Winter season is the time of fluffy snow, snowballs and snowmen! Let’s make one, too. In this tutorial, we’ll be creating a cute snowman icon using basic geometric shapes, the Stroke panel and various tools and functions of Adobe Illustrator to create a simple snowman icon with outlines. Let’s get started!
- Program: Adobe Illustrator CS6 – CC
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Topics Covered: Shape Building, Stroke Panel, Direct Selection Tool
- Estimated Completion Time: 15 minutes
Final Image: Snowman Icon
Let’s start by creating a simple background in order to make our white snowman icon more visible.
Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool, hold down Shift and make a 540 x 540 px shape. Fill it with a very light tint of pink in the Color panel.
Now grab the Ellipse Tool (L), hold Shift and create a 200 x 200 px even circle. Set a white Fill and brown Stroke in the Color panel.
Open the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke) and set the Weight to 10 pt, Cap to Round Cap, Corner to Round Joint.
If you’re changing the size of an outlined object, you may find that the stroke is either scaling or not scaling together with the shape. This option can be controlled from the Preferences menu. Go to Adobe Illustrator > Preferences > General and tick the Scale Strokes & Effects checkbox if you want them to be scaled together with the size of your object. The same is for the corners of the objects – check this option if you want to change the size of the corners together with the size of the whole object.
Let’s use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw the eyes. Hold down Shift and create a 25 x 25 px brown-circle.
Create a smaller circle (8 x 8 px) for the highlight.
Group (Control-G) the elements of the eye. Take the Selection Tool (V), click the group and move it to the right while holding the Alt-Shift combination. This way we create a copy of the selected object.
Now we can group both eyes and center them by clicking Horizontal Align Center in the control panel on top or in the Align panel (Window > Align).
Let’s add a carrot for the nose. Find the Polygon Tool in the Tools panel (in the same menu as the Rectangle Tool) and double-click it. Set the Sides to 3 in the pop-up options window.
Create a triangle with orange Fill and brown Stroke. Set the Stroke Width value to 5 pt in the Stroke panel.
Rotate and shrink the triangle using the Selection Tool (V), making it fit the face.
Finally, add a couple of brown strokes to the carrot using the Pen Tool (P).
Now let’s draw a mouth. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw an oval with brown Stroke and no Fill, as shown in the image below.
Select the top point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and press the Delete key (Backspace on the Mac) to remove it.
Now we have only the bottom part of the ellipse which forms a smiling shape.
Next, we’ll create a hat. Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool and make a 115 x 35 px shape.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a taller and narrower shape. Press Control-[ to Send Backward, placing the tall rectangle behind the short one, as shown in the screenshot below.
Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move the top corners of the tall shape, making the top of the hat asymmetrical.
Copy (Control-C) the asymmetrical shape and Paste in Front (Control-F). Shrink the shape, making it much shorter and change the fill color to orange to match the color of the carrot-nose.
Add two pink ovals (with no stroke) for the subtle blush on the cheeks.
Let’s finish up with the face by adding the brows. Duplicate (Control-C > Control-F) the mouth shape, rotate it and make it much smaller. Place the brown above the eye of the snowman.
Keeping the brow selected, double-click the Reflect Tool (O) in the Tools panel and select the Vertical Axis. Click the Copy button to create a second brow and move it to its proper position.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a shape for the scarf. Move its corners using the Direct Selection Tool (A) to make it asymmetrical.
Copy the shape and Paste in Back (Control-C > Control-B). Change the position of the corners to make the shapes look a bit different.
Keep the Stroke weight of both shapes at 9 pt.
Let’s add a finishing touch to the scarf by adding minor details. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a few strokes on the right edge of the shape.
Use the Ellipse Tool (L) and hold down Shift to create a tiny white circle for the snowflake. Speckle more snowflakes around the snowman icon, making the illustration look completed.
Congratulations! Our Cute Snowman Icon is Finished!
Great job! I hope you’ve enjoyed following this tutorial and learned some simple tips and tricks that can be helpful in creating more winter icons.
You can use these techniques to create a whole snowman by adding two more white circles for the body and smaller brown circles for the buttons.
Author: Yulia Sokolova
2D/3D artist and tutorial instructor, focusing on character creation, icons, lettering design, and illustrations.