To celebrate the launch of our new Free Graphics area on FreeDesignClub.com we wanted to put together a quick tutorial on how to create a super cute Donut character.
Please note: This tutorial will be using Adobe Illustrator to create the character. We use the CS6 version of Illustrator, but both older and newer versions will suffice for this guide tutorial. This tutorial is also for advanced novices who have a reasonable understanding of the basic features of Illustrator.
1 – Open Adobe Illustrator and create a workspace at 1000 px wide and 1000 high.
2 – Next, on the left-hand side via your Tools menu bar, select the Ellipse tool. If your toolbar is not already showing click Windows, found at the top followed by “Tools”. The Ellipse tool can be found in the same section as the Rectangle tool. Simply click and hold until the slide-out menu appears, then select Ellipse.
3 – Somewhere in the centre of your document hold shift and create a circle. Holding shift ensures the height and width of our new shape are always equal. For this tutorial, the perfect size is not required. It should cover 60-70% of the space, but no more. This circle will act as the outer ring of our donut shape.
4 – You can also use the Ruler tool to help you align both rings for step five. Your rulers are measurement guides which should surround your workspace. They look like dark grey rulers (You can see the upper ruler in our image below).
One along the top of your document and one on the left. If you can see them, they are already set up. If not, you need to press CTRL + R (On a Windows machine) or CMD + R (On a Mac) to make them appear. First click on your large circle, then click and drag on the top ruler so your horizontal ruler appears. Lay it over the central icon on your outer ring. Repeat this process with the left ruler, laying it over your vertical icons on your outer rings shape. If done correctly it should look like this.
5 – Now click off the original shape you just created and once again select the Ellipse tool. Hold shift and draw the inner ring of our donut shape. Again, how big or small you make this is up to you. Use your design instinct and adjust both circles until the shapes look good together. It should look like this:
6. You can now remove the rulers. Just black them out (or click on them one by one) and click delete. Next, we need to add some color. Blackout (or select) both rings together and convert the file color to #ffca74 (or any color you desire).
This will color both circles with our chosen dough color. To do this, bring up your color palette by clicking Windows > Color and select the RGB palette in the dropdown. Then insert the code above after the hashtag. They should now look like this
7 – You will notice both rings are filled with color, which isn’t what we want for our donut shape. So what we need to do is minus the inner circle from the outer circle. But simply deleting the smaller shape won’t help, as we need our outer circle to have an inner hole, just like a donut would.
To do this you need to select both shapes and bring up the Pathfinder menu. Click Windows > Pathfinder. Ensuring both shapes are still selected, click on the second option under “Shape Modes”, entitled “Minus Front”. This will quite literally minus the front shape from the back leaving us with that nice outer circle with a big fat hole in it – Perfect! Here is ours shown below.
Helpful note: This may be a good time to save your work if your version of illustrator doesn’t have autosave set up.
8 – Now we need to decorate our shape with some icing/frosting. It does get a little more complex for these next few steps but stay with us, as these are the crucial shape creating techniques which once mastered, will allow you to create virtually anything within Illustrator.
We are going to add a pink icing area to the top quarter of the shape, to give our cute character a little face.
To do this, create a new layer (Windows > Layers) and then select “Create New Layer” in at the foot of the Layers tab. We do this to ensure everything we created for our dough colored shape, does not get edited by mistake when creating our icing design.
Next copy and paste your finished donut ring into Layer two. This will act as the outline of our icing area. We are copying the initial shape to ensure the curves match up perfectly. (Believe me, it’s much easier to copy and paste the original ring than try to re-create it from scratch).
Color the layer two ring with the color you wish to ice your donut. We chose #f99cb1. Ensure the circles line up perfectly. If done correctly, it should look like this.
9 – So currently our icing is covering our donut completely, which is great for sugar lovers but not so perfect for our design. So we want to cut out much of our icing layer to only leave a small section covering the upper ring.
Bring down a horizontal ruler to where you want your icing to get cut off. Again this is down to your design preference. You can see our ruler shown below. You don’t want it touching in the inner circle, as remember we still need to add in our drips of pink icing, so allow a little room.
10 – Now select your shape, and click on the “add anchor points tool”. You can find this under the pen tool in our toolbar area. Click and hold over the pen tool to open up the additional options and select “Add anchor points tool”.
Now ensuring your icing shape is selected, place two anchor points where the ruler intersects your shape on the left and the right. Shown below as 1 and 2 respectively.
Adding additional anchor points to our outer ring shape allows us to essentially remove everything below the ruler without compromising the upper quarter of our pink shape.
11 – To do this select the “Direct Selection Tool” (The white cursor in the toolbar) and click on each of the anchor points on our pink shape and delete them one by one. Don’t delete the two new anchor points we put down or anything above the ruler.
You should be left with this design:
12 – Next double click on the inner ring circle which is leftover and click delete, as this isn’t needed either.
13 – Next we need to make our icing drips. This is the last really complicated part, we promise. Select the pen tool found in our quick toolbar and ensuring none of the shapes are selected, click on the left anchor point you just put down for the icing shape.
14. We can now draw our curved drip marks. Whilst holding shift, click somewhere below your left anchor point a little further to the right then click and pull the anchor point right, this will curve the line downward. You want the line fairly curved, to appear realistic. Next, click back up toward the horizontal line, but not touching it, again curving your anchor point so the first drip mark appears. Repeat this process until your shape is complete, remember to finish the drip shape off by joining the last anchor point off with your right anchor from the original shape. If done correctly it will look similar to the image below. Feel free to mess around with this stage of the design until you are happy with the finished look.
15 – Next we need to combine the two icing shapes together. To do this, simply select both and via the Pathfinder tool (that we used earlier) select option one “Unite”.
16 – Next we will create a shadow on the donut ring shape. To do this, simply copy and paste two of your outer ring donut shapes into a new area of your document (or in a new document if easier).
17 – Now overlay them so that the upper ring is slightly higher and further right than the shape underneath. Here is what we mean
18 – Next select both shapes and via the Pathfinder menu, click “Minus Front”. This will leave you with a shape that looks a little like this:
19 – Delete the right hand downward pointing shape then color the new shadow shape in black and set the opacity to 10%. Then layer it back over our original donut shape. It should look like this.
20 – Now comes the fun part. As our shape is now complete we need to finish him off with two eyes and a mouth.
First, let’s create the eyes. Bring up your Stroke panel (Windows > Stroke). You can create your eyes and mouth at any thickness you please. We use a stroke of 16pts.
Again, within the strokes panel select “Round Cap” the central option under the Cap section. This means the end of our strokes or lines have a rounded finish, rather than a straight but harsh edge.
Lastly, we chose color #492726 but again you can choose any color you desire.
Now, with your stroke tool draw a small line around 1cm high. This can be expanded or reduced later however you like. Duplicate your stroke and line the two eyes up horizontally together, use a ruler if needs be.
21 – Now using the same stroke values, settings and color create the mouth. For this we used a ruler to ensure the two corners of the characters mouth lined up. Simply insert your first anchor point on the horizontal ruler, hold and drag a little lower to create a curved smile and then return the third anchor point to the horizontal line using roughly the same distance for points 1 and 2, as for points 2 and 3.
Align the mouth and eyes as you like. Here is our finished face design
22. To give him a little extra style I am going to add some sprinkles to our character. To do so I have copied and pasted one of the character’s eyes as this is already the perfect shape for what we need. The three color codes we used were:
- Pink = #fc9fb4
- Orange = #e99b50
- Brown = #8f5726
What do you think?
To finish the design off we added a little text! Looking good, isn’t he? You can download this file for free exclusively at FreeDesignClub.com.
That sums up our Donut character step by step guide. Let us know what you think! We would also love to see your designs, so please share them with us.
Thanks for reading!