By Mary Winkler
What You’ll Be Creating
Represent the Lollipop Guild and the Lullaby League with this cute illustration tutorial. We’ll work together with a sketch, build up solid shapes, create line art, render our illustration, and create a simple background worthy of Oz itself. Journey over the rainbow for this super-cute chibi-style tutorial!
1. Start at the Top
Let’s start with the provided sketch, which you can download at the link to the right. I’ve opened it up in Adobe Illustrator CC and placed it on its own layer. It’ll be used as a guideline for the rest of this tutorial. Alternatively, you can design your own characters and follow along with the techniques and steps outlined below to create a different, personalized design.
Let’s start with the Lullaby League girl’s head!
Let’s draw some quick and easy ears and create outlines for the ears and head.
For the outlines, either add dark brown strokes to each shape or Copy and Paste each shape and Align their corresponding object above them in the Layers panel.
Let’s focus a bit on the arms. Use the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N) (whichever you’re more comfortable using) and trace each arm.
2. Draw the Dress
I reduced the Opacity of the entire sketch layer in the Layers panel to about 40% or so. This makes it easier for me to trace my original sketch.
I took the other dress parts in steps, all traced from the original sketch.
We’ll better define these dress components in the next few steps.
The ruffled side bits should be broken down into sections: top portions and undersides.
If you’d rather have a more symmetrical dress, you can do the following:
Group together your dress parts for now and we’ll get on to the legs.
3. Draw the Legs and Shoes
For the shoe, I drew a large shape over the foot with the Pencil Tool.
Group together all of your leg components.
Copy, Paste, and Reflect the leg we drew in the previous step. Place it behind the first and place both legs beneath the dress components. I gave the arm group an outline as well by Uniting each arm’s components and then Copying and Pasting the arms to create the outlines.
The hair and the hat are more of the same: trace components of the design (hide the head so you can see the hair more easily and repeat with the hat).
Group together your hair components.
Let’s take a look at the full body design and each of its sections. I Grouped together each of these seven sections, which are made up of the following components:
Each section is layered in the order seen above within the Layers panel.
4. Detail the Head
Since I’m using a pressure-sensitive graphic tablet, I’m prone to creating line art with the Blob Brush Tool. My settings for the tool are seen below: Smooth with Pressure Enabled at 6 pt in size.
You are welcome to use the drawing tool of your choice and either trace the line art from the sketch, or create thick and thin lines with stroked paths and the Width Tool.
I locked my body components layer for now and am working on a New Layer for line art. As we complete each section, I’ll Group the line work together, place it within the main art layer we worked in previously, and then go back to the line art layer.
I placed the sketch layer above my body layer and set the Blending Mode to Multiply for the whole layer in the Transparency panel. Make sure the only unlocked layer is the line art layer while you work on creating line art.
You can see my layer order in the panel below.
In the line art layer, begin to either trace the curls of the hair or draw your own.
Let’s take a look at my line art process in action. Working on the hat in the line art layer, I started with the thicker outline and then drew thin, curved lines in order to show how ruffled the brim of the hat is. Once again, Group together your hat line art and place the group above the hat group in the body layer.
I kept the hat and hair visible in the body layer while I worked on the face. I outlined the head and ears again, giving the ears a bit more detail, and then set to work on the face itself, starting with the right eye.
The nose is a single dot, and the eye’s highlights are white hearts and circles. Group everything together and place it below the hair but above the head in the Layers panel.
5. Detail the Body
Place the bow components over the collar pleats. The pleats will go above the collar in the Layers panel, and the bow will go below the head.
Working on the top of the dress, we want to define the folds and pleats in the dress itself.
Vary the pleat styles for each section of the skirt, Group together your line art, and place it above the skirt group but below the collar group in the Layers panel.
For the bottom of the skirt, consider the sections defined in the sketch:
Each section has two or three fold lines in them. Place this group of line work below the first skirt group but above the second.
The ribbons on the shoes are folded and wrapped around the legs. Some of the lines on the ribbons travel across them entirely, while others stop in the middle.
The shoe itself just needs a line to separate it from the leg and another to show the seam at the opening.
Let’s take a look at my completed line art. I added a couple of details to each arm as well as defining the toe edge of the ballet shoes. Each line art group sits above its corresponding body section in the Layers section.
6. Render With Gradients
Let’s take a look at the general styles of gradients I’ll be using to render the lullaby character.
All of the gradients go from 100% to 0% Opacity.
- For shadows, gradients are Linear with Blending Modes set to Multiply. Colors are a darker hue than the one they’re overlapping.
- Blush is a Radial gradient also set to Multiply. Since it’s blush, its color is pink.
- Highlight shapes are either Radial or Linear, depending on what works best (on the face I chose radial gradients for highlights and on clothes I used mostly Linear gradients) with the Blending Mode set to Screen.
I also played with the Opacity of the shapes themselves, depending on how dark or light I wanted a shape to be.
Like the line art, each gradient section is worked on in its own layer and then placed within the main body layer, beneath the line art but above the body shapes.
For the face, I drew—with the Pen Tool and Pencil Tool, depending on the control I wanted to have—shadow shapes to help define the cast shadow from the hair. These shapes follow the contour of the hair itself.
I drew ovals for the blush under the eyes, on the cheeks. There is a small ellipse below the nose with a shadow gradient (tan to light tan) and there are highlight shapes drawn on top of the nose and chin (Radial gradients set to Screen).
I drew shadows on each hair section, defining cast shadows from each overlapping section as well as some of the curls in the hair. The gradients are Linear and go from dark yellow to the yellow of the hair itself. Group together shadow components.
The highlights were drawn on each curl with Radial gradients set to Screen. You can either use light yellow or the same yellow used for the hair. Group together your highlight shapes.
Place both groups above the hair but below the hair’s line art in the Layers panel.
The shadows on the body and clothes are fairly simple: they define cast shadows (like those on the arms) and folds (like those on the dress).
Work through each section creating groups of shadows and groups of highlights. Body shadows and highlights are hues of tan and peach (for my design) and the dress has various hues of pink. Take note of the direction of each gradient shape below. Use the Gradient Tool (G) to adjust your gradients’ angles and radii, depending on the style of gradient you’ve created.
Let’s take a look at my gradient groups without the character’s body.
There isn’t a ton of rendering to be done on this design. I added both shadows and highlights to the hat, showing how ruffly the top and brim are, as well as the curving shape of the hat itself. Layering transparent gradients is a great way to render an item quickly within an illustration.
The lower skirt shapes have more shadows on them since they’re beneath the rest of the dress. Additionally, the legs have cast shadows from the dress and the shoes have stronger highlights than the other items, since ballet shoes tend to be made of satin.
Group together each of your gradient sections and place them above their body components and below their line art groups within the Layers panel.
7. Draw the Lollipop Guild Boy
This process is a bit quicker, since we’ve done it previously. I’ll be speeding up the tutorial, making note of alternate techniques, in order to complete the second character in fewer steps.
The arms of this character benefit from being done in three pieces versus just two.
Not every part of the arms shows in this design. Part of the character’s right arm is covered by the giant lollipop stick and most of the body is covered by clothes.
For this character, I opted to create the initial outlines by simply adding a stroke to the filled object in the Stroke panel with Caps and Corners set to Rounded.
Like the character before this one, the body is broken down into a variety of sections:
- Lollipop Stick
To make sure the hand overlapped the lollipop stick, an additional hand shape was drawn over the stick, matching the first that is set in the group well below it.
8. Draw the Lollipop Guild Line Art
Let’s start up with the hair. Once again, you can follow along with the curls drawn in the sketch, or create your own. There are fewer sections (only three), so there’s less to create this time around.
The hair curls up in the center and at the sides. Note the shorter lines drawn on the large section to the right, which shows the structure of the hair.
The face is fairly simple as well. I’m using the Blob Brush Tool to draw all of these details, but you can use whatever drawing tool serves you best.
Let’s check out some of the clothing details:
Here’s a quick shot of most of the line art isolated. I found it easiest to complete it all in one go and group it together so that when I created my gradient shapes they would go beneath the line art. You can use whichever technique for creating and ordering your line art within your Layers panel you like best.
Here’s a shot of the completed line art and completed body design with the sketch layer hidden. As you can see, I’ve added more details to the lollipop itself, including some sparkly stars, and some additional details on the shoes. From here, we’re ready for this character’s brief gradient section.
9. Render the Lollipop Guild Boy
Focusing on the face first, I want to make sure the bald portion of the head is shiny with a highlight shape, and the hair is still casting a shadow on the right side of the face. The cheeks, nose, and chin are highlighted as well. Group your shadow and highlights from the face together and place them beneath the hair group and above the head group.
Looking at the hair, notice how the highlights keep the hair looking shiny, as though this character smoothed it down and sculpted the curls with pomade. The shadows create depth between each section that’s been defined by the line art.
For the body, the shadows aren’t as strong as the fold-filled dress worn by the Lullaby League girl.
Continue with the shoes and legs, rendering it in the same manner as done with the character before this one.
10. Create the Background
Each character is on its own locked layer. I’ve hidden the sketch layer and am working on a background layer beneath the two characters. Draw a large blue circle with the Ellipse Tool and four horizontal lines of varying lengths drawn with the Line Segment Tool (/).
Draw several short, vertical lines between the horizontal ones to create bricks. Group the brick lines together and lock them in the Layers panel. Lock the blue background circle too.
Using the Pencil Tool or the Blob Brush Tool, draw a large, scribbly shape to create the base for the gold bricks.
Place the sparkle group below the brick line art and unlock the other background components.
To create a quick rainbow, draw six identical rectangles and set their colors to some version of a rainbow. Group the rectangles together and go to Effect > Warp > Arc with the following attributes:
- Bend: 86%
Under Object, hit Expand Appearance.
Rotate the rainbow and place it in the background of your design. I’ve hidden the characters for now so you can easily see my rainbow’s placement.
With your preferred drawing tool, draw a couple of white clouds on either side of your design.
Draw circles, blobs, or half circles to create a series of green hills behind your characters. Add some little brown ‘v’s to create birds flying in the distance.
Group together the blue circle, rainbow, birds, clouds, and hills. Copy and Paste the circle from the group and place it over the background group. Select both and Create a Clipping Mask (Control-7). Place the clipping group beneath the brick road components in the background layer.
Share Your Completed Design
Add some finishing touches of background line art and sparkles, or even go further and render your background with gradient shapes. Share your result from this tutorial or an illustration using the techniques of this tutorial in the comment section below!