Adobe Illustrator i one of the most widely used and trusted by the most professional graphic designers and art directors vector software in the world. This software is the industry’s premier vector-drawing environment for creating graphics that scale across media. We are going to share an Adobe Illustrator Tutorial from blogs.adobe.com of how to create a day of the dead inspired portrait in Adobe Illustrator CS5. This tutorial is from Sharon Milne.

What we are going to create?

How to Create a Day of the Dead Inspired Portrait in Adobe Illustrator

I am going to use a stock image as a base which is from the talented Claire Jones.

Step 1

I’m going to begin by creating a New document with a landscape orientation and “Default CMYK palette”. The I select File > Place to place the stock image onto the artboard. I’m going to set up the layer folders as follows:

Double click on “Layer 1″ and rename it to “Reference”, then lock it. Create New Layer and rename it to “BG”. With the Rectangle Tool (M) draw a white fill rectangle over the artboard and set it to Opacity 50% via the Transparency Panel. Then lock it. Create New Layer and rename it “Sketch”. Create New Layer and rename it “Bases”.

Step 1

Step 2

I’m going to use the Blob Brush Tool (Shift + B) to sketch out the areas of the composition and to use this as a guide. First I will need to double click on the icon in the Toolbar to access the Blob Brush Tool Options. I’m going to reduce the Size to 3pt and enable the pressure sensitivity from my graphics stylus by selecting “Pressure” from the drop down menu. Then the next value will be changed to 3pt to get full benefit of it. Then click on Ok.

Step 2a

Now to start sketching the areas of the portrait. I’m going to draw the strokes within the “Sketch” layer folder. The first will be the hair and to start with I’ll be drawing where I think the head ends. The reason I do this is so I know I will need any excess hair to go beyond this area. Once this is done, I’ve decided to draw some wild flowing locks, which she’ll be effectively holding at the top of the head.

For each section of the sketch, I’m going to Group the shapes (Ctrl + G). This isn’t really required, but I like to keep my shapes and strokes grouped together to make them easier to access and modify in the future.

Step 2b

Step 3

Now to roughly add the skull inspired make up. Adding the hollow shapes for the eyes and nose, then the teeth lines around the mouth and into the cheeks.

Step 3a

I’ll finish off the sketch by adding a rose which is tucked behind the ear and a garland or roses along the bottom.

Step 3b

Step 4

With the Pen Tool (P) and a white fill, I’m going to draw a shape to cover the bottom of the stock image as this section won’t be needed. By doing this I get a better idea of what the overall composition will look like.

Step 4

Step 5

Move the “Sketch” layer folder now below the “BG” layer folder.

Step 5

Step 6

What I find helpful are the Swatch Libraries in Adobe Illustrator, specifically for the skin tones. You can access these from the Swatch Libraries menu on the Swatch panel, then picking “Skintones”. By clicking on the folder at the beginning of the collections of color, it will add the whole library to your Swatch panel. For this tutorial I’m going to be using the libraries “Skintone 1″, “Skintone 2″ and “Skintone 3″.

Step 6a

I’m going to create the first shape for the skin base using the Pen Tool (P) within the “Bases” layer folder. This will have a fill color of C=0, M=15, Y=25, K=5 and is from the “Skintone 1″ library. I’ll be mainly using colors from this library, but then using the others to add depth and color alterations to the skin.

Step 6b

Step 7

I’m going to begin the skin shading process, which is pretty consistent with most of the portraits I do in this style. I won’t be showing you all the shapes, as I’ve previously went over this in my ****Leo Inspired Portrait**** but I will show you the process.

I like to Create New Layer and rename the layer folder “Shading” and work in Preview Mode for these shapes so it’s easier to see the stock image underneath. First I’ll use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shapes over the skin which have the mid tone to highlights in the skin. So basically you’re drawing areas which aren’t in shadow.

Step 7a

Duplicate the initial skin shading base and drag and drop it into the “Shading” layer folder. Using Pathfinder > Minus Front, remove all the smaller shapes from the skin shading base. Once done, Group all the shapes you have for the skin shading (Ctrl + G) and repeat the process to add more shapes which will layer upon each other to create depth.

Step 7b

Step 8

Now that you’ve created a few groups in this method, give them a darker skin tone color and set them to Blending Mode Multiply, Opacity 7%. Then Group them all together (Ctrl + G), again to make it easier to refer back to should you require them.

Step 8

Step 9

I’m going to add more shapes onto the skin base, however this time I won’t be using Pathfinder > Minus Front. These shapes will be drawn across the base and often overlapping on the edge. They will be set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 10% as they will be darker in appearance and therefore will be covering the more mid tone to shadow range.

Step 9a

When done, Group them up (Ctrl + G) and the use a duplicate of the skin base to create a Clipping Mask (Ctrl + &) which will hide the overlapping edges. Drag and drop the other group of skin shading into this Clipping Mask also.

Step 9b

Step 10

When I’m doing skin shading, I’m always adding darker and darker shades, think of the shapes created being painted on gradually. So I’m going to add further shapes in the same manner as Step 9. The first with the darkest shade of “Skintone 1″ set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 10%.

Step 10a

And the next with a medium brown (C=40, M=70, Y=100, K=50) set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 10%. For every step of the skin shading, the shapes will be smaller and smaller as the shadows won’t be as dispersed. When done, drag and drop the Grouped shapes into the Clipping Mask.

Step 10b

Step 11

I’m going to use the lightest shade from “Skintone 1″ to create a transparent radial gradient. This will then be used to add highlights to the skin. These shapes will be set to Blending Mode Screen and Opacity 40%.

Remember to Group them up once done (Ctrl + G) and then add them to the Clipping Mask group.

Step 11

Step 12

The skin has several different tones in, so to add further depth I’m going to add some magenta transparent radial gradients to the elbows and shoulders. Usually I’d add them also to the cheeks, however this area will be covered in make up so it’s a bit redundant there. These shapes will be set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 15%.

Step 12

Step 13

Create New Layer and rename it “Eyes”. Using the lightest skin shade, previously used in the highlight gradients, use the Pen Tool (P) to draw two shapes for each eye ball. Set these to Blending Mode Screen and Opacity 60%. When creating eyes and teeth for that matter, never use white… as they are never naturally white!

Step 13

Step 14

I’m going to create the iris and pupils from just one shape in the Appearance panel. So first off use the Ellipse Tool to create a green (C=67, M=22, Y=71, K=47) filled circle. As I’m wanting to add further colors into the iris, I’m going to use Color Guides to help me. With the green selected, I’m going to use the drop down menu to access the Analogous colors with Shades/Tints showing.

Step 14

Step 15

In the Appearance panel click on the drill down menu and select “Add New Fill”. Within this use a lighter green to create a transparent radial gradient for the fill. Set it to Blending Mode Color Dodge and Opacity 80%. Use the Gradient Tool (G) to position the source of the gradient at the bottom of the circle.

Click on the “fx” button at the bottom of the Appearance panel and go to Path > Offset Path. Change the value to -1pt as I want this duplicated fill to be smaller by 1pt and then click on Ok.

Step 15a

While your new fill is selected, back into the drill down menu select “Duplicate Item”. This will duplicate the fill, the Blending Mode, Opacity and the Offset Path. I’m going to alter the fill to a blue inverted radial gradient and change the Blending Mode to Color Burn and the Opacity to 100%. This is to add a darker shadow towards the top of the iris. The Offset Path value will remain the same.

Step 15b

Step 16

Add New Fill again and this time add a dark blue to it. Set to Blending Mode Color Burn and Opacity 80%. I’m going to Offset Path again, this time to -4pt. I’ll duplicate this item and change the fill to a black and change the Blending Mode to Normal and the Opacity to 90%. Then adjust the Offset Path value to -5pt.

Step 16a

You can add other effects with the Appearance panel and it’s what I’m going to do here by adding the Zig Zag effect via the fx > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag option and will have the below values. The Offset Path is set to -4pt. There you have your iris/pupil created with only one shape via the Appearance panel!

Step 16b

Step 17

I’m going to need to duplicate the circle for both eyes and then position them in the correct place with the Free Transform Tool (E). I’ll also slightly reduce the size for the eye on the left to allow for slight perspective.

Step 17a

Then using the largest shapes created for the eyeballs, duplicate them and use them to create a Clipping Mask (Ctrl + 7).

Step 17b

Step 18

Now to add shades of red to the inside and corner of the eye. I’m going to do this with red (C=15, M=100, Y=90, K=10) transparent radial gradients set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 50%.

Step 18

Step 19

Eye balls aren’t completely flat, so you’ll need to add shading around the edges of it to add depth as well as to add shadow cast from the eyelid and lashes. I’ve used Color Guides to find an off black/blue shade for this and set the shapes to Blending Mode Multiply, Opacity 7%.

Step 19

Step 20

Using the skin highlighting transparent radial gradient, I’m going to use it as a fill with the Ellipse Tool (L) to add two circles to the eye as a highlight. I’ll move the gradient source with the Gradient Tool (G) and then set the Blending Mode to Screen and Opacity to 80%.

Step 20a

I’m then going to add a highlight along the waterline with the lightest skin tone set to Blending Mode Screen and Opacity 80%.

Step 20b

Step 21

I’m going to begin add the make-up and the first step is to add a white ghostly face as a base. The reason why I didn’t apply this white base initially during the shading is that I still wanted to draw in the contours of the face as accurately as possible. This is the same method I use for any bold cosmetic applications to my portraits as it helps to minimise potential errors. I still wish to keep the shading which has already been created; I just need to alter the colors underneath the shading. To get the correct shade I wish, I ended up playing with Blending Modes and Opacities and used the following three shapes to create the effect of a powered ghostly face:

A light grey (C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=5) transparent radial gradient, with the source of the gradient towards the right set to Blending Mode Color and Opacity 90%. This adds a great deal of pale/grey to the side of the face which is being highlighted by the light. Think of it as neutralising the color previously set by the initial skin shading base.

A light grey fill (C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=5) set to Blending Mode Screen and Opacity 75%. This shape lightens the shades of grey you’ll see from the previous shape.

The last shape is a brown (C=55, M=60, Y=65, K=40) transparent radial gradient in the same place as the previous gradient. This is set to Blending Mode Color Burn and Opacity 80%. This helps to bring out the contrast where there is more shading but also helping prevent our base from looking unrealistically very pale.

Step 21

Step 22

Create New Layer above “Bases” and below “Eyes” and rename it “Make Up”.

I’m going to drag and drop the “Sketch” layer folder above all the others, so I can now use this as a guide for the make-up I’m going to render. First will be adding shapes around the eyes and nose with a black transparent radial gradient set to Blending Mode Multiply, Opacity 80%.

Step 22

Step 23

Once you’ve added the initial shapes for the darkened eyes and nose, you can begin adding the shading. So I’m going to use the same black transparent radial gradient as a fill and add shapes for the crease in the eye socket and darken around the lash line. These will be set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 80%.

Step 23a

Continue adding further shapes to add more subtle shading around the nose and eyes. These will be set at a lower Opacity of 40%.

Step 23b

Step 24

To help me with the colors I’m going to use for the portrait and make up, I’m going to use Kuler. This site and web-hosted application is for generating color themes, which you can search on or get from uploading an image. You can then download the colors and save them in Illustrator as well as other Adobe products.

So first thing I’m going to do is log into Kuler with my Adobe ID, which you can do so via the top right hand corner on the website.

Step 24a

Once logged in, use the Search option to look for a color scheme with your relevant keywords. I’ve opted for “Day of the Dead, Mexico” and the first color scheme is exactly what I’m wanting.

When you click on the colors you want, they will appear in the header colors and you’re given additional information underneath. There is an option you can also click to download the Swatch to use in Illustrator (as well as other Adobe programs), but this is only available if you’re logged in.

Step 24b

Save file to your Swatches folder (although the location may vary dependant on your system, mine is located on my main drive > Program Files (x86) > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS5.1 > Presets > en_US > Swatches ).

Step 24c

You can now access this library via the Swatches panel drill down menu, Open Swatch Library > Calavera De Azucar 2. Click on the folder at the beginning of the swatch to add it to your Swatches panel.

Step 24d

Step 25

Now that I have my new colors, influenced by the Day of the Dead and Mexico, I’m going to incorporate them into the make-up design. I’ve already gotten shades of green in the eyes, so I’m going to add the reds and yellows throughout the rest of the design.

The first step will be to add the reds and yellows to the eyes using a transparent radial gradient. Use the Gradient Tool (G) to shift the source of the gradient so the black center overlaps the ends of the eyes where the eyelashes meet. Duplicate this shape and set the first to Blending Mode Multiply, Opacity 80% and the second to Blending Mode Color Burn and Opacity 80%.

Group the shapes (Ctrl + G) and then move them below the black shapes used for shading for the eyes. Once done, move all the make-up shapes to the Clipping Mask which contains the skin shading to help hide any overlapped areas.

Step 25

Step 26

I’m going to create a Pattern Brush to go around the outside of the eyes. This pattern is going to have half circles and the way to create one is to use the Ellipse Tool (L) while holding down Shift + Alt to give an even circle. With Smart Guides (Ctrl + U) enabled, find the horizontal center of the circle and draw a Rectangle (M) over it. Use Pathfinder > Minus Front to remove the rectangle from the circle to give you your half circle. This should have a 0.5pt black stroke with no fill.

Step 26a

In the Brush panel, click on New Brush then select Pattern Brush and use the settings below.

Step 26b

Step 27

Draw around the eyes with the Pen Tool (P) with the Eye Detailing brush on a black stroke. You’ll need to reduce the Stroke Weight to make it the correct scale for the eyes. I’ve used 0.5pt here.

Step 27

Step 28

Select the strokes around the eyes and go to Object > Expand. This will expand the stroke to a fill shape within a group. Go into this and Ungroup it (Ctrl + Shift + G) and remove the excess group.

Step 28a

You should be left with two Compound Paths when you’re done.

Step 28b

Step 29

Select one of the Compound Paths and use the Live Paint Bucket (K) to fill in the half circles with the green from the Day of the Dead Swatch.

Step 29

Step 30

Now say you want to change the color of the green half circles around the eyes. As you may have already experienced, using the Live Paint Bucket (K) to fill each one of these shapes individually can be a little fiddly. So you can go to Object > Expand with the Live Paint group and tick all the options and click on Ok. Then select one of the green half circles and go to Select > Same > Fill Color. This will select all the green half circles and will make it much easier to change the color of all these elements.

Step 30a

However there is another reason I’m wanting to Expand the Live Paint group and that is because I want to apply different Blending Modes to the elements within. So when you Expand the group, you’ll see you have a group for the black line art and one of the green half circles. I want to set the line art to Blending Mode Color Burn and the green half circles to Blending Mode Multiply, with Opacity 80%.

Step 30b

Step 31

As this eye detailing overlaps on the nose and over the edge of the face, I’m going to use Clipping Masks (Ctrl + 7) to trim the edges as shown below and then include them in the main Clipping Mask for the skin shading.

Step 31

Step 32

For the lips, I’m going to use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shapes around the mouth in a rough manner. No need to be extra tidy here as we’re assuming it’s applied make-up and should be organic looking to a certain extent. These shapes, once Grouped (Ctrl + G) should be set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 80%.

Step 32

Step 33

I’m going to add some shading on the lips, just to make them stand out bit more and less washed out. This is going to be done by drawing shapes for the overall area and two shapes for the inside of the lips with the red fill color from the Day of the Dead Kuler swatch. The small shapes inside the lips will be set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 30% as I wish it to be darker and the overall lip area to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 10%.

Step 33

Step 34

The white around the gradient of the eyes and inside the half circle pattern is a bit too much, so I’m going to add a shape on top of them to take away some of this blank space. So I’m going to add two circles with a peach/yellow fill (C=2, M=16, Y=40, K=0) and set it to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 100%.

Step 34

Step 35

I’m going to use the Paintbrush Tool (B) to add some lines and swirls around the rest of the face. This will have the Profile “Width Profile 1″ using varied Stroke Weights of 2pt to 4pt. I’ll use the three key colors of yellow, green and red and then Group them (Ctrl + G). Then I’ll set the Blending Mode to Multiply and Opacity 75% on the Group.

Step 35

Step 36

Focusing on the mouth, I’m going to add shadow within the mouth by drawing a shape with the Pen Tool (P) with a muted dark brown fill (C=55, M=60, Y=65, K=40) set to Blending Mode Multiply, Opacity 100%.

Step 36

Step 37

For the teeth, I’m going to use the skin highlighting transparent radial gradient to fill shapes for each tooth. These shapes will be set to Blending Mode Screen and Opacity 60%. I’ve then Grouped them (Ctrl + G) and then set the Opacity for the group to 40%.

Step 37

Step 38

To draw the eyelashes I’m going to use the Paintbrush Tool (B) with a black Stroke color and 0.75pt Stroke Weight. Then Select All of the lashes (Ctrl + A) and then apply Profile “Width Profile 1″ to them. I’ve then set them to Blending Mode Multiply, Opacity 80% and then Grouped them (Ctrl + G).

Step 38a

I’ve repeated the same for the lower lashes, however the difference is they have a Stroke Weight of 0.5pt.

Step 38b

Step 39

I’ve added highlights to the lashes to give them more depth. This is with a blue/grey stroke color (C=51, M=41, Y=41, K=18) with a 0.5pt stroke weight set to Blending Mode Screen, Opacity 50% with the Profile “Width Profile 1″.

Step 39

Step 40

I still want more shading to be shown on the skin, however I feel the make-up have washed this out and you can’t really see the shine and shadows to the face. So I’m going to add shapes with the skin highlighting transparent radial gradient to areas of the skin set to Blending Mode Screen, Opacity 30%.

Step 40a

With the shadows, I’m going to use a grey transparent radial gradient set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 10%. All these shading gradients will be over the make-up shapes and strokes so they benefit from the shading.

Step 40b

Step 41

Create New Layer and rename it “Hair”. I’m going to use the Paintbrush Tool (B) with a 1pt Stroke Weight and a dark brown stroke color (C=56, M=65, Y=72, K=64) to draw around the first area of the hair. This is so I can get a more realistic look around the hair line and also roughly sketch the hair around the skull.

Step 41a

Once done, Select All (Ctrl + A) and then Object > Expand and then use Pathfinder > Unite to combine all the shapes.

Step 41b

Step 42

Use the Pen Tool (P) with the dark brown fill to draw in the rest of the hair, using the strands of hair previously created as a guide.

Step 42a

Once done, use Pathfinder > Unite to combine the shapes together.

Step 42b

Step 43

Create New Layer above “Hair” and rename it “Hair 2″ and then Create New Layer above “BG” and rename it “Hair Back”. I’m going to repeat the process of the hair on the skull with the loose hair. So first creating a rough sketch of the hair, with the majority within “Hair Back” and the overlapping sections in “Hair 2″.

Step 43a

Then creating the shapes with a fill color which is slightly darker than the skull hair, if only to make it easier for me to see the shapes as I’m working, no other reason.

Step 43b

Step 44

As much as we’d like, hair isn’t naturally smooth around any curls or kinks. Use the same stroke options as before, this time with the Profile “Width Profile 4″ to draw strands of hair around the loose pony tail.

Step 44

Step 45

I’m going to begin adding shading to the hair. I’ll be using the Paintbrush Tool (B) for this with the Profile “Width Profile 1″ brush and a 2pt Stroke Weight, but otherwise additional settings will be stated. I use a graphics tablet to create the more organic strokes, but it is possible to use a mouse. Tablets only reduce the time it takes.

The first strokes I’m going to apply are will add dark strands as well as begin working on the roots of the hair. Consider that even hair which isn’t chemically treated (my own pink hair is honestly natural, I swear!), will still have darker roots as the tips are bleached by the sun. I’ll use the same dark brown as used for the base of the hair, but the strokes will be set to Blending Mode Multiply, Opacity 20%. These strokes also section the hair so you know where to put the highlights in the hair.

Once done, Group these strands (Ctrl + G) and place them in the “Hair” layer folder.

Step 45

Step 46

With the same settings as before, section off the hair for the ponytail/loose hair. The strands for this area of the hair will all be contained in the “Hair 2″ layer folder as they will overlap the ponytail behind and in front.

Step 46

Step 47

These next strokes, although they are highlighting they are more to give the overall texture of the hair. They’ll have a lighter brown stroke color (C=32, M=46, Y=56, K=20) and will be set to Blending Mode Normal and Opacity 10%.

Step 47a

Step 47

Step 48

Duplicate the base shape for the skull hair and apply an inverted transparent radial gradient with the dark brown used for the fill color of the base. Set this to Blending Mode Multiply. Use the Gradient Tool (G) to position the gradient so it fades around the upper edges of the hair. This will help increase the shadow and depth of the hair on the skull.

Step 48a

Although there is no quick way to do this with the ponytail, you’ll need to draw in additional strands with the same dark brown, set to Blending Mode Multiply, Opacity 20% and with a Stroke Weight of 3pt.

Step 48b

Step 49

Now to begin adding the highlights to the hair. As hair isn’t all one tone, it’s good to use the Blending Mode Color Dodge to bring out multiple tones in the hair. By using the same dark brown stroke color and with the Opacity at 20%, you can bring out some golden highlights in the hair.

Step 49a

Step 49b

Step 50

In the same theory, Color Burn helps to add darker multiple tones to the hair. So I’m going to use the same dark brown, this time with a 5pt Stroke Weight. These strokes will help add much darker shadows to the hair and will be set to Blending Mode Color Burn and Opacity 20%.

Step 50a

Step 50b

Step 51

I find when I’m rendering the hair, I build up on the tones more and more. Not all the highlights will be applied in one stage, as not all the shadows will be in one stage. It’s playing by ear and recognising when you need to add more variation into the hair. I’m going to add some more highlights to the hair now, this time with a much lighter brown (C=32, M=46, Y=56, K=20) and set to Blending Mode Color Dodge and Opacity 20%.

Step 51

Step 52

I’ve already gotten some fly away strands from the curls, but I’m going to add some more refined strands with a 0.75pt stroke weight with the dark brown base color. This will not only be around the curls of the ponytail, but also included in the skull base, with some hair overlapping onto the face.

Step 52

Step 53

I want to add more red into the design and one of the best ways would be to introduce some flowers into the design. What better flower to add than the red rose!

Create New Layer and rename it “Roses”. I’m going to create an Art Brush for the petals of the rose, but first I need to create the petal shape. This is going to be from a circle, created via the Ellipse Tool (L). Then use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move the points of the shape to create a squashed, rounded shape as shown below with a black fill.

Step 53

Step 54

In the Brush palette, select New Brush, then Art Brush. Use the Options below, including the Colorization Method as “Tints”.

Step 54

Step 55

I’m going to be drawing the roses from a birds eye point of view. The rose itself is going to be built up by smaller strokes of 0.5pt, drawn with the Paintbrush Tool (B), built up with larger strokes of 0.75pt and finishing with 1pt around the edges.

Step 55a

Draw several roses as you go along as I’ll be adding multiple to the illustration and I don’t want them to all look like duplicates of each other.

Step 55b

Step 56

Now that you’ve drawn each of your basic rose petal shapes, it’s time to Object > Expand them so we can apply a Stroke, Gradient and basic fill to it via the Appearance panel as shown below.

Step 56

Step 57

We now want to apply a circle (L) underneath the roses with a gradient applied. This will help create a darkened center as well as hide the spaces in between the petals.

Step 57

Step 58

Use the Paintbrush Tool (B) with a light red stroke color (C=0, M=94, Y=100, K=0), with a 2pt Stroke Weight and the Profile “Width Profile 1″ to add highlights to the petals. Set these strokes to Blending Mode Color Dodge, Opacity 60%. Try not to follow the exact curve of the petals as you want them to look organic as possible and not so strict to the design of the petal curve.

Step 58

Step 59

Use the Direct Selection Tool (V) to select each rose and then Group them (Ctrl + G). I’m going to move a rose towards the girls ear.

Step 59a

However I want to decrease the size of the rose. Usually if you’ve got basic shapes, resizing with the Free Transform Tool (E) is adequate, however when you include strokes into this the best way to resize will be via the Scale options.

Go to Object > Transform > Scale and within the Scale options, you want to resize by 90% and make sure that “Scale Strokes & Effects” is also ticked.

Step 59b

Once placed, I’m going to put a circle (L) with a black transparent radial gradient fill to create a shadow cast from the rose. This shape will be set to Blending Mode Multiply, Opacity 100%.

Step 59c

Step 60

I’m going to begin creating the garland along the bottom of the illustration. This is where the body/skin will be cut off and hidden.

The vine/stem of the roses will be created by a basic curved line. I’m going to use options within the Appearance panel to create a gradual fade in color, similar to a gradient on a stroke. Using a darker green for the large stroke (at 11pt Stroke Weight), gradually going to a light green (at 2pt Stroke Weight). All the Stroke options will have the Profile “Width Profile 1″ enabled to create a tapered line.

Finally, I’ll alter the overall color of the line by adding a medium golden brown on top with the largest of the strokes (11pt) set to Blending Mode Overlay and Opacity 100%.

Step 60

Step 61

The roses will require some leaves. The shape is easy to create if you use a guide for the overall shape – which is similar to an egg shape. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create a squashed circle and using the Direct Selection Tool (V), move the top point upwards to create your egg shape.

Use this shape as a guide for drawing a zig-zagged line (with Smart Guides enabled (Ctrl + U) to make it even easier) for half of the shape. Then duplicate the shape and flip it (Object > Transform > Reflect) and use Pathfinder > Unite to create one shape.

Step 61

Step 62

With your leaf shape, add depth by using gradients offset by -2 to give a subtle outline to the leaf as well as a variation in color.

Step 62

Step 63

Veins are added to the leaf by a similar process of creating the vine/stem from the garland. This time using Profile “Width Profile 5″. Once done, Group all of the leaf elements (Ctrl + G).

Step 63

Step 64

Usually I’d put such elements on a Scatter brush, but you don’t have as much control as you do with Symbols. Also you can’t use gradients within a brush, but you can with Symbols.
Select the group for the rose leaf and click on “New Symbol” in the Symbol palette. In the Symbol options just name it to “Rose Leaf”. All other option can remain as default as these are for Flash and then click on Ok.

Step 64a

Use the Symbol Sprayer Tool (Shift + S) to then “spray” your rose leaves along the bottom of your illustration.

Step 64b

Step 65

Double click on the Symbol Sprayer Tool (Shift + S) and you’ll get the Symbolism Tools Options. Change the Diameter to 100pt as shown below and click on Ok.

Step 65a

Use the Symbol Shifter Tool to then space out the leaves so they aren’t as clustered.

Step 65b

Step 66

Use the Symbol Spinner Tool to then rotate the rose leaves as shown below.

Step 66

Step 67

Now place the roses on top of the rose leaves and place the vine underneath. Between the roses and the leaves, add shadows with a transparent black radial gradient set to Blending Mode Multiply. Use the Free Transform Tool (E) to rotate any of the duplicated roses so they don’t look exactly like each other on first inspection.

Step 67

Step 68

I want some of the hair overlapping onto the garland, so I’m going to first place all the elements for the garland into in new layer renamed “Garland” which will be under the “Hair” layer folder.

Draw a Rectangle (M) over the hair which will be overlapping the roses and duplicate the hair base from the “Hair Back” layer folder. Use Pathfinder > Intersect to get the shape required. Move the shape as well as any strands of hair around the base in this area on top of the other elements in the “Garland” layer folder.

Step 68

Step 69

Create New Layer above the “Hair 2″ layer folder and rename it “Earring”. Draw a squashed circle with the Ellipse Tool (L) with a 10pt Stroke Weight. This will have a golden Stroke Color (C=6, M=31, Y=75, K=25).

Step 69a

Then Object > Expand the stroke to a shape. Within the Appearance panel, apply a golden stroke which is Inside Aligned with a 1pt Stroke Weight set to Blending Mode Multiply Opacity 80%. Add two New Fills and use the skin highlighting transparent radial gradient as a highlight on the front and back of the shape. These will be set to Blending Mode Color Dodge, Opacity 90% at the front and then 50% at the back. Finally apply a darker golden transparent radial gradient where the earlobe would create a shadow.

Step 69b

Step 70

Duplicate the shape and click the “Clear Appearance” button on the Appearance panel to remove all the attributes. With the Pen Tool (P) draw a shape over the ear lobe where it would be hiding the earring and then use Pathfinder > Minus Front to remove it from the duplicated shape. Use this shape to then create a Clipping Mask (Ctrl + 7).

Step 70

Step 71

Add a sparkling texture to the earring by adding rough zig-zagged lines over the earring with the golden color as the stroke. Use the Paintbrush Tool (B) to do this with the Blending Mode set to Color Dodge and Opacity to 40%. Do several strokes to allow some to overlap to intensify the sparkles and then drag and drop all of these within the Clipping Mask group.

Step 71

Step 72

As we’re nearing the end of the illustration, we want to modify the artboard dimensions by using the Artboard Tool (Shift + O). I’ve reshaped it to ensure I’ve got enough room around the illustration.

Step 71

Step 73

I’m going to use the red and yellow colors from our Day of the Dead Kuler palette to fill a Rectangle (M) which goes across the artboard and give it a new fill and place a yellow transparent radial gradient in the center. Using the Gradient Tool (G) I’m going to shift the source of the gradient towards the bottom of the gradients remit.

Step 73

Step 74

I’m going to add some subtle line art to the illustration, to make the regions a bit more defined. First I’ll duplicate the skin base shape and apply a stroke to the shape with a null fill, with the stroke Inside Aligned and a Stroke Weight of 3pt. This will have a light brown stroke color (C=4, M=25, Y=28, K=47) and will be set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 50%.

I’ll then add additional lines with the same stroke and transparency options but with Width Profile 4, and add lines around the neck, arms, chin and chest. Once done, all lines will be Grouped (Ctrl + G) and placed within the skin shadings Clipping Mask group.

Step 74

Step 75

To add bit more detailing in the background, I’m going to create a burst star effect. Draw a circle (L) with the yellow transparent radial gradient as the fill. Then go to Effects > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag and apply the options below.

Step 75a

I’ve then modified the Artboard (Shift + O) again to create a square shaped orientation.

Step 75b

Step 76

Finally, as with all of my portraits I’m adding some moles/beauty spots to the body. Usually I’d add one to the face, however given it is covered in make-up, I’m going to place them on her arms and shoulder. This is done with two dark brown transparent radial gradients within two circles which are slightly overlapping each other, set to Blending Mode Multiply, Opacity 40%.

Step 76

Conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and can take some of the techniques used into your own illustrations. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

How to Create a Day of the Dead Inspired Portrait in Adobe Illustrator

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