How to Create a Retro Cereal Box Design with a Mascot Character (Illustrator & Photoshop Tutorial)

Hello everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial Today I'm going to take you through the process of creating a mascot character to go within a retro cereal box design, using a mixture of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop

We'll begin in Illustrator to draw the character, using simplified shapes based on the old mid-century style of cartoons and mascot designs with basic hand-drawn strokes and limited colours We'll then move over to Photoshop to construct the retro cereal box design, where I'll show you some useful tricks to producing mis-registered print effects and paper textures to give the artwork an aged appearance Have a browse on Pinterst and Google images for some mid-century mascot design inspiration, and check out my previous video on creating a retro style cartoon character for some additional tips You will notice that these character designs often have a stylised appearance with simplistically drawn features, making it ideal for all of us who don't see ourselves as master illustrators But first, if you want to help support the channel, follow the link below to check out Envato Elements

To begin drawing our retro character, open Adobe Illustrator and create a new document The artboard size doesn't matter so much with vector art I actually prefer to go to View > Hide Artboard to give myself a large area to work with I'll be using a handy 1950s themed brush pack by Guerillacraft, which is available to Access All Areas members on Spoon Graphics, but the default charcoal brush could also be used To load a custom brush pack, click the menu icon in the Brushes panel, then choose Open Brush Library, followed by Other Library

I like these brushes in particular because they're designed with seamless strokes that don't stretch like standard art brushes Select the Pencil tool, then double click it to edit its settings, turn up the Smoothness value to the max and make sure Keep Selected ad Edit Selected Paths are checked Draw a temporary squiggle using your chosen brush, then adjust the stroke weight to control the size I'm using 025pt to scale it down to a thinner brush stroke

Delete this temporary path, then select the Ellipse tool The previously used settings are still loaded, so they will be applied to all subsequent paths Draw a circle as a foundation for the head Add a smaller circle as an ear Switch back to the Selection tool Hold the Alt key while dragging to make a copy for the other side

Use the Scissors tool, which are hiding under the Eraser tool group to snip the paths and delete the overlap The Pencil tool can be used to draw two shapes to represent the hair The smoothness setting helps to iron out the kinks If you need to re-draw the path, hit CMD+Z to undo and try again, or draw over the path to adjust its shape Draw a couple of stray hair, but don't forget to deselect the first one, otherwise drawing too close will edit the selected path

A quick hold of the CMD key (or CTRL key on Windows) will toggle the Selection tool so you can click on some empty space to deselect before drawing the next line The Scissors tool is needed again to remove any overlap Select the main circle shape, then snip the path where it intersects with the other shapes Draw a simplified nose and mouth using just curved lines Add a tongue with another simple path, not forgetting to deselect first to avoid editing the selected path

Draw an oval shape as an eye next It might be necessary to adjust the path so the two ends close to form a continuous path Go to Edit > Copy, followed by Edit > Paste in Back, then switch the fill to a stroke for this duplicate Draw a selection across the two elements, then drag a copy for the other side Go to Object > Transform > Reflect to mirror the shapes vertically

Reposition the facial features if necessary by selecting and moving the relevant paths The great thing about Illustrator is paths can be easily edited and moved after they have been drawn Continue drawing the body of the character with simplified lines When you'e done, draw a selection across the entire illustration We'll change the default black stroke to a deep blue, but first the two filled shapes of the eyes need deselecting, so we only have the stroked paths selected

Hold Shift and click each one to do so Change the stroke colour of the lines to a mid-to-dark blue, which will be one of the colours from the limited palette used for this design Don't forget to change the black fills of the pupils too Use the Eyedropper tool to sample the colour from the stroke while holding Shift, otherwise it will copy the appearance of the path and apply the stroke and brush effects too To add some colour to the illustration, select the Blob Brush tool

With the dark blue fill still active, begin tracing and filling the hair shapes Right click and choose Arrange > Send to back Select one of the brush strokes for a second to loads its appearance, then don't forget to deselect it again before changing the stroke colour to white Draw a few detail lines within the hair area Shift-Click them, then choose Arrange > Send to Back, followed by Bring Forward to place the below the main linework, but above the colour fill shapes

Choose a mid-red colour as the second hue for our colour palette Paint the clothing area, and the tongue Another use of this red colour would be to add some rosy cheeks This brush pack has some nice grainy brushes that create suitable shapes when applied to circular paths A similar effect can be applied to a large shape that will fill the lower portion of the final design

Apply a textured stroke in the same colour To construct the main design we'll switch over to Photoshop Open up a paper texture to use as a background This particular Old Vintage Paper Background by Andrius Saz on Shutterstock by is one of my go-to's Rotate your image if necessary to create a portrait document

Add a Solid Colour adjustment layer and find a bright yellow which will be the third and final colour from the limited colour palette, with the exception of a bonus colour which will be the colour of the paper stock, which was a clever trick when working with limited colour prints Switch back over to Illustrator and select all with CMD+A, then copy with CMD+C Paste these elements into the Photoshop document with CMD+V Choose to render them as Pixels, then scale up the artwork to fit

You can see how the large oval fills the lower portion of the design when it is clipped within the size of the canvas Cereal boxes often feature a photo of the cereal I found this free image on Pexelscom Open it in Photoshop, then use the Quick Selection tool to draw a selection around the bowl and its contents

It has well defined edges, so the quick selection tool does a pretty good job Copy and Paste it into the main document Use CMD+T to Transform, then scale as position the cereal bowl into the composition There's a couple of filters we can add to give this cereal photo more of an old print look, but first convert the layer to a Smart Object to apply the effects non-destructively Go to Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights

Boost the Shadows to around 45% to brighten the image Next, add an Unsharp Mask under the Filter > Sharpen menu Use values of 70% and 4px To reproduce this photograph in the limited 3-colour palette, apply a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer Be sure to click the adjustment layer portion of the layer to select it, rather than its mask that is selected by default, then edit the gradient within the Properties panel

Click the first colour swatch and change the colour by eyedropping a hue from the artwork Choose the dark blue used in the linework Add an extra gradient swatch and sample the red from the design Sample the yellow roughly three quarters of the way up the gradient, then leave white at the end Reposition each colour to adjust the overall brightness and contrast of the picture

Add a new layer and place it below the main character layer Hold the CMD key and click the character layer thumbnail to loads its selection, then fill this area with black on the new layer using the ALT+Backspace shortcut, followed by CMD+D to Deselect Turn off the visibility of the character layer for a moment, then select the brush tool and paint over the unfilled areas to form a silhouette Leave any areas you want to be filled with the yellow background colour, such as the collar Double click the layer to open its layer styles, then change the Knockout setting to Shallow

Reduce the Fill value of the layer to zero to see how this effect knocks-out the yellow fill layer below so the paper background shows through Bring back the visibility of the character, then repeat the process to add a knockout layer for the cereal bowl This time the entire shape can be filled from the initial selection This useful technique is a great way to create misregistered print effects where the different colour layers and knocked out, but misaligned slightly Select both knockout layers and nudge them out of place

Add a new layer and draw a shape to act as a banner for the main heading text Give this shape the same knockout and zero fill settings so it punches out the yellow to show the paper Place this layer below the main character Use the Type tool to enter the name of your fictional cereal brand I found a suitable font named Chaloops in the Adobe Fonts Library

Activate it via the link in the description Give the text the dark blue fill, but make the letter O red to allow it to stand out Duplicate this layer and drag it underneath Turn off the visibility of the original for a moment while you adjust the colour of the text to yellow Bring back the visibility of the top text layer, then nudge the yellow version to form a drop shadow effect

Make another duplicate of this text layer and configure it with the knockout and zero fill settings Nudge it up and left slightly to add some spacing between the shading effect Another suitable font from the Adobe Fonts library you can activate is Corner Store Use this script to add some more text elements Use the CMD+T shortcut to rotate, scale and position the text

Make a duplicate and set it up with the knockout settings, then nudge this layer to form a shading effect that allows the paper background to show through Finish off the design with additional text elements using the same techniques to add colourful shadows and knock-out effects while working within the 3 colour limit Once the design is complete, we can add some more texturing effects to enhance the retro feel Make a duplicate of the paper background layer and drag it to the top of the layer stack Change the blending mode to Multiply, to apply the texture as an overlay to the entire design

Go to Image > Adjustment > Levels and move the sliders to dramatically increase the contrast The darker the shadows and midtones the more prominent the texturing will be Fine tune the texturing by adjusting the opacity of the layer Use the CMD+J shortcut to make a duplicate of the layer, then invert it with CMD+I Set this layer's blending mode to screen so only the brightest parts of the texture are visible

Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate, then bring up the Levels for this layer with CMD+L Drag the sliders the opposite way to bring out the detailed highlights of the texture Adjust the overall effect by bringing down the opacity Since this layer is a duplicate of the same image, press CMD+T, then right click and flip the image both horizontally and vertically to disguise the texturing The final result is a cool retro themed design featuring a mid-century style character mascot and a range of effects that simulate old prints, such as limited colour, misregistration and worn paper effects

If you enjoyed this tutorial or learnt any new tricks please give the video a thumbs up to help spread the word Subscribe to my channel to stay tuned for more, and join my mailing list at Spoon Graphics to stay up to date with all my content, and to bag yourself my free bundle of design resources As always thank you very much for watching, and I'll see you in the next one!s

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