In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw and color a face in Adobe Illustrator. By Natasha R. Graham
Let‘s take the mystery out of creating a vector face using Illustrator. Although there is no single way of doing it, I will guide you step-by-step from sketch to the finished illustration using the magnificent Pen Tool. No reference photos will be needed, just your vivid imagination and drawing skills combined with a basic knowledge of Adobe Illustrator.

1. Let‘s start by creating some basic line art as the base for the illustration. I used Corel Painter to draw it, but pen and paper work just as well! Draw a female face, bearing in mind the basic proportions of the human face.

2. Once you‘re done with the basics of the face, remove any rough pencil lines and add more details.

3. Finally, let‘s add some hair! Experiment with a few hair styles to see what suits the face best. It‘s totally up to you whether she‘ll have straight or curly hair. I prefer straight black hair.

4. If you were drawing using pen and paper, it‘s now time to scan your drawing. If you were drawing digitally, then simply save the image as a jpeg file on your computer.

5. Time to create our vector! Open Adobe Illustrator and create a new document 500×700, which should keep the final image nice and small.

Remember to select RGB color mode!

6. Now bring your pencil sketch into Illustrator using the “place” command.

Your sketch should look like this. Press Ctrl+A to deselect it.

7. It‘s always a good idea to use layers in your illustrations, but there‘s no need to create a separate layer for each individual shape. Create the first layer and title it “Skin.”

8. Following the outline of the face and neck, draw the skin using the Pen Tool, as this offers complete precision. Once done, your image should look like this:

9. On a new layer, titled “Hair,” draw in the hair, either using your custom made hair-brush or manually drawing each strand. Be patient — this stage can take a while! Remember to keep the skin and hair on separate layers.

10. Now it‘s time to draw the eyes and lips. You may choose to make the skin layer temporarily invisible to follow the lines of the original pencil drawing. Again, you will need a new layer, titled “eyes and lips,” to do this.

11. Now that we have the basics of the face in place, go back to the skin layer to add some shadows and highlights. This can be done by creating a shape similar to the area of the face that you would like to highlight or shadow, pasting it over the area and applying a darker or lighter color. The gradient option works well too.

As you can see, I‘ve added some shadow on the left side of the face, and a highlight on the shoulder.

12. On the eyes and lips layer, continue adding details, such as eyelashes, shadows and highlights. Here‘s what I‘ve come up with:

On the hair layer, I‘ve also added some multi-color strands of hair.

13. On a new layer, create a flower, and place it on the hair like this:

One way to create a flower is by placing artwork into your Illustrator file and tracing over it.

14. Create a background layer and move it underneath all of your other layers. Add another flower to create more interest.

Congratulations, you‘re done! Remove the layer with the sketch drawing as it is no longer needed. Thus, we end up with five separate layers which should make the illustration easy to edit.

This tutorial comes from Shutterstock’s Graphic Design Tips and Tricks page.

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