In this tutorial, you will create a whale drawing with just a few basic lines and great colors! Unlike other drawing lessons from the same series, the result will look more subtle and delicate.
Even if the design is quite simple and straightforward, achieving the special effects on this illustration can be tricky. Just make sure that you don't add too much details and use the gradient + transparency tool with care.
You should start this lesson with the creation of the original drawing, the one that will be used as a template in your vector application. Of course, you can use the traditional tools to make your drawing or simply use a tablet and draw directly on your computer.
Either way, you don't need to come up with an exact replica of the cartoon character shown above. As long as it's a whale, you can proceed with the next step.
If you have created your drawing on a piece of paper, scan this one and open your vector software. You can also take a picture if you don't have any other tool to convert your drawing into a digital file. Add thin outlines on the character. You can use a separate layer to do so.
Create a new layer below the one that contains the outlines and draw solid shapes filled with plain colors. As you can see, I have chosen a light blue color for the body of the whale drawing.
Select the gradient tool and add a second color on the body, the fin and the bottom part of the mouth. The second color on all shapes must be located on the bottom and it must be darker than the original color.
The gradient tool is great for creating an instant shading effect on the character, but it's not enough to give the depth we need on the whale. Add a third layer (place it between the previous two) and draw some darker shapes like shown above. Make sure that the outlines are placed over this new layer.
Use the transparency tool (or any other tool that can create transparency) and partially hide the shapes created in the previous step. These new shadows are now more subtle. It's a good thing if you want to keep the drawing easy to read.
Shadows are great, but adding reflection also helps us reach our goal of creating a 3D illustration (or something that looks 3D!). Duplicate the solid shapes used to create the plain colors and paint them white.
Once again, use the transparency tool to partially hide the bottom part of each white shapes. The character looks good, but we can do one last thing to make it even better!
Select the outlines and change the color using a dark (but not too dark) blue color. The goal is to make the lines less visible, giving to the drawing a more professional look. I hope you had fun creating this whale drawing and don't forget that you might need a few attempts to create a great drawing using a vector software. Practicing is the only key to success! :)
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