How to create amazing animated characters in Illustrator and Flash

Create an animated character by harnessing the power of Illustrator and the flexibility of Flash.


01. The first step is to create some sketches. You can use our sketch (in which case skip to Step 2) or create a character in your own style. Keep your sketch clean, to make tracing over it in Illustrator quick and easy. Consider which elements of your character might be animated (eyes, limbs, mouth etc). Here, I’ve used simple lines and named the character Madame Octopus.


02. Scan your sketch in (or if you’re using my pre-prepared sketch, open the document sketch.jpg from the cover disc), and trace over it in Illustrator, using the Pen tool (or the Blob brush if you’re using Illustrator CS4). Create the outline shapes, keeping in mind that the elements you’re going to want to animate will need to be easily separated.


03. Fill in the rest of your character, adding tone and texture to create something memorable and distinctive. Here, I’ve added spots and a shaded area to the limbs, and chunky details into the hair to complete the design. The character is going to appear fairly small on screen, so try to avoid putting much fine detail in.

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Sam Hampton-Smith

Digital Arts Magazine
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