Illustrating a chicken icon can easily be done within a few basic steps using this accessible tutorial. I will show you how to use basic elements to end up with a simple and colorful character like the one found below and I will also show you a few basic examples on how to make sure this illustration doesn't look like a cartoon character (because our goal is to draw an icon!). Ready? Let's draw!
First, let's draw a few shapes to help us illustrate this cool chicken properly. The head can be made from a large oval shape. The body is represented by a small rectangle. Finally, the tail is made using a small and thin rectangle.
More shapes are needed to create a relevant template to work with! On both sides of the body, sketch small wings using triangles. Complete our guideline by creating the feet and legs with straight lines. Excellent! We can now proceed to the third step: drawing the character itself.
Using mostly curved lines, draw the chicken using the template exactly as shown below. Once you are done, remove all basic shapes created earlier (they are represented with an orange outline on the illustration found below).
Now that we have a few shapes to work with, let's add some features. On top of the head, sketch a comb using curved lines. Then, draw the eyes and the pupils using circles. The mouth is made from a small triangle created with round corners. Below the mouth, draw the hackle using an oval shape.
We are almost done for this part of the tutorial! Behind the animal, draw a tail using a bunch of oval shapes and curved lines. Below the head, the cape is created using small triangles that can be merge with the head (it's actually not merge in the example below, but it will be in step number six).
Time to add colors! In this case, I went for a simple brown chicken icon filled with subtle colors. Notice how the wings and tail are slightly darker than the body while the tail is darker than the wings. This small detail is important since we don't have strokes to separate shapes from each other.
Now that the chicken is completed, why not draw a small stroke around the character to make this one visually more interesting? Notice that this line is not visible inside the character. It is only used to put more emphasis on the character as a whole.
No. Not if our goal is to create an icon. Why? Because icons are supposed to be simple, clean and not filled with too many details. Adding outlines or strokes only make this illustration more cartoonish. That's not what we are looking for.
Gradient fills are also not recommended. Yes, the illustration can be used as an icon, but I prefer the original version which was flat and visually easier to read. Of course, this is just a preference. :)
These are all six steps needed to create a beautiful chicken is just six easy steps. Don't hesitate to experiment using various shapes, textures and colors. You are also invited to try more characters from the same series here. :)