In this tutorial, Mercedes Crespo (aka YemaYema) shows how she creates her appealing cartoon characters. Though full of detail, rich in colour and complex in appearance, they are simple to draw, as she reveals here.

With just the Pencil tool plus basic shapes and a good eye for colour and composition, you can make your illustrations go a long way. Mercedes stresses the importance of having fun and playing around with shapes. It is possible to achieve great things when you least expect it and exploring is a good way of allowing this to happen.

In the Download Zone, you’ll find Mercedes’ original sketch and a texture file you’ll use to add depth to your composition.

Step 1 First I start with a quick sketch (available from the Download Zone), containing basic shapes that will determine the composition and how the character will look. I try to leave it open for revision, and it isn’t meant to look finished. It’s just something done quickly to get an idea down.