If you are new to Adobe Illustrator, and other tutorials look too tough for you to perform, you’re at the right place. This tutorial will guide you to really slowly vectoring a simple cube with a kawaii face in illustrator! Yes, the idea looks unattractive, but if you want to learn the basics, you should really be starting from things like this. This time, we will be learning about basics of the pen tool, creating from basic shapes, and more. Most of the things you’ll learn here might be discovered by you yourself, but this is great for practice and for giving you a more rounded form of the information you’ll get if you fiddle with the tools yourself. Are you ready? Let’s start!
Most personal vectors start with a sketch. However, we’re designing a kawaii cube, and it’s not so important, still, i’m sketching a small cube with a face to make a more solid base, as vectors usually require. If you don’t have much experience with cubes, a sketch first can save you from disappointment on the end.
You can create your own sketch, or download this one directly on https://www.dropbox.com/s/29hw9ku2ozl20dn/kawaii%20cube.jpg?dl=0 or in the link given at the conclusion. You can also use a colored base at https://www.dropbox.com/s/njy1gat5b9tfyul/color-sketch-2.bmp?dl=0 which can be used as a sketch too :).
To start designing, you’ll have to choose one method:
- Using the pen tool, carefully trace the outline of the object
- Use basic shapes and manipulate them to form your object
I’ll be teaching you both the methods for the cube, and you are encouraged to learn both of them and choose what is best to use later in your personal projects.
Create a new document with your preferred size, while the shape should be a square- but i’ll give you a hint. In AI, size doesn’t matter, you can change the shape anytime using the Artboard Tool in the toolbox- anytime, anywhere!
First, go to File>Place and select your sketch, place it in the file, setting its opacity to 30% or whatever your eyes feel comfortable. Just make sure it is de-emphasized and will not appear merged with your neat outlines.
Now, add a new layer, using the layers panel. Lock the previous layer of the sketch, it will prevent you from moving the sketch accidentally.
:) :) :)
Using the Pen Tool
The pen tool method is easy and quick, and my personal favorite. Of course, i use other techniques when they are more appropriate for the occasion, but when the preference is not-so-obvious, this stays my choice. Let’s see how to do it!
In the options bar, set fill color to ’empty’, stroke color to ‘black’ and stroke width to ‘3 pt’.
Select the Pen Tool by pressing “P” on your keyboard. Once done, click at the first point of the first face you’re going to vector, and release the mouse. Then hover your cursor to the second point, doing the same. Do it until the whole face is done.
Now, using the same technique, vector the whole cube. You do not need to be careful of not touching the anchor points of another shape while tracing one- one joy of using AI!
Done? Let’s try the other method now. It’s going to be trickier, but it will teach you a lot!
Manipulating Basic Shapes
The other way is to create a basic shape, and manipulate it to fit your sketch. That’s right- while i prefer the pen tool, you can make a rhombus, parallelogram, or about any type of quadrilateral from a square- and that’s why i love vector! Don’t believe me? Let me show you.
In the options bar, change fill color to ’empty’, stroke color to ‘black’ and stroke width to ‘3 pt’.
Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a rectangle on the face of the cube you’d like to begin from.
Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), you can move any point on the shape. Just double click the point and drag it, and great- it’s moved without any erasing or redrawing, without the hassle which raster gives! Fix all points not in the desired location.
Now you can use this technique for the whole cube.
:) :) :)
Now, regardless of which method you used, you should have the base figure ready. The eyes and mouth are left yet, and we need to work them out. Which tool can we use?
While it’s possible to operate almost everything out of basic shapes, i am going to show you how to use the pen tool here- for curved shapes. Let’s begin!
In the usual way, click the first point of the mouth. Then, click on the center of the mouth, and drag the cursor in all directions. do it until you find the perfect curve, and then release.
There’s a confusing part here. After preparing a curved line, when you move the mouse, a ‘relief’ is being prepared between both points. If you don’t want it to happen, click the end point of the first curve when you’ve drawn it. My instructions are so terribly confusing because i can’t explain it all in a few paragraphs, so it’s left for you to discover.
Using the pen tool this way is quite tricky, and can be daunting for beginners. It had a learning curve for me, and took time for me to get used to it, but don’t let it discourage you, because it’s more powerful than you think. Complete the mouth this way, and do it with the eyes too.
Great! You’ve designed the outline- but there’s more- the colors, the fun part. Let’s begin.
One great thing in vector is changing color on one click on the mouse. Yup, it may be exaggeration, but here, it’s really true. Just select all the three faces and go to the Swatches panel, select color red and see. The base colors are done!
Change the colors of the eye to black the same way if you haven’t yet.
Now keeping in mind the light source, select the colors on the front and back face, and change the colors to ffa669 and 94002f. But these are hexamedical values! How can you fill these colors?
It’s simple. Select the individual face, double click on the foreground color on the left of the screen. A window opens. Can you see the ‘#’ value there? Fill the color there!
Your cube is almost done, so let’s create the shadow.
Create a new layer below the main layer. Using the pen tool (or by manipulating shapes if you like) create a slightly larger version of the apparent bottom face. Generally, gradients are used for making shadows, but there’s a easier technique i love- Gaussian blur.
Just go to Effect>Blur>Gaussian Blur and use it with about 7.2 pixels as the radius, or as much as you like. A neat, nice shadow is completed :D!
This was all. The final result may not be that appealing, but hey, see what you’ve learnt! This time, we’ve learnt a lot about the Pen Tool, manipulating basic shapes in the topic about shapes and basic colors in the topic about coloring. Next time, we’ll learn awesome techniques called gradients and about the pathfinder panel. Till then, happy scaling! ;)
Download the sketch at https://www.dropbox.com/s/29hw9ku2ozl20dn/kawaii%20cube.jpg?dl=0
Download a colored base (can be used as sketch)