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drawing with shapes in Adobe Illustrator

by JuliannaKunstler.com

Vector toucan drawing. Adobe Illustrator assignment for beginners. Lesson plan.

In this lesson:

  • Drawing shapes
  • Modifying paths
  • Pathfinder
  • Gradients

Recreate the image following the steps below.

Pay attention to how everything is done. Do not skip steps.



step 1

File > New

8" x 8"

step 2: background

Use Rectangle tool, hold Shift and draw a square that is slightly bigger than the artboard.

Lock the square so you don't accidentally move it or edit:

Object > Lock > Selection

step 3: body

Click on the artboard with Ellipse tool.

Set the dimensions as shown

Select the right anchor point with Direct Selection tool.

Drag it as shown.

Manipulate the bottom anchor point's handles to smooth the shape.

Adjust the top anchor point if needed.

step 4: head

Click on the artboard with Ellipse tool.

Set the circle dimensions.

Position the circle as shown.

Drag the bottom anchor point down until you reach the previous shape outline.

Drag the right anchor point to the previous shape outline.

Manipulate the direction lines for a nice curve.

step 5: combine shapes

Select both shapes.

In Pathfinder palette:

click Unite button

step 6: chest

Add a shape for the bright colored chest part.

Choose Rounded Rectangle Tool

Click on artboard.

Set the dimensions.

Position as shown.

The top of the chest shape should be close to the top of the body.

To tilt the chest shape:

Go to Transform palette.

Type -10 in Shear Setting.

Cut the top shape to match the body shape:

1. Select the body shape

2.Copy (Command/Ctrl C)

3. Paste in Front (Command/Ctrl F)

Shift-click on the chest shape to add it to selection.

Now you have 2 shapes selected (the copy of the body and the chest).

In Pathfinder palette: click on Intersect button.

It will keep the shape that is a result of overlapping of these two shapes.

The parts that are not overlapped will be gone.

step 7: eye

Draw 3 circles as shown.

step 8: beak

Click on the artboard with Ellipse tool.

Set dimensions.

Position the oval as shown.

Use Convert Anchor point tool and click on the left point.

Use Direct Selection tool to drag the left point down.

Adjust direction lines for the bottom anchor point.

Move the right anchor point to the left.

To split the beak shape into two parts:

Use Pen tool and start a path from the left point as shown.

Second anchor point.

The next few points need to be placed outside of the beak shape.

Select the beak and the new shape (use Shift).

In the Pathfinder palette:

Click Divide button.

Then select the extra shape below the beak.....

Delete it.

step 9: wing

Start with a circle.

Position it as shown.

Use Direct Selection tool to drag the right anchor point as shown.

To distort the bottom part of the wing - we are going to use Warp tool.

First we need to set the size option for the tool.

Double-click on the tool to get options pop up.

Set the brush size to 0.5" x 0.5"

Push the outline in and out for a nice wave.

step 10: legs

Start with drawing an oval.

Duplicate the oval.

step 11: branch

Use Pen tool (or Line Segment tool) to draw a path as shown.

Apply a stroke to the path.

Pick a color (Color Picker or Swatches palette)

Set a weight for the line (Options bar or Stroke palette).

step 12: feet

Select Rounded Rectangle tool from the Tool box.

Click on the artboard.

Set dimensions.

Position as shown.

Duplicate (Option/Alt drag)

File > Save

step 13: tail

Start with a circle.

Convert the top anchor point.

Drag the top point up.

You can use arrow key on the keyboard.

Adjust the side points by dragging direction lines up.

This will make the feather wider.

Select the feather with Selection tool.

Rotate the shape.

Duplicate feathers.

To place the tail behind the body:

Select all three feathers.

Edit > Cut (Command/Ctrl X)

Select body shape.

Edit > Paste in Back (Command/Ctrl B)

File > Save

step 14: leaf

Start with a circle.

Zoom in the area.

Convert the top anchor point.

Drag the top point to form a leaf shape.

Draw a rectangle over one half of the leaf.

Select both shapes.

In Pathfinder palette:

Click Divide.

All three shapes are grouped.

To select just one of them - use Direct Selection tool.

Select the extra shape .

Delete it.

File > Save

step 15: color the toucan

With Selection tool: select body, tail, and legs.

Select Black for fill color

No stroke.

Select the wing.

Set fill option to Linear Gradient.

In Gradient palette set colors to Black and dark Blue.

Choose Gradient tool.

Click and drag the gradient at a slight angle (as shown).

Select the chest shape.

No stroke.

Fill type: Radial Gradient.

Colors: Yellow to Orange.

With the Gradient tool: resize the gradient.

Select feet shapes:

fill: solid color

stroke: yes, darker shade

Modify gradient to an oval shape.


bottom circle - yellow-green, no stroke.

middle circle - yellow fill, no stroke

inner circle - black

The beak will be more complex:

Select the top part with Direct Selection tool.

Choose Radial gradient fill, no stroke

Create custom gradient as shown

Apply gradient to the bottom part of the beak.

Use settings as show.

step 16: color leaves

Duplicate the leaves.

Rotate them.

Place them behind toucan:

1. Select all leaves except one (keep it in front for the foreground)

2. Cut

3. Select feathers (these are the shapes that are the furthest)

4. Paste in Back

Apply different shades of green.

Leaves in the background can be simplified by having both sides be the same color.

Add a few leaves in the foreground.

You are done!

File > Save

Don't forget to sign!