Elf Cartoon (Advance Vector Tutorial)

This elf cartoon character is the subject of this new advanced drawing lesson! Found in the Germanic mythology, elves are gifted with magical abilities that can either help humans or not. Elves are also often associated with the character of Santa Claus.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to draw an elf dressed with a green suit and wearing a large hat. The goal is to add nice shadows and simple similar effects to create a 2D illustrations that could look like a 3D one. Owning a vector software to follow this drawing lesson is a good idea.

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. 

Step 1

Elf cartoon
Elf cartoon

First, start your drawing lesson by sketching the character using thin black outlines. It's not a big issue if your character is not 100% similar. As long as all main features are visible (the hat, the pointed ears, the large belt and the outfit) then you can proceed with adding plain colors.

Step 2

Elf cartoon
Elf cartoon

Once all shapes are colored, select them one-by-one and use the gradient tool to create simple (but very effective) shadows. Each shape usually contains a darker and lighter version of the same color. Just make sure that the bottom part is darker and the top lighter. Be careful since a few shapes are lighter on the bottom (see the illustration above).

Step 3

Elf cartoon
Elf cartoon

Great! It's now time to move on with additional shadows. You will need to create new shapes to represent these new shadows. Two shapes must be created for the shadows on the shirt while new circles must be added on the eyes to illustrate the reflections on the pupils and the eyes. You can also use transparency to enhance this effect.

Step 4

Elf cartoon
Elf cartoon

Create more new shapes to represent the shadows on the head (just below the hat), on the arms and on the feet of the elf cartoon. Once again, transparency was used to make the effect look more realistic.

Step 5

Elf cartoon
Elf cartoon

Finally, complete this tutorial by sketching new shapes on the hat, the shirt and the head. As you can see, you don't need to create several (and complex) shapes to come up with something cute and realistic. Enjoy! :)


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