Not long ago I saw “The Princess and The frog” and found it very inspiring. I thought it would be a good exercise to draw a 20s chick which can be used for desktop or iPhone wallpaper. In this tutorial I will guide you through how to draw in Adobe Illustrator CS4 a girl from the 20s. I will be mainly using the Pen Tool (P) and Direct Selection Tool (A) and bold colors.
So Let’s start
For me, almost all pictures start with a sketch. It doesn’t have to be really good, just guidelines for further work. This picture I’m using for this tutorial was taken by a simple webcam in my laptop.
Place a sketch on the board File > Place on the first layer and lock it (click empty square next to the eye in layer options to see a lock icon). Create a new layer and toggle its visibility so that only the lines you draw will be visible. Ctrl + Click on the eye icon of the layer.
Now with the Pen Tool, follow the lines of the sketch to create a base for the girl figure. At this point, don’t bother with details too much. I don’t draw eyes, mouth. I also skipped the shawl around girl’s hands. Moreover I don’t fully follow the sketch from below, because it contains some anatomical mistakes.
When finished toggle visibility again – Ctrl + Click on the eye icon.
As you can see we have nothing exceptional now. Shapes have to be rearranged to give a better look. Select shape and bring it forward or backward Ctrl+[ – backward, Ctrl+] forward. After few rearrangements we get this:
At this point I also stop working with the sketch and make the layer containing it invisible. Before starting to color, all parts have to be polished. Sometimes redrawn.
For example I redrew the front leg and shortened the girl’s hand. I added a shoe. To do this I used a small trick, which I will also use for drawing shadows the skin.
To draw a shoe that will fit exactly with the leg, draw a shape covering part of the feet. It doesn’t have to be too regular, but has to cover the whole part where the shoe is going to be. Now select both the shape and leg with the Selection Tool (V). Copy them Ctrl + C and paste next to the picture Ctrl + V.
Now having selected the pasted shape and leg use Intersect from the Pathfinder menu Window > Pathfinder. And you have a beautiful shoe!
Usually I use Swatches prepared by AI. You can see that I use their Skin Tones. I also delete Shape Lines.
Now it is time for the details. Starting from the head again, using the Pen Tool I drew a dark eye shape. Now Select it (V) and use Object > Path > Offset Path > and set offset for -1px.
Thanks to this, you will get smaller version of the previously drawn shape. In this version the eyes are sweet and innocent, but making the dark part a little bit wider and drawing small eyelashes can make the eyes more mysterious.
Set it to white and move it a little bit so the dark shape will form an eyelash border around the eye. Draw a pupil using the Ellipse Tool (L) and cut it using the same technique as for the shoe.
Draw a second eye in the same manner. Draw Shadows on the face and on other body parts the same way as the shoe.
Add eyebrows by copying and pasting the shadow. Bring it backward under the shadows. Add shadow to the nose, and don’t forget the lips, all with the Pen Tool.
Once the face is done, let’s do the legs. Select the front one, Copy and Paste it. Draw on it two lines that will be part of the stockings.
Select the lines and leg together and use the Divide tool from the Pathfinder menu. Thanks to this you will get 3 parts. Color the stripe black. For the stocking we will prepare a really simple pattern.
Draw a short diagonal line. With help of smart guides, draw a second line that will cross the first one.
Now select both lines and drag them to the Swatches menu.
Apply this pattern to the stocking.
Now do the same for the second leg. Add few touches like a cigarette in the hand. Set the background by drawing a rectangle filled with color. Don’t forget to draw the fur and feather. For this I used the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a few shapes freehand. I also added a fragment of the second hand, another shoe and a cigarette to make the picture better.
You will notice that I forgot to draw shadows on the legs. Also I think that at this point the legs are too long. I re-sized them.
The advantage of bold colors is that you can change them freely to achieve the best result. I do it very often because I like to see the whole composition. Finally I added shadow with the use of the Ellipse Tool. Without this, the figure looks to be floating in the picture.
This could be the end of our work but we can go even further. To open your file with Photoshop I use Adobe Bridge. To do it just open BR and right click > Open with Photoshop. It is really simple. What you get is a single layer of your vector graphic. Now all you need to do is resize it to a desired size, for example 1280×800 (laptop screen) or 480×320 (iPhone). To make it easier when you import the file you can decide on the exact size.
I set Height: 800px. Now go to Image > Canvas size and set the width 1280px. You will get blank space on the left and on the right. Use the Eyedropper Tool to pick up your background color and then fill the empty spaces with the Paint Bucket tool.
Now let us add some old look style. Find some grunge wallpaper, for example this one
Image credit: calebkimbrough
and add it onto your wallpaper as a second layer and change it mode into Soft Light.
And finally, here is how it looks like.
Play around with opacity (mine is around 70%) and that’s it! Now you can repeat the last steps to make an iPhone wallpaper.