How to Create an Illustration for International Women’s Day in Adobe Illustrator
One of the early spring celebrations in many countries of the world is International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8. Wives, daughters, grandmas and girlfriends will get a little gift and bouquets of flowers.
Therefore, in this tutorial we will create an illustration of three happy women who already have their gifts—flowers. As in my previous tutorials, we will use basic shapes, which will be modified by using different effects. You will see how simple it is.
Once you have mastered this tutorial, it will be super easy to create any woman or girl by changing the skin color, hair style, and of course, the clothes. That’s basically what we will do today: we will create one woman, and then, by changing the skin color, hair, and clothes, we will transform her into another one. I’m sure you will be very creative here!
After opening Adobe Illustrator and creating a new document with 850 x 850 px Width and Height, we will start by drawing the head, which will be the same for all the women. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw an oval. In the image below, you can see which fill color you need. Change this shape: go to Effect > Warp > Fish. Enter the options you see below and press OK.
For the eye, first create a brown oval (use the Ellipse Tool (L)). And rotate it slightly to the left. Next, create a white ellipse in front of the brown one (use Control-C and Control-F). Shift it diagonally down and to the right.
Finish the eye with a tiny dark brown circle. To make an even circle, use the Ellipse Tool (L) while holding down the Shift key. In the end, group the whole eye (right-click > Group).
Place the eye on the left side of the head. Take the Reflect Tool (O) and, while holding down the Alt key, click the forehead. In the new dialogue window, select Vertical, Angle 90degrees and press Copy. You should now have two eyes.
Place a little circle on the face where the nose has to be. Create another circle, and while keeping it selected, take the Eyedropper Tool (I) and click on the face. Now your new circle will get the same color as the face. Make the two circles overlap so you can see just the crescent shape. This is the nose.
Using the same technique, create an ear. First, draw an ellipse and place it on the left side of the head (the same fill color as the head). If you want to, you can rotate it a little to the left. Then create a smaller, darker ellipse over it. Make it overlap with the new ellipse (the same fill color as the head), so you can see just a crescent shape.
Take the Reflect Tool (O) and, while holding down the Alt key, click in the middle of the head. In the new dialogue window, select Vertical, Angle 90 degrees and press Copy. You should now have two ears.
Let’s make the eyebrow. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a thin, horizontal, dark-colored oval. Then take the Direct Selection Tool (A), select by dragging the top and bottom anchor points of the oval, and slide them up. This will be the eyebrow.
Place the eyebrow over on the left side. Feel free to rotate it however you want—just don’t make her angry! Create another eyebrow using the same technique as you used to create the eyes and ears. Now you have two eyebrows.
To draw the mouth, draw a new horizontal ellipse. Select this new ellipse and transform the left and right anchor points by clicking on them using the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C).
Create a new white ellipse in front (Control-C, Control-F). Shrink it down, but be sure the white ellipse stays inside the brown one. Very important: group the whole mouth.
After this, go to Effect > Warp > Arc and enter the options you see below. The smiling mouth is ready!
Place the mouth in its place.
Using the Rectangle Tool (M), add a rectangle under the head to create the neck. It should be the same fill color as the face. While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. In the new dialogue window, enter the options you see in the image below. Expand this shape (Object > Expand Appearance).
To finish the head, let’s add some curly hair. Draw a big circle behind the head. Keep it selected and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Do it a few times, and you will notice how anchor points are being added evenly on the circle.
Then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat. In the new dialogue window, move your slider to the right end, to get 6%, and then press OK. You should end up with a shape that looks like curly hair. Do not forget to expand this shape (Object > Expand Appearance).
2. How to Create the Body
In this step, we will create the woman’s body. Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, create a brown rounded rectangle. To modify this shape again, we’ll use the Bulge effect (Effect > Warp > Bulge) with the options shown below. It is important to expand this shape (Object > Expand Appearance).
Next, create a copy of this shape in front (Control-C, Control-F), and change the color of the copy to yellow. Now, to create a neckline, we will cut away the upper part of the yellow shape. For the cutter, create an oval with any fill color you want. Make sure that the oval overlaps the top part of the rounded rectangle as shown below. While keeping these two shapes selected, press the Minus Front button on the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder).
Let’s add the left sleeve. Create a small rounded rectangle and attach it to the left side of the body. To change the shape of the sleeve, we will delete the two bottom anchor points of this rounded rectangle, which are marked on the image. Just take the Delete Anchor Point Tool(-) and click on the two anchor points to delete them. You will end up with a yellow sleeve.
To create the arms, we will start with a thin vertical oval placed behind the left sleeve. To modify this oval, we will use the Arc effect (Effect > Warp > Arc) with the options shown below. Expand the created shape and slightly rotate it to the left.
To create the second arm, select the sleeve and the arm (while holding the Shift button), and make their vertical reflection as you did for the eyes and ears. Move the new copy to the right.
To continue the dress, we will add a yellow rectangle and attach it to the bottom part of the body. Next, we will modify this rectangle in two steps. First we’ll use the Bulge effect (Effect > Warp > Bulge).
Then, we’ll use the Arc Lower effect (Effect > Warp > Arc Lower). Don’t forget to expand this shape.
To finalize the dress, we will add a pink belt: create a thin rectangle under the arms and over the dress. Then apply the Arc effect with the options shown below.
3. How to Create the Legs
For the first leg, we will create four different ovals, modified by warp effects.
For the top part of the leg, create a brown, vertically oriented ellipse and apply the Warp effect options: Effect > Warp > Arc Lower (Vertical, Bend 20%, Distortion Horizontal 0%, Distortion Vertical -70%, OK). The black stroke was added for better visibility, but you don’t actually need it.
For the knee, add another small oval.
Next, for the calf, create a thin, vertically aligned oval and attach it below. Again, apply the following effect: Effect > Warp > Arc Lower (Vertical, Bend 20%, Distortion Horizontal 0%, Distortion Vertical -100%, OK).
Finally, for the foot, add a small oval on the bottom of the leg. Apply Effect > Warp >Inflate (Bend -30%, Distortion Horizontal 0%, Distortion Vertical 100%, OK). Remember to expand all the created shapes. Just select the whole leg and go to Object > Expand Appearance.
Next, select all four of the shapes and, using the Unite button on the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder), unite them. Now we have one shape.
But this leg looks a bit odd, and that’s why you want to make the anchor points marked in the image smooth instead of sharp. Be sure you’ve checked View > Show Corner Widget. Then, by using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select each anchor point and shift the tiny circle near it outward. You’ll notice how the anchor points become smooth. Make sure to do this step for the rest of the anchor points marked on the image below.
For the shoes, create an oval and place it behind the leg. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the bottom anchor point up. Then, add another small oval in front of it. Modify it by using the following effect: Effect > Warp > Inflate (Bend -30%, Distortion Horizontal 0%, Distortion Vertical 25%, OK). Expand it.
Place the right leg behind the dress. Make a vertical copy of the leg. Move the created copy to the left. Our first woman is done!
4. How to Create the Second Woman
As I mentioned before, to create a new woman, we need to take the previous one and change her skin, eyes, eyebrows, and lip colors. As all people are different, make her face and neck wider.
Start the second lady’s haircut with two ellipses. Be sure they are behind the head, and then create a new ellipse in front. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the handles of the anchor points to achieve a result similar to the image below. Remember to hold the Alt button when you want to change the direction of the handles.
To give her a glamorous look, let’s create pink glasses, which will match her lips. First, select her lips, and then click somewhere on your artboard to take off the selection. But you still have the fill color you want. Then press the Shift-X buttons and you will notice that the fill color became the stroke color. And that is exactly what you want. Then draw an oval over the left eye.
Now, go to: Effect > Warp > Inflate (Bend -30%, Distortion Horizontal -10%, Distortion Vertical 0%, OK).
To create the right part of the glasses, make a vertical reflection of the left one. Take the ArcTool and draw the bridge of the glasses in the middle.
Add two arcs for the temples. The glasses are ready!
For the body, we will use the shape we created for the first woman. Change the color of this shape to white. For better visibility, I added a black stroke color, which will not be present in the final image. To change the shape of the neckline, hit the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the handles of the anchor points to achieve the result you see below.
Next, add the left arm (make a copy of the arm created for the first woman) and change its thickness by moving the anchor points (use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to activate anchor points editing). Make a vertical reflection of the left arm.
Now we will create the pants for the second woman. Make a copy of the pink belt created for the first woman, and then change its color. Add a red rectangle as the left leg.
Now modify this rectangle by using the Fish effect: select the circle, and go to Effect > Warp > Fish (Vertical, Bend 20%, Distortion Horizontal 0%, Vertical -15%). To finish the pants, apply another effect to this shape: go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower (Horizontal, Bend 30%, Distortion Horizontal 0%, Vertical 0%). Don’t forget to expand the resulting shape. Finally, make a vertical reflection of it.
For the bottom part of the legs, make a copy from the first woman, change the color of the skin and shoes, and then put them in their place. The second woman is ready!
5. How to Create the Third Woman
Now we will create the third woman by using a slight modification of the image created in the previous steps. Make a copy of the head from the second woman, and modify it by changing its colors and size. Rotate the eyes a little bit to the outside (left eye to the left, right eye to the right) to give the impression of mono-lid eyes.
Using the Rectangle Tool (M), make a dark grey rectangle and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge (Vertical, Bend 20%, Distortion Horizontal 0%, Vertical 15%, OK). Expand the object once, as shown.
Add an ellipse behind the face. Add another ellipse on top of the forehead.
Move the handles of the anchor points to deform this ellipse to achieve a result similar to the image below.
In this step, as you probably already know, you need to create a copy of the white blouse from the second woman and give it to the third woman. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the bottom anchor point of the neckline and look on the top panel over your artboard. There is the button that says Convert: Convert the selected anchor points to smooth, and then press it. And the neckline will change.
To create the skirt, draw a rectangle over the blouse and under the arms. Warp it: Effect > Warp > Bulge (Vertical, Bend 20%, Distortion Horizontal 0%, Vertical -8%, OK). Then warp the skirt again: Effect > Warp > Arc Lower (Horizontal, Bend 15%, Distortion Horizontal 0%, Vertical 0%, OK).
To finish up the skirt, take a copy of the pink belt from the first woman, and change its fill color. Then, place it on top of this woman’s skirt.
Take a copy of the first woman’s legs, change the color, make the legs smaller, and give them to this woman. Also change the color of the shoes.
6. Placing All the Women Together
Let’s see what we have created so far. Group (right-click > Group) each woman to move her easily, and place them together. You can also delete the black stroke color from the white blouses of the second and third women.
7. How to Create the Bouquet of Flowers
Take the Polygon Tool and click on your workspace. A new dialogue window will ask you how many sides and what radius you want. Make 6 Sides, and any Radius. Once you’re done, press OK.
To transform this polygon into a flower, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat. In the new dialogue window, move the slider to the left, about 100%. It actually depends how you want your flowers will look, so feel free to adjust the settings. Once you like how it looks, press OK.
Create one more copy of this flower and give it another fill color. Expand both shapes.
Start off with a green ellipse. Now, take the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C), and to create a leaf shape, click on the top and bottom anchor points. You’ll get a simple leaf shape.
So now you have two flowers and a leaf. Create a floral composition using these elements. Select these elements, and create many copies of them. Now, simply move them around or rotate to create a bouquet. Group the bouquet for easy moving later.
Give a bouquet to each woman, covering the weird looking arms at the bottom. If you want to, you can slightly rearrange the positions of the flowers/leaves. Make sure that the bouquets are not too low, but just a bit lower than the waist.
8. How to Create the Background
Let’s wrap up our illustration. Create a light peach-colored square by using the Rectangle Tool (M). Click on the artboard and enter 850 x 850 px.
Place the background behind the women (Control-X, Control-B).
To add some dimension to the scene, create a darker ellipse on the bottom part of the background. Be sure it stays over the background and behind the women.
And we are finished! Well done! As you can see, I adorned the black woman with one flower from the bouquet because I liked to create her the most and for me she has a big personality. Which one did you like to create the most?