Adobe Illustrator tutorial: Creating convincing characters

Illustrator maestro Alexis West demonstrates how to magic up appealing characters using a pencil, a computer and bags of imagination.

4_DA_Creating_convincing_characters

Step 3 Once you’re happy with your character, scan in your sketch and open it in Photoshop. Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and adjust the slider to correct the white to black pixel levels. Save the image, and open it in Illustrator (If you’re not using your own sketch, open up sketch.jpg from the Project Files - see right).

5_DA_Creating_convincing_characters

Step 4 Before starting to transform your sketch into vector graphics, get to grips with the Pen tool (P), as this will allow you to remain faithful to the flow of your drawing. Start by placing a point on your canvas with the pen. Now decide where you want your curve to end, place your next point in the mid point of your curve and gently pull to manipulate an arc – when you plot the next point, the curve should complete naturally.

6_DA_Creating_convincing_characters

Step 5 Create a new layer above your sketch, and name it Head. Start by plotting points around the character’s eye to faithfully represent your drawing, next use the Shape tool to draw a circle representing the pupil. Now copy the white of the eye shape (Ctrl/Cmd+C) and paste it in front of the circle (Ctrl/Cmd+F) Select both shapes and make a clipping mask to conceal the overspill of the circle (Ctrl/Cmd+7).

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Alexis West

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