From Sketch to Screen: Design Quirky Critters Using Adobe Illustrator | Liz Trapp | Skillshare

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From Sketch to Screen: Design Quirky Critters Using Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar Liz Trapp, artist

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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

11 Lessons (1h 35m)
    • 1. Design Quirky Critters Intro

    • 2. Project introduction

    • 3. Finding inspiration

    • 4. Materials

    • 5. Drawing (part 1: critters)

    • 6. Drawing (part 2: environmental elements)

    • 7. Transferring artwork to illustrator and setting up your art board

    • 8. Drawing in Adobe Illustrator

    • 9. Image trace elements

    • 10. Final touches

    • 11. Closing video

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About This Class

Exploring kids design is a satisfying way to add playfulness and fun to your day.  Because this type of design trends on simplified, whimsical characters - it is accessible to anyone who wants to dip their feet into it!

In this class we'll be exploring kids design and designing our own character from sketch through a finalized design using Adobe Illustrator. 

We'll be covering:

  • Simplified drawing techniques (focusing on whimsical animal characters and some floral elements)
  • How to transfer your sketch into Adobe Illustrator using your phone or camera¬†
  • Getting familiar with our workspace in Adobe Illustrator¬†
  • How to set your own custom color palette in Illustrator¬†
  • How to draw your character using the pencil tool in Illustrator¬†
  • Adding fun details to your character like texture (and making a clipping mask)¬†
  • How to use image trace in Illustrator¬†

Materials you'll need:

  • Access to Adobe Illustrator¬†
  • A¬†smartphone or camera (and a way to transfer your image from camera to computer - bet it a dropbox, email, airdrop, etc.)¬†
  • Pencil¬†
  • Paper¬†
  • Black pen or thin black marker (I use the Sakura Micron size 03) - but anything with a fine / semi fine tip that creates a saturated line will likely work

This class is great for beginners or anyone who just wants to dip their toes into kids design! 

Your class project will challenge you to create your own quirky critter using some of the techniques we covered in the class. 


Class music credited to 

Meet Your Teacher

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Liz Trapp



Hi! I'm Liz and I love all things creative - I grew up wanting to design tissue boxes, running apparel, or limo interiors - so naturally to cover all my bases, I went to school for painting (undergrad & grad).  I'm pretty lucky that I did, my love for art has taken me all over the world, from living in France on a post-graduate fellowship to traveling to the Middle East. I've learned so much from my experiences over the years (but not how to design limo-interiors) and I'm really excited to share that with you. I believe that 100% of finding success and satisfaction in a creative career is showing up, again and again. 


When I'm not lost in a painted jungle of foxes, deer, and flowers - I'm enjoying life with my husband, toddler son, and baby girl. ... See full profile

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1. Design Quirky Critters Intro: Hi everybody. I'm Liz Trapp, an illustrator and surface pattern designer from Columbus, Ohio. I specialize in kid's prints and whimsical illustrations. I love kid's design because of the simplicity of the characters, which are often little animals. The characters are actually doing really fun things like frolicking through forest or driving cars. Kid's design is really fun to work with. It can bring out your inner kid. In this class, we are going to design our own quirky critter from sketch and idea generation all the way through the final design using Adobe Illustrator. Technically speaking, you're going to learn some of the basic ideas behind drawing simple kid's design animal characters and their environments. You're also going to learn how to transfer those images to Adobe Illustrator, and this course acts as a bit of an introduction to Adobe Illustrator. It's really great if you haven't used the program before because we're going to cover how to use the pencil tool, the shape builder tool, the brush tool, and a few other elements that we'll need in order to just complete our design. In the end, you'll have a quirky critter that you designed and turn it to a vector in Adobe Illustrator, which means that you can use that at any scale you wish. You could make a postage stamp or billboard out of it, and you'll be able to use it for a multitude of things. Some ideas are, you can drop it into a greeting card template, print it out, and make a personalized greeting card for someone in your family or one of your friends. You could also print it out on to Wild Art and use it to decorate a kid's room or nursery. Then to get a little bit more technical about it, you could create a repeating pattern out of it and have it printed up in fabric and use it for any fabric items. We're not going to cover repeating patterns in this class, but we will in a future one. I hope you'll join me. I'm so excited to take you through this process. 2. Project introduction: For this project, you're going to be designing your own quirky whimsical critters from sketch through final design. So I'd love for you to start by thinking about event from your day or something that you would like to reference in your illustration. I usually make daily illustrations and most of the time they're just stories about my two-year-old son and all the adventures that he's getting into. So I use those as my inspiration and they're really simple stories, like today we saw a turkey and what that would look like in an illustration. I usually use little quirky critters as a stand-in for the different players in my story, like my son or my husband, or a friend. So I'd like for you to go ahead and design your own little critter, put a little backstory there, maybe a sentence or two just describing what your story is. Go ahead and upload your final design, which will include your critter plus some environmental elements to really make it shine and to make the story come to life. Go ahead and upload that to your project's gallery and also show some process images, I'd love to see some sketches and a little story about what's inspiring you. This one for me is really simple I usually use the fox character as a stand in for my son, I'm not exactly sure why, but that's what I usually use. So I just wanted to do a little portrait of him. So that's what's inspiring this really simple design of a fox with everything around it. So if you're brand new to this and just want to follow along and draw one of the characters they show you how to draw, then go ahead and do that and if you want to take the principles forward and use them to draw something else, then go ahead and do that too. Some of the characters we're going to cover, I'm going to show you how to draw a really simple dancing cat and a bunny, also dancing or frolicking. A fox and a bear, and a couple of little supportive elements like a spider and a bird and a turtle/ladybug, plus some elements like flowers to make a little floral wreath. But definitely, if you think of other things, go ahead and include them. Something I like to use a lot in my designs that are, I don't use in this class because it would be eight hours long, is little adventure elements like trees and campfires and logs and tents and things like that. So whatever you're inspired by and whatever you're thinking of now, there's a way to do it. 3. Finding inspiration: When it comes to finding inspiration, you can use a lot of different sources. Pinterest is a fantastic online source for inspiration. If you haven't discovered it, go ahead and explore that website a little bit. What I encourage you to do is as you're looking at maybe kids design or illustration on Pinterest, I encourage you to find lots and lots of different illustrators and lots of sources of inspiration and simply use that as a guide from which to start your own idea generation from and start your own sketching from. That is really going to ensure that you are collecting from lots of different sources of inspiration, but you're ultimately making a design that is truly your own. There's nothing that feels better than that, when it comes to making artwork. I have a couple of different sources of inspiration for this project. I have a design that I have created for a fabric a little while ago and I wanted to use that as a source for inspiration, I liked the way that some of the characters in the fabric came across, so I'm going to carry that forward. I also have a gouache painting that I did and I really enjoyed the color palette that rounded out for that and some of the botanical elements. That's going to influence some of my design decisions. I'm going to walk you through how I made this illustration step by step, so you can see the idea generation from this simplicity of the character design, through the choices I made when creating the floral elements and putting it all together. You can use aspects of this process, as many or as few as you like. But I would really love to encourage you to make it your own, find what you're interested in and what you're really drawn to, and make sure you include that and your own flair into the design. That will make it really wonderful and so much stronger because it's heartfelt. I look forward to your project. 4. Materials: Let's talk materials. The first thing you're going to need is access to Adobe Illustrator. That's what we're going to use to transfer our sketches into the computer and vectorize them. I'd say from that, the materials are super basic. You can just use whatever you have around the house. I'm going to show you what I use. So the first thing you're going to need is a pencil, I like this one. It's the palomino blackwing pencil, has a nice soft line that it gives off. So you can get lots of different effects from it. That's why I use it, pencil sharpener, an eraser definitely, and a pen that has black ink. You're going to want to be able to get a nice fine black line that shows up really well. This is going to be for one aspect of our drawing. I use this sakura micron pen and it comes in all different sizes and they number them. So I use this size 3, it's not the thinnest and it's not the thickest one. It just gives off a really nice black line you can see there. So that's what it looks like, and then paper, honestly this is scrap paper that I have here. I do use a hardbound sketchbook and it's just pretty lightweight paper, but I like to do it this way because it allows me to keep all of my sketches and I just sort of catalog them in my studio, and it's nice to refer to later. I'll often times write a little note about why I made this sketch or what it had to do with my day that day. If you're getting really into it, I recommend using a sketch. This is really pretty lightweight paper, I think this sketchbook cost me like $7. I just use pencil and pen and here so it doesn't have to be super heavy weight. Otherwise for this project, computer paper will work just fine and you can go ahead and do that. The last thing, it's not necessary, but this is something that I use, and I recommend it if you get really into it and you're drawing quite a bit in Illustrator. I use a drawing tablet. This is by a company called Wacom, and they have all different kinds of drawing tablets. This is the smallest and most basic one that they offer. This one happens to be about ten years old, but it does exactly what I need it to do. So it looks different now, it's a little more updated, but it just plugs into your computer, and it comes with a stylus pen, and you just draw on this and it reads and the computer, a little bit like an iPad or something like that. If you're doing it quite a bit, I recommend looking into something like this. But certainly you can achieve the same things using your mouse or even just the track pad on your laptop if that's what you're using. You do have a little more control over the drawing tablet, but for this project we're keeping things pretty simple, so I don't think it will make a huge difference. All right. 5. Drawing (part 1: critters): Let's start sketching. I'm going to show you how to draw some of these characters in a basic way. I just reduce them to geometric shapes and go from there. Sometimes with kids design, the simpler, the better. Let's start with the cat. Usually, it's fun if the critter is doing something. Maybe this cat is dancing. It's fun to think about. I'm just going to start with a horizontal line and then under, I'm going to make a new shape. Then let's make some little triangle ears, pretty easy ears. But I'm going to make the little midline of the body just so I can see because I want it to go on a little bit of a curve, and end it right there. For the shape of the body, I'm going to make a rectangle. The rectangle is going to be smaller at the top and then a little bit wider at the bottom. It's going to be like this except I'm going to do it on a little bit of a curve. I'm going to go right under the head here. Just like that, hey, little kitty cat. Now, I'm going to move on to the paws. The paws, I'm going to draw like little sausages. Let me show you how I'm going to do, like this right here, like a little whimsical ear or something. Then I just cut it off at this side. I'm going to start with the paw that's the furthest away. Then I think I might take a break from the paws to draw a little belly here. Just right there. It gives me a chance to include a non leather color in the cat or a pattern as well. Then I'm going to put the other paw right here. I make it a little bit shorter, that way. Don't worry too much about all these lines in the middle. I do like to erase my midline at least so it doesn't, somehow it confuses me a little when I see it later, like what? I'm going to draw a little sausage here, down here, and then a tail. Nothing fancy about that tail. Then some facial features, this cat is so happy about dancing. Just going to do a little eyes like that, a triangle nose. It's going to have one of these little mouths, and I love to do a little blushed cheeks on everything. Then some whiskers as the brachial little cat. Let's draw a little bunny next. We're just going to do this on the same page just down a little. With kids design really, anytime you have the chance to make enormous head on your critter, usually it works out. I'm just going to do a circle for the head. Let's do more or less the same type of body and the same type of paws. I'm going to have it going the other direction. I'm going to draw the midline, just so I get a sense or maybe exaggerate it a little bit more. Then go ahead and draw the edges of the rectangle, here and here. Then I'm going to curve the bottom. This one had angular. I'm going to curve this one just slightly. I'm going to get rid of that midline now, make a little belly. You can make pretty much any little critter from this general formula. Let's have little paws the same way, a little happy sausage paws. Then this one's really super happy and flattery. Then low bunny tail, just some geometric shape there. Let's do some ears. Just do little loops at the top here. Little teeny-tiny eyes, that usually works out pretty well, big head, small eyes. Let's do a little spot for the nose and mouth here. Then I'm making a wonky dot right there with a little line that goes down and then a smile, then some cheeks. There's a happy little bunny. How about a little fox? I love these foxes. I've been doing them quite a bit recently. This fox is a little different. I'm going to start out with the head. I'm going to have it looking this way and at this angle. That helps me determine how I'm going to design this. I'm going to show you the shape up here first. The shape is built like a rectangle. Then I'll make this triangle, that's a little swooped, that comes off of it, and that's the nose. That's the general shape we're going for. Sometimes it's helpful to just build it like that, to do a rectangle and then that triangle, or you could do it all at once. I'm going to do it all at once, just see. This is that swoop that I'm doing right there, the swoop of the nose. Then I like to do the nose so I can have a point to work off of. That comes down. That's the swoop of the mouth and chin underneath. Then I'm going to do the top of my rectangle. I do like to bulge this line out slightly. Just give it a little bulge there. We're going to do the midline of the body to give myself an idea, and then I'm going to do the bottom, so I know I can pick what angle I want. That's going to help me figure out where I want this body to be. Body is just a rectangle. This one, I make blocky. I don't even bother to make it thinner on top usually, at least not noticeably. I will put a little curve in. But it's fun for some reason when these foxes are real blocky thing. Little belly here. Everybody gets a little belly and little sausage shapes. I'm just showing you how to do variety. You can draw any little critter that you want. These are basic ways of approaching that animal. I find it helpful to think in these terms because then you can draw any animal. Little triangle ears for the fox. I make daily illustrations, and I use the foxes a lot when I'm telling stories about my son. The fox has prebushy tail, so we got to really emphasize that. Also, I make a good deal of badgers and they look exactly the same. If you're interested in foxes or badgers, you can approach it the same way if this works for you. Put a smile here, up little white part of the tail. There's a happy little fox. You can do a bear. Let's get a new page here. Little bear, pretty much the same way. The bear, make the whole thing rectangle. I do add just a little bit of a curve to the rectangle. Paws, so the head and the body are all one. Everybody is frolicking around today. I'm going to do the ears a little different, like a little squeezed circle. Don't worry if you don't get the ears exactly the same. As you can tell, precision is not the name of the game here. It's helpful to do the little nose area first. I usually do eyes first, but I'm going to do that, and then I don't know, this is a gum drop shape for the nose. Little tiny smile, hi. See how it looks.Maybe a little bad. Nice. I also encourage you to do some little tiny critters too. They are super fun to add to your illustrations. Not favorite in real life, but my favorite to draw is a spider. This is a little gum drop shape, really wonky, then I draw a little face. These are so simple, super fun, especially around Halloween MeFO and then I got to add those little spiny legs then. This one is just swinging from it's little web. There's the spider. I also like to do little birds. The bird shape is a little bit hard to describe. It's like a bean, except you're going to add a little feather at the bottom there. I'm going to make a bean shape. Then I usually don't close the other end, and I make three little feathers there. Then add some little wings. Little legs, little beak, very simple. The bird can have little stars following your bird. That's one of my favorite things to do. Another little critter, this probably reminds you of being in grade school, just doodling, a little lady bug. Also, same as that formula, I use for turtles. Draw little upside down U, close it off with a straight line, and then a little head coming out of there. Hi. Little legs, and put a dot. I don't even know, this looks more like a turtle than a lady bug to me right now. You have some ideas for critters. What I'd like you to do now is to spend a little time sketching, and think about what animal or what critter combination best describes your story, and that you want to make up your illustration. I'll meet you back here for some environmental elements that we're going to draw to complete our image. 6. Drawing (part 2: environmental elements): The next thing I'm going to do is add some little environmental and whimsical elements. I was thinking that I'm going to have my character. I'm going to stick with the facts, and I'm going to put the facts in a little floral wreath. It's going to look something like just I can sketch it out and give you an idea. It's going to look something like this. I'm going to put it in every flower is going all around. And that's going to go all the way around. In order to do this, I am going to draw all of the flower elements separately. That's because for this process we're going to use image trees, which essentially means that you are going to take a photograph of our image and then transfer the photograph to AI. The program will read it and turn the lines into vector. Now, this is really cool because you get a little bit more of a hand-drawn look to it, but the thing that's difficult about it is that any elements that are touching, any lines that are touching each other will be the same color unless you go in and separate them with an eraser. The easiest way to do it is to draw all of your elements separately, not touching each other, and then put them together in an illustrator. I'm going to start by just doodling on couple of flowers. Just going to start with a little four petaled flower. This is almost like four little elongated hearts coming together in the middle. I think I'm going to want the center to be a different color. I'm going to do it like this. I'm going to go ahead and draw maybe a couple little leaves around this. I want them to be a different color from the flowers. So I'm just going to go ahead and draw them separately. Now, because there's white space here, I'll be able to fill this in with a different color than the stem if I want to. I like to put all of the elements that I'm going to use together or that I plan to use together in a row so that I have some idea as to how I imagine them fitting together. You do another, you do like a little too leafy kind of flower. These are just really due to little things. If you want, I really find tutorial on drying flowers specifically starting from a digitally plays. Thank you. Dean has a great one called Botanical line drawing, and it is on Skillshare here. Just going to do a bigger branch here. Now in order for image trace to really work using a photograph, we're going to go over all these lines with their black pen. If you make a mistake here, don't worry. We'll go over it with our pen. I kind of want just a little basic branch, maybe a little rows. For the rows. I'm just going to start with wobbly circle or oval. I'm going to put a little dot in the middle and then just build around it with these little kind of of half circles that are all connected to each other and connect in different places that can make sense. Look a little bit more organic. This is going to look very illustrative anyway. I think I want something and this is just to show you like a little puffy ball like that. I'm going to do it in a couple of different parts. Just going to make the little details right here and then I think I just want really light circle in the back. I'm just going to make a circle here. Then a little stem and maybe a little bud like this. This is definitely a PGD and original right here. She talked about this in her [inaudible] during class and I love making these little ones. Those are some floral elements. Definitely, if you're going to make a wreath, you're going to need lots of foliage, lots of leaves, some branches. Just make sure you have enough different ones. Of course you can use the same one several times, but just to kind of mix it up a little bit. Okay, I'm going to add a couple more elements to this that I think will add a whimsical flavor. One of them is I'm imagining back here a little light colored grid, almost like it's on a graph paper. I think that sort of reinforces the kid design, and I can make that in the computer pretty easily, but it will be really precise. I want this to being very imprecise. I'm just going to draw a grid by hand here. As with anything in Illustrator, there are a 100 ways to do it, but I'm going to show you how to do it this way for simplicity sake, it kind of goes with our workflow a little bit better. I have my grid and then the last thing I want is just some little stars. This is another thing that if I draw an illustrator, it's sort of too perfect. I like the lines to not be perfect. I'm going to put stars all around. Maybe some a little snowflake type stars. I think this is a good array of just some whimsical elements to put throughout the design. The next step, because we're using image trace, we want to use our black pen and our black outlines are what is going to be picked up by the computer. I'm just going to go ahead and go over all my lines with my black pen. I'm going to make sure that all of the lines I want to connect due, and that where I want separation, I have it. Then I'm going to go ahead and erase all my pencil lines. Just so it's a nice clean read. Make sure you're ink is all the way dry before you erase your pencil lines. 7. Transferring artwork to illustrator and setting up your art board : I have finished drawing the elements in my sketchbook that, I want to use in my final design and I've made sure to leave the elements that I want to redraw in Illustrator, which is primarily just the character itself, I made a fox. I just want to leave those elements in pencil. It doesn't matter if they're in pen or pencil. I chose to leave mine in pencil. Then the other elements, then I'm going to use image trace for, which I want a little bit more of a hand-drawn look, of those elements I did make in black pen, so they will be read by Illustrator better. So make sure you review your sketches, pick out what you're interested in using, and the elements that you really want to retain a hand-drawn look with, that you just want to transfer directly into Illustrator, go ahead and you ensure you go over those with black pen. For this project, I recommend selecting your environmental elements for that aspect and then go ahead and redraw your character in Illustrator. Again for that, you don't need to go over it with black pen. You can, but you don't have to. So what I'm going do, is just transfer the file into my computer. The easiest way to do this, is to take a picture with your phone and I just use AirDrop because I'm working between Apple devices, but you can also email it to yourself or upload it to a Dropbox or however you typically transfer files from one element to the other. I am just going to go ahead and take a picture. One thing that you want to keep in mind when taking the picture is, that you have pretty even lighting and that you don't have a big shadow on your image. So it's not going to be perfect. But if you can try to make sure you avoid the big shadow, then pretty that's good. Then I make sure I have it cracked all the way in, but I'm not cutting off any elements. You also want to make sure that you're holding your camera or your phone pretty parallel with your sketchbook or your paper and that you're not skewing it like one way or the other, because then it will change the perspective of your image, quite a bit. So just make sure you're holding it directly over head, line it up in your viewfinder and go ahead and snap a picture. Then I'm just going to AirDrop this to myself and do the rest of it from the computer. Hello, I've brought you over to my computer here and I'm going to show you how to open Illustrator file and get yourself setup. So go ahead and open the program and select Create New. I like to work in a pretty large square. You can pick whatever size you prefer, but I always recommend starting large and then if you want to make your file smaller in the end, that is pretty easy to do. I like to work 2,000 pixels by 2,000 pixels. If your options looks different here, just go into this selection and go ahead and select pixels. Sometimes it will be on inches, there's something else to begin with and I leave everything else just the same. Then yours probably will look like this. Go ahead and select advanced options. I recommend anytime you're working on a screen to select RGB color and then finally, the highest resolution that you can work in, which is 300 pixels per inch. You can always make it smaller. I often will change all my images to 72 if I'm going to put them on Instagram or on my website. But I always start high and then click Create. Okay and here's our workspace. If your options over here look a little bit different from mine, you might go in to appear, I'm under painting, but you might go into your layout option and you can select, if you select something different, like layout, your whole toolbar will look different. So I like to work in painting. You can work in whatever option works for you. But if you're just starting out, I'd recommend following along with painting. So this is your general setup. This is your art board that you're going to be working in the square and you have a bunch of tools over on the side here. So I just want to point out the tools that we will be using for the most part and that is the black mouse arrow, which is called the Selection Tool. I'm just going to show you by making a rectangle here. You can select it with this black arrow. If you want to select one specific part of your image, like you draw a line and you're not thrilled with one edge of it, that's when you'll use the white selection tool, which is called the direct selection. You can double-click on one specific part and pull it around. Get rid of that. Okay. The next thing is, we are going to be using the pencil tool a little bit to draw our character into Illustrator. Sometimes that's buried. If there is a little tiny triangle in the corner of one of your tools, that means there are other tool options underneath. In the case here, that's where my pencil is, I know it's under this specific tool. Underneath the shaper tool is my pencil tool. Yours might say something else. You might have the smoother tool or something under it there, but that's what we're looking for and then finally the paintbrush tool. The next thing I'm going to show you how to do, is to bring your image into Illustrator. So you already have your art board set up. I am just going to drag and drop mine over and I want to show you, I brought it into my computer and all I did was use a basic photo editing software. I used the photos right here and I just lightened it up a little bit. So I went in to edit and you may have a different program on your computer, but chances are you'll be able to do the same thing and all I did was I went in and I adjusted these levels so I made it brighter and what I was really focusing on, is making sure that I could see these black lines, really well. The pencil drawing, I just needed to be able to see it enough that I can draw over it. But these black lines, we want them to be as clear and crisp as we can make it. So I have brightened it up a little bit. It doesn't have to be perfect, but just as close as you can get it. All I'm going to drag and drop it into my art board. You can also go to file open. The next thing I'm going to do is, using my black selection tool, just hold down the Shift key and pull in on one corner, just to make it more in proportion with the size of my art board and I'm going to leave it off to the side. I'm going to use this image two different ways. The first way is actually just to draw this little fox on top. The second way is to use image trace for the rest of these elements. So my first task is to draw the fox. Now in order to do that, I want to use a custom color palette that I made. So really quickly I'm going to show you how to do that. If you find that you like a photograph that you took or a piece of art that you made, or you found that image, that you really like the color palette, you can actually use that to make your own color palette. I had said in my little inspiration talk that I really liked the colors in this image and might want to use them, in my designs. So I just took a photograph of the painting, draft into Illustrator, just the same way that I did with my sketch. Now what I'm going to do, is just make probably 5 to 8 little boxes, so I'm going to use the rectangle tool and if you hold down shift, then you make your boxes, you will keep them as squares. They do not have to all be exactly the same. So I have all these boxes, now what I'm going to do is, I'm just zooming in a little so I can get a little closer and see and we use my eyedropper tool to match color. I'm going to select my first box with the black selection tool and then I'm going to adjust hit I. That brings out my eye dropper tool. If you don't want that shortcut, you can go over and your eye dropper tool is in your toolbar on the side here. I'm just going to select the color that I want, one of the colors I want to pull from this, so I'm going to take this light blue color and then I'm going to repeat this. So I select my next box, hit the I on my keyboard. You do this light purple, that's nice. I'm going to keep going until I have all the colors I want. You could go for as long as you wish. Once you have all the colors that you want to use in their own little boxes, just double check and make sure that if you look at the color panel over here, you'll see two little squares. One is all the way full and it's called the fill square and then one is just the outline and it's called the stroke. What you want to do is for this, you want to make sure that you have a fill color, but you don't have a stroke color. If yours looks like this and you have a stroke color, just go ahead and select none and leave it at that. Just make sure all of them are just the fill color and no stroke. You're all set. Actually I see this red I pulled from my painting and I think it's a little bright for what I'm hoping. All I did was I selected it and then I went over to my fill color double-clicked here. That brings up a nice gradient so I can just go ahead and adjust it however I want to. I think something like that is more what I was thinking. I'm all set with these colors. I think they're pretty good. I'm going to just use my black arrow tool and select all of these boxes. With them selected, I'm going to go over to my swatches panel. If you don't see it, select window and then go down to swatches. It will show up for you. There's a little folder icon at the bottom of the swatches panel called new color group. All I'm going to do is select that. You can name it whatever you want. I don't need there anything. Usually just leave swatches one. You can see how now there's a new folder over and my swatches. It's made up of all these colors. I actually don't need any of this anymore. I can go ahead and delete it because I have the colors over here. If you want to save them, I'll show you how to do that. I'm going to delete everything else. I just don't like to mock up my space. I'm going to select. Sometimes they already have colored groups in there. I don't need these. I'm just going to select the color group delete it. Delete selection. Same thing here with the grays. There's little trash can icon you can use. Then it won't let you delete this. I usually start with white and then select all of these swatches. I just did that by holding down shift and then delete that selection. Now I just have these swatches. I can go ahead and save them so I can open them in any document. Right now, these will only open with this document. I'm going to go into this. It looks like a little stack of books on a bookshelf. You select that and go to save swatches and then you can name it whatever you want. I'm going to name it vintage floral and then select save. I'm actually going to pull up some earlier swatches I had saved just to show you how you would access that again. When you save swatches, they won't open every time you open your illustrator document. You have to go in and find them. All you do to do that is go into your swatch library menu. The same place where we just saved our swatches, go all the way down to user-defined and then you'll see your titles here. I want to pull up my early floral palette. This is like a palette I saved. I like to put them all over on one side. Now I have all these colors I've predetermined and I want to use. That is how you save colors. The next thing we are going to do is prepare our document for drawing. I said that we're going to use this in two ways. One is that pencil elements here, which I use as my first character. We're going to redraw in an illustrator. The elements that have been drawn over in pen, we're going to use image trace on. We're just going to move them directly from this image into illustrator. We're going to start with a drying aspect first. Anything that you left in pencil thinking you wanted to draw an illustrator, that's what we'll start with. What I'm going to do is actually just create a new layer. I like to draw on top of my image, but I don't want to mess up this image itself because I want to go back in and use it for these image trace elements. Over in your layers panel. Again, if you don't see it, go to your window up here and select layers, you'll see layer one and that's where your image is, and so what we want to protect. Ultimately, we're going to bring everything back to this layer. I'm just going to re-title it artwork. I did that just by double-clicking on the title. If you ever have a layer you don't want to see, you can always select the little i and you won't see it. Select it again, it will come back. I don't want to touch this layer accidentally. I want to leave it totally intact as is. I'm going to select. There's a little empty box right next to the i. If you just click on it, it will create a little lock. That means I can't do anything to this layer. I can't accidentally delete it or draw on it directly. It is totally protected. I'm going to go ahead and make a new layer on top. I do that just by selecting this little dark icon. It says create new layer if you hover over it, but it looks like a piece of paper with the edge folded up. Just go ahead and select it. I'm going to title this temporary. It's nice to title your layers so you remember what's on them. I have my temporary layer going and I can draw anything to it. I'm just going to show you. Probably better if I don't show you anyway. You can actually see, I made a big line and I did it on that temporary layer that we made so I can hide it and it will go away. I can see it's not my artwork layer. I'm going to delete that. We are ready to draw. 8. Drawing in Adobe Illustrator: We are ready to start drawing an illustrator. I have zoomed in pretty closely to my character that I'm going to start drawing and I'm on my temporary layer. I'm going go ahead and select the Pencil Tool. This is a fantastic tool for drawing out complete shapes, and I'll show you what I mean as we go. I'm going to select just like overall color, I think I might want to use for this fox. I'm going to start with the biggest and most basic shapes. I never draw the ears and the head at the same time, instead, I always draw just the basic shape of the head, which is like a rectangle, and then there's this little swoop. Then what I'm going to do is, I actually don't want a stroke color, I want a fill color instead. I like to work without a stroke because I want to make sure everything is really consistent, and I want to make sure I'm turning my fox orange. All I'm going to do is just drag my stroke color over here, you can see it filled in, and then I'm going to select the stroke and select None. I have no stroke here. Perfect. Then I'm going to go ahead and draw the body as its own shape, you can't do this all as one. I like to do it separate because I find if I'm drawing a big outline, lots of parts it's a little easier to mess it up. I like to give myself the benefit of the doubt here. Say always organ parts. I'll show you how we'll turn this into a one complete shape. Anytime you're working in parts, you see how I drew this line up into the head of the fox, you want to make sure that you overlap your parts. This ended up with no fill and no stroke, and so it will actually show here your last color you used. So I'm just going to select that, and make sure I'm all filled-in. I'm just going to keep going until I have everything covered. Of course, if you want any of your elements to add the base level via different color, then you can go ahead and do that, it's really easy. Just select your other color. Let me go ahead and do the tail. Sometimes say like, don't love what I had drawn in my sketchbook and I start to go my own way, and that's fine too. Choose a guide, that's why the animal character is not one that I image trace then. Because I like to see if I want to change anything in this process. Sausage arms, since we have your little fox, all right. It's just frolic and long. I'm going to show you how to do two things. One of them is, I can tell that this little mouth doesn't really come out as much as I was hoping it would. I can see I missed the mark on my sketch, and that was the part I actually really wanted to keep. So this is a moment when I would use my white Direct Selection Tool. I'm going to select that, we're going to go in and just select the shape. I'm going to press Command and then the Plus button, just to zoom in so I can really see what is going on here. You might see some anchor points, that it's a little white box. If you don't see one where you need one, you can go into the Pen Tool and it's underneath the Pen Tool, Add Anchor Point. So if you decide you need one, you can just drop it wherever you like. So I double-click on it, and then this is a part of the shape where you can just start pulling, and adjust the shape a little bit without messing with any other aspect of the shapes. I just pulled it out a little, but now I see that there's a strange little wave that I'm not super happy about. So I'm going to use these little handles, and this handle you can pull in or out and this you can toggle this way or that way, and this does take some practice, but it helps you adjust the curve a little bit. That is much more what I'm looking for. I zoom back out, pretty happy with that. The next thing I'm going to do is see if I want these legs to be a little smaller. I can do that just by selecting the leg with my black arrow selection tool, and I can just make it a little smaller. I'm going to see what that looks like, I'm not convinced. I think I'll just stick to what I had done. So now I'm pretty happy with this general shape, what I'm going to do is use my black arrow tool select everything, and I'm just going to make it one shape. It helps keep your document a little bit cleaner, and so you're not accidentally moving stuff around. So you're going to want to use the Shape Builder Tool. It looks like this, it's over here, it has a little circle and then a big circle, and then an arrow, and then a dotted line through it. If you don't see it, you're probably looking at the Live Paint Tool, which is like a paint bucket and sum squares. So look for the Shape Builder Tool, you'll want to select it. Again, make sure you had selected everything on your image that you want to make one shape. You'll see I'm just hovering over the different shapes here, and it turns gray a little bit. So all I'm going to do, is draw a line through what I want to connect. It's just going to make it all on shape for me. Now it's all set. I'm going to use the same process to draw the rest of my fox. With one exception, you might notice that you can't see the details that you need, so I'm just going to select my shape and go up to my opacity, and just bring it down a little. We'll adjust it back later. By this way I can see what I'm up to, and where things are going. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and lay out the rest of my shapes. I'm going to do the nose and the little white part of the fox, and I'm just going to keep using my Pencil Tool. Then from color backing, I'm going to pump the opacity all the way back up to a 100 for my fox. I'm just going to go ahead and I forgot about the nose. To do the nose that way. Now we may add add little bit of detail with your brush. I'm going to go in with my Paintbrush Tool. There are all kinds of paint brushes that come on illustrator, so you can go ahead and I really encourage you to explore them, I bought some. You can look through the library here, and you can see all kinds of different brushes here. I bought some from RetroSupply Company, which is a online resource, has awesome brushes for illustrators, textures, all things, and they're pretty inexpensive. I bought a couple of different packs, and if you do that, you'll find them in your User-Defined Section. A lot like your Swatches Panel, it works the same way. I'm going to go ahead and use some of the brushes that I had gotten from their DryGoods pack. It's really nice. I don't think you need tons and tons of brushes, but some good variety is helpful. When you're using the brush, unless you're making a complete shape, most likely you're just going to be using the stroke color here. That's something you want to keep in mind as you're selecting colors and changing them is that, you're probably just using the stroke. Here anything of a circle, so you can see that it's just empty in the inside, if I just also make my fill color as my stroke color, it will fill that in. I'm going to do my little mouth here. You can adjust your stroke width here so you can bring it down a little if you want it smaller. This nice. Something else I like to do is I like to make little blushed cheeks on almost all my critters. That's why I just think if you adds a nice little whimsical flair. I usually use just a charcoal type brush and I'll make a little scribble, and sometimes I'll fill it in with a lighter color pink. That it doesn't look quite right, maybe I'll make it really big. At this point, I'm going to start adding a little texture and just some fun details to wrap up this facts. The first thing I'm going to do is to actually collect all the facial features and connect them to each other. What I mean by that is right now if I select this eye, I only have the eyes selected. I want to group the eyes, the nose, the mouth, and the cheek so that they are all one. I'm going to show you why I'm going to do that in a second. I'm just going to select one of them, and then I'm going to hold down "Shift", and select another element, hold down "Shift", select another one, hold down "Shift", select another one, hold down "Shift", select another one. That's everything I want to put together, and I'm going to select Command G to group it. You can also go into objects group. Now, it's all one. If I move it a little bit, I move them all together. That's going to be helpful because what I'm going to do is add a little texture to the body, but I don't want to add it to the eyes, or the nose, or the mouth. In order to do that, I am going to duplicate this fox body, so I'm going to select the body and I'm going to hold down "Option", which will duplicate it. You'll know it's ready to duplicate when you see two arrows. I'm just going to select the fox and pull it away so it goes somewhere else. Holding down "Option" the whole time, release your mouse before you release your Option key, and that will duplicate your shape. If you want texture, there are tons and tons and tons of great options for getting texture online. You can also make your own although this class doesn't go into how to do that. I bought this texture from, I think Retro Supply Company. Also, so if you buy a texture, it'll look something like this. It will be a transparent file with the texture on top. I'm going to drag my texture end, and I'm going to move this box over. I'm going to make it a little bit bigger. Then the cool thing about this texture is that you can change the color of it, so I'm just going to select this cream color, and really I just want the fox to have a little bit of a worn look, that's what I'm after. If you don't want that then certainly, you don't have to worry about adding texture. This is just a fun addition. I'm just going to explore a couple of other, put some other colors might look like. Actually, this blush I think looks nice down there. I'm going to leave that there and then actually, I'm going to move it over a little because I need to grab this face, and I'm going to take the facial elements off. That's because when we make a clipping mask, they're going to get cut off. Anything that hangs off the outside of the shape is going to get cut off so that's why I put them all in a group, move them over. I want to make sure that my texture is sitting right on top of my little fox. If it's not, you can go to object arrange, and then select bring to front and that will make sure it comes all the way up to the top. Then you have this other shape that you made. We're going to make a clipping mask. In order to make a clipping mask, basically, what we're going to do is chop off all this extra texture. Right now it's in the shape of a square, we want it to be exactly the same shape as the fox. The first thing I'm going to do with this shape is I'm going to go to object, compound path, make. The easiest way to do this is to make sure that you're dealing with all one shape, and that it is a compound path, then you'll want to bring it all the way up to the front so it sits right on top of the texture. You can think about it like you're making a sandwich and the texture is like the cheese in the sandwich. So I'm going to go object arrange, bring to front, and then you just want to align it up as close as you can with your existing fox. The fox on tab, by the way can be any color, it doesn't matter. It just matters that the shape is correct, so I'm going to use this red just to illustrate that for you. Then you're going to go through and select everything all three layers on that section and go to object, clipping mask, make. Then you'll see that now I have this fun little texture on top of my fox, and it fits my fox perfectly. I'm going to go ahead and grab my face again, line it up pretty much where I think it should go, and then I can tell right now it's behind the fox, so I'm going to go object, arrange, bring to front. Now, it's all set, it's all one thing. I'm going to go ahead and add some details. I like to add some fur, and I'm just going to use my paintbrush tool to do that, and some different might alternate between some different colors that I have selected in my palette. I've done everything I wanted to do to the fox. I was going to make little black arms and legs as foxes actually have, but the way that it was trimming out on my design it was a huge fan. I'm just going to leave it as this and move forward. Now that I have all my elements, what I want to do is take them all grouped together so that when I select one, I actually have them all. That way I don't leave any little bits of fur behind when I start moving things around. I'm just going to use my black arrow tool, select everything, and then go to abject group. That way you can test it by moving it. My computer's like, what did you draw there? By moving it around and you'll see it's all moving together. With that what I'm going to do is go ahead and move this from my temporary layer to my artwork layer. I'm just going to select "Copy" Command C, or you can go up to Edit. Then I'm going to switch, go back to my layers panel, switch from my temporary panel to artwork, and then I use Command V for paste, or you can find it under edit. Go ahead and I'm going lock the artwork layer just to ensure that the fox, the temporary layer is really what's going to go so I'm just going to go ahead and delete the temporary layer. Thank goodness, I do have a fox there. If for some reason something didn't go right, you can always undo. That's the great thing about Illustrator, is you can just keep moving backwards, so you can go to Edit; Undo, or Command Z. I use that like 100 times a minute on here. Something as with illustrator, as with anything, there are 1000 different ways to do things on illustrator. I'm showing you one way; the way that I work, but there are people who will get the exact same result working a totally different way so just keep that in mind. 9. Image trace elements: I am ready to work on my image trace elements now. I'm done illustrating my facts character. I'm working all on one layer, and I still have my original JPEG image that I drew my facts on top of. I still have these dark elements that I'm ready to use image trace for. In order to do that, I am going to go up to my tap menu and I'm going to use image trace. You can also find image trace by going to Windows, select "Image trace." What I'm going to do here is select under the preset, I'm going to go ahead and select "black and white logo." This is a pretty big image. That's fine. I'm going to start analyzing my image and I want to make sure that two things happen. One is that all of my black pen lines, so I'm going to ignore see how those facts came through, I'm going to ignore that because I don't need those lines. I'm going to look at how all of these black pen lines look. If they're complete or if they're black cheat. Actually, it turned out pretty well, that almost never happens, it's the first time. If you find that you have lots and lots of white spots in your lines, they're not complete, you're going to need them to be complete closed lines. You'll have to out the threshold. I'm just going to show you what that would look like if it's going to redo, and that will make it a little bit heavier and a little bit darker. Then of course you can adjust the other way. I think it was at 128 before. You bring it almost all the way back but not quite. That looks pretty good for my use here. The next thing I'm going to do is select "advanced" here, which extends the panel quite a bit. You can explore these toggles here and see how it adjusts your image. But one thing you always want to make sure you do in this situation is select, "ignore white." Because we don't want the white part of the page to come over into our image. We want to see these lines with a transparent background. Select "Ignore white." Sometimes it does change how your lines look, but I think in this case, they still look pretty good. Once you're all set and everything looks as you want it to look, you can go to "Expand." That solidifies the image trace. Then what you'll want to do immediately is going to "Object" "Ungroup." The first thing I'm going to do is use my black arrow to go in and get rid of all these tiny little lines that I do not need. I don't want them making my document untidy. I've done that. The next thing I'm going to do is I'm just going to color these elements. We're going to take them. I like to zoom in a lot and just take it one at a time. I'm going to select. Start here, selects this element. It's a little branch with some buds at the top, and this is a pretty good one to start with and I'll show you why. You make it brown. I just selected the color from my palate. Now, you can zoom in more. I want to build in these little sparks right here. I'm going to use that paint bucket. You can find that under that shape builder. It's called the live paint bucket. The rule with the live paint bucket is that it just needs to be an enclosed shape. It won't work if it's not enclosed, and then I can fill these. Now I don't really love how this looks because I don't like this brown outline. This is something I should have thought about before when I was just in the drawing stage, but I didn't, so I'm not going to worry about it now. I'm going to go in and use my eraser and just double-clicked on it so I could adjust the size a little bit. What I have to do is separate these elements from one another. Sometimes if you can't select exactly what you were hoping for, you'll need to use your white arrow to help you out there. That took a little finessing and I'm going to show you how I did it there. I used my white selection tool, and I just highlighted everything I wanted to put together. Then I went back to my black selection tool. Then I hit k for my live paint bucket and just did the outside here. That's how I'm going to do all of these. That is much more what I was hoping for. I'm going to group it all back together to make sure that I just move in as one image. I'm going to go ahead and continue to color the rest of my elements. As you'll see, if you step to the plan of separating the elements C1, to be different colors, you don't have to do anything like that. You can color them all separately. 10. Final touches: I've painted all of my image trace elements and now I'm ready to put it all together. One of the first things that you should do and I always forget is make sure you save your document as you're going. I'm just going to save it to my desktop here. There have been many times where I should've done that. Now I'm going to put it all together. I'm going to move my fox so it's in the middle here, and I'm going to make it a little bit larger. I'm going to hold shift, pull down on one corner with my Black Arrow Tool, make it a little bit bigger. It's maybe too big, but we'll see, gives me a little bit better idea. I'm going to put it right in the middle. I'm going to go ahead and I have this floral wreath and I have this grid that I usually like to have wonky circle framing this character. I might keep it, I might delete it, but it's a good spot to build your wreath from if that's what you're building. I'm just going to make it peach color objects. I'm going to send it to the back, so kind of sits behind everything. That makes me rethink the color here. It doesn't really matter. Actually might do this blue, but a really a lighter version of it, so I'm just going to do that. The first thing I want to do is take this grid that I made and put it on the circle, but I'd like it to fit exactly. When we made the clipping mass for that texture on the fox, I'm going to do the same thing here. I'm just going to zoom out so I can see all this a little. I am just going to duplicate this. I'm going to select my circle with the Black Arrow Tool, the Selection Tool. I'm going to hold down Option and just drag it over to another part of my canvas. I'll let go the mouse before I let go of option. Then I'm going to take my grid here, pull it over the front, and then just make sure it's on top. If it's not, you can go to Object, Arrange, Bring to Front. I'm going to hold down shift and pull on one corner to make it cover my whole circle. I can see I got a little loosey-goosey at the edges of this grid, so I'm going to make it just a little bigger here. I'm going to go back to my circle. Again, I'm going to hold down option, drag it over somewhere, drop it, then release option, so I can make a clipping mass from this. Object, Compound, Path, Make. Object, Arrange, Bring to Front, so you make your sandwich. I am going to put the circle right on top of the other one. Highlight everything and go to Objects, Clipping Mask, Make. I'm going to go ahead and move this now. I'm not quite sure why I decided to leave that there while I did everything but I did. Object, Arrange, Send to Back. There we go. That's a fun little background. I can already see one thing that I am going to have to do here. We're going to make these elements just a little bigger overall. I know have quite enough room here. I might go in and just make them bigger one by one. First of all, I made this fun little bow to put on the fox. Arrange, Bring to Front. That's definitely something that you can do or you think about is if you want to add some accessories to your little critter, always makes it fun. I can see that I squashed it a little on one side and I'm not crazy about it, so I'm just going to see if I can alter it like this. Doesn't have to be perfect. I'm just going to work on bringing all my elements over and building them right around my figure. I'm not going to worry too much if they go off of the page just because I can highlight everything and adjust the size at the end. I'm going to go ahead and do that. I'll be duplicating some items. But ultimately just come up with that nice little composition. I'm just about wrapped up and I just want to show you one little trick that can help out. That is using the reflection tool. I selected a few elements that I used up above. I duplicated them, but now I want them to go different directions so they can work at a different part of my background here. I'm going to go to Object, Transform, Reflect. I like to select Preview so i can see which way. I think I want it to go that way. Now I can just spin it a little and I arrange it there. I'm just going to make a few more changes and then I'll get back with you. I have finally decided on a bow tie color. I've arranged all my elements into a wreath, and it's just a little bit too big for my canvas. I'm going to highlight all of them and just make everything a little bit smaller. I'm going to group everything together, so I'm going to press command G. This will allow me to align it to my artboards so it's right in the middle. If you don't see your alignment tool, you can look for them under Window, Align. But they look something like this. You want to align it to the center and then horizontally right in the center. This is helpful if you're trying to put in objects in the center of your Artboard. I've heard really hard time eyeballing it, so I use that align tools all the time. I like that placement. I do want to add just a couple more things. I have to Ungroup this so I can just get an individual star. I just want to even things out just a little bit. I think if that's good I'm going to go ahead and save it. Then there are a couple of ways you can export your file. You can export it as, I go to Export, Export As. I like to use the PNG format. If you have a bunch of stuff leftover on the side here, you'll want to select to use Artboards because that will just crop it right to the center there. Then click Export, this will give you a couple of options. I like to export it two ways. One of them is transparent. I'm going to click OK. This is still really high resolution and it's a pretty big file. I'm going to export it, go to File Export, Export As. Then I'm going to put fox critter whites because it's going to be on a white background here. I'm going to select to Use Artboards. Export. It's on a white background here so you can toggle between transparent white and black. I like to do it that way. Just another thing I want to show you, if you wanted to do a background with color, you can just make a rectangle, send it to the back and then you've got color. Actually that looks quite nice against a dark color. I almost always export against a white background or transparent, but you can explore the different options there. I just want to show you how the transparent one works. I'm going to bring in a picture I have. This is the flowers from before. If I draft the fox on top of it, you'll see. This is a poor choice since this is the busiest painting ever. But I'm just going to show you. You see that now you have basically clip art that you've made so you can drop it into anything. You can drop it into a photograph and use it that way. Anyway, I just wanted to show you that. 11. Closing video: Thanks so much for taking this class. I am so excited to see the designs that you'll come up with. Just to review, we were able to work through some idea generation, think about how we want to portray our story. Then we worked through some simple character designs, and some sketching, and idea generation. Then we learned how to move those sketches into Illustrator two ways. One is redrawing with a pencil tool, and the other way was using image trace. Then once in Illustrator, we're able to use a couple of different tools to get comfortable with the program and ultimately make a little design featuring our whimsical critter and some environmental elements. That design again, can be used for a multitude of different things, if you wish. I often just post them on Instagram and leave it at that but you can use them in art prints, you can have them printed out. You can also print them on greeting cards, or little tags and use them as personalized correspondents with friends or family. Again, not included in this class but something you can do is use these little characters in a repeating pattern and print up some fabric. So I'll show you how to do that in the next class. Thank you so much. I can't wait to see your projects. Please upload them on your project gallery and again, go ahead and include some process images, your sketches, and maybe if you have a story that goes along with it, go ahead and include just a little bit however much you're comfortable about your stories. I hope you enjoyed it and most importantly, I hope that explained kids design. Really brought you a minute of fun and playfulness in your day. That's what inspires me and keeps me going. I hope that you enjoyed it too. Thanks so much.