Welcome! I hope this blog finds you well. If you clicked on this, then you must be interested in creating a charming pig in a mud puddle using Adobe Illustrator. All of my Illustrator characters are made using and combining simple shapes. Let's get right to it!
Here is what the pig will look like when you finish his Adobe Illustrator pig tutorial:
First you'll want to create a new document. For the muddy pig I created a 16x20 inch landscape artboard, but you may choose your own size and orientation. When creating a new Illustrator character, I like to start with the head, then resize it as needed to fit with the body.
Step 1 - Using the ellipse tool located in the left toolbox, create an ellipse. To access the ellipse tool, click and hold on the rectangle tool, then choose ellipse. Next, you'll use the direct selection tool, also located in the left toolbox, to manipulate the left, right, and top anchor points down. Still using the direct selection tool, turn the handles of the left and right anchor points inward and up. Under Appearance, which is located on the right toolbox under Properties, choose which fill and stroke colors you’d like your pig to be. For this tutorial, I made my pig a medium pink fill with a dark pink stroke. Click on the boxes next to fill and stroke to choose your colors. You may use a pre-made swatch or create your own using the color mixer. If you use color mixer to create your own color, don't forget to save it as new swatch by clicking on the plus symbol at the bottom of the fill box.
Step 2 - Create a second, smaller ellipse. Using the direct selection tool, manipulate the left and right anchor points down. Use the handles to turn the left and right anchor points inward and down. Use the same fill and stroke you did for the first ellipse.
Step 3 - Position the smaller ellipse on top of but higher than the bigger ellipse. Select both ellipses then use the pathfinder tool to unite. The pathfinder tool can be found in the right toolbox under Properties. The unite tool is the icon with two solid squares. Uniting the ellipses will create one shape from the two.
Step 4 - Now that we have the basic head shape, we will start to make the facial features. We will start with the ears. Using the ellipse tool, create a small, plump ellipse. Use the same fill and stroke as the head. Select the direct selection tool to manipulate the anchor points. Use the handle to turn the left anchor point inward and up. While clicking and holding on the top anchor point, move it up and to the left. Rotate that shape 35-36 degrees.
Copy (ctrl + C on PC/command + C on Mac) and paste (ctrl + V on PC/command + V on Mac) the ear shape you just made. Change the fill to same color as stroke, and change the stroke to nothing. Select the new shape. While holding shift, resize it smaller, then position it in the middle of the ear. Holding shift while resizing means the object will be proportionally resized. Select both shapes and group (ctrl + G on PC/command + G on Mac). You have just created the left ear!
To make the right ear, select the left ear then choose Object-Transform-Reflect. Reflect it vertically at 90 degrees, then click copy.
It is now time to position the ears on the head. Once you have positioned them, select the head only. Choose Object-Arrange-Bring to Front. Select the head and ears, then group together.
Step 5 - Next we will create the eyes. To make the eyes, use the ellipse tool to create a vertical ellipse. Use a white fill with the same color stroke you used for the head. Create a smaller ellipse by copying and pasting the first one. With the new ellipse selected, hold shift while resizing it smaller. If you would like to make the smaller shape more circular, you can do so by using the selection tool to bring down top anchor point. The selection tool can be found in the left toolbox. After resizing the second ellipse, choose the eye color fill, but do not add a stroke. Place the smaller ellipse into the larger ellipse near the bottom. Next, create a small circle using the ellipse tool. To ensure the shape made is a circle, hold down shift while making the ellipse. Choose white for the color fill with no stroke. Place the circle at the top left corner of the smaller ellipse (half in/half out). Select both ellipses and the circle then group them together. Rotate the eye to the left 7-8 degrees.
To create right eye, select the eye then choose Object-Transform-Reflect. Reflect it vertically at 90 degrees, then click copy. Move the copy to the right. Place the eyes on the head, resizing while holding shift if needed.
Step 6 - Let's add some eyebrows to this pig. Use the curvature tool (fill=blank/stroke=same as head) to create the left eyebrow. Don’t close the path. Instead, just the click on the selection tool in the left toolbox when finished. Move the eyebrow to above the left eye. Select it, then choose Object-Transform-Reflect. Reflect it vertically at 90 degrees and click copy. Move the new object to above the right eye. Select the head and everything on it then group them together.
Step 7 - Since this is a pig, we can't forget the snout! Create a horizontal ellipse the same fill and stroke as the head. This is the basic shape of the snout. To make the nostrils, create a small vertical ellipse with the fill the same color as the stroke of the head, and no stroke. Copy and paste the small ellipse. Position both small ellipses into the horizontal ellipse where nostrils generally would be located. Select all three ellipses and group. Position the snout so it's slightly overlapping the eyes. If necessary, hold shift while resizing so it isn't too big or too small for the head.
Step 8 - The final facial feature we will make is the mouth. Create a horizontal ellipse with a black fill and no stroke. Use the direct selection tool to manipulate the left and right anchor points up. Use the handles to turn both the left and right anchor points inward and down. Using the scissors tool, cut the ellipse in half horizontally. The scissors tool is located in the left toolbox. Click and hold on the eraser tool, then choose the scissors. With the scissors tool selected, click first on the left anchor point of the ellipse, then on the right anchor point. This will split the ellipse in two. Keep the bottom half of the black ellipse. You may delete the top half. Next, create a horizontal ellipse with the same fill as the head and no stroke. Position this ellipse over the black ellipse. Resize and reposition the second ellipse as needed in order to make the black ellipse look like a mouth. Once you are happy with the size of the second ellipse, use the scissors tool to cut it in half horizontally. Select both ellipses and group them together.
Step 9 - To construct a tongue, create a small circle using the ellipse tool. Remember to hold down shift while using the ellipse tool to make a perfect circle. The circle should have a dark pink fill and no stroke. Copy and paste that circle. Place the two circles right next to each other, partially overlapping. Group the circles together. Position the circles at the bottom of the black ellipse, partially outside the ellipse. Select the small pink circles and the mouth. Select the shape builder tool from the left toolbox. The icon for the shape builder tool is a small circle overlapping a bigger circle with a dotted line and arrowhead. With the shape builder tool chosen, hold down the alt key to take away parts of the shape. Holding the alt key down, click on the parts of the pink circles that are outside of the mouth to delete. Select the mouth and tongue, then group together.
Position the mouth under the snout on the head. Resize the mouth as needed to fit on the head. If the mouth partially covers the snout, don't worry. Just click on the snout then select Object-Arrange-Bring to Front. This will position the snout in front of the mouth. Select the head and all the details then group everything together. Place the head off to the side of the artboard for now. We will add to it later.
Since the head is completed for now, we will create the chunky body and iconic corkscrew tail.
Body and Tail:
Step 1 - Make a large, horizontal ellipse for the body. Use the same fill and stroke as the head. Manipulate the anchor points using the direct selection tool. Use the handle to turn the right anchor point inward and up. Use the handle to turn the left anchor point inward and down. Move the bottom anchor point slightly to the right.
Step 2 - Use the curvature tool, located in the left toolbox, to draw the tail. Use the same stroke and fill as the head. I drew mine going from left to right, then back again. Don't forget the loop in the middle. Full disclosure, it did take me a few times to get the tail correct as it is a tricky shape. Just take your time and remember that it doesn't have to be perfect. You may use my tail as a template if that helps. Once you're happy with your general shape, you can use the smooth tool to smooth out the lines. The smooth tool can be found in the left toolbox. The icon for the smooth tool looks like a pencil with curved lines in it. If it isn't in your toolbox, click on the three dots at the bottom of the toolbox and look for it under draw. Position the tail onto the body. Rotate and resize the tail as needed. Once you are happy with the placement of the tail, select both it and the body. Click on unite under Pathfinder in the right toolbox. Once united, rotate the shape 2-3 degrees.
Step 3 - Now we will add the legs, but not feet. Since this pig will be standing in a mud puddle, the feet would just be covered, anyway, so making them would be a waste of time. Create a long, vertical ellipse with the same fill and stroke as the head. Use the scissors tool to cut the ellipse in half the same way you did with the mouth. Keep the bottom half of the ellipse. The top half can be deleted. Select the bottom half of the ellipse, then choose Effect-Warp-Arc. This will open up a dialogue box with options to change the arc as needed. Select the circle next to vertical. Set the bend at -16. Set the horizontal distortion at 0%. Set the vertical distortion at -30%. Click OK. Select the half ellipse and rotate it to 348 degrees.
Step 4 - Resize the leg as needed. You can change the width, length, etc. I made my leg longer with a smaller width. Once you are happy with the size of the leg, place it on the front left of the body.
Next, copy and paste the leg three times. Select one of the new legs and choose Object-Arrange-Send to Back. Place that leg to left of other front leg. Select another one of the new legs and place it on the front right of the body. Make sure it is flush with the body stroke. Select the last leg and choose Object-Arrange-Send to Back. Place this leg to the left of the other back leg. Select the body and legs, then group them together.
Now that we have the head and body, it is time to add some mud! Keep the head and body separate until after the mud is added.
Step 1 - We will start with making the mud spots that will be all over the pig. Create a horizontal ellipse with no stroke and medium brown fill. With the ellipse selected, choose Effect-Distort&Transform-Zig Zag. This will open up a dialogue box with options to change the zig zag as needed. Select the circle next to absolute. Set the size at 0.06 inches. Set the ridges per segment at 3. Finally, set the points as smooth. Copy and paste this zig zag ellipse multiple times. Resize and rotate for variety so they don't all look the exact same. You can use the pie tool at right end of the ellipse to add variety as well. If you click on an ellipse, there should be a small circle that juts out of the right side. That is the pie tool. While clicking and holding, move it around to open up the ellipse.
Step 2 - Place the mud spots anywhere on the body, face, and tail that you would like. The only places that absolutely must have big mud spots are the bottom of each leg. Once you are happy with where your mud spots are located on the head, group the head and mud. Then group the body and mud. DO NOT group the head and body together yet.
Step 3 - Time to make the mud puddle. This step is very simple. Create a large, horizontal ellipse with the same fill as the as the spots. Add a dark brown stroke to this large ellipse. With the ellipse selected, choose Effect-Apply Zig Zag, which will be the first option after clicking Effect. Adobe Illustrator remembers the last effect you applied, so you don't have to fill out the dialogue box again. Select the ellipse then choose Object-Arrange-Send to Back. You want to position the mud puddle just below the stomach of the pig. Resize and reposition the puddle as necessary. Choose the body and puddle then group them together.
Now that we have everything made, we are going to put the head and body together.
Select the head then choose Object-Arrange-Bring to Front. Position the head on the left side of the body. You may add a slight rotation to the head if you would like. I did to mine because I feel like it gives the pig a little more personality. Resize the head and/or body as needed while holding the shift button. If you want to make small changes to mud spots, ungroup (Object-Ungroup) the body or head then reposition/resize/add/delete as needed. Once you are happy, select everything and group. You're all finished!
Congratulations on finishing your pig in a mud puddle! Feel free to make this pig your own in any way that you see fit. Please check out more of my illustrations here. Please visit my shop to order your very own illustration!