Following this tutorial you can draw a step by step illustrated vector tutorial file which will help you to actually look at how it is done! it is as simple as that!
Using simple shapes circles and ovals draw an outline quite similar to the one below.
The wing place holder is a circle and for the tail i drew a triangular shape using the pen tool.
Added 3 more ovals to the wing shape
Using the Direct selection tool (A) work on the Beak of the duck.
Select the wing placeholder shapes and using pathfinder join them.
Duck has started to come into shape once i used path finder to join the duck body with the triangular tail shape. Also draw three circles for the eye. You can see below their placement.
Start filling with colour and a thick black stroke
Using the knife tool cut out at the points as seen below.
Make sure the stroke is now Round Cap just to give the stroke some life.
Here the tail needed some adjustments after using pathfinder , use Direct Selection tool and reshape the tail.
Lets start coloring !
Create 2 copies of the body part on over another slightly shifted upward , using pathfinder tool subtract from shape area and then click to expand.
Give the subtracted coloring a little bit of opacity to fit nicely.
Add shading to the head area in the same way
Add some highlights by adding circle of white fill.
For the background for the duck draw a freehand puddle in blue colour , create a copy and give it a stroke and no fill.
Draw a few circles and give it a bit of gradient fill.
Scatter filled circles in various sizes all around the puddle
Give the outline a stroke access the dashed borders brushes Window>brush library>borders>dashed.
And you are done! Here is a little duck in a waterpool setting !
Download the source file once you login , the source files explains to you step by step the process i created this tutorial through!
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