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.

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.

We will start by adding basic shapes to the monkey character using 3 Anchor Point Guides. Minimize all the others but the step you are on to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

We are only using the ellipse and line tool for this tutorial. The goal is to keep the building process simple while focussing on other topics such as layer organization, copying, pasting, and moving objects.

Keep your layers organized. We will be keeping the head shape and features on separate layers to make life easier when we apply pathfinder to our objects.

Ear Warp: Bulge

Build 1 ear first and duplicate the other over. We will apply a bulge effect. You will need to scale and rotate the ear into place using the anchor point guides.

Eye Warp: Arc

The eye gets a subtle arc and bulge to create a random shape. If you like the circles from the original monkey video you can keep them basic.

Eyebrow Warp: Arc

Eyebrow gets a simple arc effect. After you apply the effect remember to expand appearance. You will need to rotate the eyebrow.

Mouth Warp: Bulge

The mouth will get a little bulge effect. We will not have any bend but will have the effect on the vertical axis. You can play around on the mouth to get different expressions.

Creating Color Swatches

Open the color palette from our resource folder by “placing” the image on to a new layer. Open the swatch menu and drag it across so it is next to your fill and stroke Icons. Using the eyedropper select each on of the colors from the color palette and drag them into your swatches. Note there are more values than on the original color palette.

What am I Aligning?

Determine what objects you are trying to align. Think about if you need to group any objects. All objects will move independently if not grouped.

Determine Align Axis

Most beginners have a great concept of how they want the objects to align. The button you choose can always be undone for another axis.

Grouping Objects

Grouping is one of the areas beginners forget before clicking the align buttons. If you want any objects to maintain their current location group them together.

Selection vs. Artboard

First align individual shapes and groups to the selection. Next, I would align symmetrical groups together (Eyes, Ears) and then group together. Once you have both sides symmetrical then I would align to the artboard.


Brings 2 shapes together. We will unite the head and face shapes together. Select each of the shapes. Double check shapes aren’t grouped with other objects. Unite.


Select the Shapes you want to divide. Click Divide. Ungroup. Deselect. Color or delete the new divided shapes.

Minus Front

Ear will have a few minus front shape modes. Make sure the order is correct. If you want to keep a shape make sure you Copy- Paste in Front before clicking Minus Front.


Same with minus front. Double check your order and if you want a shape to remain after, if you do Copy-Paste in Front. Select the 2 shapes and click on Intersect.



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