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Take a 10-minute recess every week and join Bert Monroy in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, the playgrounds of digital artists. Every Friday Bert walks through a fun, self-contained project that tests your skills and challenges the imagination. These programs aren't just image editors; they are sandboxes for creativity and experimentation. Take a spin through a carousel of tools and get reinspired, each and every week.
- This week, we're going to create a cartoon from scratch, little cartoon character. Last week, we took an existing little piece of art and made it look more cartoony. Well, this week we're going to create our little cartoon from scratch. Now what we need is a little book, a little, happy, little character book for some poster we're doing for the local library for kids' readings or whatever. So, go in here and create a new file. And I have it set to these parameters. Now, I'm working at a low res.
You're working to whatever you need for a print or wherever you're going to see it. But I'm working so that it'll work really fast and easy on this particular screen. So now, I'm going to go in here and I have a blank screen. So I'm going to draw my little character and I'm going to use my pen tool, right there. The pen tool. That's what I'm going to start with. So I'm going to start with, I'm going to create the little spine for the book. I'm going to come up here and create this little shape right up in here like that, a little tiny bit of an arc. I'm going to come down here and draw this right out of the bottom, little curve.
And, there's a little bottom part there and come up to the top and close it off. So now, using my direct selection tools, I can select individual points. I'm going to go in here and shorten that little guy so I get this little slight little curve just like on top. And we might want to thicken this side out a little bit more and maybe thin it out towards the top a little bit, just like that. There's that little shape. And what that is, that's the spine of the book. So now what we're going to do is create a page and let's bring this down just a little bit, about like that.
There we go, that's looking good. So now I'm going to create the cover of the book. So I'm going to go inside this area, it's gonna be able to not have any gaps in between so I want to overlap them a little bit. So I'm going to go in here and create this little page right here like that. That's the cover of our book. Now we can pull it out a little more and I'm just holding down my command key to temporarily switch to the select tool. So now I'm going to hold down my option key so I can click out a new little handle right here and I'm going to curve it off like that and come over here and click and drag just like that.
Command key to pull it down a little bit so it's a little more even. Option key to redirect my path then come down here and close it off just like that. Option key, click, this time I just click and don't drag because I don't need a handle anymore and come up here, and still holding down that option key, I click. Now if I didn't hold that option key, and just click up there, you see how I got that curve? Because the original point up there had a handle on that side. So that's why I held down the option key to then close it off, giving me a straight line.
So now I can go in there and just fix these little shapes a little bit, just to start giving it more of the feel that I want my little book to have, about like that, have a chubby, little book. Let's grab all these guys and just move them over a little bit like that. There we go. So now I'm going to take this cover, the cover that I just created and maybe just make that a little sharper up there. Now I'm going to take it and holding down my option key to make a copy, I'm going to make a second one right there like that. And what I'm going to do with this one is I'm going to take this bottom part and just move it up a little bit and bring it over into there.
Just so it's just touching, almost touching that other guy. Right? I'm going to take this guy and bring him in about like that. I'm gonna take this and duplicate it again, a second one. And this time, I'm just going to rotate it. So I hit command T and I can just rotate this guy, right at the position, about like that, over a little bit, and there he is just like that. Okay and I take this guy, and we'll duplicate him again one more time. Right there like that.
And rotate him. Right there like that. And bring him in just a little bit inside there, there we go. And bring it down just a little. There we go. And then, finally, I'm going to go in here and do one more. One more which I'm going to put way out here like this, rotate it a little bit, a little closer, just like that. And then, and make that happen.
And what I'm going to do is, I'm just going to click on this guy right here and hold that, with my pen tool, I'm gonna just click right here which gives me another point. So I can then grab that point and move it so that it just falls into that little area right there like that. Okay? And I'll just take this guy and just pull it down just a little into there. There we go. So now, here's where we're going to-- I'm gonna just maneuver these guys just so we have a nice equal spacing in there. So now that we have these basic shapes, I'm going to start to create the book itself.
So, I'm going to take the farthest most, way back here, I'm gonna take this guy way in the back here and I got this green, I got this green color here. So in a layer, so I go in here and create a new layer right there which we'll call the back, back cover. Okay, so there we go. Back cover and I'm going to say take that path and fill it. And I'm also going to give it, I'm going to go right into my layer and say give the back cover a layer style.
I double-clicked on it and I'm going to say give it a stroke, nice, black stroke. And right now it's 3, let's say we give it a-- let's see what a 5's gonna look like, 5, 5's good. Nice and thick, click OK. There we go. So now, we're going to click on this guy, create a new layer and we'll call it page 3. We'll say p3 for page 3. Instead of that green color I'm going to go in here and let's pick a nice warm color and let's say somewhere around like that right there, that yellow.
Now I'm going to go ahead and fill that and that layer with that color. Okay. So, I'm gonna take this guy and in another layer, which we'll call p2, second page, I'll go ahead and fill that one, and select this guy again, the third guy, and we'll say p1, the first page and thud.
So there's our pages. Now I'm going to go in here and we're gonna click on the front cover. Create a new layer, and call that cover. And we pick up our original green right there, there's our green. And what I'm going to do is take that path and fill it with that green. And let's save these paths. We need to keep those just in case you want to use this again for something. So I'm going to go in here and then pick that last one, that last little path and create a layer and call it spine.
There we go. And we'll go ahead and fill it with that green. So now, let's turn off the path, we don't need those for now. What I'm going to do is, I'm going to come over to my layers here, let's open this up a little bit and we got that effect we gave it, to the back cover. I'm going to option click and drag the little effects onto each of the other layers, see? And it's making a copy of those so that each time I do that, you can see that now our book has some nice, little, form to it. So now we're going to make it look like a cartoon.
So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to go in here and select an oval, I'm gonna get my oval tool and set the paths, I make sure I set the Paths, right there, the default is Shape, I have it set to Paths. I'm gonna create this large oval like that. Now what this oval is going to be is gonna be an eye. So I'm going to take it and I'm going to get my select tool. I'm going to drag it up into here, I'm going to hit command T to bring up the transform tools and rotate it like that, just like that. Put it in position, make that apply, and it's going to say, because it's a path that wasn't normally made with the pen tool so they had that last little window there.
So I'm just going to take this guy and put him right in position about where I want him there, just like that. So I'm going to say copy, I'm going to copy that. Select the path and I say copy, there we go. And I say paste. Now it looks like nothing happened but what it did is it pasted another path right on top. So I hit command T, so I can go in there and shrink this guy down, just a little like that. And we'll bring this one so it's just sitting right on top of the other one at the bottom there like that.
Okay. Make that happen. And we say, paste it again. Command V, pasted another one. You see it's right in the original spot, command T, and we'll make that one much smaller, way down about like that and we'll put it right about there, maybe a little bit bigger, and we'll put him right there like that. Click OK. And then finally, one more, one more. We say paste it again.
And we make this one really small, really small about like that. And we rotate it as well, put it right about there. Take it and we'll move it right into this little area right there. That's going to be the eye, okay? So I'm going to select this outer ring and what we're going to do now is create our layers. I'm going to create a group for this one too. So I'm going to say this is the eye. And it's always good to be organized and be ready to quickly find things.
So what I'm going to do is, I got the eye layers and what I'm going to do is I'm going to take the original layers that make up the book itself and come up here and say make a new group from all those layers and we'll call that the book. Okay, so there we go, book. And we'll rename this one, we'll call it face. There we go. So now, I'm going to create a layer, that's the group that's open so I created the layer in there and we're going to call this outer eye. And that's it back there.
So I got that green still selected so I'm going to say go in there and fill that with that green. There. Look at that layer and we have those effects so I'm going to copy it onto there. There's that same little shape going on out there. So I'm going to create a new layer and we'll call this eyeball. Okay so we select this guy right in there and using white, and in that layer, I'll just go ahead and fill that.
Another layer, which we'll call pupil. And we'll go to black, select this guy right there, take that path and fill it with black. And then finally, this guy right here which we'll just call glitter, that's good enough. And with white, I'll go ahead and fill that path with the white. So there, there we have an eye. So what I'm going to do now is, I'm going to go in here and just draw a little shape, right down here.
Let's start here and click and get this little arc going right across there like that. I'm going to hold down my option key so I can get a new handle, pull it out this way, come over here and still holding down that option key, I'm going to click and drag. And I get this little shape in there. Let's save that shape. And what we're going to do, is with black, in another layer on top of the entire eye, we'll just say base. Alright? And we'll fill that with the black.
Okay, so now, we've come back over here to the other parts of the eye and the outer eye, what I'm going to do is, I'm gonna give it a mask, give it a mask, and in that mask, I'm going to select all this area right here, right down there and fill it with black so that that area hid, deselect, I'm going to copy that mask over to the eyeball and then I'm going to copy it over to the pupil. Okay, there we see that we have this-- now, the outer eye, you see that bottom part? That's the effect.
So I'm going to double-click on this guy to bring back the layer styles, I'm going to say Layer Mask Hides Effect, click on that and there you can see it disappeared. I click OK and there we see that we have this eye. So now I'm going to take another, my pen tool, and create one more path here. Alright, and I'm going to go in here and just create a little shape like this and then come back this way, I option clicked and dragged, bring it this way, option click and drag, come over here to a little corner, option click and drag back that way and holding on the option key, I click.
And what this is going to be is a little winking eye. So, we'll call this on top wink. And I take that path and fill it with black and let's save that path. So there we have the winking eye. So now we need a nose. So, with my pen tool, I'll create a little nose and we'll just create this little shape, comes around like this and like this and like this, it's round and goes off like that.
And what I'm going to do is, I'm going to take this and stroke it. So I get my pen tool and I have a-- or my paintbrush tool, and I have a size very similar to the point itself. Now, it's a little soft so let's make this hard. Make sure that our tool, let's see, let's make sure that the spacing is down to 1% so it's good, nice and-- give me a nice, sharp line. Now that's really thick. So let's make it a little thinner, just thin it down and little more, let's say we bring it down to about a 4.
That's it, that's real close. So what I'm going to do is, I got that path selected, I create a new layer, we'll call it nose. And we'll stroke it. We've got the brush, so I take that path and stroke it, there it is. And let's save that path. Alright, so there it is. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take my-- let's get in real close here, I'm going to take my eraser tool and let's make it much smaller. I'm just going to sharpen this little edge in here.
Let's bring the opacity back up to 100% there and I'm just going to tighten that little corner. See, so it just becomes this little point and the same thing at the end here, I'm just going to tighten it up just a little bit. So it starts to have that kind of a feel just like that. And then right underneath it, with my paintbrush, I'm just going to draw this little shape right under there, just like that, and fill it in. It's just like a little shadow under his nose right there like that, pull back.
And then, finally, we need a mouth. So I'm going to go in there and say mouth. Get my pen tool and I'm going to draw a little mouth. So I'm going to click up here, pull out a nice handle and we'll give it a nice smile. Go in here and go down, around like that and just like that. Now I can play with this guy just so I have it exactly the way I want it. So I'm going to pull this up a little more and give him more of that kind of a smile, just like that.
Okay. And what I'm going to do with that path, I'm going to save it. I'm also going to create another path inside, just like this, little path right in there like that, kind of follows the shape. And then, give it a little curl like that. And let's just see what this looks like. Okay, that's good, right there like that. And I'm going to take this guy, right there, add a layer for mouth, and I'm going to go ahead and fill that path with black. There it is. I'm going to take this guy, create a layer, and we'll call it tongue.
And I get a nice red and fill that path with the red. And there we see we have our happy, little face. Now, you can create your own characters, whatever it takes, it's not exactly the way I created that might fit your needs but it's the basic concepts of what I'm done here to create this little cartoon book.
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