Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Hey, gang, this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. Today I'm going to show you how to draw your very own absolutely original Ang--Grumpy bird inside Adobe Illustrator. In this movie, we'll start things off by combining this red circle with the magenta ellipse above it. Then we'll apply some dynamic effects, and in the end, we'll create the new purple bird's pear-shaped body. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. All right, here is the final bird, just so you can see him on screen.
I'm going to switch over to this file here and you can see that I've drawn a few shapes in advance. The shapes I will be working with, for starters here, are this big red circle and this magenta ellipse, and together they are going to make up this purple bird body right here. Start by clicking on the big red circle if you're working along with me. If not, go ahead and draw your own big red circle and then go up to the Effect menu, choose Warp and choose Shell Lower. I just figured this stuff out through trial and error by the way, because it's not always evident what each one of these guys is going to do until you enter this dialog box.
So you can always change your mind once you select one of the Warp options. Anyway, Shell Lower is what we want. Then you want to go ahead and make sure Horizontal is selected and change the Bend value to 4% and then tab your way down to the Vertical Distortion value and change it to 6%. And to get an idea of what that looks like, go ahead and turn on the Preview check box and you can see we now have a kind of dumpy body for this bird. I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change.
Now we need to address the feathers. So go ahead and select his top magenta ellipse and then go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and choose the Transform command. And the idea here is I want three feathers in all, and I'm going to generate them dynamically using this command. So I'll change the Rotate value to -30 degrees. Then you can turn on the Preview check box to get a sense of what that looks like. I actually want this feather to rotate around the bottom of this ellipse, so I'll go ahead and click on the bottom point in this little reference point matrix.
This item by the way in Illustrator CS5 and earlier is located over here on the right-hand side of the dialog box. Now we want to create a couple of copies, so click in the Copies option and press the Up Arrow key a couple of times in order to create a total of three feathers as you see here. Now click OK. Now of course, they don't look like feathers at this point, so we'll warp them by going up to the Effect menu, choosing Warp, and as I say if you don't know where you're going with the Warp function, just select any old thing, like I could select Arch. Then go ahead and turn on the Preview check box and see that I'm not accomplishing a lot at this point.
I'll go ahead and turn up that value and see what happens, and obviously this is what I want. So I'll go ahead and change the Style in this case from Arch and I could just fiddle around here to figure out what's going to work. But I'm going to select Shell Upper and we don't want nearly that big of a Bend value of course, because that would end up giving us a very bad effect indeed. I'll go ahead and reduce the Bend value to 5%, and then I'll tab my way down here to the Vertical Distort value which is still at 6%, and I'll change it to 0%.
So we want 5 for Bend, we want Horizontal selected as well, and then both of the Distortion values should be set to 0%. Now I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change. And then finally, go back to the Effect menu, choose Warp and choose Flag, and most likely, Illustrator is going to ask you if you really want to apply another heaping helping of the same effect. So in other words, any Warp effect is considered by Illustrator to be a repetition of the last one. We do want this, so go ahead and click Apply New Effect.
And this time, you want to select the Vertical value right there. Change the Bend value to 20%, and to see what that looks like, turn on the Preview check box and you can see that goes ahead and waves these feathers a little bit. And then we also want to change the Vertical Distort value to -10% which you could do by pressing Shift+Down Arrow, if you like, and then go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change. Now we want to select both of these shapes and group them together. So assuming that the Black Arrow tool is active, go ahead and Shift-click on the outline for this red blob of a body here.
Depending on your settings--your Preference Settings--you may have to fish around for it. Notice that as soon as you see a little square next to the Black Arrow key, that means that you're actually hovering over the outline of that circle, then go ahead and Shift-click to select it, and then go up to the Object menu and choose the Group command or press Ctrl+G or Command+G on the Mac. That groups them together. Now we need to change their fills, so they're not different from each other. We want the fill to be purple, of course. So click on the first color swatch up here in the Control panel.
And assuming that you're working inside of a web document, which I am, then you'll be able to find this shade of purple in your swatches even if you're not working from the same sample file. It's this guy right here, the one that begins R=147 and then G=39 and B=143. Go ahead and select that guy as the fill and you'll end up with this effect here. Now we need to add some other items to the bird's body, and they are found inside of this bird layer here inside the Layers panel. So again, if you're working along with me, go ahead and twirl open that bird layer and scroll down the list and you'll see this layer called rear.
Go ahead and turn it on, that is make it visible. Click on its little meatball, the circle there in order to select it, and I want to go ahead and use the same shade of purple but blend it in with the existing bird. I'll do that by clicking on the word Opacity up here in the Control panel and changing the Blend Mode from Normal to Screen and I end up getting this brightening effect right there. Now let's say you want some additional interaction. This is one of the funny things about Illustrator is that you can blend Blend Modes with each other in order to achieve still different effects.
And so in this case, what I did was I switched over to the Appearance panel which you can get by going up to the Window menu and choosing the Appearance command and then click on the Fill item right there inside the Appearance panel, click on its Opacity option, and change it from Normal to Multiply. So in other words, you're blending Multiply and Screen together in order to create your own custom effect and we end up getting this interaction here. And for those of you who know a thing or two about blend modes, this is different than what you'd get if you just applied Overlay or Hard Light or one of those.
Now we need to establish the shadows and highlights. So switch back to the Layers panel and then notice down here in the list, in your twirled open bird layer, you're going to find this item called shad, go ahead and turn it on and click on one of the outlines to select it. It's a group of two overlapping ellipses. I want to cut the front ellipse out of the back one, and to make that happen, you want to go up to the Object menu and choose the Ungroup command. Then go up to the Window menu and choose Pathfinder in order to bring up the Pathfinder panel, and you want to click on this guy right here, Minus Front.
However, we want to keep this interaction as dynamic as possible. And to do so, you want to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and then click on that second icon, and you end up creating what's known as a compound shape so that you can change the placement of these shapes anytime you like. You can go ahead and close the Pathfinder panel for now, and then go up to the Opacity up here in the Control panel and change it to 33% in order to create these shadows right here. Now, clearly, they are exceeding the outline of the bird.
We're going to take care of that problem in just a moment, but first we're going to add the highlights, and you do that by turning on this high item inside the Layers panel and then go ahead and click on the target right there, little meatball to the right of the word high in order to select these two shapes. Once again, they are grouped together, so I'll just press Ctrl+Shift+G or Command+Shift+G on the Mac in order to ungroup them. And the only reason I grouped them, by the way, is just so that if you're working along with me, you could easily find them. But we don't want them to be grouped to pull off this effect, instead we want to bring up the Pathfinder panel again, which for me is located right here, otherwise you can choose the Pathfinder command from the window menu, and again you're going to Alt-click or Option-click on Minus Front in order to subtract the front ellipse from the back one.
And for those of you who are not working along with me, in other words, you don't have the sample file, these are just ellipses, so they are very easy to draw. All right, now I want to change the fill of these items to that shade of purple. My fill is active, I can see that up here in the Swatches panel. If yours isn't, then you would just press the X key in order to make it so, and then you want to go ahead and assign that same shade of purple that we've been using R=147, G=39, B=143. Go ahead and click on it assign it as the fill and then I want to change the blend mode and I'll do that by clicking in the word Opacity up here in the Control panel and changing the Blend Mode setting from Normal to Screen in order to produce this effect.
We need the highlights to extend into the feathers as well, and here is how we're going to make that happen. Go ahead and press the A key in order to switch to the White Arrow tool and press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac in order to switch to the Preview mode, so you can see the base path outline. So everything we're doing here is dynamic, which means it's hard to find these outlines. Now what I want you to do is Alt-click or Option-click on this narrow ellipse that represents the feathers, and that will go ahead and select the entire path outline. Now you can press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac to switch back to Preview mode, and we want to create a copy of this item by going up to the Edit menu and choosing the Copy command.
Of course, you can just press Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac. Now what I want you to do is return to the Layers panel and notice this top item inside the bird layer. It's a compound shape, you want to twirl it open so that you can see the two ellipses inside that compound shape, and now go ahead and target the bottom two of those ellipses in order to select it and then revisit the Edit menu and choose Paste in Front, or you can press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac in order to paste that ellipse along with all of its dynamic effects, so all three of the feathers into this compound shape.
So that's a beautiful thing about compound shapes, they can accommodate dynamic effects as well. That turns the feathers into one big huge highlight. As you see here that's not what we want, we just want highlights along the edges, so we're going to have to create a copy of that ellipse offset. But before we do, you want to bring up the Pathfinder panel and Alt-click or Option-click on Unite, just to make sure that that option is applied, and it's very important that you Alt-click or Option-click on that item because you're working inside of a compound shape.
Now what we want to do is double-click in the White Arrow tool at the top of the Toolbox or you can just press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac. That brings up the Move dialog box. I want you to change the Horizontal value to -8 and the Vertical value to -1. Assuming the Preview check box is on, you can see that moves the feathers over to the left and up very slightly. Now you want to click on the Copy button in order to create a copy of those feathers. These need to be set to Minus Front. So return to the Pathfinder panel however you want to get there and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac--again, you have to have that key down--and click on the Minus Front icon in order to apply it.
Now at this point, we have a little bit of extra highlight over here on left side of the bird. To get rid of that, go ahead and grab your Pen tool, which you can get by pressing the P key and just click around this area like so to draw a general path outline around that highlight. So you don't have to be very careful, just make sure you cover it all up. Then press the V key in order to select the Black Arrow tool. Click on the shape outline in order to select it. Go up to the Edit menu and choose the Cut command. Then just go ahead and scroll down the Layers panel.
You're still wanting to work inside of this compound shape. Go ahead and click on the bottommost ellipse inside the shape and then return to the Edit menu and choose Paste in Front or press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac, and you paste that guy into place. Now bring up the Pathfinder panel. Probably, you're going to see this little bug where Illustrator thinks Minus Front is applied when clearly it's not. We're not cutting a hole at all here. So what you need to do is Alt-click on Unite or Option-click on the Mac and then Alt-click or Option-click on Minus Front.
So you just have to switch back and forth between the two and you should get this effect here where you're really cutting a hole. Now at this point, we've this ginormous mask, right, with all these highlights and shadows and this rear end of the bird extending outside of the body of the bird, we don't want that. So we're going to create what's known as an Opacity Mask, and to do that you need to go ahead and select that bottommost purple group. So I'm going to twirl close my compound shape, and then you want to go down to the bottom of this bird layer, and go ahead and target that group right there by clicking on its meatball.
Go up to the Edit menu once again and choose the Copy command. Now go ahead and target the top shape in layer, and this time I'm just going to press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac in order to paste that shape in front. We want it to be a static path outline, so go up to the Object menu and choose Expand Appearance in order to draw real path outlines around these dynamic effects. And then go back to the Pathfinder panel. Notice Minus Front is still on, here inside Illustrator CS6 anyway.
That's not what's going on at all. You want to just click, do not press the Alt or Option key this time, just click on that first icon Unite in order to fuse these shapes together. Now we have the thing that's going to serve as an opacity mask, but we need to move it into the mask. So press Ctrl+X or Command+X on the Mac in order to cut that path outline, and then you want to target the bird layer, so go ahead and click on its meatball for the bird layer itself. So you're selecting the entire layer and then you want to bring up the Transparency panel, and to do that, go up to the Window menu and choose the Transparency command.
Now in my case, the Transparency panel is already up on screen. You do, however, want to increase its size. So go ahead and expand it by clicking on the little up/down arrow icon a couple of times next to the word Transparency so that you see this option right there, Make Mask. Now go ahead and click on it in order to create a black opacity mask. And because it's black, that means everything on this layer is now transparent. Go ahead and click on that Opacity Mask thumbnail right there, and then you want to press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to paste that purple bird into the mask.
Now purple doesn't really serve us very well where mask is concerned. So we need to change the fill for the bird from purple up here in the Control panel to white, and you'll end up carving away all of that excess stuff outside of the bird body. Now we need to return to our composition. Notice that we don't have access to it anymore inside the Layers panel because we're working inside the Opacity Mask, but you can easily return back to your illustration by clicking on this little purple icon right there, that represents the layer in progress.
Now what you want to do is in my case I need to collapse the Transparency panel because it's taking up too much room, and then I'll go ahead and meatball this top item inside the bird layer and I'll press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac in order to paste a copy of that purple bird back into place. I'm going to change its Fill to None this time around and I'll change its Stroke to Black and I'll go ahead and increase the Line Weight value to 6 points. Now, if you have any problems with your miters not being nice and sharp like this, then click on the word Stroke and increase the Limit value right there to something like 40, should work nicely.
But in my case, didn't need to, it worked out fine in the first place. Now I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A, Command+Shift+A on a Mac, and there you have it. That is how you create a volumetric cartoon body, complete with shadows and highlights here inside Illustrator. If you're a member of the lynda.com Online Training Library, I have two--count them--two follow-up movies. In the first one, I show you how to stroke an entire layer inside of Illustrator in order to create that thick stroke around the body and the bacon tail, and in the second one I show you how to draw this classic snarling cartoon face.
If you're waiting for next week's movie, this is an ambitious one. I'm going to show you how to draw this radiant cheerful cartoon background, once again inside Adobe Illustrator. Deke's Techniques each and every week, keep watching.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
119 Video lessons · 50802 Viewers
117 Video lessons · 38494 Viewers
113 Video lessons · 81509 Viewers
65 Video lessons · 11438 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.