Drawing a bee cartoon with subtle and interesting light effects can be done easily (especially if you own a vector software). In this tutorial, I will show you how to draw a colorful bee and how to apply simple gradient and transparency effect on your cartoon character to enhance your illustration.
You will see that drawing a character with a 3D look can be done easily using some simple and effective tips. You just need to place some shadows on the right parts, add a couple of reflections to give more depth to your drawing and you are done!
Important note: For each step available below, the first image represents the operation you must perform for this particular step. All changes are surrounded by a red outline.
On the second image, you will have the opportunity to see the result of this particular step.
The first step is to create a bee cartoon using the template above. You can either print this image and duplicate the design or draw it yourself on a piece of paper. Once this is done, place the image in your vector software, create the outlines and add some colors like shown on the second image available above. It doesn't matter for now if colors aren't 100% accurate.
In this second step, use the gradient tool to color the head, the body and the wings. Dark colors should be on the bottom left of the image. You can also use the transparency tool on the wings and make sure that the bottom part is less visible.
Next, use the gradient tool once again to enhance the antennas, the lower eyelid of the right eye, the arms and the legs. Make sure that the leg on the far side of the drawing is darker. You can apply the same process for the antenna that is behind the head.
This fourth step is very simple. Just use the gradient tool (circular fill) to color the eyes. The center should be white and the outside of the eyes should be colored with a light grey tone. You can also draw a light eyebrow over the left eye.
It's now time to work on (and around) the eyes. Create a circle and place it on each eye. Do the same thing for the pupils. These circles should be white and you can also use the transparency tool to hide the bottom part a little. Finally, create a large circle and place it around the left eye. This new shape should be darker and you can use the transparency tool to hide the top a little bit.
Next, add a last circular shape around the left eye. This new shape should be darker than the previous one. You can also hide the top part with the transparency tool. In this step, you can also create shadows below each arm and below the left leg.
Just duplicate each original shape, move it slightly to the left and add a darker tone of yellow on it. Remove all parts that are not touching the body of the bee cartoon.
Next, duplicate all black stripes on the body and re-size these new shapes a little bit smaller than the original ones. Color them in white and use the transparency tool to hide most of the left area. These reflections must be subtle, so don't hesitate to hide them properly.
In this step, create a new shape along the left part of the body and the head. These new shapes must be darker. Use the transparency tool to hide the top part of both shapes.
Finally, complete your bee cartoon by adding one last reflection on the body, the head and the wings. Each shape must be smaller than the original one and colored with a light tone (of yellow for the head and body, blue for the wings). Use the transparency tool once again, but this time, hide the bottom part of each shape. Nice! Your cartoon bee is now finished! Enjoy! :)