In this tutorial, we'll explain how to create an eagle head from a photograph and make a sticker out of it. This is a fairly straight-forward process and is relatively simple to get good results with. Let’s get started!
Final Image Preview
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- Program: Adobe Illustrator CS4
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours
I went over to stock.xchng and picked a nice photograph of an eagle. We’ll use this image and trace our eagle head out of it. Open a new document in Illustrator and place the image on its own layer and lock it.
There is no real shortcut for this kind of thing, just plain and simple tracing. Select the Pen Tool (P) and start tracing the outline of the eagle head. Fill the shape with white and set the Stroke to none.
Start adding another shape by loosely tracing it following the out line of the first shape. Fill it with 10% black.
Add another shape. Just keep looking at the reference image, trace it, and fill it with 20% black. You can let your imagination run. It doesn’t have to have the exact shape of the eagle head.
We pretty much keep adding shapes and filling them with gradients and colors similar to the photo.
All these shapes will make up the head and feathers. The most important thing is to distinguish the shapes from each other by placing them underneath or above each other and give them slightly different colors or gradients. Try to orient yourself on the colors of the photo.
Let’s move on to the eye. Create a small circle with the Ellipse Tool (L) and fill it with a white/orange radial gradient.
Then create two circles filled with orange. Make one circle smaller that the other. Fill the bigger one with a slightly darker orange and then select both and apply a blend (Command + Alt + B). Set the Blend option to Specified Steps of 10.
Create another circle on top and fill it with black.
For the eye detail, create a triangle shape with the Pen Tool (P) and fill it with a radial gradient.
Select the Rotate Tool (R), and with the object selected, click on the bottom tip of the triangle shape. Then hold Alt and drag the shape to the right (clockwise). This will duplicate it. Then press Command + D over and over again until you have a full circle of shapes. Now group them together.
Place the grouped shapes over the black circle.
Create another smaller black circle on top. This will act as a pupil.
Last but not least, place two different shaped white circles as highlights on top of the black circle.
Let’s move on to the beak. Create a small sickle shape with the Pen Tool (P) along the beak in the image and fill it with an orange color.
Keep looking at the image and create shapes to build up the bird beak.
Pay attention to the different shades of orange. The top beak shape should be lighter than the bottom half.
Create a small ellipse as the nose.
Copy the nose ellipse (Command + C + F) on top and scale it down a bit. (E). Then add a linear gradient.
Create a wiggly line with the Pencil Tool (N) and choose an orange color.
Add more detail to the beak. Have a look at the photo to orient yourself. Sometimes it just takes a small detail to make all the difference.
In case you need to change the shape of small detail objects, grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and transform it.
This is the eagle illustration. As you can see, we really didn’t need all that many shapes. The important thing to remember is that it all comes down to shading and highlights.
We want to make this into a sticker. Select all of the shapes and make a copy. Then apply the Unite option in the Pathfinder Palette.
Select the shape again and apply an Offset Path of 7pt. Make sure you choose the "Round" option for the joins.
In case there are shapes not added, select them with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and delete them.
Select the Offset shape (you might want to ungroup everything) and fill it with black. As you can see, this shape acts like a rounded stroke around the eagle head.
I added a start burst and placed it behind the eagle head. To make it fit into the sticker shape, copy the united shape from Step 25 and place it on top of the star burst. Then select the start burst and the shape and apply a Clipping Mask (Command + 7).
I transformed the sticker shape a little. You can create any sticker you’d like, round rectangle, following the eagle head shape or an ellipse. It’s all up to you. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!
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