This lesson will help you learn to create a colorful cat icon using simple shapes and colors as well as a few different vector effects. Indeed, you will see that creating an icon often means working with simple elements while removing anything complex or useless for the creation of the character.
In this case, our featured animal is a cat. To achieve the iconic look easily, it's a good practice to ignore details like fur, patches, muscles or anything that can make this illustration complex and close to reality. Our goal is to end up with the cleanest and most refine version of the character possible. Ready? Let's work with this fun character now!
Let's start this tutorial by drawing a few shapes to help us draw this lovely cat. This template will be used in the next step to draw the final lines. First, sketch a circle to form the head. Then, draw a large rectangle to illustrate the body. The arms and legs are made from small rectangles while the hands are represented by small oval shapes.
Cool! It's now time to draw some lines to create this colorful cat. As you can see below, the head is large on the bottom and smaller on top. The hands are round and only the thumb is visible. The feet are flat and edges are round. Once you are done with these new lines, you can erase all shapes created in the previous step (with an orange outline).
Excellent! Let's continue this lesson by drawing ears on top of the head. To do so, you need to draw rectangles with round corners. The eyes are made from small circles and the pupils with dots. The nose is created using an oval shape and the mouth from curved lines. You can also draw a patch around the mouth and a tail behind the cat.
In this fourth step, let's add a few details to make sure this character really looks like a cat. Near the nose, draw long lines to form the whiskers. On the stomach, a large patch made from an oval shape is created. Inside this patch, you can also draw a dot as seen below.
It's time to add colors! In this case, the cat is filled with a bright orange color. All patches are brighter while the nose and the tail are darker. Good work! You now have a beautiful cat icon to work with! Can we make this image even more beautiful? Let's find out!
Using a vector application, you can add a bevel to this cat to make it visually more appealing. Although this effect is nice, it might not be appropriated for all purposes. Use this technique wisely.
Did you noticed that so far no strokes or outlines were used to illustrate this cat? That's now the case! However, no outlines were added around individual shapes. Instead, a single outline was applied around the entire character. See the difference?
Icons must be simple and easy to recognize. Why not try something more audacious by removing all elements inside the character. Can you still recognize our little friend? Of course you can! Cool, isn't it?
I hope you were able to see the difference between drawing an icon version of this cat vs creating a cartoon cat. Icons are simple representation of the character. Cartoon images can be more complex and filled with more details. Have fun experimenting with these techniques and don't hesitate to try more animals from the same series here! :)