Cupcake Tutorial in Adobe Illustrator

Beginner Adobe Illustrator Tutorial

In Adobe Illustrator, Building with Shapes, for Beginners, Tutorials by Jason Secrest


In this Beginner Adobe Illustrator Tutorial, we will be going through a basic process on how to apply the pen tool, shapes, pathfinder and blend tools. We will go through the Building Phase step by step to build a cute cupcake character. We will be doing some basic coloring with effects. We will add on flat color using Live Paint Bucket, Inner Glows and Drop Shadows to complete the step by step tutorial. Looking to Follow Along? Download Brushes, Textures + Tutorial Resources

adobe illustrator tutorial cupcake


We are going through some different options for the pen tool. The few things to remember is to focus on getting down the anchors first. We have a lot of our tutorials that focus just on straight lines and placing anchors. The easy parts of the line are the start and end points which means you just have to look for changes in direction in the middle. Click and drag your mouse in the direction you want to go (slowly).


There are easy ways of approaching the pen tool. Start with straight lines and only look for changes in direction. Using your white arrow(A) select the point that look like they are curved and click on the smooth curves button. If your pen tool keeps adding a new anchor rather than a new line then make sure the line isn’t still selected. You will notice a + as you hover over the line if it thinks you want to add an anchor. Anchor Tool(Shift C) will reset and manually drag out each curve.


The line variation be simplified by looking at the ends of each of your lines. If it is floating out in space then it signals a tapered end. If the end point bumps up against another line or shape, this is a good signal that it should be wide. Use the Illustrator Brushes to adjust the thickness in areas to support the character and light source.

Adobe Illustrator Top Tips

Zoom In

All of our initial preferences are designed to gain more control over what you are clicking on. The more you can zoom in and see your anchors and handles the better.

Smart Guides

Under VIEW make sure you have your smart guides turned on. Under your PREFERENCES (smart guides) you should definitely have your anchor/ path labels selected.

Anchor and Handle Size

In your (general) PREFERENCES there is a setting which can enlarge your anchor points and handles to make them easier for you to see before clicking.

Direct Selection Tool

The white arrow can grab and adjust the anchors, handles, and paths. All of the other settings are designed to let you know what you are selecting before you click and drag.

How to Color in Adobe Illustrator

One of the easiest and fastest ways of filling in your color is through Live Paint. Live Paint is a part of the Shape Builder Tools which builds the shapes in the exact shape you need it. Select All. Go up to Object - Live Paint - Make. If you have a grayed out Make it simply means you didn't have anything selected. I recommend Deselecting by clicking on your artboard before clicking on a Color Swatch. *Remember Everything is still Selected so it will Color the Full Selection if you click on a Color Swatch. Click on the Live Paint Bucket (K) and Click to Dump Color. It will feel like the Paint Bucket in Adobe Photoshop. Advanced Coloring, Adding Values and Effects: Follow Along to our Active Learning on Teachable.


200+ Adobe Illustrator Brushes specifically designed for Illustrators and Cartoonists to speed up their workflows. Includes Cartoon Brushes, Jittery Hand, Caffeinated Cartoonist and Hand-Painted Brushes. Follow Along to the Tutorials on the or Use with your Own Artwork. Includes Tutorial Resources for the Website and YouTube. VIEW ILLUSTRATOR BRUSHES


Many of you are coming from YouTube and are looking for our (full) Illustrator Resource Folder to Follow Along to the Tutorials or use with Your Own Artwork. Illustrator Resources include our 200 Brushes, 100 Textures and Pattern Fills. Includes the Tutorial Resources to Follow Along on the Website and YouTube. VIEW ILLUSTRATOR RESOURCE BUNDLE


Follow Along to a Tool-Based Workflow Unit Block or a Full-Length Learning Module. Each of Individual Learning Modules aims to be completed in around or under an hour. You can Follow Along to Individual Module or Follow a Unit Block with a Learning Target. The Learning Module Thumbnails are organized by Tool-Based Workflows or Unit Blocks. FOLLOW ALONG TO OUR ACTIVE LEARNING CURRICULUM

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