How to Create a Garden Gnome Illustration in Adobe Illustrator | How To
For more images and inspiration, be sure to visit GraphicRiver to check their vector characters collection.
Let’s get started!
1. How to Create the Head of the Gnome
After you’ve created a new document, let’s start to create the gnome. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw an ellipse (fill color R=240, G=208, B=180). While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Fish and, in the new dialogue window, enter the options you see below. Then press OK.
Change the fill color to R=140, G=88, B=56. Again, using the Ellipse Tool (L) and while holding down the Shift key (to create an even circle), create a tiny circle for the eye of the gnome.
To get the other eye, select the one you just created and hold down the Shift and Alt buttons. The Alt key will create a copy for you, and the Shift key will keep it perfectly aligned. So, while holding these two keys, move the existing eye to the right. You’ll notice that you just created another eye.
Change the fill color to R=232, G=1182, B=1450 and draw a small horizontal ellipse for the nose.
Let’s create the mustache. Set a white fill color and draw an ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L). While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Flag and, in the new dialogue window, enter the options you see below. After pressing OK, expand the shape (Object > Expand Appearance). Keep in mind that you do not need the black stroke—it’s just there so you can tell it apart from the background.
Place the mustache behind the nose, or place the nose over the mustache (Control-X, Control-F). Next, while keeping the mustache selected, take the Reflect Tool (O) and click under the nose while pressing down the Alt key. In the new dialogue window, enter Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees and then press Copy. That’s how you’ll get the right part of the mustache.
You may have already noticed that the eyebrows are a copy of the mustache, which have shrunk vertically.
To get the beard, create a copy of the head behind (Control-C, Control-B), and stretch it horizontally. Keep in mind that you don’t need the stroke color—it’s there just for better visibility.
Every self-respecting gnome must have a red cap. So hit the Polygon Tool and click on your artboard. Enter Sides 3 with any Radius in the new window. Change its fill color to R=228, G=65, B=69.
2. How to Create the Body
Change the fill color to green (R=129, G=175, B=69) and draw an ellipse. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a rectangle of any color overlapping it. You have to cover just the bottom part of the ellipse.
Select both shapes and in the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) press the Minus Front button. You’ll end up with one half of the ellipse which will be the upper body of the gnome.
Place the upper body under and behind the head.
Set a darker fill color (R=111, G=147, B=55) and using the Rectangle Tool (M) draw a thin vertical rectangle on the upper body, behind the gnome’s head.
Change the fill color to yellow (R=221, G=176, B=64) and draw a horizontal rectangle, as we’re going to create the belt.
Make the fill color darker (R=191, G=121, B=29) and draw a tiny circle on the belt.
While keeping it selected, and while holding down the Shift and Alt keys, move the circle to the right. You’ll get a new copy of it. After that, press Control-D a few times, as this combination will create more copies that are perfectly aligned.
Delete the fill color and set the stroke color to R=249, G=208, B=93. Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool and draw a small rounded rectangle for the belt buckle.
Finally, add a tiny line using the Line Segment Tool (/). The gnome’s belt is finished!
To create the bottom part of the gnome’s body, simply create a copy of the upper part and turn it upside down.
Change the fill color to R=186, G=112, B=32.
Let’s create the red boot for our gnome. First, draw a red rectangle (R=228, G=65, B=69).
While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper and enter the options you see below. Expand this shape (Object > Expand Appearance).
After that, create a triangle the same way as you created the gnome’s hat. Place the triangle as shown in the image below. That will be the upper part of the boot.
As we want our gnome boots have curled toecaps, we need to create a kind of crescent shape for it. Draw two overlapping circles as shown below. Be sure the smaller one is on top.
Then press the Minus Front button on the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder).
Place the crescent shape on the boot we created. Make sure you don’t have any stroke color on the boot and it is grouped (right-click > Group).
Place the boot as shown below.
Now let’s make another boot. Select the existing one and create a copy of it in front (Control-C, Control-F). Then hit the Reflect Tool (O) and press the Enter key on your keyboard. In the new dialogue window, enter Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees and then press OK. After that, move the new boot to the right.
With a lighter fill color (R=252, G=114, B=114), draw a thin horizontal rectangle on top of the two boots. Then warp it (Effect > Warp > Arc).
To make sure the two legs are separated, draw a thin, black, vertically oriented rectangle where the two legs have to be divided.
Now, be sure your Transparency panel is open (Window > Transparency). Change the Opacity on the Transparency panel to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 60%. See how the rectangle changed its color?
We won’t create a new shape for the arms. Instead, we’ll create a copy of the upper body behind (Control-C, Control-B). Change its fill color to R=111, G=147, B=55. Stretch it down to the belt.
Then, draw a horizontal rectangle (R=178, G=211, B=127) behind the body and in front of the arms.
Change the fill color to R=240, G=208, B=180. Create a small ellipse and place it behind the whole body. It will be the left hand.
While holding the Shift and Alt keys, move the left hand to the right and you’ll get the right hand.
Delete the fill color and set the stroke color to R=232, G=182, B=145. Take the Arc Tool and draw a small curve to create the thumb of the gnome.
Create the same curve on the other hand. And your gnome is done!
3. How to Create the Background
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and click on your artboard. In the new dialogue window, enter Width and Height 850 px and press OK. A big square will appear on your artboard, which is going to be the background. Make sure the background stays in the middle of your artboard. Set the fill color to R=244, G=234, B=208.
Place the gnome on the background.
Let’s create the fence. Set the white fill color with no stroke and draw a small rectangle.
Using the Pen Tool (P), put a new anchor point on top and in the middle of the fence. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the new anchor point up. This will be the first wooden bar of the fence.
While holding down the Shift and Alt keys, move this wooden bar to the right. Then press Control-D a few times to get a line made of these bars.
Add a little darker horizontal rectangle in the middle of the line. The fence is done!
Place the fence behind the gnome and in front of the background.
Add one more horizontal rectangle (R=242, G=224, B=184) where the gnome will stand.
4. How to Create the Trees
Delete the fill color and set the stroke color to R=209, G=170, B=120. We will start with the trunk and branches. Draw a long, thick, vertical line, which will be the trunk. You can increase the stroke Weight on the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke).
Decrease the stroke Weight, take the Arc Tool, and draw a few branches.
Decrease the stroke Weight even more and draw some smaller branches.
Using the green fill color (R=129, G=175, B=69) and no stroke color, create a bunch of ellipses as the foliage. The black strokes on the image will guide you.
Change the fill color to a darker green (R=111, G=147, B=55) and create even more ellipses behind the branches. The first tree is done!
Let’s create an apple. Start with a red (R=228, G=65, B=69) ellipse that is rotated to the left.
Create a copy of it in front (Control-C, Control-F). Hit the Reflect Tool (O) and then immediately press the Enter key twice. You just created a vertical reflection of the red ellipse. Move the new copy to the right, but not too far—just enough to get the shape of an apple.
Delete the fill color and set the stroke color to (R=224, G=203, B=155). Using the Line Segment Tool (/), draw a stem for the apple.
Create a green ellipse (R=178, G=211, B=127). Then, using the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C), make the anchor points sharp by clicking on the left and right anchor points. You’ll get a simple leaf shape.
Place the leaf on the apple. Group the apple, make copies, and spread them on the tree.
In a similar way, we’ll create the pear tree. First, draw the trunk, and then add bigger and smaller branches.
Then add the leaves (fill color R=131, G=153, B=77).
Make sure you don’t have any stroke and have the fill color set to R=249, G=208, B=93. Create a yellow ellipse.
While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Fish. Enter the options you see below. Expand the shape.
Add a stem (stroke color R=209, G=170, B=120).
Add green leaves (fill color R=178, G=211, B=127). And group the whole pear.
Spread copies of the pear on the tree.
Place the two trees we just created in front of the background but behind the gnome. And you’ve finished your illustration!
I hope you enjoyed going through this tutorial with me. Feel free to post your result—it’s always interesting to see.
If you enjoyed this tutorial, why not try some of my others:
How to Create a Summer Vacation Illustration in Adobe Illustrator
Create a Garden Scene with Basic Shapes in Adobe Illustrator