited to share it. We covered everything from sketching your character, picking the one that you're the most excited about, and then moving to Illustrator to digitalize your file, work on the details, colors, and after that we move to Photoshop to add some texture. If there's one thing I would like you to walk away with this class is to remember that the inspiration could come from basically anything and it doesn't have to be anything too exciting or exotic. It can be something very seemingly mundane or even annoying as we did with this struggle here. I hope you enjoy the class. I was more than happy to walk you through my process and show you how I, myself, create illustration work. I hope you will find that inspiring and use it in your own project, with your own ideas, and please don't forget to use your inner voice as well. Whatever is inside you because that will make your piece that much more original and unique. If you have your final illustration or any work-in-progress shots and drafts, feel free to share it on the class page. I would love to see that