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How to design a Vectorial Mascot design in Illustrator

How to design a Vectorial Mascot design in Illustrator
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Hi guys, I recorded the whole process in the making of Cheeky Monkey vectorial mascot design in Illustrator, there will be several videos and I will update this post frequently, so subscribing to my Youtube Channel, my Facebook page or my Twitter is a good idea to stay up to date.

What is this tutorial about?

The object of this tutorial is the cute vectorial character illustration for Cheeky Monkey Media, web development company from Canada, designed by commission some months ago.

Cheeky Monkey Media

Final integration, cute, don´t you think?

Sadly the video is about 15 hours long, so I need to split it in different parts and accelerate the time to compress it within YouTube´s restrictions. I will write some annotations along the videos where I share some tips to improve your inking in Photoshop and your coloring in Illustrator but I’m sure lot of questions will pop up on your mind, feel free to ask.

Here you can see the character evolution from the concept to the final rendering.

Cheeky Monkey Media design process

This is the character evolution from sketch to final artwork

And some close-ups:

Mascot design close up

Remember there will be several videos and I will update this post frequently, so subscribing to my Youtube Channel, my Facebook page or my Twitter is a good idea to stay up to date.

Video 1: some tips to improve the quality of your lineart in Photoshop

I receive lot of questions about my digital inking process: how do I get so sharp and crisp lines?, what brush settings do I use?, how big is my canvas?… In this video I reply all these questions and some others, if your lineart looks pixelated or blurry take care of these advices and you will notice a change.

Video 2: how to vectorize your lineart in Illustrator

Vectorizing your lineart in Illustrator with Live Trace is so easy that you don´t really need to deal with vectors until the final conversion. I find much more comfortable and natural working with Photoshop and a Wacom tablet, also the inking process is much faster.

At the end of this step I have lot of white shapes over a black silhouette.

Video 3: Assigning flat colors in Illustrator

This video could be a bit boring for expert users, I just assign flat colors and organize the shapes into groups, it’s very important when working on complex illustrations.

Music courtesy of Nanowar.

Video 4: Applying gradient colors in Illustrator (Part I)

I forgot to record the first minutes of this video, I just applied very basic gradients and cut big areas into smaller ones, then I start the tricky part: adding shadows and lights.

Music courtesy of The Butcher’s Ballroom.

Video 5: Applying gradient colors in Illustrator (Part II)

So here is the last video, after 15 hours of work our vectorial mascot design is completely done. Crisp and clean!

Music courtesy of Shearer.

I hope you enjoyed the process, if you have any question or suggestion just let me know.
See you soon!

This post was written by:

- who has written 58 posts on SOSFactory Blog.

My name’s Sergio Ordoñez I´m illustrator, graphic and web designer. A selection of my work is included at SOSFactory. If you want to support this blog, please be an active member: tweet the posts, participate in the discussions and the exercises :)

Contact the author

  • http://www.jevc05.net/ Darky

    Gracias por tomarte el tiempo de publicar estos excelentes recursos.. Saludos

  • http://itstartedin82.com Tim

    Great video. It is very helpful in the inking process. Did you do a ruff sketch in pencil first or did you do a ruff sketch in Photoshop? Can’t wait to see the coloring video. Thanks for these.

    • http://www.sosfactory.com Sergio Ordonez

      Hi Tim, thanks a lot :)

      In the past I used to draw and scan the sketches but since I have a Wacom Cintiq 21UX everything is done digitally.

  • http://itstartedin82.com Tim

    Thank you Sergio!

    I bet that really speeds up the process. Just started using a Wacom tablet again and I am hooked. The next thing I want to get its a Cintiq!

  • http://www.sosfactory.com Sergio Ordonez

    Yes, with standard tablets you don´t have so much control, it´s quite more time consuming but I know artists who can do it. I personally would use vector tools if you don´t have a Cintiq yet.

  • http://www.tokitover.com Toki Tover

    Hello Sergio,

    Great tutorial, thank you…

    Question, what makes you decide whether or not to color in illustrator versus photoshop?

    I remember you stating that you do not really care for illustrator.

    Thanks!

    Toki Tover

  • http://www.sosfactory.com Sergio Ordonez

    Hi Toki, you are right.

    I don´t like Illustrator though it was some advantages, it´s too picky and very time consuming but the design is cleaner and there is no scalability problems. So I use Illustrator when:

    1.- The client demands it for any reason.
    2.- The client really need it, in case he plains to print really big.

    I usually charge a fee for vector illustration since it´s more time consuming. If you don´t plain to print really big stuff, the extra expense is not worth in my opinion.

    Cheers!

  • http://www.greasypigstudios.com Arvin

    Great video! Inking is the thing that frustrates me most in Photoshop… it’s something I can do more intuitively by paper and pen, but who wants to do that? :) I wish Photoshop had a brush system like Flash, which is faster than Illustrator and smooths strokes pretty intuitively.

    Question: It looks like you’re in a Cintiq 21ux. I am on the 12wx, and I was wondering if you had experience with the 12wx, and whether upgrading to the 21ux is worth the extra 1000USD, other than the size (which can be both good and bad) and higher resolution. Is it more sensitive, more conducive to producing smooth strokes, etc?

    Thanks a lot.

    • http://www.sosfactory.com Sergio Ordonez

      Hi Arvin,

      Illustrator actually have a brush system, but I tried it a couple of times and desisted because it was a pain.
      Flash is really that good?

      No, I have no experience on the smallest Cintiq, I think the expense is worth if you have lot of work. Your productivity will increase a lot, if it´s just for a hobby I bet I would stick to the 12″ version.

  • http://www.greasypigstudios.com Arvin

    Flash’s brush system is very fast and a good compromise between having smooth lines but still feeling organic, in the way that Illustrator isn’t. Plus being able to fill and change colors easily since it’s vector is an advantage over Photoshop. If only its layer system (with annoying blending and transparency modes) were more like Photoshop’s.

    At some point in the future I’d love to see a video shot in live action of you doing your stuff… it’d be informative to see your hands, how big your gestures are, how fast your hands move. The screen capture paints only part of the picture!

  • http://zonanarsis.com ikaznarsis

    wow, its cool!! i like this character, Mongkey cute!!

  • http://www.sosfactory.com Sergio Ordonez

    Hi Arvin, it´s a good idea I will think about it!

  • Adrius

    Eres un genio!! tus videos me son de GRAN utilidad, te estoy muy agradecio! Saludos crack!

  • http://rodrigosanz.blogspot.com Rigomax

    HOlas genial el videotutorial, me gustaria preguntarte algunas cosas lo que mas me llama la atención es el tipo de pincel que usas y si también utilizas una tablet y cual recomiendas si es así.

    un abrazo desde Chile.

    sigue adelante :)

    • http://www.sosfactory.com Sergio Ordonez

      Rodrigo, en el mismo video respondo a estas preguntas y algunas más, ya me cansé de repetirlo :)

  • http://di5ainer.deviantart.com/ Fer Osorio

    Hey there Sergio

    I could say I’m one of your followers and students. Some months ago I practiced your tut for inking in photoshop and coloring in illustrator (you can see here my deviation http://di5ainer.deviantart.com/#/d34wpdh. I found your blog pretty much inspiring and motivating, as by the time I continue to practice my drawing and illustration. A thousand thanks for every piece of time you dedicate to us newbies.

  • javier hernandez

    sergio sos el mejor, mi viejo!!!
    gracias por tus consejos, como soy empirico en este tema del photoshop, no sabia eso de los colores ahora, en el momento de aplicar el color a mis dibujos y diseños es diferente, gracias por tomarte el tiempo de ayudarme, muchas gracias, sergio, Dios tre bendiga, por dedicarnos tiempo a aquekllos que queremos convertir nuestra pasion en nuestro modo de existencia, muchas gracias!!! este post esta de lujo!!!!

  • antonio

    hola sergio oyes por favor una ayuda me podrias decir en que direccion tienes un tutorial donde creo habla de creacion de personajes de 3 cabezas creo infantiles bueno espero me ayudes por favor

  • Adrymil

    Buenas Sergio, quería hacerte una pregunta: ¿el registro de derechos o copyright de las mascotas que haces, corre por tu cuenta? por cuenta del cliente? ambos?. En el caso de que lo hagas tú, ¿cómo se hace?

    • http://www.sosfactory.com/blog Sergio Ordonez

      Yo vendo (casi) todos los derechos, el cliente debería registrar tanto los diseños como sus marcas. En cualquier caso la ley protege la obra desde su creación, independientemente de que se registre, aunque el registro es la mejor prueba de que eres el autor legítimo. Sólo tienes que buscar una oficina de registro de la propiedad intelectual en tu ciudad, no suele ser muy caro, especialmente si agrupas varios diseños y los registras como recopilación.

      Saludos!

      • Adrymil

        Todo claro, gracias!!
        Saludos! :)

  • Pablo Sergio

    Sergio son geniales tus tutoriales! gracias por enseñarnos de tus conocimientos.
    Soy estudiante de diseño y amo esta profesión..
    Saludos, Suerte.

  • Pedro Llanos

    Se sabe algo de aquel esperadisimo “The World’s longest Photoshop coloring tutorial”
    :(

    • http://www.sosfactory.com/blog Sergio Ordonez

      Lo siento Pedro, por ahora el rediseño de SOSFactory es la prioridad, no habrá contenido nuevo durante un tiempo, aunque como ves sigo atendiendo los comentarios.

  • http://twitter.com/TokiTover Toki【ツ】

    Hey Sergio,

    Can’t wait for video 3 to come out!
    :)

  • Akrep_484

    hı Will you give me the psd files?

    • http://www.sosfactory.com/blog Sergio Ordonez

      No.

  • Andrés

    Maestro sergio!!! muy bueno, saludos.

  • Gustavo Simas

    Daaammnn! DAMNNNNNNNNNNNN! You guyss Help mee a Lot! THANXXXX so Fucking Much! I did knoww about thiss… just Awesomeee!

    Thanx guys! Really helps me!

    S.O.S Rockss! o/

  • Pingback: How to design a Vectorial Mascot design in Illustrator … | Illustrator | Adobe-Tutorial.com

  • http://moniilustra.blogspot.com/ Mónica

    Me encantó ver los videos… creía que lo hacías de otra forma, pero entintas igual que lo hago yo!!! Veo que no iba por mal camino.

    Como siempre buen trabajo y gracias!

    Mónica

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rey-Enok-Madrid/100000544130367 Rey Enok Madrid

    Great stuff Sergio… like always

  • Israel

    Hi sergio
    My question is:

    How you get so soft gradient?, I know that you make a lot of vectors but I don’t know get then soft.

    • http://www.sosfactory.com/blog Sergio Ordonez

      Hi Israel, just practice :)

      • Israel

        ok thanks, sorry my english

  • http://www.facebook.com/KozolArts Lian Tluanga

    Ima Numberone FAN :D

  • http://twitter.com/rlharris9337 Ronald L. Harris

    These tutorial videos art really really good. I’m new at mascot design so this helps so much. Please keep the tutorials coming.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cannedham Phil Oliveira

    Hey Sergio, Love this stuff!!! I have one question though. I’m using CS3 and I bring in my line art which I did in photoshop off a pencil/ink sketch. I live trace it  and expand it and this is where my problem lies… The line art becomes the “shape” meaning I can’t fill in the “planes” with flat color, the only color I can change is the line art it’s self… I can Live Paint it but that leaves a white “Halo” around everything. I’ve been racking my brain and the web for help so I figured I’d just ask you.

    Keep up the good work!!!

    Cheers

    Phil

    • http://www.sosfactory.com/blog Sergio Ordonez

      Click on the shape > right click > release compound path. 

      It certainly will change all shapes to black, change all of them – but the profile, the bigger one – to white. You will spend some time but it’s worth.
      Cheers!

  • matias

    hola sergio aparte de tus tutoriales, donde puedo aprender a colorear asi? algun recurso online conoces? gracias de antemano.

    • http://www.sosfactory.com/blog Sergio Ordonez

      Para aprender cualquier cosa sólo necesitas dos cosas: pasión y dedicación.

  • Anonymous

    Buenas. Primero agradecerte la ayuda que nos brindas con estos tutoriales y segundo me gustaría hacerte una consulta.
    Lo he estado buscando en los comentarios y en el vídeo tampoco me queda muy claro.¿Qué pincel y configuraciones de
    pincel utilizas para conseguir que los trazos terminen en una línea muy fina? No sé cómo explicarlo mejor pongo una imagen.

    Gracias. Un saludo.

    • http://www.sosfactory.com/blog Sergio Ordonez

      No existe ningún pincel tan preciso. Echa un ojo al video, hago un trazo, después otro y luego con el borrador afilo el corte.

  • Davicho

    Que sucede si en algun momento nesecitas animar la ilustracion en Flash? que proceso hicieras? me gustaria ver un video tutorial de esto

    • http://www.sosfactory.com/blog Sergio Ordonez

      Pues que el cliente tendría que contratar a un animador que simplificara el personaje y creara las diferentes partes del personaje, con este nivel de detalle es imposible.

  • Benchscream

    wow! idol!

  • jazz

    hi! I both have adobe photoshop cs2 and adobe illustrator cs5.. i dont use them to edit photos, i use them to create art from a blank canvas im currently using paint tool sai bcoz it’s easy and simple but it lacks some tools that i need to enhance my work. im pretty good at sketching and drawing using pens and paper but im really not familiar with adobe programs  my 1st question is how can i draw in vector mode in photoshop? bcoz dont like to work in raster mode. 2nd is how can i remove the lines that appear when i use the blob brush tool in illustrator? hope you can help me.. bcoz i havent seen any online tutorials about it so far. thanks 

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  • Tina

    I see you’re controlling those gradients as if they were shapes with bezier handles.  Is that what that is or is there some trick to gradients in Illustrator because they’re just so unfamiliar to me compared to Photoshop gradients. Also, how did you change some of the black lineart to colored gradients like on the monkey’s ear? Looks to be a very good technique to make him look more natural and pop out.

    • http://www.sosfactory.com/blog Sergio Ordonez

      Hi Tina, it’s not just you… I hate Illustrator, it’s ages behind Photoshop in terms of usability. I colored the lineart just by using a new shape in top of the black lineart, the secret tip is I duplicate the black shape, change the color and then cut it so it fits exactly in the original place.

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  • YonkersDave

    Is there a way to watch any of these tutorials in regular speed, without the music?

    You are amazing, by the way. 

    • Gritnz

      I download the tutorials from youtube and used VLC video player. You can slow down the play back a little I found it easier to follow

      • http://www.sosfactory.com Sergio Ordonez

        Sorry, it’s not possible right now.

    • http://www.sosfactory.com Sergio Ordonez

      It’s like 15 hours of video… sorry it’s not possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=528216524 Carlos Villanueva

    Gracias! Estoy tomando en cuenta muchos de estos factores, el primero y principal.. ” no hay trabajo fácil”. Realmente toma tiempo y estoy empezando a usar mi tabla. Te felicito!

  • Gritnz

    How long did it take you to do colorize this from start to finish?

    • http://www.sosfactory.com Sergio Ordonez

      Around 15 hours.

  • Maa Graphic1307

    u r best

  • J Franc

    10 horas para colorear este personaje? creo que eso aclara todo. :D

  • http://www.knsart.pl/ kaenes

    wow..really amazing tut!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Karen-Mitchell/100000913780945 Karen Mitchell

    Thank you thank you thank you for sharing. Just what I needed to know!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Karen-Mitchell/100000913780945 Karen Mitchell

    I would like to see it on slow motion so I cen see what your using for some steps!

  • Jerm

    Sergio,

    You continue to be a source of inspiration and information for us all! I’ve been drawing and graphic-designing most my life. I watched your tutorials on the cheeky monkey illustration and was super pumped on your inking technique in Photoshop. I’ve never made the switch to a tablet only because I’ve never used one that made me feel faster. Can you give me any suggestions on the size/brand that you prefer?

    Your Characters are RAD! While your insane skill makes me feel a bit novice, it is also inspiring and helps me remember that practice is the only way to get any better. Keep it up!

    ~Jerm

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jeancaseven Jeancarlo Fontalvo Mejia

    Hola, Sergio Dios Te bendiga, mira en el Video, no entinedo muy bien como coloreas el Lineart, es decir como le haces para remplazar el color de ciertas areas del trazo, asi como en photoshop…..Gracias de Antemano !!!

  • nothingness

    PLz share video tutorials…