Using Resource Folder

1. Place the anchor point guide into NEW illustrator document and scale to fit the 5″x 5″ artboard. In your layers menu select Template Layer. Create a New layer ABOVE IT for inking.

Using the Pen Tool

2. Trace the image using the shape and pen tool. There should be no fill when using the pen tool. Use straight line and the anchor point tool (Shift C) to create your curves.

Placing Anchors

3. Use a two step approach to getting your lines down first. Use a simple connect the dots approach to get down your anchor points. Look for areas to add anchors: start, end, peak of curves, and any corners. Remember you can always add anchors.

Scissor Tool (C)

4. Snip along the path to cut out extra areas of your lines and shapes. Wait for your cursor to highlight the line. Snip. Add a 2nd point, especially on circles, then click on the segment you want to delete.

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.

Adding on Line Variation using Stroke Panel & Width Profiles

You will have more control over the placement and width of each of your lines using the Variable Width Profiles. The process will be a combination of using the width presets to get down the initial thickness and stroke width within the Stroke Panel. The second step will be modifying the placement of the variation using the Width Tool. The trade off of this process rather than using the Cartoon Brush files will be more control but will be a little more time consuming.

Stroke Panel

1. Stroke Panel has quite a few features that should utilized for your designs and it is all in one place. You can control the stroke width, placement, and corners from within the panel. It is also available in the control panel on the top.

Variable Width Profile

2. Most of the Brush Profiles you will be looking for are already in the presets. Look at the ends of each stroke and determine if it is going to be tapered or thick. The thin ends will typically be too thin and have to be adjusted using the width tool. If you create a preset you like, you can save the profile at the bottom of the width profile menu in the control panel.

Width Tool

3. My first stop would be to see if there is a Variable Width Profile preset that will get you close to your end result. You won’t have to modify the entire stroke including the ends. Hover your cursor over the stroke and look for the width points already created or look for the peak and valleys to create your own. Slowly drag out or in using the tool.

Cartoon Brushes

4. Our Cartoon Brushes are built in the same way as using the Variable Width Profiles and the Width Tool. They have already been bumped up from stroke width and the most common presets we use. They are also a good quick alternative to getting down your line variation.

Opening Color Swatches

Open the Swatch Window. On the bottom left hand corner you will see the Open Swatch Libraries icon. At the bottom of the drop-down menu you will see Open Other Library. Go to our resource folder in the Color Palettes folder to Open ASE files. The ASE files have been created to make your life easier while going through the Challenge Series. Once you open the Library- click on the folder icon next to the swatches to move them from the library to the swatches.

Live Paint

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 without having to use pathfinder. Once you are in Live Paint just point and click to create new shapes. Remember to Expand and Ungroup before moving to the next steps.

Knife Tool

This tool is straight forward and easy to use if you are looking for some fast highlights and shadows. Select the shape you want to cut and slice all the way through the shape with the knife tool. Remember to Deselect before trying to recolor the new shape.

Divide Pathfinder

You can use the divide pathfinder with the pen, curve, or segment tools to gain more control over your curves when trying to create highlight or shadow shapes. The knife tool is a little rough and tends to add sharp corners and extra anchors. Remember to not have a fill/stroke on your path. Also remember to Ungroup-Deselect then color your new shape.

Completing the Challenge

We will be completing our Coyote Challenge by adding on transparent gradients, color halftones, and an offset path. We will be creating 2 duplicate layers for our halftone effects from the base color layer we saved earlier. This will have the base color without any cut outs from our highlights and shadows tutorial. The idea is that we have a large areas that the gradient can go over. It is you choice on how transparent the gradient layer is.


Unlock the Gradient Layer we just created. Select using the Magic Wand Tool (Adjust to Tolerance 5) each color: Face, Hair, and Tongue. Add on a Radial Gradient. Use the lightest and Darkest Color Swatch from the color set of 3. Adjust the Opacity to allow the shadow layer to come through at the desired amount.


We will duplicate the Gradient Layer we just created along with the gradients. We will adjust the colors to White and a Grey Swatch (Opacity at 100%). Select each Gradient by color area, Effect- Pixelate- Color Halftone. Adjust all the Color Channels to 128. Adjsut the Gradient Slider and Grey Swatch to modify the halftone. Expand. Live Trace- Expand.

Live Trace Panel Options

Once you click on the Live Trace button you will look for the Live Trace Panel Options in the control panel. Adjust the settings: Ignore White, Click off Snap to Lines, Adjust Noise and Corners to 1. It does help to zoom in and preview your halftone. Look to see if the circles and merging together. Click Trace- Expand. (If it didn’t Ignore White- Select the Halftone- Ungroup- Select the White Shape- Delete)

Check out More Challenge Series


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 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