Illustrator vector tutorial: Superboy character

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In this new tutorial you will learn how to create a super boy character in Adobe Illustrator.
If you love cartoon character design, then this tutorial is just for you. Follow each step and improve your drawing skills whilst creating a cute super boy character. By the end of this tutorial, you will be able to draw other similar characters and give them your own personal creative touch. Let’s start!

Tutorial Details
Program: Adobe Illustrator CS6 – CC 2017
Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour 40 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.

Step 2
We will start with the head of the boy. Grab the Pen Tool (P) and use it to draw a round shape like in the image below. You can use the Ellipse Tool (L) as well but distort it a little after that, so it is not a perfect circle. At the end the size of the head should be about 144 x 136 px.
Color it with beige; then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown to create shading inside the edges.

Step 3
Use the Pen Tool (P) again to draw the shape of the left eye. Color it with pale pink; then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown to create a soft blue edge.

Step 4
Next, use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw a 14 x 12 px ellipse as the iris and color it with blue. Continue to draw another smaller ellipse filled with black as the pupil.

Step 5
Group (Control-G) all the shapes that make up the left eye; then go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check Vertical and hit Copy in order to get an identical right eye. All you have to do is to move it into place.

Step 6
To create the nose, draw a small ellipse under the eyes filled with the same color as the head. Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) this ellipse and then, make it a little bigger by dragging the bounding box with the Selection Tool (V). Change the fill color to light brown and this will be the shadow of the nose.

Step 7
Now, use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape of the mouth and color it with dark red. Continue to draw a simple polygon as the upper teeth followed by two tiny circles in the corners of the mouth.

Step 8
Follow the top edge of the head and draw a mask shape that covers half of the boy’s head up to the nose. Color it with red R=193, G=39, B=45 and once done, move it behind the eyes in the Layers panel to make them visible again.
Continue to draw a triangle-like shape in the right side as the shadow. Color it with a darker red and reduce the Opacity to 50%.
To create a highlight, draw a moon-like shape in the upper left side of the mask colored with a paler shade of red.

Step 9
Draw another triangle-like shape at the top of the mask. Color it with dark red and send it in back by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[). Follow the upper left side of this shape and draw a thin edge using the Pen Tool (P) as shown in the close-up.

Step 10
It’s time to draw the left eyebrow and after that, reflect it vertically to get an identical eyebrow for the right eye. Arrange them into place and color them with black.

Step 11
Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw an ellipse as the right ear filled with the same color as the head. Draw a similar but smaller ellipse inside the first and color it with light brown. Add another small ellipse at the bottom and the ear is ready.

Step 12
Still using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw two ellipses on the cheeks as blush and color them with light brown.

Step 13
To create the hair of the boy, use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a random zig-zag shape filled with dark brown R=66, G=33, B=11. Make sure to send it in back by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[).

Step 14
The head of the super boy is ready and we will continue with the neck and upper body.
For the neck, use the Rectangle Tool (M) to draw a small rectangle filled with beige R=250, G=190, B=130. Switch to the Pen Tool (P) and draw an oval shape filled with dark red as the collar. Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) this shape and move it a little to the right and downwards with the help of the Arrow keys on your keyboard. Change the fill color to a lighter shade of red and this will create a thin highlight edge.

Step 15
Continue to draw the shape of the body like in the image below and color it with blue. Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) this shape twice in order to get two copies of it. Move the second copy a little to the left and upwards; then select both copies and press Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. You will get a thin edge in the bottom right side of the body as the shadow. Color it with a darker shade of blue.

Step 16
Let’s create a simple symbol on the super boy’s chest. It is made of a small circle and a moon-like shape on each side. All three shapes are filled with pale blue R=182, G=231, B=255.

Step 17
Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a yellow rectangle shape at the bottom of the body, and then two smaller pieces in the right and left side of it as shadows. Color them with a slightly darker shade of yellow.

Step 18
Next, draw a circle on the yellow belt and give it blue stroke. Inside the circle, draw a T-like shape or type the letter “T” with the Type Tool (T).

Step 19
We will continue with the boy’s arms. Draw the left one pointing upwards like in the image below and color it with the same blue color as the body. Continue to draw a simple glove shape filled with yellow like the belt.

Step 20
To add a shadow on the glove, use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a shape as shown below and color it with a darker shade of yellow. Complete the glove with a small yellow ellipse in the upper right side as a highlight.

Step 21
Now, draw the right arm pointing downwards and fill it with the same blue color. Follow the bottom edge of this arm and draw a thin edge filled with a darker shade of blue as the shadow. Make sure to send these two shapes in back by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[).

Step 22
Next, use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the right glove in a similar way to the left one.

Step 23
We will continue with the legs. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape of the legs like in the image below and fill them with the same blue color. As explained earlier in the tutorial for the boy’s body, create a shadow shape in the upper right side of the pants and color it with a darker shade of blue. Do the same thing on the inside of the left leg to create a shadow there as well.

Step 24
We are almost done. Next, draw a simple boot shape and color it with yellow like the gloves. Continue to draw three stripes as details on the boot and color them with pale orange. The final thing is to create a shadow shape in the bottom left side as you did before.

Step 25
The left boot is ready and you can Group (Control-G) all the shapes that compose it. Draw the right boot in a similar way or just reflect vertically the first one in order to get an identical copy. All you have to do is to arrange in into place.

Step 26
A super boy is not complete without a cape so let’s make one. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape of the cape and then, sent it in back by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[). Color it with red R=193, G=39, B=45 like the head mask.
Draw a similar but smaller shape on top of the cape, focused mainly behind the boy and in the right side. Color it with a darker red and this will be the shadow.

Awesome work!
Here is the final image of the super boy character. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you learned new things today. Continue to draw other fun cartoon characters and improve your drawing skills.

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