In this tutorial we’ll be drawing a lovely
cartoon penguin, which will help us to feel warm and cozy on a cold
winter day. We’ll be using basic shapes and some drawing tools of Affinity
Designer to make a simple textured effect.
You can use these techniques to add some simple fancy details to other animal or character vector illustrations that you find at Envato Market or create from scratch.
1. Create the Body of the Penguin
We’ll start by making a 320 x 440 px shape using the Ellipse Tool (M). Fill the shape with
dark-grey color, and let’s make it editable by converting it with the help of the Convert to Curves function in the upper
Now take the Node Tool (A), select both left and right nodes and drag
them down, making the shape look like an egg.
Duplicate the shape (Command-C >
Command-V) and make it a bit smaller by holding down Command-Shift and dragging to the center. Fill the shape with
light-beige color and drag the upper anchor point down, squashing the shape.
Use the Node Tool (A) to move the node handles of the upper node, making
the top of the element heart-shaped. Drag the lower node down, attaching it to
the bottom of the body.
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and let’s start forming a warm knitted hat for
our penguin. Make a narrow green stripe, covering the top of the head. Select
both the body and the stripe and Align
the shapes to each other by clicking the Centre
button in the Align options of the
context toolbar above.
Make the corners of the rectangle 25% rounded with the help of the Corner
options in the upper context toolbar. Convert
the stripe to Curves and use the Node Tool (A) to add a node in the
upper and bottom parts of the shape. Drag the created nodes up, making the
shape slightly arched.
Take the Ellipse Tool (M) and make a bright-pink circle for the top of the
hat. Click it with the right mouse button, and Arrange
> Move to Back, placing it beneath the head. Convert to Curves and drag the upper node up (or the side nodes down), making the shape
2. Render the Face of Our Penguin
Now let’s form a beak. Affinity Designer
offers a wide variety of different shapes, so we just need to pick the proper one. Find the Triangle Tool
in the Toolbar, click and hold
until you open the drop-down menu. Then select the Diamond Tool from the list of shapes and make a small bright-orange
shape for the beak.
And let’s also add the eyes. Take the Pen Tool (P) and make a pointed line,
looking like a corner. Switch to the Corner
Tool (C) and modify the shape, making it smooth and rounded. You can adjust
the corner radius and set the Stroke
Width from the upper context toolbar.
Use the Eyedropper Tool in the Colour
panel to apply the same dark-grey color to the eye, as we have for the body.
Select Stroke in the Colour panel and drag the Eyedropper Tool over the body to pick
the color. Finally, click the selected color in the circle next to the Eyedropper Tool in the Colour panel to apply it to the Stroke.
Duplicate the eye and place the copy at the
opposite side of the face. And let’s add a pair of round nostrils. Use the Ellipse Tool (M) to make a tiny dark-grey
circle. And copy it to the other side.
Let’s get rid of the unwanted pieces
outside the beak. Select the dark circles and Cut (Command-X) them. Now select the orange beak, and go to Edit > Paste Inside. Great! Now the
circles are hidden inside the beak.
Use the Pencil Tool (N) to draw a smooth line for the mouth, making our
Let’s finish up with the mouth by adding
two small strokes, forming the corners of the mouth. And place a tiny squashed
ellipse of a dark-orange color in the middle of the beak.
Let’s add a gentle touch of pink to the
cheeks of our penguin, depicting a frosty blush. Make a pink circle at the left
side the mouth. Take the Pencil Tool (N)
and draw a swirl inside the pink circle, making the blush look cartoonish.
Group (Command-G) both elements,
duplicate them and use the Flip
Horizontal function from the upper context toolbar to mirror the blush
shape and place it at the opposite side of the face.
3. Shape the Heart
Make a green stripe across the penguin’s
body for the scarf. Make the Corners 25%
rounded and Convert the shape to Curves. Use the Node Tool (A) to make additional nodes and bend the shape down,
making it slightly arched, the same way as we did with the hat.
Now let’s add a big, soft heart that our
penguin character will be holding in his arms. Luckily, we already have a heart
symbol among the shape tools. Click the Diamond
Tool in the Toolbar to open the drop-down menu and find the Heart Tool.
Form a large heart of the same dark-pink
color as the top of the hat. And use the Ellipse
Tool (M) to make two small round highlights on top of the heart, filling
them with lighter pink color.
Now let’s add the arms holding the heart. Use
the Ellipse Tool (M) to make a
squashed shape for the upper part of the arm and Move the shape to Back
(Shift-Command-[). Add another ellipse on top and fill it with lighter grey
color, rotating the shape. Convert
it to Curves and use the Node Tool (A) to transform the shape,
making its tip pointed.
4. Add Details & Textures to the
Draw a narrow vertical stripe across the
scarf with the Rectangle Tool (M),
filling it with lighter green color. Make the corners 25% rounded and Convert to
Curves. Use the Node Tool (A) to
add more nodes, and move them around to make the shape slightly bent to the
Let’s make the hat striped. Draw three
dark-green stripes using the Rectangle
Tool (M), select them, and use the Arrange
panel to Space the shapes Horizontally.
(Command-X) the stripes, select the green part of
the hat and Edit > Paste Inside to place the stripes inside the hat.
Find the stripes in the Layers panel, inside the green stripe, and select and rotate them a bit to make them fit the hat.
Now let’s arm ourselves with the Pencil tool (N) and draw a simple
geometrical ornament for the top of the hat. Start by making a smooth arched
line with a white Stroke. Switch to
the Pen Tool (P) and form a zig-zag
under the stripe.
Copy the created elements, resize them and
place them in the upper part of the hat. Use the Ellipse Tool (M) with white Stroke
to create a set of circles between the lines.
(Command-G) the created elements of the pattern and
Cut (Command-X) them. Select the
pink part of the hat, and go to Edit >
(Command-V) the group of elements that we’ve made
for the hat once again, and move them on top of the light-green part of the scarf. Add two more copies and combine the elements, thus forming a seamless pattern.
Cut the created pattern and Paste
it Inside the vertical stripe of the
scarf. Find the elements inside the green shape in the Layers panel, select them and lower the Opacity to 50%.
Let’s add more details to the horizontal part of
the scarf. Copy (Command-C) the
dark-green stripes from the hat, select the scarf and Paste Inside several times,
distributing the stripes inside the scarf.
Let’s return to the hat and lower the Opacity of the pattern inside the pink
part to 50%. Now click and hold the Heart Tool in the Toolbar to open the drop-down menu and find the Cloud Tool. Hold Shift and make an even shape, filling it with beige color.
Click the shape with the right mouse button, and then Arrange > Move to Back.
Copy the cloudy shape that we’ve made for
the hat, fill it with dark-green color and move under the vertical element of the
scarf, using the Command-[ keys.
5. Make a Window Frame
Let’s place our character inside a window
frame to make the composition look more complete. Take the Rectangle Tool (M), make a brown
vertical stripe for the left part of the frame and place it beneath the penguin
(Shift-Command-[). Add the remaining parts of the frame and rearrange the elements, placing the heart, scarf and the
arms of the penguin on top, above the frame (Shift-Command-]).
Copy the created frames and make the bottom
copies a bit smaller. Make the brown color of the copies darker, so that the edges of
the copies are visible inside the frame.
Let’s also make the heart a bit
brighter. Duplicate the heart and make the copy smaller, filling it with
Recolor the hat in the same bright-pink color as the heart, using the Eyedropper Tool.
Let’s form a bright-blue rectangle and
place it beneath all other objects (Shift-Command-[),
depicting a winter sky. And use the Ellipse
Tool (M) to speckle some tiny circles, depicting snowflakes above the sky.
Take the Pencil Tool (N) and start covering the frame with dark-brown wavy
lines, imitating a cartoonish wood texture.
Let’s make the other parts of the picture
textured as well, using the Pencil Tool
(N) and adjusting the colors. Make short strokes above the top of the hat
and cover the body of the penguin with strokes as well, making the character look soft and furry.
Finally, create a New Layer for the
background and place it beneath all other layers. Create a rectangle of
light-yellow color, finishing up our image.
Great Job! Our Cute Penguin Is Complete!
I hope you’ve enjoyed drawing this
illustration and it filled your hearts with warmth, making you feel cozy on a
snowy winter day. Feel free to use these simple drawing techniques and handy
functions of Affinity Designer in your future illustrations, and don’t forget to
share your result! Have fun!