Hello guys, on today’s tutorial, we are going to learn how to develop an original robot character using Adobe Illustrator. We are going to need a bit of inspiration, some basic Illustrator tools and most of all, the willing of have fun and enjoy the design process. It ain’t going to be a realistic robot illustration but a cartoon-like one, OK, open up your Illustrator and let’s begin.
Look for inspiration
Well sure not all of us have the gift of being creative, but it’s also true that every person has the ability to imagine an be creative in different levels and areas. We want to make a robot, right?, so check out some robot designs and notice what do they have in common, having that established, it will be easier for you to design your original robot character.
Create the canvas
First of all, we need to create our canvas, which is going to be 800 px X 800 px, more than enough for us to place our artwork, the other important values are RGB color mode and 72 dpi, these last to are making reference to the fact that we will be working for screen instead of printed medias.
Time to start our robot
OK, the first thing that we’re going to do is the left arm of our robot; using the pen tool, let’s trace the following shape (remember that for making straight turns you need to click over the last anchor point and then continue drawing, otherwise, you will be making curved turns).
Try not to use many anchor points because that will reduce the smoothness of our shape.
Now we need to colorize our robot’s arm, use a gray tone for the stroke, which must be at 1 pt and basic brush.
As for the filling, we are going to use a radial type gradient, –129 angle and 100 % aspect radio.
This was a practice exercise for us to determine the proper gradient for the filling, it’s time to make some extra adjustments to make our robot’s arm to look great. Using the knife tool, let’s make some divisions similar to those on Futurama Bender’s arm, hopefully our robot doesn’t get as beer addict as our beloved Bender ha ha.
Take a look at the first cut, all the rest are exactly the same.
Complete all the divisions until you finally get something like this:
With the divisions made, we proceed adjusting each part’s properties, let’s start from above. The stroke will remain the same across the whole arm, is the fill what we’re going to modify, but not on its color properties, just in terms of the gradient position. Hit the G key to see the gradient modifier, all you need to do is switch every part’s gradient position so we can work out a nice volume vibe.
Notice that the G key allow us to modify the gradient beyond the standard adjustments, let’s see all the remaining part to see where the gradient handler needs to be placed on each occasion.
Zoom out and take a look at the arm, it looks great, isn’t it?.
Next thing to do is the shoulder, which is basically an ellipse filled with a gradient and a stroke. Using the ellipse tool, draw the shoulder and give it a 2 pt stroke.
If you hold Shift while making specific shapes, you can make them perfectly symmetrical.
As for the fill, let’s use a 5 color gradient (radial type, 0 angle and 101 % aspect radio) and move the gradient center (G) towards the left side of the object.
As for the other colors, here are the screenshots.
Now copy paste the shoulder (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + F) and there are two things to do initially, first, remove the stroke and second, use the knife tool to divide it in two pieces, then clear the left part.
This is because we are going to make a shadow over the shoulder, is on these details where we reach quality on any design. Also move the gradient’s center to the left.
It looks nice but I’m not satisfied, let’s play with the transparency and switch the blending mode to multiply and the opacity to 50 %.
Next part is the torso, simply use the pen tool to draw it and give it a 2 pt stroke.
Regarding the fill, we used a 5 color gradient (radial type, –29 angle and 100 aspect radio) and moved the gradient’s center to the left.
And these are the color values left.
Using the pen tool let’s add a little detail that will indicate the area where the robot’s head will be placed.
The stroke properties will be 1 pt and basic brush.
Copy paste this line and move it a little bit over the original, then change the stroke color for a dirty green.
After this part, we are moving towards the right arm and for start, we’re going to make the hole where the arm goes into, use the ellipse for fulfilling this purpose.
Use a 2 color gradient for the filling (radial type, 0 angle and 100 % aspect radio).
Copy paste twice (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + F) this element, leave the first copy on the exactly same position as the original and as for the second copy, increase its size a little bit and move it towards the right.
Then select both copies and look for the pathfinder window at Windows>pathfinder.
Make sure that you still have the two copies selected, then click on the second button of the first row at the pathfinder menu. Apparently nothing will happen, but it did, we’ve just cleared the inner ellipse area from the big copy. We can now change its filling for a 2 color gradient (linear type and 0 angle).
With this base ready, we can start making the right shoulder, so grab the ellipse tool.
Assign to this shape a 2 pt stroke, basic brush.
We need a 5 color gradient for the filling, radial type, 0 angle and 98 % aspect radio.
Check below the remaining color values for this gradient.
Coming up are the left hand’s finger, simple task for us :), using the pen tool, draw the basic shape and place a 1 pt stroke on it.
As for the fill, let’s go with a 5 color gradient (radial type, –106 angle and 100 % aspect radio).
And these are the other color values that conform the gradient.
We are done with the first fingers, now let’s move on to the division stage, take your knife tool and let’s the operation begin.
Now we have our finger cut like this.
Like we did with the arm, let’s adjust the color properties of each one of the divisions. The stroke will remain the same all the time, so the adjustments will only occur in terms of the gradient.
Then we make the main body of the hand, for this purpose we use the ellipse tool.
For this object we will use a 1 pt stroke, basic brush.
And how should we fill it?, yes, with a gradient (radial type, 0 angle and 100 % aspect radio) :).
These are the same color values tan before, but just in case, lets check them out one more time.
Move to the right so we can start making the right arm, trace it using the pen tool.
And use a 1 pt line for the stroke of the object.
And now the gradient that fills the arm, you know what to do, the fill parameters will be radial type and 199 aspect radio.
And the other color values are the following:
And then comes the division, so grab the knife tool and start cutting.
And it will look like this.
As you know, every division must keep the same properties than before the original was cut, I’m talking about both the stroke and the filling gradient. All we need to do is hit the G key and start adjusting the gradient centers.
And done with this part, so far our robot character must be looking closer to this.
Let’s add another finger to the left hand, select the pen tool and start vectorizing.
We are using a 1 pt stroke for this finger.
Filling goes like this, a 5 color gradient (radial type, –116 angle and 100 % aspect radio).
And now take the knife tool and make the cutting, you already know how to do it :).
You must leave the finger looking like this.
And as usual, keep both the filling and stroke properties untouched, then hit the G key and start making the proper adjustments.
The two left have the following gradient’s center position.
Great, we are doing fine so far, it’s to finish this hand by making the last finger.
As usual, we set a 1 pt stroke for the exterior of the figure.
Then comes the gradient filling (radial type, –116 angle and 100 % aspect radio), the colors are exactly the same than the ones used on the other fingers.
After that, you know that it’s time for the cutting to start, so hurry up and select your knife tool.
And the cutting process must leave us with something like this.
We removed intentionally the filling so you can look with detail the figure, but on your computer, the filling should be there. Now hit the G key and start making the gradient adjustments.
And that finishes our left hand, next thing to do is our robot’s neck.
After drawing the basic shape, give it a 1 pt stroke, basic brush.
As for the filling, we will use a similar gradient with similar tones but the angle changes to 44.
Pay attention to the gradient’s center, you need to adjust it by hitting the G key. But anyway, we are going to divide it right now with out mighty knife tool.
The color values will remain the same both for the stroke and the gradient filling, all we need to do is press the G key and adjust the gradient centers.
Let’s add a subtle glow over the robot’s torso, for start select the pen tool and draw the basic shape. Then fill it with a black and white gradient, linear type and 0 angle.
Now to make our element more glow-like, let’s switch the blending mode to screen and reduce the opacity to 50 %.
Great guys, know we have reached the final part and we’re done with our robot, so keep it up.
Making the head
Right, things have been pretty easy this far, now it’s time to increase the difficulty of this tutorial, we are going to create our robot’s head. For start, we need to select the pen tool and draw the basic shape that will determine the working space from now on.
We now proceed implementing a 2 pt stroke to the object with a basic brush.
As for the fill, let’s use a five color gradient (radial type, 88.4 angle and 77.6 aspect radio).
I bet you’re probably saying at this moment something like “What the hell?, my gradient looks different!!!” and you’re right, that’s because we haven’t hit the G key, which allows to make changes to the gradient’s center. Use it and you will be able to get the same gradient as we did.
The next shape we need to trace is the first insinuation of our robot’s mouth.
This shape is particular in terms of the gradient, because we need to reduce to 0 % the opacity of one of the gradient’s colors, (the properties are linear type and 54.3 angle), there’s also a need of using the G key to move a little bit the gradient’s center.
Now a tiny line to demarcate the last gradient, just trace it with the pen tool.
And with a 1 pt stroke (basic brush) is more than enough.
Using the ellipse tool, let’s make a small shape on the top of robot’s head.
Use a black and white gradient (linear type and 0 angle) to fill it, then switch its blending mode to screen and reduce the opacity to 60%.
Maybe another glow will be a nice complement for this ellipse, let’s do it.
Similar process, fill with the black and white gradient (linear type and 0 angle) and adjust the blending mode to screen, then reduce the opacity to 50 %.
Let’s begin with the eyes, you can make them however you like, for example we are making them big and rounded.
OK, follow these next steps to complete the shape. First you need to fill the object with a 2 color gradient (radial type, 0 angle and 136 % aspect radio), then adjust the gradient’s center hitting the G key, finally, switch the blending mode to multiply.
Copy paste this element (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + F) and reduce its size a little bit, then move it to the right. After doing that, we need to modify the gradient’s colors, the new gradient will have a total of 4 colors, do not change the type, angle or aspect radio.
Copy paste (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + F) these two ellipses and place them at the left side of the head, as you can see, there’s a perspective issue, and that’s why you need to decrease the size of the duplicated element.
The next thing to do is the pupils, let’s start with the right eye, select the ellipse tool and draw it.
We used a 1 pt stroke (basic brush), check it out.
This is probably the most complex fill on the entire tutorial, but don’t worry, we will show you step by step. The gradient filling consists of five colors and comes in radial type, 94.6 angle and 79.86 % aspect radio. It’s important to check the position of each color inside the gradient bar, otherwise you won’t get the result that we’re looking for.
Great work guys, we’re doing well, just a few more steps and our robot will be completed. Copy paste (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + F) the pupil and put it over the left eye, now our robot can stare to the infinite and beyond!!!.
Because it’s a robot, it’s necessary to place occasionally dividing lines indicating that our robot is made of assembled parts. Select the pen tool and trace the next line.
The line must be 2 pt width and basic brush.
Copy paste (Ctrl + c, Ctrl + F) the line and move it over the original line, then change its color towards a darker green tone.
Now our robot wants to yell, but he does not have a mouth, let’s give him one, this is what you need to do. Draw a large shape and give it a 1pt stroke.
The shape must look closer to this:
Remember what we did with the arms?, well we need to repeat that process, select the knife tool and start cutting until you get the following result.
OK, now let’s adjust the gradient fill for each part of the object.
Look at the following screenshot in order to complete each part’s filling, all the divisions have the exactly same gradient properties, so when you complete the first one, the rest will come out easily.
That was the stroke, now let’s see how the filling goes.
We need to reunite all this divisions into a single layer, select all the layers that you have used so far on the making of our robot’s mouth, then make click over the right menu at the layer section and select “Collect in one layer”.
And now that we have done this, we can assign some extra properties to the layer that will affect all the divisions of the previous shape that we were working at.
Pay attention to these part, go to Windows>Appearance and then we can begin working with layers.
From the appearance window, let’s start by adding a new fill, click on the button “add new fill”.
This fill is going to be a 2 color gradient (radial type, 0 angle and 57.16 % aspect radio), both colors are the same, but one of those (the right one) has a 0 % opacity.
Add another fill to the appearance section and adjust the gradient to the following parameters: Radial type, –0.15 angle and 81.52 % aspect radio, also leave in 0 % the opacity of the left side color.
Now we need you to draw a clipping path, for doing this, you need to first vectorize the figure with the pen tool.
Then adjust the stroke to 1 pt basic brush and fill it with a solid color.
Yes, the previous object should be seeing, we removed manually in Adobe Photoshop to help you realize better the structure of the figure that we will be using for the clipping path. Select everything (of the mouth of course) and go to the layer menu, then open the contextual menu and select “Make Clipping Mask”, now our robot’s mouth has been completed.
That was the tuffest part of this tutorial, what comes next is very simple, that means that our robot is almost ready, hurry up and grab the pen tool and start making the next object.
This next figure is a glow, fill it with a black and white gradient (linear type and 0 angle) and then change its blending mode to screen and reduce its opacity to 50 %.
Then we’re going to add a subtle shadow over the mouth, draw it using the pen tool.
Assign a 1 pt stroke to our shadow object.
Adjust its filling to a two color gradient (radial type, 0 angle and 100 % aspect radio) and reduce its opacity to 53 %, also make sure that the gradient’s center is at the same place that the screenshot.
Then we add a highlight over the left eye of our robot.
Fill it with a black and white gradient (linear type and 0 angle) and adjust the blending mode to screen, after that, you need to reduce the opacity to 60 %.
Same thing for the right eye.
No further changes on this part.
More highlights, the next one goes on the lower part of the left eye.
Once again, do not make any changes to the gradient values.
Keep it up, we’re almost there, just a couple of minutes before we finish our robot, next part is another highlight.
This one needs you to change the angle to –37.8.
Let’s add another classical structure line to our robot’s head.
The line must have a 2 pt stroke, basic brush.
Copy paste (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + F) the line and put it a little above the original, the switch the stroke color for a darker tone of green.
Perhaps an additional glow near the mouth will look nice, let’s give it a shot.
Fill this one with the classic black and white gradient (linear type and 0 angle), then adjust the blending mode to screen and reduce the opacity to 50 %.
And here comes the final part, a true robot must have an antenna!!!, right Bender?.
This one has a 6 pt stroke, basic brush.
And the little ball that goes on top of any robot’s antenna.
First is the stroke, I think that a 2 pt basic brush is more than enough.
As for the filling it goes like this: 5 color gradient (radial type, 0 angle and 100 % aspect radio).
And that’s it, the robot is finished, aren’t you happy?, I think this has been one of the most amusing tutorials to the date, take all the time you need to fulfill it and let us know your results. We also like to ask you to leave all your suggestions and comments regarding Tutorialshock, we are always looking to improve the quality of our contents, thanks for reading us and well, see you next time.