If you have kids, then you know that Christmas is an important time of the year for them. This elf drawing should be a good exercise to keep them busy for a while!
It's true that these little creatures are known for playing tricks (the elves, not the kids!), but it's not a good reason to not try to illustrate this very popular character a few days before Christmas!
First, create a new layer in your vector application and select the drawing tool. Then, draw the head, the hat and the top of the suit.
Continue drawing your cartoon character by sketching the body and the belt of the elf. Finally, you can use triangles to complete the bottom of the suit. You can use dark outlines for now. I prefer to use colors on the outlines once we are done with the illustration.
Next, you can add more details on the head like the eyes, the pupils, the nose, the mouth and the chin. Don't forget to draw pointed ears too!
Then, you can draw both arms using a large (but thin) rectangle. Don't forget to draw a small stripe near each wrists. Finally, you can draw the legs using a large square and complete the drawing with the addition of two large feet made with triangles.
It's now time to add colors on your illustration. In your vector software, create a second layer and draw plain shapes under the outlines.
For the suit, you can use a green color. The stripes can be colored in grey (Why? Because we will add a second color, white, later in this tutorial). Finally, you can color the pupils and the shoes in black while the legs can be colored in brown.
Now that the elf drawing is filled with colors, we need to create an effect of depth in the image. Our goal is to represent 3D using only 2D techniques.
Select the gradient tool and add a second color on all shapes colored earlier. For example, the suit can be colored with a light green color and a dark green color. Repeat this simple technique on all shapes and make sure that the darkest color is placed on the bottom of each shape.
Good! Adding a second color can create a nice effect, but we can also add a few shadows manually to enhance the drawing even more!
Create a new layer and draw a solid shape on the left side of the head, the hat, the suit, the ears and on any other relevant areas that are hidden from the light source. You can also draw circular shapes around the eyes of create a new shadow below the chin, the head and the legs.
Yes, these new shadows are nice, but they cannot illustrate the appropriated effect if these new shapes are too dark and too thick. We need a simple tool to make these shadows softer. Every application comes with a tool capable of changing the opacity of a solid shape.
You can use this tool to apply transparency on the shapes created earlier. As you can see on your left, the elf drawing looks more interesting with subtle shadows.
Finally, we can also create another cool effect to add more dimension to the illustration. Lighting can create dark areas on a subject, but it can also create brighter areas.
To illustrate this effect, simply duplicate all major solid shapes from the elf drawing. You can also draw oval shapes on the pupils as seen on your left. Then, change the color on all elements by coloring these new shape in white. You will need transparency again to complete the desired effect.
Just like you did with the dark shadows created earlier, use the tool that can modify the opacity of an object to partially hide all white shapes.
Unlike shadows who needed to be hidden on the right and slightly visible on the left, you must hide the left part of most white shapes and display the right section. Just study the illustration on your left carefully if you are not 100% sure how you must proceed with transparency.
Finally, you can make one additional change to the illustration for a better result. Like I said in the first step, you can change the color of all outlines and get rid of the black color.
The elf drawing is now more alive than ever! It's a small and subtle modification, but it can make a huge difference! I hope you had a lot of fun drawing this special cartoon character and don't hesitate to draw more versions below if you want to! :)