Illustration for Animation: Cohesive Characters in Adobe Illustrator | Kay Leathers | Skillshare

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Illustration for Animation: Cohesive Characters in Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar Kay Leathers, Illustrator/Designer for Motion Graphics

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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

13 Lessons (1h 44m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Concept Development

    • 4. Sketching Your Set

    • 5. Import & Illustrator Setup

    • 6. Building in Illustrator

    • 7. Adding Details

    • 8. Other Useful Tools

    • 9. Adding Colour

    • 10. Colour Your Set

    • 11. Finishing Touches & Layering

    • 12. Export Your Set

    • 13. Conclusion

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About This Class

In this class, you'll learn how to create cohesive character illustrations using Adobe Illustrator! By the end of the class, you'll have a set of at least 3 illustrations perfect for a social media campaign, building up your portfolio or to pass on for animation. 

Building out your illustrations in Adobe Illustrator creates illustrations that are vector-based, therefore infinitely scalable- meaning a postage stamp or a 42 sheet billboard is achievable from just one illustration!


Hi! My name is Kay and I used to trap and look at bugs in jars... as a kid! (Don't worry I let them go again)

Follow along with me to:

  • Research and develop limitations to come up with a concept (using a brief..or not!)
  • Sketch out cohesive illustrations using these limitations
  • Build, layer, and colour step-by-step in Adobe Illustrator
  • Export your illustrations as .png or .jpeg

This class is perfect for anyone with an interest in building vector-based graphics with Illustrator! It has been designed from my own perspective so is particularly helpful for illustrators who want to learn how to build out illustrations in Adobe Illustrator. Character designers too - animators will love you for the crazy good layering techniques I use in this class!

You don't need any prior knowledge of Adobe Illustrator as I'll explain everything step-by-step; from how to set up your Illustrator workspace for easy workflow; to all my favourite little tips and tricks I've picked up over the years. I've been building in Illustrator since I first started designing for motion, so I've designed the course with all my best habits and workflows that I've picked up to reach a file that is perfect to send to animators! 

The main software we'll be using is Adobe Illustrator, so make sure you have access to this! I do mention some plug-ins I use during the course although these are not essential, just handy to have! To sketch, I will be using Procreate on an iPad, but a simple pen and paper will do perfectly too.

All resources from the class are available in the RESOURCES file so you see how I've constructed my files in layers, ready for easy access or animation. You are welcome to use my sketches for your own building practice if you wish, although I really recommend following along to create your own unique illustrations. 

Illustrator has always been my favourite Adobe software to use and I can’t wait to guide you through it so let’s get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Kay Leathers

Illustrator/Designer for Motion Graphics

Top Teacher

Hi there!

My name is Kay and I’m a London-based Illustrator and Designer for Motion. I find inspiration in oddities, individuality and humour.  I can’t help myself when it comes to drawing cute, sometimes irreverent but always lovable characters!

I work a lot on animations, which I love, working closely with creative teams and animators to brainstorm concepts, create storyboards and build assets and characters ready for animation.




It's here! New course out now!

Illustration for Animation: Create a cohesive set of characters in Adobe Illustrator

Animating Illustrations using Wave Warp in After Effects

Animation for Illustrations: Animating Textures and Patte... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi there. I'm Kay Leathers and I'm a designer and illustrator from London, England. Do you find it difficult to get a set of illustrations to work altogether? Perhaps you want to have a portfolio with more full projects than just single illustrations. An animator perhaps has asked you for a set of characters ready for animation. If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you've arrived at the right class. I've been working as an illustrator and designer information for over four years now. I love working on sets of illustrations that are great for social media and provide a good scope of what variations you can achieve within a set of boundaries. Having project sets like these in your portfolio instantly show clients you can stick within their branding while still producing consistent work. This class is great for illustrators or animators who want to start creating their own vector-based illustrations using Adobe Illustrator and ready to animate files. Never used Illustrator before, it can be a bit of a leap from traditional illustration as it doesn't quite follow the same rules of pencil or brush-like Photoshop or Procreate does. Illustrator really doesn't lend itself to all illustrations and allows you to create vector-based graphics that can be scaled without pixelation. In this class, I'll teach you how to create a set of cohesive characters by setting your own limitations and how to make those illustrations into vectors using all my favorite tips and tricks in my favorite program, Adobe Illustrator. I'll show you how I make decisions in order to get that consistency across illustrations and the thought processes to create a language that all your illustrations can follow. Having a set like this also gives great scope for developing a pattern of your signs as you can really easily manipulate vector and make them fit seamlessly together. By the end of this class, you'll know how to build an illustrator and have created a cohesive set of character illustrations which you can use for social media, your portfolio, or to be sent onto an animated for the next step. If you're up for the task, let's get started. 2. Project: In this class, you'll be learning how to create and build a set of cohesive illustrations in Adobe Illustrator. I really find that I learn best when I can put everything I'm learning into practice. I've done my best to break down my process into manageable steps so that you will find it easy to do. By following along with the class, you'll have an amazing set of at least three illustrations to share on your website, your portfolio, and of course, our project gallery. Upload your final files here so that you can share them with our community on Skillshare. I love seeing the projects there and it gives me the opportunity to comment and share student work. I really encourage you to follow along with the entire process, but if you want to get straight to learning and building in Adobe Illustrator, you can use my sketch files, which I have made available in the resources. Feel free to download those and skip straight to the import lesson to get on with Illustrator. Now, if you're ready and raring to go, grab a pencil and paper, let's get to it. 3. Concept Development: In this lesson, we'll be looking at client brief and coming up with a concept for our illustrations. I wanted to show you how I personally approach a brief and demystify how I kick out keywords and set limitations in order to formulate a concept. I've put the brief that I'm going to use and an alternative in the resources just in case you need some help with your ideas. You absolutely don't need to have a brief at all for all these and you can set out your own parameters for your illustrations if you wish. Maybe you've just had an idea for a set of illustrations for a while and you just don't quite know how to get it down on paper. Hopefully, this lesson will show you the way. When you receive a client brief, it can be difficult to distinguish exactly what a client wants. Sometimes you might get a script, sometimes you might get colors, whereas sometimes it might be much more prescriptive. All we'll need careful consideration as you plan your illustrations. With this in mind, you can set yourself rules or limitations to help you get started. One useful limitation is usually set by the client. This is branding and colors. Other limitations you can set for yourself are the type of character, the props, the background, all sorts of things like this. For example, in my Veganuary projects, I had a farm animal, which would usually be meat animal, paired with the music genre and dress to match. I decided to do this to humanize the animals a bit more and get people to relate to them and take them away as a viable food choice. Having them dance to music made them fun and encouraged people to join in with veganuary. Secondly, I had my 36 days of type project. For this, the limitations were that the characters must fit into the shape of the lesser and have a job row matching that letter. This way it was easy to come up with a cohesive set that shared the same boundaries and limitations. Back to this project. Here's my design brief. Here my animator wants a set of simple illustrated characters which will be animated for a fun social media campaign promoting the preservation of wild areas to young audience. These will be short looping animations with minimal background animation, colors your choice but should be inspired by nature. So we can see that there's some key aspects here. Simple illustrated characters, fun, very important, important to establish the tone of what you're drawing. Of course, it's promoting the preservation of wild areas. Another important point to a young audience. From these highlighted key points, we can start to mind-map some ideas and come up with our concept. Here, I just have my blank piece of paper, and we're going to write wild areas in the center. Perhaps you've come up with your own concept or own field that you're interested in, you can write that in the center of your paper. Now, I'm just going to put my keynotes that I established from my brief. In these wild areas, I know that we have lots of fauna so animals, we have lots of flora,think plants. We also have tourists, and we might have some water based things like ponds, lakes, etc. Now I'm already going to veto the idea of tourists because we're actually promoting the preservation of wild areas so I don't want to clash with that idea at all. So we're going to stick with the ideas of flora and fauna. Now, if I go back to the computer, and we can type in nature reserve UK, and let's have a look what it comes up with. Find something reliable. Obviously, if you're not in the UK, if you're somewhere else, go to your local area, let it inspire you, and we're going to just makes notes on what we can see. These will probably form some ideas about our backgrounds more than our characters. So far our characters we're going to focus a little bit more on the fauna aspects. Here it looks like we've got Cornish choughs, [inaudible] and peregrins. In our fauna section, we definitely have some birds. We also have some insects here. I can see, we also have some amphibians and lizards. So again, a lot of the animal groups here, and then we have some types of mammals. I think that is enough research for us to go on for now. Let's have a look, which characters should we choose? Now remember, we needed simple characters. I feel like the mammals, they often have four legs, they move, they need walk cycles so I think mammals are a little bit too complex for this projects. With amphibians, again, we can have quite simple animation. It could be just rotating the eyes. But I feel like we've got toads, frogs, newts that are very similar animals. So again, take that one out of the running as well. Now, we've just got the birds and the insect left, both really great choices. But I feel like I am more drawn to the insects just because when I was younger, I used to collect butterflies in little jars from the butterfly brushing in my back garden and look at them through the lens, be really fascinated with bugs and I feel like kids just in love with bugs so I'm going to go with the bug idea. Insects is my choice and we need to think about how to make them a little bit more fun and appealing to a human audience. Thinking about how they will move, let's just draw a quick sketch in there. If I look at the dragon fly, we've got a couple of sets of wings here, a head and a body at the back. Now, what I notice that are in common with all of these insects are that they all have wings, so they can fly into the frame and out of the frame again to make that animated loop. They're quite simple characters, just a few shapes to make the body, a few shape to make the wings, and they're going to appeal to a youngish audience and we're going to make them more fun. To humanize them, it will be difficult to put them in full outfits like the Veganuary characters, but they could have some head accessories like a beard, or a hat, and it brings to mind the phrase, be in your bonnets. This could bee in a bonet. So I could have a cute little bee in a bonet. I think my concept is going to be head accessories. Again, I can look this up and with a quick Google search or I can just come up with some in my mind. I'm just going to fill out this in my map. So I filled out my head accessories now. I've got some good ideas of how to make our bugs a bit more fun. Overall, my first limitations or my concept is going to be bugs in hats or head accessories. I'll stick that on there. What is your concept going to be? Write down what your characters will be, and what their niche will be. Will it be animals in shoes, people with a dog, kitchen appliances with facial features? It could be anything. Now we have our first limitations down on paper. Let's find some references and get sketching. See you in the next lesson. 4. Sketching Your Set: In this lesson, we will sketch out our character set. This is going to be super rough sketches, everything will be polished up later in Adobe Illustrator. Don't worry about getting those lines perfectly straight. To help us keep our set speaking the same language throughout, we can decide on certain consistencies that we'll carry through all of the illustrations. This can be decided after the first drawing to keep it a bit more free or you can have a look back at your mind-map and make some decisions prior to drawing. One consistency that we already decided is that all of our characters will have some head accessory. I'm just going to add it to my post-it note here. Other things we can consider are positioning of the character, the layout, the direction the character will be facing, the size of the character, and so on and so on. The limitations really could be endless and are completely up to you. You may also need to look at references to make these decisions. Here I have some photo references I picked up from a simple Google search. By the way, you can get your references from all sources whether it's Pinterest, Google search, photos that you or your friends have taken, videos on your phone, try and get them from a few sources if you can. When I look at these bugs I can notice one distinctive feature that they all have in common, these big bug eyes on the side of their heads. I'm definitely going to have that as a consistency throughout all my illustrations. Now I already know that my bugs will have a head accessory, big bug eyes, I'm going to build them from simple shapes to keep it easy in Illustrator. I'm keeping them as simple shapes and lines for this demonstration so that when we go to build it in Illustrator it is going to be easier once you become more practice or if you already practiced in Illustrator you can make it as complex as you like. But for now let's keep it simple together. Decisions about color consistencies will come later on when we decide on our palate. Put that has a question mark for now. All these decisions may seem like a lot but it will become more automatic as you get practice at making sets. Making conscious choices at the star will help build your confidence in creating a cohesive set. Now we are ready to get sketching. For this, you can use good old pencil and paper or Procreate or another sketching app such as Photoshop. Now, I have my references here on the screen as I draw and we have our set limitations as a basis to get going with this first character. The first step is to create a canvas in a correct size. If you go to the little plus at the top you have a bunch of presets that you probably have here but I would like to make a new one. As we stated in the brief, we need 1080 by 1080, I'm going to keep it at 300 pixels, and I'm going to call this canvas social media, you can obviously call yours whatever you like, if you want to name it after your set such as bugs you can do that. When you're ready press "Create" and it will come up with your first canvas. As my character is going to be mostly symmetrical I can use a really handy mechanism in Procreate to help me with that. If you go to the little spanner and then go to Canvas you'll see drawing guide here. If I turn it on you can see the preset drawing guide and I can make adjustments. I'm going to go to symmetry, I'm going to make that line of symmetry nice and thick. You can adjust the line if you need it to be in a different way, I just need it vertical. You can also move it left to right which is great. I'm just going to reset that. Let's make the line nice and bright. You can see that on the screen and then when you're done press "Done". Just for this first part, I am going to turn off the drawing assist so you just click and tap on drawing assist. Make sure you have a nice pencil selected for sketching. I like to sketch in this HB and a nice dark color. I'm going to keep all of my characters fairly centered so that it gives a lot of room around them for movement. I'm just making adjustments, the position of that initial circle and I'm just going to draw the head in the center there as well. I'm just tapping to create that perfect circle. I'm going to turn that drawing assist back on because I'm going to be symmetrical now. One of the first things on my list of consistencies are these big bug eyes. As you can see, whatever I draw on one side comes out on the other side which is pretty cool. I have those big bug eyes and I'm going to draw him a comedy mouth there. This doesn't have to be super, super-duper neat because everything that we draw we're going to replicate in Illustrator and how point of Illustrator is that it is super neat and does those precise lines for you. As with all insects or bugs, we are going to have six legs when we put these cute little feet on them. She looks like a spider right right hope but she's lady bird. I'm going to draw out his big wings. That's the wing case on top and the wing underneath. Let's give these wings some little veins and you can draw on either side when using the symmetrical function. As you can see I am just being super sketchy because we're going to sort out the shapes later. Let's look at the reference. We've got some little antenna quite short on lady birds, so I'll just give her some little ones. Then my most important limitation, my head accessory. Looking back at my list, I'm going to give my a little character here. Turn that drawing assist off. Little berry, cute Lady bird in a berry. Now we've done the first drawing. This has set out all limitations for the following drawings. Keeping everything we've done in mind we are going to move on to the second character. Let's call that lady bird in a beret, keep it nice and labeled and then we can create a new canvas. But now we already set that up, it will show up in the bottom of our list and we can just tap there and we'll get one exactly the same size. Remembering those limitations, I am going to use those simple shapes again to create an ellipse in the center but this time we're going to have the head on one side. I'm going to make this be directional going this way. Remember that these limitations are to give you guidelines and not every single character should be the same because it would get a little bit boring. Just making sure we have some limitations that have variety within our characters. This time for my line of symmetry, make it nice and thick again. I'm going to move it over into the middle of the head so I can create the eyes in the same way as we did with the lady bird. This time I'm going to have the bee looking behind where he's just been. I can draw, turn on the drawing assist and I can have a similar mouth but this time his mouth is going to be closed just to get that variety and let's turn off that drawing assist. Next I'm going to add the all-important stripes to his big old bee. He's going to have six legs as well but he's on one side, so you can only see three of them at a time. We have this big old stinger out of the bottom. What I love most about bees is they have this ridiculously huge body, well, bumble bees do. Then these tiny little wings, the wings are going to be an important variation in all of the characters because one of the nice things about bugs is they have different types of wings and that's how we identify them. Now, the all-important namesake of the whole project, the bonnets, I'm going to make it extra cute because sometimes people have a bit of a thing about bees and I just want to make this bee super cute and super lovable so that it'll encourage people to preserve them. Let's turn off the drawing guide and have a little look at him, we're just going to rub out any lines which are a little bit confusing. As I said, you don't need to because we're going to neaten this up in Illustrator. But if it's helpful to do so then I recommend just rubbing up the lines which are confusing. Looking at this little guy overall, I just think he's a little bit big and just make him a little smaller. Then what we can do is we can go back into our gallery, give him a name, and look at the two of them in comparison. I think overall they're taking up a good proportion of the space each. Obviously the lady bird has bigger wing cases and wings so that's a bit of variety. I could probably make the bee overall a little bit bigger to help even out the space. Let's do that. Have a look at them again. Now I'm feeling quite happy that they look quite consistent. I'm going to select those and this little bunch and stack them. Here are my set of characters that I made earlier. You can see we've also got a butterfly in a bowler hat, dragonfly in aviator hat, and damsel in these braids instead of damselfly in distress. Little play on words there, I do love a good pun. Looking at all of them, they all have these big bug eyes. They have the matching feet, antenna, and the variation in the wings there but all very simple shapes again that we can build easily in Illustrator. These should be quick sketches but do take your time if you need it. I've done a set of five characters but three is a nice size for a set too so don't feel pressured to do more. Once you're happy with your set of simple sketches, we are ready to import them into Illustrator and set up our workspace, ready to build up our characters. 5. Import & Illustrator Setup: In this lesson, we will explore or scan our illustration and save it into a folder. Then we will import it into Illustrator so we can begin building in the next lesson. We will also be setting up our workspace and creating an action Illustrator. I'm going to go through all this step-by-step. If you're a complete newbie within Illustrator, you're in the right place. This will take a little bit of time, but it will be totally worth it as I found in a well organized workspace will set us up for quick and easy building when we come to create our illustrations. If you are experienced already in creating workspaces in Illustrator, you may want to skip ahead to the time code below to see you show of the final set up. Once you are happy with your set, you are ready to start importing them into your computer. To do that, just go into one of your images and click on the little spanner and go to Share. Then you'll see all the sharing options come up. If you click on PNG, you'll have a lot of different options. You can import your file too, obviously you can do by cable first of all, just save the image and send it through, or you can email it to yourself, you can just save it to your Dropbox if you have one. Now my favorite is to air-drop it because it's nice and simple. I have a Mac, so I'll click on my Mac. It will come up on the screen and we can just save that to our downloads. Now if I open up the downloads, we can see that as the first on the list. We can drag that now into our folder. Now I have a folder here on the desktop called Bug illustrations. I bring that up. Inside that folder I have all my different categories that I'll ever need. In Exports we have Stills and I'm going to put that in my PNGs. You'll see that I have all my other PNGs in that as well, ready to go. Now we can set up Illustrator. If you open up Illustrator, we'll arrive on the home screen here. What we'll need to do is create new. I already have mine as a preset here. But if you don't have yours already or you have a different width or height, you can work through and adjust the width or height here. Mine will be 1080 by 1080. If you click here, you'll have advanced options. I'm going to keep it in RGB color mode because mine is just going to be for animation. But if you would like to print it, make sure you do it first of all in CMYK color just because it's a lot more difficult to convert from RGB to CMYK, whereas the other way is a lot easier. Then I'm going to use my screen effects. If you're going to print it again, you might want to go to medium or high. Let's create that. Now you see that I have my workspace here. At the moment, this is set in our Essentials. If you also click Essentials, we can set up the workspace together. It should look something like that. Don't worry if you've got a few different bits, we are going to create our own workspace. If you click on New Workspace and I'm just going to call it SS demo for Skillshare. You can call it whatever you like and click "Okay". Let's start with the panels over here. Now I like to keep properties in this panel as it's very handy. The layers, I'm going to create a different panel here. To pull out, just click and drag, then you'll see a blue line come up and you can drop it in. The libraries, I'm actually going to collapse into an icon, and I'm going to bring it next to this as well. I'm going to make that icon even smaller so we can keep a lot of our workspace. Then if we go to Window, we will have a list here of everything that we can get out and put in our workspace. I'm going to click on Artboards first, and I'll click and drag Artboards and pop it next to Properties. I don't want Asset Export for now. Artboards just shows you this art-board, and you can do things like duplicate it, and you'll see an exactly the same art-board there. But let's keep it as one for the moment. Then what I also need are my tools in this bar. Firstly, I'm going to have color guide, and I'm going to put that at the top above the libraries. I don't actually want that color. Then I want swatches. Let's put the swatches in there just below the color in the same category. I don't need symbols, so we'll get rid of that one. Brushes I do one. I'm going to put that in a box below. You'll see that it does make a difference when you click on them. Color guidance swatches show in the same pop-out, whereas brushes has its own pop-out. I'm just making this as quick and accessible as possible for our course. Then we need alignment. Yeah, so in the next box we have alignment and the Pathfinder, I'll put above it. I don't want transform for now. Then I have a few different tools that are actually part of an Astute Graphics subscription. Astute Graphics are really handy set of creative plugins, has 19 total and they're all for Adobe Illustrator. If you end up using Illustrator quite a lot, these are really handy for speeding up your workflow. What's really nice is they give you a seven day free trial so you can just try out for this course if you like. I definitely recommend downloading it. I probably use only about seven of the plugins, so I haven't explored its full potential, but the plugins that I do use are so helpful. If I go to Astute Graphics, I have all my different tools here that I like to use. The first one is PathScribe. I'm going to drag that under there, and I'll go through what they do in the next lesson. The second one that I'm going to put here are the shapes. Let's find Astute Graphics, Dynamic Shapes. Yeah, that can go there. Dynamic Corners and then we have Libraries and that's it. Perfect. Then on this side, we have different tools that we can adjust. You can click and drag things in and out of here and place them in the toolbar just as we did on this side. Now what I have here is my Selection tool. I have my direct selection tool which is A, I'm not actually going to keep that in there because I don't need it. This is my Artboard tool, which is really handy. We'll keep that there. Then we have the Pen tool, and I'm also going to need that for this lesson. We have the Shapes. If I click on that, it will show me all the shapes that I have access to. Then we've got the Rectangular Grid tool. Then we have the Scissors tool, the pencil tool, the Reflect tool, Rotate tool, Free transform, Eyedropper, Width tool. Then this is an astute Graphics plugin called Smart Remove Brush, which is great. The Circle by points tool, another Astute Graphics one and the Zoom tool. That's all we need on this side. The next thing I'm going to show you how to do is to create an action. If we go to Window and Actions, you'll see a long list of actions right here. An action is something helpful that you can record in order to make your workflow quicker. If you have a lot of repetitive actions, you can make it into one simple function using a Function key. For this, I'm just going to create an ellipse. One action that I do a lot is Copy and Paste in front, so I can record that as an action. Let's create new new action and call it Duplicate. This is going to have the Function key F3. I can record them. You can tell it begins recording when it's got a red circle. Then I'm going to press Command C for copy and Command F for paste in front. You can see now it has that list and that's the end of my actions and I can stop recording. Now whenever I press F3, you'll see that it does the action. I can have a look and there's my copied and pasted in front shapes. That's going to be really handy for this course. The last thing we're going to do in this lesson is we're going to import our sketch and set up some guides. If you find your PNG that you're going to draw. Here I've got my Lady Bird in a Berret, I'm going to click and drag it into my file. Now I can align that to the Artboard by clicking in my Properties panel, I've got align, and we can align it at the top. Then we can click and drag to bring it to the full size of the Artboard. Now you might have noticed that when I did that, there's some guidelines coming up. Now, I have Smart Guides enabled. If you don't have Smart Guides enabled, I recommend you press Command U. At the moment, I have it turned off and you see that nothing comes up. When I have it turned on Command U, you'll see that it snaps to the edge, which is really handy. Let's just call that layer Sketch and create a new layer. We're going to set up our guides. Now there's a couple of ways you can set up your guides. First way is you can bring up the rulers, which is Command R, or you can go to View and then Rulers. Because I'm building this character in the same way with a line of symmetry, I'm going to create a guideline which is directly down the center. Now I can check that that's exactly in the center by going to my Properties panel and looking on the x-axis, which is across and typing in the full width of my Artboard and finding it by 2. That will come up with 540, which is exactly halfway. 'm just going to lock that sketch so I don't accidentally move it for now. A second way is to create a grid. Now this is one I just recently found out about and I love to share with you. It's really super handy when he have any size artboard, especially for videos. You can create a rule of thirds with it, or you can create two lines of symmetry, which is what I'm going to do here. Now at the moment, that's still a grid, so to change it into a guide, we go to Guides and then Make Guides or Command 5. Now that will work in the same way as guides and things will snap to it. One really handy thing I can do with that one is I'm just going to turn off, Create New Layer and then draw out my ellipse. Now you'll see as I drag it over, it will intersect with the center. I can click and drag and I create a circle that's exactly in the center. I'm just give it a quick outline by clicking there. You'll see that my sketch isn't quite aligned with the center, so I'm just going to press V and move it with the Selection tool so it's a bit more centered. Then I can lock that in place. Also going to lock my guides in place. But I'm going to now just use the one that's halfway from a line of symmetry. Then we can save the file. You can go to File, Save or Command S, and find an appropriate place for your file. I've got my Bug Illustrations folder, Project files, Illustrator, and I'm going to save it as Lady Bird. I can go into my B there and press "Okay". Now that we have that all set up, we'll move on to building the characters using some of my favorite illustrator tools. 6. Building in Illustrator: In the next few lessons, we will build out our characters using a selection of my favorite tools in Illustrator. I'll be showing you all of my tips and tricks for a quick workflow. In this lesson, we'll focus on just building the main shapes of our characters. To start off, what I'm going to do is just reduce the opacity of that sketch layer. If we click here, you'll see that it's selected and we can go to the Properties panel and reduce the opacity of the whole layer there. We could use the slider, we can type in if it's easier. I'm going to reduce that to around 25 percent and then I'm going to lock that layer. Now, layer three, we already started, so we're going to rename that our build layer, and what we're going to do is build out this left-hand side of the ladybird and we're going to flip it across our line of symmetry here later on. We only need to build one side and then we can duplicate it onto the other side. To start off, I'm going to select the circle with my V selected, my selection tool, and then I'm going to duplicate that using the action we set up earlier, which is F3. Then I'm going to press "S" for scale and then Enter. Now what's really nice about scaling it this way is you can do it in 10 percent increments by holding down Shift and using the arrow keys. Or you can use one percent by not holding Shift. You can get by in tuning. What's really nice about scaling things in this way as well is if you want to be really precise, you can make a note of how you scaled it ready for the next characters. I usually judge it by eye, so I'm not going to make too much of a fuss over the measurements, but if you want to be super precise, you are welcome to do so. Click "Okay", and you will see that the scaled circle is there. Now I'm going to do the same again. Duplicate and scale and we can see that that's already scaled to 55 percent because fortunately, Illustrator remembers the last one you did. I'm going to see it at 50 percent okay and then pop it on this left side. I'm going to keep the eye is quite central and then let's duplicate that again and scale. This time I just want a small eyelid and press "Okay". Now if I just scale it, it will scale the shape that's selected. But if I pick something for my pupil, I can press "Copy" and it will leave the original circle there and produce a copy for you, and that is my eye pretty much built. Now I'm going to zoom in by holding Z or you can click "Zoom" here and I've got animated zoom activated. If you don't already, you can go into your Preferences and then Performance, and you can click "Animated zoom". That means you can just zoom in and out with your mouse scrubbing, which is quite fun. Let's go into the mouth. This time I'm going to select the rounded rectangle tool and that's just found in the Shapes menu. I'm going to create a rectangle for my mouth. To make adjustments to the mouth, what I'm going to do is really zoom in and make sure that it's central in the artboard, I'm going to click this alignment, and just make sure that the artboard is selected in this aligning function. That is vertically aligned. I'm going to just add some points to my mouth. I pressed "P" to get the pen tool or you can get it here, and then we're going to just add a couple of points here. Now the reason I'm doing that is because I want to go into the shape. With V selected double-click and then select that shape. Then I can press "R" for rotate, or we can click here, pop that rotation point in the middle with a click and then I can just click and drag to get a good angle on that mouth. Now I'm going to use my path scribe tool to make adjustments to that mouth. What's really nice about path scribe is it gives you lots of helpful things, it tells you S for when this anchor point has a smooth join. You can change that to a corner point if you wish over here. But I do want a smooth point and it gives you all these helpful pop-ups like closed path, out handle, smooth point, in handle, so it gives you lots of information. Now if you haven't got path scribe, don't worry, you can press "P" and press "Alt" and it will come up with the inbuilt anchor point tool and you can just make adjustments that way instead. I just find that if you use Illustrator a lot, it's nice to invest in things that make your life a bit easier. I'm just going to finish my adjustments to the mouth here. I've made my adjustments to this side and I'm pretty happy with that now and I don't need to repeat it on this side because as I said, we're going to duplicate it. What I'm actually going to do is just cut it in the center there and using A, which is my direct selection tool and delete, I'm going to delete those other points. Let's bring that down a little. Much better. All right, we're going to add the teeth later when we're in details. At the moment we're inside the group and you can tell that by this at the top. Let's just go back and back again. You can also press "Escape" for that part. All right, the next big parts are the legs and there are a few ways you can create the legs. The first way is with P, I see my smart guide turned on. Command U and it's telling me that I'm over the path, and I can click and drag to get that nice bend and then Escape. Let's go of the anchor point otherwise, it can get a little bit grippy. The next one I can do is make a circle. Using L for lips, and I can hold Space bar as I drag it out to get it in the right position and then using C for the scissors tool, I can cut it where it says intersect and I can cut it where my foot ends. Then use A and just delete that part. Or I can use my astute graphics tool, which I find really helpful, which is this circle by two points tool and I click where Intersects, and I click where the foot is, and then I can drag it out to precisely that shape. Then just as before, cut it on those two points. There you go. Three different ways of making some legs. Obviously, with the pen tool, you probably will have to make some adjustments afterwards whereas the circles are a bit more precise. Then we've got the antenna. I'm going to make this with the pen tool just because it's just a little one, Escape and then Alt for that adjustment and that is done. The last task for this lesson is going to be making the wing case and the wings. Now, there's a very easy way of making both very quickly. If we make one using the pen tool, we can click. It's going to make adjustments to my sketch as I go and click at the end and then click back where we started. You'll see this little circle on the screen and that means your shape is complete. Then using path scribe or pen tool and Alt, you can bring out one of those lines to create the wing case. Like that. Yeah, don't be afraid to make adjustments to your sketch if it's not quite suiting you. Good. That's my wing case built and I simply reflect that to create my wing. If I click "O" or click over here for the reflect tool that we set up earlier, I can move this little anchor point and pop it here and then holding Alt, you'll see that the duplicate icon comes up and we can copy that across the line and we have a wing. Let's make just a tiny adjustment to the size because we know that the wing has to fit inside the case. I'm just going to move it up slightly so it's not interfering with the eye and looking at that, that is all my big shapes built. In the next lesson, we'll be adding in all our details to our illustration. When you establish your own workflows, you may find it easiest to simply work from back to front or left to right, including all the details along the way and I find building out the main shapes easiest for me. Experiment with your own set to see which works for you. See you in the next lesson. 7. Adding Details: In this lesson, we are going to add in the details to our illustration. If you have a line of symmetry like mine, we're going to reflect what we've done to create a full image. There are a few more tips and tricks in the following lesson, so you might want to watch both lessons through and then build up your details in your own illustrations. First of all, we are going to add our little feet and the ball on our antennae. If we select all of those with v, our selection tool, and then what we can do is we can go up to our Properties panel and go to Stroke. Let's click on those. You'll see lots of options coming up for your stroke. You can make them have rounded caps instead of butt caps, so it's just a flat one or round, you can have it as a projecting cap. If you have corners, you can decide if you want rounded corners, [inaudible] corners or bevels. You can also align stroke when it's full shape. You can make it into a dashed line if that's good for you. You can change the weight at the top here, so I'm going to make it to not dashed. Then one of my favorite tricks is using these arrowheads. If you pick one of them, to look at the Arrowhead menu, I use these so much in my illustrations and in my design for animation, like the arrows are a lot of use for infographics, but what I'm using today is this Arrow 21, and you can see it has added the balls to my stroke. Unfortunately on these two, it has added them the other way round. What I can do is just select those two, and then flip the stroke that way. You can also decide if you want to have bigger feet on those or small feet. Again, you can hold Shift to go up in 10s and yeah, that looks right now, so they've got feet, and our little ball on the antennae. Cute. Next, we're going to go to the wings and create the spots inside the wings. I'll press L to make my ellipse and just quickly create those. Now that's going to be behind the antennae so I shouldn't have scaled too much. I'm just going to put the weight of the stroke right down to one, and then you'll see that we have an overlapping shape here. It doesn't matter too much because we can make an adjustment. One way to do it is to duplicate that using F3, and then select that circle, and then you can use your Pathfinder. We put the Pathfinder here, or it's in our proxies panel, and we're looking for intersect. That will keep that bit that overlaps, and we have that there. However, if I want to make adjustments later, that's quite a destructive change. If I undo that, and instead, what I'm going to do is put those spots in a group with Command G, and then I'm going to select that top copy of the wing case, and then just make sure that wing case is on top of that group. Then I'm going to make a clipping mask. I can go to Object, Clipping Mask, Make, or Command 7, and what that will do is make a group where you can only see the spots inside that top shape. If I double-click V, I can go inside that shape, and then I can make adjustments to those spots. It's non-destructive change and you can make adjustments later on if you change your mind. Press Escape to get out of the group and the clipping mask, I use a lot, is a really handy tip for building that. Next we're going to make the veins in the wings. Using P, just going to create that top vein. When I finish my line, you'll see that it is joined up. If I press Escape, it will end that. Now, I'm not going to go from here because it will just add another point on the line, and I'll undo that. But if I go out and join up with the line, Escape, it works perfectly. Very useful if you're making leaves as well. That is my veins all done. Now, I'm ready actually to flip this over our line of symmetry. Collect by clicking and dragging, all of those items on that side, and I'm going to deselect holding Shift and clicking the body and the head, and then I'm going to select my Reflect tool or O, and then over, just like we did with the wing case, we're going to reflect it over this line of symmetry, so I click once on the guide up here and then Alt for the copy and click again, and it will be perfectly copied over to this side. Now, I'm just going to select those wing pieces and group them, and then I'm going to give them a round cap. If I just zoom in, that will help you see it better, a round cap. Just making it a little bit softer. Let's do the same to this side, group it and give it a round cap. Then, what we're going to do is a little bit of housekeeping. You can see that there's a bit of a break in the mouth here, so I'm just going to press A and drag over those points, and then Command J and, that will actually join those two points. With my Pathfinder, so in my PathScribe, I'm going to get rid of those points, so smart remove, and that will just leave me with a nice curve in the center there. I can make it a bit more equal by dragging that down. Yeah, that's nice. I'll need to join it here as well, so Command J, and you can make any adjustments to that that we need to. Then with that selected, I'm going to make a lip around the outside to match with the eyes here. If I go to Object, Path, I can go to Offset Path. What it will do is making a copy of set by however many pixels you choose. I'm going to go down to yeah, six pixels, and I'm going to make that a round join just to make sure there's no corners showing up later on. If you couldn't see anything, remember to check the preview, and then Okay, and then that's made us a larger copy of our mouth for the lips. Now into the teeth, I'm going to use L for lips, for my first tooth, and I'm going to drag that out from that center line and I'm going to press Alt and drag. That will make me a duplicate of that shape. Then just adjust it so your teeth are in the right position. Just going to make that a bit larger as well. A bit larger still and then, yeah, let's pop them up there. Now obviously, we need to reflect those as well over that midline, and then, I'm going to make a clipping mask again inside that mouth shapes. Make the teeth into a group, select the mouth and make a duplicate, and then just make sure that's on top of the teeth. Then Command 7, and we've got that clipped in there so that we can go in and then make some adjustments. Now, I think he's much cuter with the teeth on the bottom, so I'm going to change it and I'm going to give him slightly larger teeth as well. Let's have a look at that zoomed out. Yeah, I like it. I'm just going to adjust those side teeth just so they're a bit more in line. Nice. He's really cute now, I like it. I can see one important accessory that is missing a little [inaudible] here. I'm just going to turn off my guide for a moment and then I'm going to use the Pencil tool, which is N, as a shortcut. You can use the pencil to freehand it with your mouse if you click and hold, but I prefer using my iPad as a tablet and using Astropad to help me draw. Now, I know that some of the newer Macs come with a way to connect your iPad automatically so if you have that, great. My Mac is a little bit too old, so I just connected using Astropad. Again, it's subscription, so you would have to pay for that but again, I find it very valuable if you do a lot of work on the iPad and then the computer as well. This is my little berry. I'm just going to make an adjustment to that so it's really on the head. If I now turn off the sketch and deselect, I can see my cute little ladybird is all done. Now, don't forget to save it, so File, Save or Command S, and that will save it automatically for you. That is it all done. Take a moment to stand back and admire your work, the neat and mathematical outlines of Illustrator. In the next lesson, we'll be looking at some other useful tools which may help you to build your character further. 8. Other Useful Tools: In this lesson, we'll be taking a look at a few more of the cool tools inside Illustrator, which may help me to build up your characters. Just to finish off my ladybird here, I'm just going to give it some whites of the eyes so we can see which direction the ladybird is looking in. This one's a bit cross-eyed. The reason I'm doing that is because I built my bee, and my bee is obviously looking this way. It was really helpful to add those circles. I wanted it to be consistent across my illustrations. If we just save that one and then go on to the bee, now you'll see that my bee is currently missing wings, a stinger, and a little bonnet here. Let's start off with the stinger. Now using our guides, I can bring a stroke out from the center. I want to make it a wider stinger. There are two ways that I can do this. I can use stroke and go to the width profile and just hike the size of that up to whatever width I want, which is pretty cool. Or I can use my width tool here, which is Shift and W, and I can stretch that out. Now what's cool about the width tool is you can make adjustments along the whole line and change the profile of the stroke as you wish. It's quite a funky tool if you need different line widths. For this one, I think I'm going to stick with my width profile. Then what I can do if I don't want it to be a path, I can go to Object, Path, Outline Stroke. Then to change that from a fill to the stroke, you press Shift X. Now it is a full shape. Now you'll see if I click 'A', that this shape has a lot of unnecessary anchor points. This is where this helpful tool from Astute Graphics comes in called Smart Remove Brush. Now often when you intersect things or outline things, you will get these ridiculous marks. It's really handy to reduce the weight of your file to get rid of those anchor points. Now, the shape just has two. Let's move on to the wings. Now for the wings, I'm going to create an ordinary ellipse with L. Then I'm going to use R, for rotate. I just want this point to face over here to help me create that wing shape. Now with A, the direct selection tool, I can click on there and I can make my adjustments. Again, this is really useful for leaves. I find a lot. You can just make an ellipse and drag out those points. Now with that shape selected, I can click "R" again and just change the anchor point to here. Holding Alt, I can make a duplicate of that really easily. They're both the same shape, which is really fun. Now what I can also do if I want to bring some perspective into it, is use the Free Transform tool. I use this quite a lot. Perspective distort is the one that I use more often. What perspective distort does, it can bring things forward and back in space. It's quite nice for things like wings. If I press V, we can see that it has transformed the shape of those wings, but more useful than on the bee for the butterfly. If we press Transform again and perspective distort, I want the butterfly to be facing us, so flying towards us. What I can do is take the ends of those back and take the top ends forward. Then if I shift those up in space with V, and let's just make them a little smaller. Now, it looks like the butterfly is coming more towards us. The Transform tool is really handy for things that need perspective. Let's go back to our bee now. Now the final thing that I want to create on the bee is this bonnet shape with the semi-circles. Now rather than go round and have a bit of a laborious task, having to go in and keep duplicating, duplicating, and then trimming that path, what I can do is I can create a brush that will enable me to do that really quickly. Taking that size circle that I wanted for the bonnet and then using M to intersect that with a rectangle. I can select both shapes because I know that my rectangle is on top. I can minus front using the Pathfinder, and we're left with a semicircle. With that semi-circle selected, I can select my brushes from the brush panel here, and I can add a new one. If we select pattern brush and press Okay, it will come up with a pattern of those semi-circles, and you can do different things to help you with your work. You can flip it along the axis. You can flip it along that way. You can change the corner points, which I find quite helpful. We want to be able to color it. I'm going to change that to tints and shades and click "Okay". Then what we'll do is we'll create a duplicate of that front bonnet shape with F3. Then we can click on our little semicircle brush and it will apply it to it. Now all I need to do is just hold Alt to fit the shape. You'll see that it comes up with that bonnet shape. Now what's really nice is if you want to make adjustments after the fact, you can go in and you can scale it. I can make the scale a little bit bigger. If you have preview checked, it will show you that in real time. Now I think that's a little bit cuter. I'm going to press "Okay" and apply it to the strokes and then leave that there. Then I don't need the shape anymore. It's all adjusted. Now if I just make another shape, I can apply my originals to it. I had some others here. We can make circles. You can go into the brushes that are presets and you can pick some nice things from in here as well. I have an experiment with the brushes. They do come in handy for repeat patterns such as this. Now we've built those two characters. Obviously, you can go on to your third character. If you have four and five and you want to build those as well, pop them in, build them exactly the same way, and we can look forward to adding some colors to them in the next lesson. 9. Adding Colour: In this lesson, we will be adding color to our illustrations. Sometimes clients will give you colors to use and sometimes you'll need to come up with them by yourself. Furthermore, you'll need to make sure they are suitable for the tone and all of the characters in your illustration set. Putting together a suitable color palette can be challenging, so I want to show you how I approach it. First of all, I just wanted to explain that I added a simple background to my character. It's just some blades of grass, which I made in exactly the same way as I made the wings in the previous bee lesson, so an ellipse and I just stretched out the end and put some veins in there as well. Let's talk about color now. This is the final way I chose to color my character. Let me show you how I got to this point and how you could start choosing color for your own illustration. Thinking about the tone of your illustration and who it's for. Lots of factors contribute to decisions about your color palette. What's the weather like? Is it warm, cold? You may want to use hot colors for a hot scene as cool colors may give a completely different feeling. What are the characters like? Are they quite modern, sleek, or maybe a bit funky '90s neon? You may also need to consider the audience. For mine, it's kids. I want to keep it quite primary, bold, but a bit retro to also appeal to those older ages. One way is to use Adobe Color and type in your keyword to find something suitable. Adobe Color comes out with lots of different palettes which you can actually download or add to your Adobe Library, or another way that I really like to use is Pinterest. This way, you can see the colors in action already in an illustration, and you can choose something that you would really like to work in as you will be staring at the colors for a little while! On Pinterest, you can type in something that you wish to see. For me, I'm going to put in some retro wallpaper because I think that's going to have nice, bold colors as well as appealing to an older generation. You can look through. When you find something you like, you can just make your Pinterest board. You can go into "Create Board" and make a board for it, say bug illustrations. I already have a retro patterns board, so I'm going to save it to that. Then I can look at all the retro patterns I have collected and make some decisions from there. I really like this example. I like the way the colors work together, and I would like to use those in my illustration. What I can do is take a snapshot of that. Then I can take that into my work. Now we're finished with that. We can save it as ladybird, and let's put color this time. We'll put it again as 01. So save that there and click "Okay". Then what we can do is use our Direct Selection tool. Click "A" or you can click "V" for the Selection tool to start to select areas of your illustration. I like to use A because you can start to collect the ones that are inside clipping masks and you don't have to try and be exact. You can just click on the path. I'm just selecting areas that I want to be in quite a light color, so the teeth and the spots. Then I'm just going to press "I" for eyedropper and just take that light color from the illustration. I've got all of those. We're going to work now on the rest of the illustration. I'm going to select the orange parts because I know that the wing cases are going to be orange. I want the body and the head to be orange as well, but we need the head to stand out. What I can do is I can go to 'Color Guide' and select a slightly different tint of the orange shade that we're using. I'm just going to select the next one up and carry on with my coloring. If you want to color a stroke, when you select, it just fills it. It's not what you want. Press "X" to select the stroke over here, and then hold Shift as you select the color, and that will make it color the stroke. If your items are not positioned correctly, you can move them back and forward in space by pressing "Command" and square brackets. Square bracket open is to send it backwards in space, and square bracket closed is to bring it forward in space. I can just see that I'm missing my little circle here. I'm just trying to locate it or I can bring it forward in space using the layers panel over here. I'm just going to bring that, again, forward in space. Now we have the eye on top. You can also set up some shortcuts. For example, I have F5 setup as bring to front. I can bring those quickly to front, and F4 is send to back. They're really handy ones. I want to put that behind the head but in front of the wings. I'm just going to find the wing cases and bring that forward. I'm going to make some other adjustments so that we have the layering in the right order. Finally, we'll need a background for our character. I'd like to make a new layer underneath the build layer and call it background. Then selecting M for marquee, the Rectangle tool over here. We can click on the corner and make a rectangle that is exactly the same as the width of the board. That will fill the space. If I press "X" it's selecting the cream at the moment. But I'm going to select another color from here, blue. I see that I'm missing the mouth. There we go. Nice. It's looking pretty nice at the moment. I can just see that we need some definition between the wings and the body. If I select that color and select X to go into the fill, again, it can look at my shades over here. Now if I click on this one to fill it, it's a little bit brown and I'm not really enjoying it. Sometimes because this is mixed with black, it just tends to murky the color rather than make it a nice shade of the other ones. If we go in Swatches and double-click the Fill, we can just do this for a bit more saturation rather than a darken. Let's get a bit more brown. Yeah, I think that's looking nice. There we have our illustration colored by way of our palette. Now, you might want to try a few more palettes out. I have one that I did earlier here, and I want to try out my ladybird in those new palettes. Now rather than start from scratch again, what I can do is click on the Artboard tool, and the artboard that we have will be selected. Then I can press "Alt" and it will come up with a duplicate, and I can just drag that copy over. If I also hold Shift, I can make sure that that is in line with the other one. Then once I've done that, I can again just select areas with my Direct Selection tool and I can select the new colors from my new screenshots. One really handy trick here is to press "V" for selection and select the whole of the first artboard, press "Command 2", and that will lock the whole of the artwork on there. What you can actually do is just select one piece, select Same, and then Fill Color, and that will select all of those things that are filled in that color, and you can eyedrop a new color for those sections. That's a really handy tool. That's what I did for the next two palettes. I went through and just selected from here. I also had an Adobe Color palette here, which made this nice, bright neon version of my ladybird. There is my ladybird colored four different ways and you can just select your favorite from there. I really like this one, so I'm going to stick with that one. Once we're happy with our palette, we need to save it, so Command S or File, Save. Next, we'll take this illustration into a new document Check check that the palette works throughout our set. See you there. 10. Colour Your Set: In this lesson, we'll be taking our selected palette into a new document to color our other illustrations and check that it works throughout. Once you've decided on your palette, you'll need to take your illustration into a new document so we can run some color tests. If you select everything with V and press Command-C, and then we'll make a new document. Your settings should be saved in here from the last one. If not, just type them in again and then press Create. Then we can paste that into the document and just align it. That's the document started. Let's just save it now. Command-S, and we can call this Bug Illustrations Color Tests_01. Just makes sure it's in the right folder and press Okay. Once we've got that one, we can create a new artboard. We can either duplicate that artboard like this and then delete everything on it, or we can go to Artboards and click New Artboard. That will pop up right next to the original one. Then we'll need to open up our next illustration so for me it's my bee. I don't need the background, just need to take the actual bee with me, so Command-C again. Let's put it in this file. I'm just going to group it temporarily with Command-G, so that I can align it with the center of the new artboard and then press Command-Shift-G and that will ungroup it again. Now the reason I didn't take the background was because I'm going to keep my background consistent across all of my illustrations. I just take the background from the ladybird one and click and hold Alt and Shift to make sure that that's aligned with the new artboards. I'll temporarily group that as well, and click on the new artboard so that I can align it. Then we are ready to build up our bee and make sure the colors work. Again, I'm just going to use the direct selection tool to start selecting the shapes. Then I'm going to get for the lighter color and all of the other colors and so on, and just start to fill that in. Now it might look like I'm just filling them in a bit randomly, but I am actually making sure that my decisions follow some of the decisions that I made in the first illustration. As you can see, the mouth is orange with their green center, the eyes are the same, the legs are the same, the background is the same. We're keeping a few of the decisions similar between the two. Just going to take the opacity down to 90 there, so we can see the overlap between the two wings. Just to go back to the original as well, let's do it for the original. I can see the body through it, which gives it more of a wing illusion. Now another thing I wanted to show you was that we created this with our pattern brush in one of our previous lessons. Now if I'm color this now, I want it to be white. If I color that now it's going to be a tint of that white. But it's not really what I wanted I want it to be a fill. What I need to do is actually expand the appearance, going to Object and Expand Appearance and it becomes a group of shapes instead a group of semi-circles. I'm just going to use my Smart Remove Brush Tool to just get rid of some of the crazy anchor points there. A very handy tool from Astute Graphics. Then with it still selected, I'm going to just select the color that I want. Now it's almost all colored with similar colors to the first one. We can see that it definitely works for the bee our palette of colors. We can be around 80 percent sure, that it's going to work for the others. Hopefully, when we try it, it will come out. At this point, what I like to do is just create a palette of colors. Here's one I did earlier. The palette I made by just creating some rectangles using the M tool. Again, just taking the colors from there. With this one, obviously I haven't used that purple, so I've just limited palette down a little bit to be five colors. We're going to see if it works with other insects here. Fortunately, I also did this earlier. We can see that by using variations of color and palette, we have got the other insects. They're all different, but they all working within this same limited palette. I wanted to reduce it even more, so simplify it more and give it more of an impact. I made an even more limited palette and just use the four main colors and did variations on those. Actually, I felt like these worked really well, all except the blue that I had before. I just made some adjustments on that blue color. If we just select that with the direct selection tool and then go to Color Guide and then Edit or Apply Colors. We can make adjustments which happen in real-time over on our illustration to the saturation, the brightness, and the hue over here to find a color that works better. That's how I changed these. With those changes, I felt like this worked, really well, and it gets bright and appealing. It's going to work well for the brief. I also tried another route, quite a stylish way of using the colors, and that was the monotone. Again, going back to that five-way palette, because we've got five characters. I went in and I use tints and shades. I was able to color our ladybird here with just shades of those oranges. I did the same for the rest of the characters. We can see that this works really well for the ladybird, the butterfly, and the dragonfly. Whereas the damselfly and bee are looking a little bit lost. One really handy trick that we can use to check that is to create a rectangle over the top. Then in the Swatches, select 50 percent gray, and just put the color here. Here you can really see that, that stands out. It's got good contrast to the background, so does this. But the damselfly and the bee are getting a little bit lost. I would have to work on those colors a little bit more. Once you're happy with the work that you've done, you can just save it, and that's all your color test saved. Just in case you ever need to go back. But now is the time to make a selection. You've already worked out that my favorite is the limited palette. Just think it's simplistic, it looks nice. What we're going to do is just delete those other layers. Because we've already saved it. We are going to save that again. File, Save As this time, and you're going to change that to Final Colors. Because this is the file that we're just going to work on for those final illustrations and click Okay. There we've made our decision on our color palette. It's a bit of a journey with color, but well worth it to make sure your illustrations work as a cohesive set. Next, we'll add some finishing touches and divide each illustration into usable layers. 11. Finishing Touches & Layering: In this lesson, we'll be adding some finishing touches and dividing up our illustration into useful layers. We established our colors in the last lesson and I felt like I just needed to make some refinements and do some finishing touches in order to make it really striking. Here I felt like the blue and yellow were a little bit close together. Here are my final colors after fiddling around them. Much happier with ladybird, I went back to the shade of the orange and I'm much more comfortable with how it looks. I used a darker shade of green to start establishing the characters from the background leaves as well. I used this on the eyes, the antenna in some cases, and the legs. I also added these cute little shines, which I really enjoy adding to the characters, just give them a bit more cuteness. To do this, if you want to do for your own character, what I usually do is just duplicate that with F3 and then scale it down, let's say 85 percent. Then we can just eye drop from the original. I'm just having it as a two-point stroke here that's white. Then I'm going to cut it at the end and halfway through. The cut tool, remember is C. Then just make any adjustments that we need. That's how you create the shine. Any scaling, any extra details that you want to add, add it now before we divide it into layers, if you're passing onto a client or animator, they are going to be so happy to receive a well-labeled file that they can use straight away. It takes a lot of time to sift through someone else's work to find all of the little pieces. If you are keeping it to yourself, you don't necessarily have to do this. But if you ever come back to the file, it will really help you to locate the parts you want to work on quickly. To start to divide it into layers, I actually prefer to keep these separate. I'm going to select the ladybird and Command C or edit, copy. Then I'm going to open up my original ladybird file. Now you see that the build is all still in there. I actually want to keep that as an insurance layer. I don't often do this anymore, but when I first started out with Illustrator, this was really handy just to refer back to in case I got myself in a muddle. I'm just going to hide that layer and add a new one, and then pop in our new file by pasting it or Command V. That should just snap into place. But if you're not sure, you can temporarily group it with Command G and just align it to that, and then Command Shift G takes it out of the group. Now if we open that up in the layers file, we can see that that's a big mess at the moment. If we can divide that up, that would be really helpful. If we think about it from an animation perspective, that can help us decide our layers. Now, we're not going to animate the background, so I can leave that on a layer of its own and then I can start to work my way from back to front in that way. Just thinking about what might move and what I might need to change later on, that will help me put it into separate layers. Next we can see that we've got all of the legs at the bottom. To drag these into new layer, we just highlight them and drag them in, and we can call that Legs. Now some animators might want all of the separate legs on separate layers, in which case I would name that Leg 1, Leg 2, Leg 3, and so on. But I'm going to keep it on one layer for now. Here we've got the body, that's going to be on its own separate piece, so let's call that Body. We've got wing here and we've got a second wing here. Now I know that I'm going to want to separate them into their own sections. I've got the wing and the veins and that's going to be Wing 1. I usually label it from left to right just because that's how I read English, so it just makes it easier for me to fathom. Then we're going to look at the next one, that is Wing 2. We're going to find the veins for that as well and put that in the same layer. Then we've got the casing here, and you've got the shiny bits on top, and we've got the clipping mask. Now all of those belong in the same group, so let's put it there and we can call it Wing Case 1. I'm going to just drag that below Wing 2 just to keep the ones on the right and the left separate. That one's an antenna. Let's just find the other clipping mask with those parts again, so not that one. Just press "Command" if you need to jump to another position. Another way you can drag them into new layer is to grab hold of the little square and drop them in. This is Wing Case 2. We have the antenna on another layer. Let's just call that Antennae, I hope we spelled that correctly. Then we've got the head, the beret. We might want the beret to move, so let's keep that separate as well. I'm just making sure that the beret is labeled together. Then we've got the eyes. Now if you want the eyes to move around, look at something, then you're going to want separate layers for the pupil and the iris. In my case, I don't want them to move, so I'm just going to call that Eye 1, and then we've got Eye 2. Then what we have left is the grasses and the mouth. I'm just going to call this original layer Mouth. I'm going to take a clipping mask of the grass down to the background layer and then I'm going to lock it. Now for all the layers that I don't want the animator to move, I'm going to give them a red label. It makes no difference to the animator what you color them as, it just helps for you to know where your things are. You can, if you're being super organized and super-efficient, you can start to label things with colors. The two wings that go together, I can make them paired by my selection of color. You can go through the rest of them in the same way if you wish. Just missed the beret there, so let's label that. Now this is in pretty usable layers for our animator or for our client. You can always double-check with your animator what parts they want separate, so ask them about the eyes, ask them about the legs, if they want separate layers for each of those. It's always good to communicate with whoever you're working with. If you're working for yourself, don't worry about it. What I like to do is just double-check that all of the right pieces are on the right layers by turning them off in turn and just checking that there's no hidden bits. Sometimes in the build you'll have duplicates by accident. It always happens, and just check that those layers are all organized properly. Once you've done that, you can save it, so Command S, and that will save that for you. Now we've divided up our illustration into layers, we are ready to export them. I'll see you in the next and final lesson. 12. Export Your Set: In this lesson, we will export our files and upload them to our website, or social media, wherever you need them. Now, if you're sending it on to animation, they will need the AI files, but it's always handy to export images to send to the animator or client, just to check over that that's what they want. Either way, we're going to export this image. Starting with my little dragonfly guy here, I'm going to go up to File, and Export, and then Export As. Then what I want do is find my Illustrations folder, Bug Illustrations. This time, we can go to Export - Stills, and I'm doing it as a PNG. Now, the reason I choose PNG is because there's lots of benefits. It is a higher quality file and it supports transparency, which I use a lot in my work. If you want to select a different file, go to the drop-down on Formats. You could use a JPEG, which is much smaller file, easier to send by email or transfer. If that's the case, then you might want to choose that as your better option. For now, I'm going to pick PNG. In my PNG folder here, I'm going to create a new folder called Finals. I'm going to select Artboards. That just means it's going to use everything within that artboard and nothing outside it. Then, let's call it Dragonfly, and then we key the one in there, and just take that PNG out, and then export. Now you see it will come up with some PNG options. In resolution, I'm just going to use it for screens, so it's going to be 72 pixels per inch. If you're wanting a bit higher resolution, say you want to print it or you want it just bigger image than it is, then I will pick medium or high. You can go into some anti-aliasing here, and you can see some some info about each option there. I'm going to pick Art Optimized because I haven't got any text in here. Then a background color, if you have any see-through elements in your work, you'll want to choose transparent. If not, one of the other colors is fine, whichever you choose in this case, the whole thing is covered so it wouldn't be a problem. Let's press ''Okay''. Then when you go to your exports and finals, your dragonfly will appear in there. Just do the same for all your other illustrations in the set. Once you have all of those done, just open them up and check them through. You'll see that mine has a little bit of fuzzy detail. This's because this is much larger than 1080 by 1080, you would usually see it quite small. When it's this small, it's much more readable. If you had exported it with 300 pixels per inch, that probably wouldn't be a problem at a larger size. Just check through all of your files that you're happy. Once you're happy, they are ready to be uploaded wherever you wish. If you want to say upload it to Instagram, you can airdrop the files to your phone. You can just select all of those and AirDrop them in, and they'll appear on your phone so that you can post them to your social media. You can obviously upload them to your website if you wish, and most importantly, share it on our project gallery. What you'll want to do is just upload a cover image, whichever one your favorite is, I'll go for my ladybird, it's been my hero throughout the class. Then just adjust it as needed because I made it in a square, I'm just going to select that middle section, and I'm going to give it a title, Bugs Galore, and a description, and then I'm going to add the rest of the set in there. Once you've added all of your set, you can publish to class, and I'll take great joy in seeing all of your work. Now you have a set of cohesive characters to share on your portfolio and your social media. Don't forget to choose the right export option for your situation. Remember that a JPEG is nice and light, but it's a low resolution file and PNG is higher quality, but it's a heavy file. If you're passing it onto an animator, make sure you share the AI files with them too. 13. Conclusion: Well done. You have just completed your full set of cohesive characters ready to share. Throughout this course, we learn how to design characters with helpful limitations, build illustrations in Illustrator, and exported our files. This is really helpful if you want to send your designs to a client or animator or even animate it yourself. Look out for my next course: Looping character animation in After Effects using Duik Automations. The simple ways that you can animate movements in your characters. I'll be using the characters I created in this lesson for the next course. For now, don't forget to upload your characters to the Skillshare Project Gallery. I always check the work there and offer answers to any questions. It's also great for inspiring new students to join us. Don't forget to upload to your social media too. You've just learned an amazing skill, and now it's time to flaunt it. If you do upload to Instagram, do tag me, and I'll make sure I flaunt it for you as well. I hope you enjoyed the class, and if you did, be sure to leave a review. It really helps other students to find us too. For now, happy illustrating, and I hope I'll see you again in a class soon. Bye.