In this tutorial I will show you how to draw a cartoon version of yourself from a photograph in Illustrator and PhotoShop. The final image will be a vector illustration and I will demonstrate how to use the pen tool and several Calligraphic brushes to create your image. I think they make a nice avatar for social media.
1. Preparing the Image: Open Adobe Illustrator and create a new document with File > New. I have chosen the image dimensions 800px by 800px.
2. Drop and drag the photograph of your choice into your document, or use File > Place to place the image into the document. I’m using a picture of my purple-haired self.
3. Double click the layer and tick the “Template” box. The image will be locked and the opacity will be at 50%. This just makes the image easier to work with, and we can change the image back later if we need to.
4. Now we need to choose the brush we will use. I have downloaded this collection of hairbrushes from here: http://www.artjunks.com/exclusive-free-illustrator-hair-brushes/I have changed the colour to black and the thickness to 0.5px.
5.Create a new layer, and using the new brush, draw around the outlines of the photograph. This is very easy to do using a graphic tablet pen, but I have just used a mouse. The image isn’t going to look great at this point, but it gives you an idea of where to begin.
6. Hide the first layer to see the lines you have drawn, this makes it easy to see if you have missed anything.
7. View the first layer again, use the eyedropper tool to select an appropriate skin colour. Create a new layer in between the first layer and second layer. In this layer, use the Basic paint brush to fill in the face and neck. Avoid going over the lips, eyebrows and eyes. It doesn’t need to be neat for the time being.
8. Create a new layer above the last one you created. Use the eyedropper tool again and do the same for the hair. It’s still going to look quite messy for the time being.
9. Using the hair brush tools with about 4 or 5px thickness, choose lighter and darker versions of the colour you have already chosen. Going with the direction of growth, add some shadows and highlights to the hair.
10. Create a new layer, above the skin layer but under the hair layer and black lines layer. Start with the whites of the eyes, build with the iris, then the pupil, then the lashes, then the eyebrows, and finish with small white light reflections in the eyes. Make sure you’re careful with the order in which you paint sections of the eyes. Use the hair brush at about 0.5 thickness for the lashes and eyebrow hairs.
11. Remove any unnecessary black lines from the second layer we created. (Excess lines around the eye, black eyebrow lines).
12. For the lips, you may want to use a basic brush. Use the eyedropper tool to select different shades in the lip colour. Remove any black lines from around the lip line; the mouth line in the center is okay.
13. Select the black lines that outline the nose, by holding command/control as you click each line. Double click the color picker, and choose a darker shade of the skin colour you have used. This creates a softer shadow rather than harsh black lines.
14.At this point, you can remove the first layer (the photograph). Lock every layer, apart from the second layer we created with the black lines. Remove any excess lines that will now look out of place.
15.Export the file, by going to File > Export and select PNG as the file type.
16. The file will now be a transparent vector. Open the file in PhotoShop. Use the Crop tool to give the image some space.
17. You can now rotate the image, change the background colour, add text, anything you like!
You have now created a cartoon-ish version of your image. Thanks for using this tutorial, I hope you enjoyed it and found some new skills.