Cartoon Logo Design For an IPad Game App

Video Transcript.Jungle Jim Logo

Hi, It’s Andy here from Zen Grenade graphics. Today I’m going to show you how I made the various elements in Adobe Illustrator that make up this logo that I made for an IPad Game App called “Jungle Jim”.

I’m using Adobe Illustrator CS5 but the general methods that I used should work fine in older and newer versions.

The first element I’m going to look at is this fern. At first glance it looks like a simple enough shape, I could make the curving stem easily enough with the pen tool but when it comes to making the leaves  they would need  to  follow the curve of the stem and also taper  to the tip evenly. One way would be to create all the leaves individually and rotate and resize each one but that’s going to take quite a bit of tweaking  and is going to be quite time consuming to get just one looking perfect. What if I want to create several slightly different versions in order to add a bit of variety

As is often the case with Illustrator, digging a bit deeper into the sub-menus  and doing a bit of creative thinking can present us with a much quicker way of doing things.

The first thing I did was use the Pen tool to draw the stem which is basically a tall triangular shape

Then I need to draw myself a leaf. I rotate the leaf slightly and copy and paste it, then flip it with the “Reflect” tool and make it into one shape with the unite command on the Pathfinder tool.

The next step is to copy and paste several instances of this combined shape and place them on the stem I want them to be spaced evenly so I’m going to select them all and use the “Align” tool and I used the “Vertical distribute center” command to do this, Now i’m going to group them and Align them with my stem. Once I’ve got everything in line I can select them all and combine them all into one shape.

It’s looking good so far but all the leaves are the same size and I really want them to taper evenly from the bottom up.

So the next step is to create a rectangle roughly the size of my fern graphic and with the Direct Selection Tool , that’s the little white arrow tool, I’m going to select the 2 anchor points at the top and scale them in so that they move together by exactly the same amount , so what you should have now is a tall truncated pyramid shape.

Select this shape and your fern graphic and Align them using the Horizontal Align Center command.

Now for this next step to work properly, the truncated pyramid shape needs to be above the fern in the hierarchy of objects. If it isn’t,  just bring it to the front by clicking on it and going  Object  -> Arrange -> Bring to Front . Now you want to select them both and go Object – > Envelope Distort ->Make with top object and it will squeeze your fern into the shape of the truncated pyramid giving you the tapered effect.

Now that we have our basic fern shape, all we need to do is turn it into a custom brush by dragging it onto the brush menu. We want it to be new Art Brush and we can give it a name if we want to.

Then all we need to do is select the paintbrush tool and paint it on. This might take a few tries to get it looking good and it can get really distorted if you use curving strokes that are too extreme but generally if you use long gently curving strokes it will look fine.

Obviously this general method can be used to create all sorts of graphic elements not just ferns. Try it with decorative patterns or even type, whatever you want.

I hope you found this tutorial useful . If you did it would be great if you’d share it on Facebook or Twitter .

The Jungle Jim game is available to download for free from itunes app store.In the next part of this tutorial I’ll go through how I made the typographical part of the logo. Bye for now


Children’s book illustration using Adobe Illustrator and Corel Painter

children's book illustration


Video Transcript

In my last blog post , I talked about illustrating a children’s book as a personal project that came about when I was entertaining my daughter by doodling a little teddy bear character and just inventing  a story about him. I’m just going to talk a bit more about the process of finishing the illustrations that I started in Adobe Illustrator by taking them into Photoshop and Painter.

I have an Adobe Illustrator Master file containing all the basic vector graphic elements I need for my book illustrations. Each element is grouped separately, so it’s like a big disorganised library file for all the elements I need. It might be a tree, a character a cloud shape it’s all thrown in here.

The workflow I’m using is to copy and paste the elements I need in to different layers in a Photoshop file. Then I’ll reopen that file in Corel Painter and add shading to it with a Chalk brush, what I’m going for here is to take those sharp hard edged vector graphics and give them a much softer look. So here’s the illustrator graphic that I’ve created of the bear chasing a squirrel up a tree. I want the tree, the bear, the squirrel’s tail and the background of the sky and clouds all on different layers. I could just copy and paste directly from Illustrator to Painter, so why bother to add the extra step of Photoshop? The main reason is, I just find it easier to do this step in Photoshop because I know the software so well,  but the other reason is that Photoshop allows you to paste the element in as a vector object which means I can resize each element up or down without any loss of quality before I rasterize it. Only once it’s rasterized does it then become a bitmap which can be edited and painted over.

The next step is to save my Photoshop file and open it in Painter. I have a palette of custom brushes in Painter but the brush I’m going to use is the default brush called “Blunt Chalk 30” I make a new layer above all the others and this is going to be a white border. Then I’m going to add some shading to the tree. I’ve got the checkbox for “Preserve Transparency” checked and that locks the layer so that only the only the tree can be painted on. Then I’m going to soften the hard edges of those white clouds with the chalk brush, so now I need to turn off the “Preserve transparency” setting  in order to paint around and outside the area of the cloud.

Finally I add some finishing shading  to the bear and the squirrel and I’m pretty much done. Back in Photoshop, the advantage of layers can be seen because I just want to shift some of the elements around slightly.  I prefer to do this in Photoshop because it has an autoselect layer checkbox which makes this part easier. If you’ve never used it, checking the Autoselect layer checkbox allows you to quickly select layers by clicking on the element you want to move rather than having to highlight the layer in the layers palette first, it’s just one of those little time saving things that really adds up over time plus if you’re dealing with lots of layers you don’t have to waste time naming and organising them  and then scrolling through them all to find the one you want. It’s basically a lazy person’s way of doing layer selection  and I make no apology for it. So there we have it, I’m one illustration closer to finishing my children’s book project. If you’d like to know when the book is available either as a digital download or a hard copy please feel free to send me a message. You can contact me via my website or just post a comment on this video.


Creating a cartoon dog character in Sketchbook Pro and Adobe Illustrator

This video illustrates the 3 stages that I go through when creating a finished cartoon character design in this case a friendly dog character based on my client’s black and white Border Collie. The 3 stages are loose sketch in Sketchbook Pro, tight sketch using construction and colouring in Adobe Illustrator.

Drawing a Pterodactyl cartoon character in Sketchbook Pro x 8 speed

This video shows me in the process of creating a colour comp of a Pterodactyl character for a client, false starts and all. The video is speeded up for clarity and you also get to see the final coloured version at the end.

Designing a cave girl pinup girl for a T-Shirt

In my latest YouTube video I go through my process of creating this piece of pinup style art for a Zazzle Tshirt. In order to do this I start off by sketching in Sketchbook Pro and refine it, then bring it into Illustrator for digital inking and flat colouring and finally some digital painting in Photoshop. cavegirl

Free video clip: Inking and colouring a superhero character in Adobe illustrator

How to ink and colour in Adobe Illustrator video

After many requests, I finally got around to producing a video that shows in detail my method of inking and colouring using Adobe Illustrator. The video is one hour long and shows how I create the various different custom brushes I use in my artwork, how to create dynamic  colour and shade using gradients and many other tips and tricks that I use to speed up my workflow.

I’ve uploaded a free preview clip here

And the full video is available to download now from the Zen grenade shop for a mere $7.99

New 3 part video – Jungle Girl Pin Up

I posted a new 3 part video on my YouTube channel this week of me drawing a Jungle Girl Pin up. Instead of the usual time lapse videos that I’ve done before , these are in real time and I talk a bit about the process as I do it.

Here’s part one

To see parts one and  two and to subscribe to my YouTube channel please go here


Stuff I drew this week 4: Princess Leia

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy fired up my youthful imagination in all sorts of ways, so as it’s Carrie’s birthday this week, what a perfect excuse to draw a Princess Leia cartoon.




..and here’s the video of me drawing her.