Now, sketch its environment – where does your character live, and what is your illustration as a whole going to depict? Ensure the illustration style of your landscape and character work together, even if they differ slightly. Try and keep your sketch fairly clean, it will help when you come to tracing in Illustrator.
Once drawn, scan it in. If possible, scan at a high-resolution (300dpi is recommended) as you may need to zoom right into the sketch to trace smaller details later, and save your scan as a JPG and import it onto your artboard in Illustrator (File>Place). To help with this tutorial, the original scan is included on the cover CD.
Next, we’re going to trace the sketch. Ensure you retain the natural curves you put into the sketch. Relying too much on the bézier curves created within Illustrator can make your character look too plain or unnatural, being made up of regular graphic shapes. It’s worth spending time over the tracing, as it can be tricky going back to this stage once the image starts coming together as a whole.
Illustrator has three brilliant tracing tools, especially if you are using a Wacom tablet and pen; the pencil retains a very natural line, although it can be a little shaky. The paintbrush allows varied line thicknesses and can work wonderfully for a fresh adaptation of the traditional tool. The pen tool is incredibly clean but the bézier curve function can take some time to get used to.