Final Product What You'll Be Creating
A few times a each month we revisit some of our reader’s favorite posts from throughout the history of Vectortuts+. This tutorial by Rype was first published on November 17th 2008.
In this Illustrator tutorial, I will show you how to create a cute bunny character. This tutorial uses simple shapes and gradients that are easy to apply to other character illustrations. The great thing about his tutorial is you don’t have to be an amazing artist to create it! Check Chris Spooner’s post 70 Cute and Cheeky Vector Animal Characters for more character inspiration.
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Before we start, I wanted to let everyone know I will be using Illustrator CS4 for this tutorial. Don’t worry, everything I am creating can be done in the other CS versions, I just wanted to let you know because the panels in the images will look different. Below is an example of the new Gradient Panel with a bunch of new goodies, but for this tutorial we will only be using the features that are in the other CS versions.
Create a new document, then make a 190 px wide by 290 px tall rectangle with the Rectangle Tool (M).
With your Direct Selection Tool (A), select the top left corner of the rectangle. With the point selected, the Control Panel defaults to the Anchor Point options. Press the second to the left button, converting the anchor point to a smooth point.
Repeat the previous step with the top right anchor point.
Fill the rectangle with a Linear Gradient from the Gradient Panel and change the first swatch to a pink color and the second swatch to a darker pink color.
Use the Gradient Tool to adjust the gradient by clicking and dragging from the middle of the shape to the bottom.
Copy (Command + C) the shape and Paste in Front (Command + F). With the new shape selected, use the Selection Tool (V) and scale the shape to half of its original size. After scaling, place the the copied shape towards the bottom of the original.
Change the first swatch in the gradient fill to a light pink and the other swatch to a slightly darker pink.
With the Star Tool, click on the artboard to bring up the Star dialog. In the dialog change Radius 1 to 50 px, Radius 2 to 25 px and the Points to 3.
With the triangle selected go Effect > Stylize > Round Corners. In the dialog change the radius to 15 px.
With the Selection Tool (V), squish the triangle horizontally to half of its original size. Next rotate the triangle 180 degrees.
Fill the triangle with a Linear Gradient, make the first swatch a dark pink from the previous shape and the second swatch make a darker pink. Adjust the gradient so the darkest part of the gradient is at the bottom of the triangle.
Place the triangle at the bottom of the bigger body shape creating a leg. Once placed, drag out a copy of the leg to other side. Simply hold down Alt + Shift while dragging the shape.
Create a 200 px wide by 50 px tall rectangle and round the corners at 25 px.
Go to Effect > Warp > Arch. With the Warp Options dialog open, change the Bend to 20 and the Horizontal Distortion to -49. Next, make sure to expand the effects by going to Object > Expand Appearance. If you don’t do this you will get some unexpected results as the steps continue.
Rotate the shape 45 degrees to the right so the shape is vertical. Next, place the shape over the top of the body shape. Once placed, Copy (Command + C) and Paste in Front (Command + F) the ear shape. Reflect the shape vertically by going to Object > Transform > Reflect and choosing the Vertical option in the dialog. Once reflected, move the copied ear to the other side of the body.
Change the fill of the the ears to the first swatch pink color in the body shape.
Select the first ear and go to Object > Path > Offset to open the Offset dialog. Change the Offset to -15 px. Next, move the offset slightly down and to the left.
Change the fill of the offset to the light Linear Gradient that was used in the belly shape of the body.
Repeat the same step for the right ear shape.
Copy (Command + C) and Paste (Command + V) the main right ear shape. Rotate the copied shape 190 degrees and scale it down to half of its original size. Fill the shape with the original body gradient and place it behind the lower left side of the body.
Copy (Command + C) and Paste in Front (Command + F) the arm shape, reflect it vertically, then place it on the other side of the body.
Now that the body is done, we can start adding a face to the bunny. Start by creating an ellipse with the Ellipse Tool (L) that is 37 px by 37 px. Fill the ellipse with a Radial Gradient with the first swatch a dark pink and the second swatch the same pink as in the ears.
Create another ellipse with the previous one, but smaller, and fill it with a dark pink color. Next draw two smaller white filled ellipses within the dark pink one. Now you have an eye!
Place the eye shapes over the top left part of the body shape. Once placed, Copy (Command + C) and Paste the (Command + V) the eye shapes and place them on the other side of the body.
Create a triangle like before and scale it down to half of its original size. Also like the other triangle, round the corners and fill it with the same gradient. Next, place the triangle over the middle part of the body below the eyes.
With the Line Tool (\) draw a dark pink (same as the dark pink eye color) 3 pt line right below the nose, spanning the distance of the eyes.
Draw a ellipse so the bottom fourth of it is the width of the line you just drew. Next, draw a rectangle that encompasses the top half of the ellipse up to the line you drew. Select the rectangle and ellipse and press the Subtract Shape Areas button from the Pathfinder Panel. While still in the Pathfinder Panel, press the Expand button. If you own CS4, Illustrator expands it for you!
Fill the subtracted shape with the same Linear Gradient as the body gradient, but adjust it so the darker part of the gradient is at the top. Place the shape behind the line you created before.
Create a rectangle that is 38 px wide by 40 px tall. Like with the main body shape, select the bottom left anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and change the anchor to a Smooth Point. Do the same for the bottom right anchor point.
Place the tooth shape behind and below the mouth line on the left side of the nose shape. Fill the tooth with a Linear Gradient with the first swatch white and the second swatch a light gray. Adjust the gradient so the white is at the top of the tooth.
Copy (Command + C) the Tooth and Paste in Front (Command + F). Create an ellipse the covers the bottom two-thirds of the tooth. Select the tooth copy and the ellipse and Subtract the shapes. Once subtracted, change the color of the shape to a light gray.
Drag out a copy of the tooth shapes to the left side.
Now it is time to add some hair. With the Pen Tool draw a hair puff shape towards the top of the body. Fill the shape with the same Linear Gradient as the nose shape.
With the hair shape selected, Copy (Command + C) and Paste in Back (Command + B). With the copy selected, move it down slightly. Fill the copy with the same gradient as the main body shape and adjust it so the darker part of the gradient is at the top of the shape.
The bunny character is done, but lets have some more fun to it. Let’s make it look like the bunny just devoured a carrot! Use you Pencil Tool (N) and draw twenty – twenty-five small ellipse like shapes over the teeth and mouth area of the bunny (make these shapes a bit rough). Fill the shapes with a Linear Gradient, set the first swatch to an orange color and the second to a darker orange color.
Draw an ellipse that is 45 px wide by 30 px tall. Draw another ellipse over that one that is 65 px wide by 30 px tall. Place the second ellipse so the bottom is in the center of the first one. Select both ellipses, Intersect the Shape Areas from the Pathfinder Panel, and press Expand. Next, fill the shape with the orange linear gradient you used for the small elements around the mouth, then adjust the gradient so the lighter part of the gradient is at the top of the shape.
With the Pencil Tool (N), create some little ellipse like shapes around and below the previous shape. Fill these with the same orange gradient.
Copy (Command + C) the original top ellipse shape and Paste in Front (F). Scale the shape down to half of its original size, then place it towards the top of the original shape. Change the first swatch in the copied shape to a green color and the second swatch to a darker green color.
With the Pen Tool (P), draw a couple stems coming out of the carrot top. Fill these shapes with the same green gradient you just used.
Create an ellipse that is 75 px by 75 px. Fill it with a Radial Gradient with the first swatch a light brown color, the second swatch a white color, and set the ellipse to Multiply from the Transparency Panel. Next, squish the ellipse vertically to half its original size. Place the ellipse behind all the carrot top artwork as a drop shadow.
Create two more ellipses, as in the previous step, then place them behind the feet. Create another bigger ellipse, but make the brown color of the gradient lighter and place in between the feet shadows.
Create a rectangle the size of you document and fill it with a Radial Gradient. Make the first swatch white and the second swatch a light yellow color. All done!
Below is the final image we just worked on.
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