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How to create character illustration using illustrator

In this tutorial I’ll teach you how to draw a funny insurance agent using just basic shapes and pen tool. Intermediate knowledge of Adobe Illustrator is advised.

Final Image Preview

Step 1: Head

Open Illustrator, create a new document and a new layer. Name it “background”, drag it under the first layer and draw a rectangle with the same sizes as your artboard. Give it a fill color, I used a light blue (#6FCBEC). Lock this layer for now and start drawing the head on another.

Rename the first layer to “head” and start drawing on it. For the head draw a rectangle and set the #F2B7A4 as the fill color for the skin.

Now draw a highlight on the left side of the head, draw a much smaller rectangle and give it a brighter color (#F6D2BF).

Now select your Pen Tool (P) and draw hair on his head. Give it a fill color that you want, I gave him a nice bronw (#A97C50).

With your pen tool still selected draw the left part of his hairstyle.

Now try to draw a shadow under his hair like you see below and set the #F0A194 as the fill color for the skin shadows. Place this sublayer under the hairstyle sublayers.

Create a ellipse with Ellipse Tool (L) and using Scissors Tool (C) divide it into two semicircles. Fill one of them with our skin color and with skin shadow color the second one. Place them on the both edges of the head. these will be our ears.

Using pen tool again draw a highlight on man hair and fill it with a slightly brighter shade of the hair color.

Step 2: Face

Start by drawing eyes. The same way we’ve drawn the ears now draw his eyes and fill them with white.

Copy the eyes paths, give them a fill color that you like and place this copies on the top of eyes paths.

Draw line for the mouth and give it a 3pt stroke with the face shadow color.

Draw a path for the eyebrow, give it a fill (the same color as the hair) a drag a copy of it.

For the nose draw an open path with your pen tool, no fill and a 3pt stroke with the face shadow color.

Draw a brown triangle with the same fill color as the hair and place it under the mouth, this will be his beard.

Create a shadow for his beard. Select it, press Ctrl+C and then Ctrl+B to place the copy under the original path. Move it a bit down and right using your keyboard arrows and give it the same fill color as we use for the face shadows.

Our agent looks to young, draw some pink circles of different sizes to make him look a bit older.

Step 3: Shirt and Body

Using Rounded Rectangle Tool draw a rectangle that is wider that the head and give it a fill color (#F7F0BF). This is the collar. We’ll be using this color as shirt color from now on.

Draw a white highlight on this. I won’t explain you how I’ve done it because I assume that you have intermediate knowledge of Illustrator.

Now draw another rounded rectangle and place it under the collar.

Also draw a highlight on it.

For the sleeve, draw a line from the shoulder and give it a 40pt stroke with the same color as the shirt itself.

Draw a Rectangle at the bottom of the sleeve.

Expand the sleeve by going to Object -> Expand and then select both path and drag a copy of them on the left. Reflect the by right-clicking and selecting Transform -> Reflect.

Draw a highlight on agent’s right hand.

Now add some shadows to the shirt. Draw collar shadow and right pocket shadow.

Add some buttons to his shirt. Draw a small ellipse, fill it with a brown color and give it a stroke with an ever darker brown.

Add a small highlight on it, by shift-clicking select the ellipse and the it’s highlight and press Ctrl+G to group them.

Make two copies of this group and place them lower.

Now make a copy of one of the buttons, make it a little smaller, make a copy again and put these two small button on agent sleeves.

Use your pen tool to draw his palms. Draw a fist on the right because he’ll be carrying a bag and a palm on the right. Fill them with the skin color and skin shadow color respectively.

Step 4: Bag

For the handle draw a short line and give it 15pt rounded stroke with the same color as the hair.

Now using pen tool try to draw a path as you see below and set a bright brow as the fill color.

Copy this path, scale it down, make it a bit darker and make a copy of it.

Draw a 6pt dark brown line, the lock and our bag is ready!

Step 5: Tie

For tie, draw, using the Pen tool two paths, the node and tie itself.

Now we’ll define a pattern for our tie. Draw a square and a circle inside it in that way so their centers match.

Now draw four quarters in the corners.

Now group this 6 paths by pressing Ctrl+G and go to Edit -> Define Pattern. Now apply this pattern to our tie paths.

Draw a shadow for the tie.

Step 6: Belt

Draw a black or a very dark gray wide rectangle. But not as wide as the shirt.

Select your belt, press Ctrl+C to copy it and Ctrl+F to past it in front. By holding down the Alt key scale down the copy, release the Alt key and make it a little thicker and then give it a fill color that you want. I used the same color as for the circles on the tie pattern.

Step 7: Pants

Draw a big brown rectangle under the belt sublayer.

Create another path on the top of this rectangle. Select them both by shift-clicking and press Minus Front button in the pathfinder panel.

Put a highlight on them.

Step 8a: Legs

Draw a rectangle under the pants sublayer and fill it with skin color.

Zoom in and try to draw a lot of small lines on the leg.

Select them all and give them a 1pt dark brown stroke.

Now well draw socks. Create a rounded rectangle and fill it with white.

Draw two lines of different colors on the sock.

Step 8b: Legs

For the shoe create a semicircle and a darker line on the bottom.

Using pen tool draw the laces.

Select now the entire leg and drag a copy of it.

Step 9: Shadow

Draw a wide ellipse under his legs and give it a darker blue fill.

Step 10: Background text

Write your text on background layer with the same color as your background. Select it and Go to Effect -> Stylize -> Drop Shadow and give it a shadow.

Our insurance is ready to take care of you.

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