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Draw a Cute Vector Cartoon Frog in Illustrator

Posted in Tutorials on October 24th, 2015 | No Comments


In this tutorial we will learn to create a cute vector cartoon Frog using Pen Tool and some basic shapes. Although there are many ways and techniques to draw a cartoon, I will cover very basic and necessary steps for creating a multicolor cartoon that includes shadings and highlights. After all we are drawing a cartoon, so you don’t have to be a good artist to create it.


Image above is the final cartoon we will be working towards in this tutorial targeted at the beginner Illustrator user. Let’s get to it!


Start by drawing sketch of the cartoon you want to create in Illustrator. I draw this sketch in my notepad without any preparation. Just imagine how you use to draw a cartoon in your friend’s notebook in your schooldays. I will explain how to sketch a character using basic shapes in my future post. But for now you can take references in google.


Create a new document with 600pt width and 600pt height. Go to File > Place to choose the sketch file and place it in the artboard. Reduce its opacity to 30% and lock the layer. Name this layer “Sketch” in the Layer Palette.


Again, create a new Layer and name it “Outline”. Make it active by selecting it. Now select the Pen Tool by pressing P then set Fill color to None and Stroke color to Black. Then start tracing around the outline of the whole body.


Complete the outline and increase the stroke weight to 5pt and align it to the outside.


Using Pen Tool continue filling in the inner detail lines with stroke at around 3pt. Using direct selection tool adjust the end points to flow the inner strokes seamlessly. Select Round Cap option in stroke palette to keep the edges smooth.


Although all other outlines are None Filled, the eye in particular will need a white fill. Draw a black pupil using Ellipse Tool then add a couple of specular highlights on it.

But remember, all these outlines and eye should be in the layer named “Outline”.


Now we can add some color on it. For that we have to create a new layer. Press Create New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layer palette to create a new layer. Double click the new layer to get Layer Options dialogue box and name it “Body”.


Using Selection Tool, select the outline of whole Frog and press Ctrl or Cmd + C to copy it. Then select the newly created layer “Body” and press Ctrl or Cmd + F to paste it in “Body Layer” aligned with the outline. Fill it with Green color #91c964 and keep the stroke none.


Drag the Body Layer and place it in between the layer “Outline” and the layer “Sketch”. It will bring the entire outline in front of the body color.


Now it’s time to add some highlights. For that, again we will create a new layer above the layer “Outline” and name it “Highlight”. Assuming the light source for the cartoon is in the top right, draw highlights using Pen Tool to the top and right hand areas of the cartoon’s body, head, eyes, legs and feet. Fill the highlights with the light green color # b2d993.


Don’t worry about the roughly traced outline overlapping the black outline. To hide it let’s drag the layer “Highlight” just below the Outline Layer.


Now you should get something like the image above.


Similarly, we will add some shadow as well. Create a new layer above the layer “Outline” and name it “Shadow”. Select it to make an active layer and start drawing shadows across the bottom left of the Frog. Fill it with dark Green color # 59864b and place the layer below the “Outline Layer” in layer palette.


Without the light colored chest and abdomen our cartoon Frog looks incomplete. So, create a new layer above the “Outline Layer” and name it “Abdomen”. Draw outline of the abdomen at the bottom of the Frog and fill it with yellowish color # cbcc8e. Keep this layer below the layer “Outline ” and above the layer “Shadow”.


Give it a nice shadow and cool background using Gradient Tool and you will have a Cute Cartoon Frog.


Written by Ashok Shrestha
Ashok Shrestha is an up and coming graphic designer for both print and web. He is knowledgeable in Adobe C.S. 3/ C.S. 4, Joomla and Wordpress. He likes to experiment with various techniques in both print and web.

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