Illustrator vector tutorial: Raccoon cartoon illustration

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raccoon-tutorial-illustrator

By Mihaly Varga

In this new tutorial you will learn how to create a happy raccoon character in Adobe Illustrator.
If you love character design then this tutorial is for you. Learn to draw a cute raccoon while practicing and improving your Pen Tool skills. We will take it shape by shape and using effects like Inner Glow and Feather along with Stroke Profiles we will create shading and details on the character. By the end of this tutorial, you will have the knowledge to draw other characters in future projects. 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 open a new 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 0.5 px and while there, also go to Units. These settings will help you throughout the drawing process.
Raccoon-tutorial-vectorStep 2
We will start with the head of the raccoon. Grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw a shape like in the image below as the main shape of the head. Color it with gray R=150, G=147, B=149; then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown. This will create shading inside the head.
Step 3
Still using the Pen Tool (P), draw a shape above the head to define the eyes and cheeks area. After you are done, color it with light gray R=230, G=111, B=16. Now, go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown in order to create a discreet purple shading inside the edges of this shape.
vector-tutorial-animalStep 4
Let’s create the eyes. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw an ellipse of about 40 x 50 px as the right eye. Color it with white and then apply the Inner Glow effect using the settings shown below.
raccoon-tutorial-illustratorStep 5
Draw a smaller ellipse inside the eye as the iris and color it with blue. Draw another ellipse even smaller as the pupil and color it with black.
illustrator-drawing-tutorialStep 6
To add sparkles in the eyes, take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw two small ellipses, one at the top and one at the bottom of the pupil. Color them with white and also apply a 0.3 pt black Stroke. Next, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 1 px.
illustrator-drawing-tutorial-2Step 7
Select all the shapes that make up the right eye and Group (Control-G) them. Keep the group selected and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check Vertical and hit Copy in order to get the left eye. All you have to do is to move it into place.
learn-illustrator-tutorialStep 8
Next, take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a 36 x 36 px circle as the nose. Color it with dark gray R=39, G=38, B=38 and also apply a 1 pt black Stroke.
While the nose stays selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown in order to create shading inside the nose. After that, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown to add shadow under the nose.
tutorial-cartoon-animal-vectorStep 9
Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a shape around the left eye and then send it behind. Color the patch with gray R=74, G=75, B=74 and then apply the Inner Glow effect.
cartoon-drawing-tutorialStep 10
Now draw a patch under the right eye and apply the same appearances.
raccoon-cartoon-tutorialStep 11
We will continue with the mouth of the raccoon. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape of a smile and color it with dark red R=126, G=20, B=20. Go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown to create shading inside the mouth; then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown to add shadow under the mouth.
cartoon-drawing-illustrator-2Step 12
Draw an oval shape as the tongue and color it with pale pink. Keep the tongue selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Feather and apply a Radius of 4 px to make it a bit smoother.
Select the shape of the mouth and 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 tongue along with the copy of the mouth and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7)
Step 13
Let’s add a piece of fur at the top of the head. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a zig-zag path and make sure that you don’t close it at the bottom. Select gray as the fill color and also apply a 1 pt Stroke using a slightly darker shade of gray.
raccoon-head-tutorialStep 14
Focus on the mouth and let’s add some expression lines. Draw a curved path on each side of the mouth and another one between the mouth and the nose. Give them a 1 pt Stroke using dark gray and the Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel.
illustrator-tutorial-animal-headStep 15
Draw two short paths to define the chin and give them a 1 pt black Stroke using the Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel again. Reduce the Opacity to 50% for both of them.
cartoon-tut-illustratorStep 16
We will continue with the ears of the raccoon. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape of the left ear and color it with light gray. Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown to create the purple shading as for the face of the raccoon.
illustrator-free-tutorialStep 17
Draw a similar but smaller shape inside the ear and color it with a darker gray. Apply the Inner Glow effect again.
illustrator-tutorial-17Step 18
Group (Control-G) the two shapes that make up the left ear and then go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check Vertical and hit Copy in order to obtain the right ear. All you have to do is to move it into place.
illustrator-tutorial-18Step 19
Next, draw the shape of the body like in the image below and send it behind the head in the Layers panel. Color it with light gray and then apply the Inner Glow effect as you did before.
drawing-tutorial-19Step 20
Draw a short path at the top of the body and give it a 1 pt black Stroke using the Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel. Reduce the Opacity to 50% and this will be a small crease under the head.
animal-body-drawing-20Step 21
Continue to draw an oval shape as the right arm. Color it with gray and then apply the Inner Glow effect to create shading.
illustrator-tutorial-21Step 22
Now, draw the other half of the arm along with the fingers. Take your time and adjust the path and the anchor points until you are happy with the result. Color this shape with a darker gray and apply the Inner Glow effect as well.
illustrator-tutorial-22Step 23
Draw a pear-like shape as the back leg of the raccoon. Color it with gray and then apply the Inner Glow effect.
draw-raccoon-tutorialStep 24
It’s time to draw the paw and after that, send it behind the leg in the Layers panel. Apply the same appearances as for the hand of the raccoon.
Zoom on the paw as much as needed and draw two slightly curved paths to define the fingers. Give them a 1 pt Stroke using dark gray and the Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel.
draw-animal-tutorial-24Step 25
Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw the shape of the tail like in the image below. Continue to draw a few shapes over the tail to split it into stripes. Color these stripes with gray and dark gray.
Now, select the shape of the tail and move it in front of the stripes by going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]). Select all the stripes along with the tail and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).
draw-raccoon-25Step 26
Select the shape of the tail and then Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) to make a copy of it. Color it with white and apply the Inner Glow effect using the settings shown. Set the Blending Mode to Multiply but only for the white fill to make it transparent while the shading remains visible.
draw-animal-26Step 27
Draw a moon-like shape as the left leg of the raccoon and send it behind the body in the Layers panel. Apply the same appearances as for the right leg.
draw-animal-illustrator-27Step 28
As you did earlier, draw the shape of the left paw and after that, draw the two paths to define the fingers. Give them a 1 pt Stroke using the Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel.
learn-drawing-illustrator-28Step 29
Draw a small shape as the left arm and send it behind the body in the Layers panel. Color it with dark gray and apply the Inner Glow effect as well.
Only a small part of this arm is visible because we will draw the ball next.
raccoon-tutorial-29Step 30
Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw a circle of about 125 x 125 px. Switch to the Pen Tool (P) and draw six triangle-like shapes over the ball to split it into six colored areas. There is no need to be precise because we will create a mask to get the clean edges. You can choose any colors you prefer. After you are done, draw a circle at the top of the ball to cover the empty space and color it with orange.
Now, select the ball shape and bring in front by going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]). Keep this shape selected along with all the colored parts and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). Send the ball-group behind the right hand of the raccoon.
raccoon-vector-draw-30Step 31
You are almost done. Focus on the ball and draw three small shapes as fingers. Color them with dark gray and apply the Inner Glow effect using the settings shown.
drawing-tutorial-31Awesome work!
Here is the final image of the happy raccoon character. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you learned new things today that you will apply in other character drawing projects.

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