Adobe Illustrator tutorial: Design symmetrical character art

The beauty of this image lies in its simplicity: it’s so clean and neatly proportioned that it radiates effortless charm. One key reason for its clear-cut appeal is its symmetry – by its very nature it’s balanced and orderly, but it retains a sense of movement. It’s also got a sort of comical formality, partly because its symmetry and background make it look almost like a heraldic crest.

In this tutorial, creative duo LouLou & Tummie show you how to use Illustrator to create a symmetrical, character-filled banner. You’ll hone your use of the Pathfinder tool to build new shapes, and tweak lines to give them a sense of flow. 

The tricks you’ll learn are useful in a range of other vector-based illustrations, helping you to create art that is clean but not stilted. 

To start, you’ll need to get some reference images of plants and flowers and draw yourself a rough sketch to base the tutorial on.

Step 1 Import your sketch into a new Illustrator document, and set the opacity to 30%. Place a guideline in the middle of your artboard and align your image so that its centre is on the guideline. This guideline will be the pivotal element of your whole illustration. Use the Pen tool to trace the upper part of the banner on the right-hand side.

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