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.


Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your tutorials. It’s one think to draw on paper, yet another to create artwork directly in Illustrator and yet again a completely different game to take hand drawn work into Illustrator. You’ve managed to make this process make sense and again, I thank you for your video tutorials, they’ve been a real godsend.jeremy rozen
First time dive into Illustrator. This was great, learned a ton! ThanksPhilippe Lachenal
Top notch video as usual man. Cheers!Made by Mighty
awesome tutorial.I have finally completed my first illustrator project!!!Thank you.Pirata Loco
I appreciate your videos. I have been an illustrator user for years and have my own ways of doing things. It’s great to see other ways of using tools and learning tricks I didn’t know were available! It’s also good to see you doing the same thing as me in other instances, confirming I’m on the right track!Andy Zenz
Awesome tutorial! I don’t think I’ve picked up something so easily from someone who knows what they are doing. I managed to draw my first vector art and it was a joy! Great work keep it up!blitz145
Very clear and easy tutorial, indeed. Thank you so much! I’ve learned a lot through this clip.Hailie Burgess
thanks dude your tutorials really helped a beginner like me, keep up the awesome work!!!Giovani Linton
Love your video thanks so much. you blow Lynda.com out of the water!!!!Steve Yensel
A hero amongst artists 🙂 perfect. Thank you!Payton Pellitteri
Brilliant video. So much great info packed in here. I’m just getting started drawing cartoons with my Wacom tablet, and this was a huge help. Thumbs up and thanks!Dorian Staten
Wow Thanks Jason…was really struggling with making images with basic shapes. Your tutorial is helping me out!!Kishor Rajani
thanks a lot you are really one of my favorites, I like the steps you give us, and I’m so thankful for that effort you do for helping us :)Wessam Lotfi
Thank you so much man, I loved the way you explain this, I spent days looking for a good tutorial vid, thanks a lot, gonna keep watching your videos!!!Karel Marccenaro
Wow and wow. Your tutorials are just fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing these. I had always wondered how someone got such lovely inked lines for a drawing in illustrator. Keep up the great workJason Crawford
These tutorials are amazing. Just started using illustrator and really glad I found your channel. The only videos that explain everything step by stepAida Stan
Jason, thank you for the amazing tutorials. Very elegant and rational art style and workflow! I’ll probably go and watch every single tutorial.

Also thank you for sharing your brushes and sketches. Very useful resources!Riste Sekuloski

keep it buddy, u make good tutorial for a beginner like me. so pls. make more of it. thks its so helpfullDORMAN
You are definitely one of the best teachers I’ve found dealing with start to finish creative process. Great work!!!Jasen Fisher
Thank you loads! Compared to other tutorials, yours are just really well-explained and easy-to-follow. Can totally see that you’ve got a passion for what you’re doing and that’s just wonderful! 🙂 Keep it up, you’re doing an amazing job. Yulia Kachurova