Illustrator tutorial: Gorilla Sticker

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By Mihaly Varga

In this new tutorial you will learn how to create a happy gorilla sticker in Adobe Illustrator.
Follow this tutorial and learn how to draw a happy gorilla character and how to transform it into a sticker once it’s done. We will use the Pen Tool (P) and basic shapes along with effects and stroke profiles to add details on the gorilla. By the end of this tutorial you will have the knowledge to create other types of stickers in Adobe Illustrator. Let’s start!

Tutorial Details
Program: Adobe Illustrator CS6 – CC 2017
Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate

Step 1
Launch Illustrator and go to File > New in order to open a blank document. Type a name for your file and set up the dimensions then select Pixels as Units and RGB as Color Mode. Next, go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1 px and while there, also go to Units and make sure that they are set as in the following image. I usually work with these settings and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

Step 2
Grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw a shape like in the image below as the head of the gorilla. Color it with dark gray; then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown.

Step 3
Still using the Pen Tool (P) draw the shape of the face and color it with gray. Go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown to add shading around the edge.

Step 4
We will continue with the eyes. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw two 30 x 30 px circles next to each other. Color them with a white to light gray radial gradient. Also, apply a 1 pt Stroke using R=26, G=26, B=26 and choose the Width Profile 2 in the Stroke panel.

Step 5
Draw two small 5 x 5 px circles filled with black with the Ellipse Tool (L) and arrange them as shown below.

Step 6
To create the nose, take the Pen Tool (P) and draw two curved paths as the nostrils. Give them a 1.8 pt Stroke using R=60, G=53, B=52 and select the Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel.

Step 7
Draw another curved path under the nostrils and give it a 3.2 pt Stroke. Use the same gray color and select the Width Profile 1 again.

Step 8
Use the Pen Tool (P) or the Line Segment Tool (\) to draw a straight path under the nose. Give it a 1.6 pt Stroke using R=96, G=96, B=103 and select the Width Profile 2 in the Stroke panel.

Step 9
Let’s continue with the big smile. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape of the mouth and color it with black. Also, apply a 1.6 pt black Stroke.

Step 10
Still using the Pen Tool (P) draw a shape like in the next image as the upper teeth and another one as the bottom teeth. Color them with white. It doesn’t matter if you go over the edge of the mouth because we will create a mask later.
To separate the teeth, first draw a curved horizontal path between the upper and bottom teeth followed by five slightly curved vertical paths. Give them a 1.6 pt black Stroke.

Step 11
Select the shape of the mouth and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it in front of everything. Set this copy to stroke-none and fill-none.
Now, select the two teeth shapes and the six paths that separate the teeth along with the copy of the mouth and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). The smile is done.

Step 12
Let’s add some smile lines on the face of the gorilla. Draw two curved paths starting from the upper corners of the mouth and give them a 1.6 pt Stroke using R=60, G=53, B=52. Press the Round Cap option the Stroke panel to get the rounded ends.

Step 13
Draw two shorter paths at the end of the smile lines and give them a 1.6 pt Stroke. Use R=60, G=53, B=52 and select the Width Profile 6 in the Stroke panel. At this point the face of the gorilla is done.

Step 14
We will continue with the ears. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape of the ear as shown in the following image. Color it with dark gray; then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown.

Step 15
Draw a short path inside the ear with the Pen Tool (P). Give it a 1.6 pt Stroke using black and the Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel. Keep this path selected and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur to apply a Radius of 2 px.

Step 16
Select the right ear shape and the path inside it and Group (Control-G) them. Send the group behind the head of the gorilla by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[).
Keep this group selected and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check Vertical and hit Copy to get the left ear. All you have to do is to move it into the right place.

Step 17
We will continue with the head band. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a slightly curved path over the forehead of the gorilla. Give it a 30 pt green Stroke. Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) this path and replace the green stroke color with a black, white, black linear gradient. Set the Blending Mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to about 52%. This will create shading on the sides of the head band.

Step 18
Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the green path and replace the green stroke color with red. Also, reduce the Stroke Weight to 18 pt.
Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the red path and change the stroke color to white. Also reduce the Stroke Weight to 3 pt and after that, move it upwards by pressing the Up Arrow key on your keyboard a few times. Duplicate this white stripe and move it at the bottom of the head band.

Step 19
Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) the green path and change the stroke color to black. Move this path downwards a little by pressing the Down Arrow key on your keyboard. You will obtain a shadow under the head band.
Select the shape of the head and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it in front of everything. Remove all existing appearances. Now, select all the stroked paths that make up the head band along with the copy of the head and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).

Step 20
Let’s continue with the body of the gorilla. Use the Pen Tool (P) and draw the shape of the upper body (pink), an ellipse as the belly (blue) and the shape of the legs (green). You don’t have to be precise, feel free to give it your own style.

Step 21
Keep the three shapes that you have drawn in the previous step selected and press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape.

Step 22
Color the new shape of the body with dark gray an apply the Inner Glow effect as you did before.

Step 23
Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw two circles of about 93 x 93 px as the chest. Before you continue, make copies of the two circles and hide them until later.
Overlap the circles a little and then press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape, the chest. Next, draw an ellipse as the belly and fill it with the same gray color.

Step 24
Select the chest shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it (the pink shape). Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) the chest shape again and move the second copy a bit downwards using the Down Arrow key on your keyboard (the blue shape).
Now, select the pink and the blue shapes and press Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. You will get a thin edge shape at the top. Color it with white; then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 2 px to obtain a highlight.

Step 25
Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the chest shape again (the blue shape). Now, grab the two copies of the chest circles made earlier and move them upwards and to the left a little (the green shapes). Keep the green circles selected and press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape.
Next, select the blue shape along with the newly obtained green shape that should be in front and press Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. You will obtain a green edge in the bottom right side of the chest. Color it with gray and apply a 3.3 px Gaussian Blur to create shading.

Step 26
Follow the technique explained in the previous step and obtain the edge shape in the bottom right side of the belly. Apply the same appearances and this will be the shading on the belly of the gorilla.

Step 27
Select the chest shape along with the belly and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make copies of them in front of everything. Press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape and after that, remove all existing appearances (stroke-none, fill-none).
Now, keep the newly obtained shape selected and also select the highlight and the two shading shapes made earlier and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). This will mask the blur applied and clean up the edges.

Step 28
Let’s add some details on the chest. Grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw four curved paths like in the image below. Give them a 2-3 pt Stroke using R=60, G=53, B=52 and choose the Width Profile 5 in the Stroke panel. Group (Control-G) these paths and then reflect them vertically to obtain the details on the left side of the chest.
Draw another shorter path on the belly. Give it a 2.4 pt Stroke and use the Width Profile 5 again.

Step 29
We will continue with the arms of the gorilla. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a shape like in the following image and make it zig-zag at the bottom. Apply the same appearances like the body.

Step 30
Continue to draw the shape of the fist and color it with light gray. Next, draw four paths in order to separate the fingers. Give them a 1.6 pt Stroke using R=60, G=53, B=52 and the Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel. Finally, draw a nail shape on the first finger.

Step 31
Select the shape of the fist and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Apply the settings shown to add shading round the edges.
Now, Group (Control-G) all the shapes that make up the right arm and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check Vertical and hit Copy to obtain the left arm. All you have to do is to move it in the right place.

Step 32
Draw two triangle-like shapes but rounded at the tip and send them in back. These will be the feet of the gorilla. Color them with light gray and then apply the Inner Glow effect.

Step 33
At this point the gorilla character is ready and now it’s time to turn it into a sticker. Select all the main shapes that make the gorilla but you don’t have to include the details on the chest or the face lines. Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make copies of all these shapes and press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape.

Step 34
Send the shape of the entire gorilla that you have obtained in the previous step in back by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[). Give it an 11 pt Stroke using yellow and press the Align Stroke to Outside option in the Stroke panel.
Keep this shape selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Apply the settings shown and hit OK to get the shadow behind the gorilla.

Step 35
Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the shape of the entire gorilla and reduce the Stroke Weight to pt. Change the color to white and this will create a thin white border between the gorilla and the sticker edge. You are done!

Awesome work!
Here is the final image of the happy gorilla sticker. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you learned new things today.

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