Creating Simple Creatures in Affinity Designer

Learn how to create a funny mascot, full of personality, charm, creepiness and all of those weird elements expected from a fantasy character… you know, for kids! 🙂

Difficulty: Beginner

Knowledge required: 

  • Be familiar with Designer’s interface
  • Basic use of the Pen Tool
  • Basic use of the Color Panel

You’ll discover how to:

  • Use less than 3 tools to create a finished piece of art.
  • Combine simple shapes to create a wide variety of creatures

The Head

If you followed along the Pirate course, you noticed how we only used about 5 tools to create a whole scene. Well this one will be easier, because we’ll be basically be using about 3 tools.

Let’s get into it: first, create a rectangle (Fig.1), then with the Corner Tool round the top nodes as shown in (Fig. 2), then round the 2 bottom nodes, but a little bit smaller (Fig. 3). 

Notice that I made a big rectangle for the background already, I recommend you do this too, because is too damn hard to look at the white-yellowish shapes against the white background. Unless you’re young and don’t have my eye problems…

The ears

Remember to Convert to Curves your shapes so you won’t have funny results when resizing them. Do this only when you are totally sure, that this is the final shape you want… Ok, ok… enough with the nagging… Add another rectangle (Fig.1), duplicate it and place both as shown in (Fig.2), with the Corner Tool (you didn’t see this coming, didn’t you?), round the top nodes as shown in (Fig.3).

The Body

Now let’s leave the head anywhere in the canvas for now. To make the torso, create a similar rectangle, Convert to Curves and with the NodeTool [A], while selected, insert a point as shown in (Fig.1). Then drag this point downwards a little bit (Fig.2). With this node still selected, go to the upper Context Toolbar and convert this point to Smooth (image below)

drag the resulting handles (Fig.3) until you have something like in the picture.

To create the feet, we’ll gonna do something similar as we did to make the ears. Just follow the steps above.

Making the toes is pretty simple too. Let’s zoom in one feet to show it better (Fig.1). With the Pen Tool draw two vertical lines as in (Fig.2), give them the width you prefer (could be between 1px to 2px). Now with both lines selected go to the Menu Bar, then Layer > Expand Stroke. This will convert our lines into regular shapes. Now select both lines and the leg then go to the upper Toolbar and select Subtract (Fig.3). See image below.

Repeat this step for the other leg.

Now, for the arms we’re going to make a little trick to have pretty smooth semi-curves. You will be using this one all over your designs. I know it 🙂

Using the PieTool (you can learn more about it here), make 3/4 pizza-like shape as in (Fig.1), then Convert to curves, select the upper node and in the Context Toolbar and select Break Curve

then, erase those points until you have something similar as (Fig.3).

Select this shape and go to the Menu Bar, then Layer > Expand Stroke. To convert the stroke into a regular shape. To make the fingers, just follow the same steps as for the toes…

To make the inner part of the ear, we just duplicate the original, color it with the color you please (or see the whole color reference at the end of this page), shrink it down proportionally(Fig.2), then drag down the two bottom nodes until it is aligned to the original ear (Fig.3). To make it more stylish you can add some stripes (Fig.4).

Put all the parts together and you should have something similar to the picture above. We’re almost done, just one more thing is left and that would be…

Full body color reference (Remember to use the CMYK sliders):

  • Head: C:0, M:2, Y:10, K:0
  • Body: C:5, M:5, Y:16, K:0
  • Inner ear: C:55, M:0, Y:44, K:0
  • Inner ear stripes: C:33, M:0, Y:36, K:0
  • Background: C:47, M:0, Y:40, K:0

The Creepy Cutie Face

Tell me, what is a fantasy creature without a couple of creepy empty eyes staring awkwardly at you while smiling…? Right!, just a corny funny bunny. Let’s give this weirdo some personality with a stylish face 🙂

Create a rounded rectangle (Fig.1), then to add a sense of flat shading, duplicate this rectangle and fill it with another color (Fig.2). You can see the full color reference at the bottom of this part. Then subtract the half of this new rectangle, with the Subtract function.

Add a couple of ellipses for the eyes. To make the smile follow the same steps of the arm (I told you, you’ll be using that technique again). The rest is pretty easy to figure out: for the nose add a triangle (you can round its corners if you please and his/her(?) teeth are just tiny rounded rectangles.

To make the marks under the eyes, draw a semi curve with the PenTool (A), then in the Stroke Tab,  go to the Pressure function to edit this curve’s weight. You want to make a graph similar to the picture, by moving the right hand only (if you can’t move this handle independently from the other, just double click it). The you’ll have something similar to (B).

Affinity Designer Character Design

For the cheeks, create a circle (Fig.1), duplicate the face shape (Fig.2) and Intersect both shapes (Fig.3)

Making the hair is a piece of pie… literally! Use the PieTool to make a shape similar to (Fig.1), then add another one and reshape it until looks like (Fig.2), combine this two shapes together(Fig.3) and add an extra curve with the Pen Tool to simulate the hair texture (Fig.3).

Face color reference (Remember to use the CMYK sliders):

  • Face Stroke: C:67, M:87, Y:22, K:0
  • Face fill: C:0, M:2, Y:5, K:0
  • Face shading: C:0, M:16, Y:17, K:0
  • Mouth stroke: C:9, M:69, Y:24, K:0
  • Mouth fill: C:73, M:87, Y:22, K:0
  • Eyes fill: C:67, M:87, Y:22, K:0
  • Nose stroke: C:41, M:88, Y:17, K:0
  • Nose fill: C:0, M:74, Y:22, K:0
  • Cheeks: C:0, M:42, Y:21, K:0

… And, we’re done! Remember that is important to give your characters your own personality. As you can see I have added some extra details like the belly, the knees, the dashed lines in the face, etc. I strongly encourage you to always deviate from the instructions and experiment a little bit further.

An easy way to create trees

If you want to add some background to your character, I found this easy method to create simple trees:

  • Create a cirlce
  • Convert it to Curves
  • Drag the top node upwards
  • Adjust the handles if needed
  • Add a rectangle for the trunk

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