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How to Draw Sailor Moon in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In
this tutorial you will learn how to draw Sailor Moon with her famous
ponytails and cute outfit as a vector character. You will learn
plenty of techniques for shading and highlights and will add plenty of
details using brush profiles and effects in order to make this
replica
of the Sailor Moon cartoon character as lovely as possible.

By
the end of this tutorial, you will be able to apply these techniques in
your personal projects and maybe create your all-time favorite
cartoon character in vector form. Let’s start!

If
you are hungry for more
cartoon
characters
or
cartoon
styles
in
general, make sure to go over to
GraphicRiver
and
you’ll surely find what you are looking for there.

1. How
to Open a New Document 

Launch
Illustrator
and
go to
File
> New
to
open a blank document. Type a name for your file, set up the
dimensions, and then select
Pixels
as
Units
and
RGB
as
Color
Mode
.
Make sure that
Align
New Objects to Pixel Grid
is
not checked.

Next,
go to
Edit
> Preferences > General
and
set the
Keyboard
Increment
to
1
px
.
While you’re there, go to
Units
to
make sure they are set as in the following image. I usually work with
these settings, and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

how to open new illustrator document

2. How
to Create Sailor Moon’s Head and Hair

Step
1

Grab
the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a 98 x 102 px ellipse; then switch to
the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add two extra points as indicated
(1). Adjust the handles of these two points using the Direct
Selection Tool (A)
to define the cheeks, and move the bottom
point downwards a little to define the chin (2). The head shape is
ready now, and you can fill it with a pinky skin color (3).

how to draw sailor moons head

Step
2

Next,
use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the top part of the hair and fill it
with yellow (1).

It’s
time for the bangs. Draw a shape like the one below as the first piece, filled with the same shade of yellow (2). Still using the Pen
Tool (P)
, draw a path following the bottom and right side of the bangs; then give it a 4 pt Stroke and select Width
Profile 4
in the Stroke panel. The wider end of the brush should be
at the bottom, and the tip of the brush should be at the top; if not, press the Flip Along icon right next to the brush profile. Next, go
to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 2 px
(3).

While
the path stays selected, press the New Graphic Style icon at the
bottom of the Graphic Styles panel to save it because you will use it
again for the rest of the bangs. You can name it the “hair shading
graphic style (4).

how to draw sailor moons hair

Step
3

Use
the Pen Tool (P) again to draw another path next to the bottom and
right edges of the bangs. Give it a 2 pt white Stroke and use
the Black Blend Art Brush 100×3 (info below). Go to Effect > Blur
> Gaussian Blur
and apply a Radius of 2 px (1).

While
the path stays selected, press the New Graphic Style icon to save
this style. You can name it the “hair highlight” graphic style, and you will use it
again for the rest of the bangs (2).

I
have an entire tutorial dedicated to
Blend
Art Brushes
and
how useful they are. I use them in my drawings all the time. You can
find out how to create and save the
Black
Blend Art Brush 100×3
that
we are using today in
How
to Create a Set of Multi-Use Blend Brushes in Adobe Illustrator
.

Since
the Colorization of the brush is set to Tints, when you select white
as the stroke color the brush becomes white as well, despite its
name. The same thing happens with any other color. 

how to add shading  highlight on sailor moons bangs

Step
4

Select
the yellow piece of the bangs and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V)
to make a copy of it in front of everything. Set this copy to
stroke-none and fill-none (the red path). Now, select the piece of the bangs and the two highlight and shading paths, along with the copy of the
bangs, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7) (1).
You can see the result below, and you can name the resulting group
piece 1” (2). 

how to mask sailor moons bangs

Step
5

Follow
the right side of the first part of the bangs and draw a path with the
Pen Tool (P). Give it a 2 pt brown Stroke and use Width Profile 1
in the Stroke panel (1). Next, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian
Blur
and apply a Radius of 2 px. Move this path behind the “piece
1
” of bangs in the Layers panel because it’s the shadow (2).

While
this path stays selected, press the New Graphic Style icon to save it
for later use. 
You
can name it the “hair shadow” graphic style.  

how to add shadow to sailor moons bangs

Step
6

Let’s
continue with the second part of the bangs. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw
another similar shape on the right side of the first one, filled with the
same shade of yellow (1). Next, draw a path following the bottom
right edge and simply select the “hair shading” graphic style
from the Graphic Styles panel to apply it (2). Continue with the
second path right on the edge and apply the “hair highlight
graphic style to it (3).

Select
the second part of the bangs and then Copy and Paste in Place
(Shift-Control-V)
to make a copy of it in front of everything. Set
this copy to stroke-none and fill-none (the red path). Now select the
second part of the bangs and the two shading and highlight paths along with
the copy of the bangs, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make
(Control-7)
(4). You can see the result below, and you can name the
resulting group “piece 2” (5).

how to create sailor moons second piece of bangs

Step
7

Draw
a path on the right side of the second part of the bangs and apply the
hair shadow” graphic style to it (1). This will be the shadow, so
move it behind the “piece 2” group in the Layers panel (2).

how to add shadow to sailor moons second piece of bangs

Step
8

Following
the technique explained above, create three more parts of the bangs, and
don’t forget about the shadow path between them (1). After you are
done, Group (Control-G) the bangs from the right side of the head to keep things
organized in the Layers panel.

While
the right bangs group stays selected, go to Object > Transform >
Reflect
, check Vertical, and hit Copy. As a result, you will get the left bangs group, and all you have to do is to move it into place
(2). You can see the result in the image below (3).

how to finish sailor moons bangs

Step
9

Next,
draw a 39 x 39 px circle with the Ellipse Tool (L) on the top right
side of the head filled with the linear gradient shown (1). Continue
with a 28 x 28 px circle filled with white (2) and then with a 22 x
22 px
circle filled with the radial gradient shown (3).

how to create sailor moons right hair circle

Step
10

To
add some shine, draw a small circle on the upper right side filled
with white. Go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a
Radius of 1 px; then set the Blending Mode to Overlay (1).

Next,
draw a curved path at the top of the yellow circle, give it a 2 pt
white Stroke, and use the Black Blend Art Brush. Also apply a 1 px
Gaussian Blur
(2).

how to highlight sailor moons right hair circle

Step
11

Group
(Control-G)
all the shapes from the previous two steps and name the
group “right hair circle”. With the group still selected, go to
Object > Transform > Reflect, check Vertical, and hit Copy. As a
result, you will get the “left hair circle”.

how to create sailor moons left hair circle

3. How
to Create Sailor Moon’s Famous Ponytails 

Step
1

Use
the Pen Tool (P) to draw a shape like the one in the image below as the main
piece of the ponytail (1). Continue with a small ellipse as the
middle part (2) and a moon-like shape as the tip of the ponytail (3).

how to draw sailor moons ponytail shapes

Step
2

Focus
on the main part of the ponytail and fill it with a darker shade of
yellow. Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply
this effect three times using the settings shown.

how to color sailor moons main ponytail shape

Step
3

Now,
select the middle and the tip of the ponytail and fill them with the
same shade of yellow. Apply the Inner Glow effect twice, followed
by the Outer Glow effect, using the settings shown.

how to color sailor moons tip ponytail tip

Step
4

Grab
the Pen Tool (P) and draw a path following the right side of the
ponytail. Give it an 8 pt white Stroke and use Width Profile 2 in
the Stroke panel. Next, apply a 3 px Gaussian Blur and then reduce
the Opacity to 75%.

how to highlight sailor moons right ponytail

Step
5

Select
the three shapes of the ponytail and then Copy and Paste in Place
(Shift-Control-V)
to make copies of them in front of everything (1).
Set these copies to stroke-none and fill-none; then press Unite in
the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape (2). Now,
select the entire ponytail and go to Object > Clipping Mask >
Make (Control-7)
(3).

how to mask sailor moons right ponytail

Step
6

Select
the right ponytail group and Reflect it vertically to obtain the left
one, and then move it into the correct place. Send both ponytails behind the head
and behind the hair circles.

how to create sailor moons left ponytail

Step
7

Use
the Pen Tool (P) to draw a curved path at the bottom of each hair
circle. Simply select the “hair shadow” graphic style to apply
it. Move the two paths between the hair circles and the ponytails in
the Layers panel.

how to add shadow under sailor moons hair circles

Step
8

Let’s
add some details on the head. Draw two short paths on the front of
the head and give them a 1 pt Stroke using the Black Blend Art Brush
and the color indicated.

how to add details on sailor moons hair

Step
9

Now,
draw two paths at the top of the head. Apply the “hair highlight
graphic style to them but change the Radius from 2 px to 1 px for the
Gaussian Blur
effect and also reduce the Opacity to 60%.

how to add shine to sailor moons hair

4. How
to Draw Sailor Moon’s Ears

Step
1

Use
the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape of the right ear and fill it with
a pinky skin color. Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow
and apply the settings shown (1).

Draw
a short curved path on the ear, give it a 1 pt brown Stroke, and use the
Black Blend Art Brush. Reduce the Opacity to 50% (2). 

At this point, the ear is ready, and you can Reflect it vertically to get the left
ear (3).

how to create sailor moons ears

Step
2

The
earrings are made of two 2 x 2 px circles filled with white and a
moon shape filled with yellow.

how to create sailor moons earrings

5. How
to Create Sailor Moon’s Crystal Tiara

Step
1

Draw
a wide “V” shape on the forehead and move it behind the bangs. While
the Fill attribute stays selected in the Appearance panel, apply the
Drop Shadow effect using the settings shown.

how to create sailor moons tiara

Step
2

With
the tiara still selected, add a New Fill at the top of the Appearance
panel. Use yellow as the fill color. Go to Effect > Distort &
Transform > Transform
and apply the settings shown; then go to
Effect > Stylize > Feather and apply a Radius of 3 px.

how to add shadow to sailor moons tiara

Step
3

Use
the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw an ellipse as the crystal in the middle
of the tiara (1). To add some shine, draw a small circle at the top
of the crystal filled with a basic white to black radial gradient.
Set the Blending Mode to Screen and reduce the Opacity to 75% (2).

Now
the tiara is ready, and you can Group (Control-G) all the shapes to
keep things organized in the Layers panel (3).

how to create sailor moons crystal on the tiara

6. How
to Add a Shadow Under Sailor Moon’s Hair

Step
1

Use
the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select the top piece of hair along
with all the bangs in front, and then Copy and Paste in
Place (Shift-Control-V)
to make copies of them (1). Press Unite in
the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape (2). Keep the
same yellow fill color and apply the Drop Shadow effect (3).

how to add shadow under sailor moons hair

Step
2

You
need to create a mask shape. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) again
to select the head shape along with the two ear shapes and then Copy
and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make copies of them (1).
Press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape
(2).

how to create a head mask shape

Step
3

Now,
select the hair shape with the Drop Shadow effect applied to it from earlier, along with the mask shape from the previous step (stroke-none,
fill-none), and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7)
(1). Move the resulting group under the hair and the bangs but in front
of the head in the Layers panel (2).

how to mask the shadow under sailor moons hair

7. How
to Create Sailor Moon’s Eyes, Nose, and Mouth

Step
1

Use
the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw the shape of the right eye and fill it
with white (1). The second ellipse is similar but smaller and filled
with the linear gradient shown at a 90 degree Angle (2). Continue
with the next two ellipses filled with blue and white (3,4).

how to draw sailor moons right eye

Step
2

Next,
draw a small circle on the lower left side and a triangle-like shape on the lower right side of the eye (1).

Take
the Pen Tool (P) and draw a curved path following the top edge of the
eye. Give it a 4 pt brown Stroke and use Width Profile 1 in the
Stroke panel (2). Draw three short paths as eyelashes, give them a 2
pt
brown Stroke, and use Width Profile 4 this time (3).

how to add details on sailor moons right eye

Step
3

The
right eye is ready, and you can Group (Control-G) all the shapes.
While the group stays selected, go to Object > Transform >
Reflect
, check Vertical, and hit Copy. Move the newly obtained left
eye to the correct place.

how to create sailor moons left eye

Step
4

Draw
two paths above the eyes as eyebrows and a short, slightly curved path
as the nose. Give them a 1 pt Stroke using the color indicated and
the Black Bend Art Brush. Reduce the Opacity to 50%.

how to draw sailor moons eyebrows  nose

Step
5

Use
the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape of the mouth as shown in the next
image. Select pink as the fill color and select a 0.25 pt Stroke
using a darker shade of pink.

how to draw sailor moons mouth

Step
6

Draw
two triangles on the cheeks filled with pink (1). While they stay
selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Feather and apply a Radius
of 5 px; then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a
Radius of 5 px. Reduce the Opacity to 75% (2).

At
this point, the blush goes over the edge of the face, so you need a
mask. Select the head shape and Copy and Paste in Place
(Shift-Control-V)
to make a copy of it in front of everything. Set
this copy to stroke-none and fill-none (3). 

Now, select the two blush
triangles along with the copy of the head and go to Object >
Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7)
. Move the resulting group behind
the eyes but in front of the head in the Layers panel (4).

how to create sailor moons blush cheeks

8. How
to Create Sailor Moon’s Upper Body

Step
1

Use
the Pen Tool (P) to draw the neck and the shoulders and then close
the shape at the bottom (1).

To
add a shadow under the chin, draw a path having the width of the neck
and slightly curved (2). Select the “hair shadow” graphic style
from the Graphic Styles panel, and you are done. Move this path behind
the head but in front of the upper body shape in the Layers panel
(3).

how to draw sailor moons neck and shouders

Step
2

Next,
draw the shape of the white blouse (1) followed by the two short
sleeves (2). Continue with the blue pieces on top of the shoulders
(3) and after that, draw two lines on each side with a 1 pt white
Stroke (4).

how to draw sailor moons blouse

9. How
to Create Sailor Moon’s Arms

Step
1

With
the help of the Pen Tool (P), draw the shape of the upper arm and fill
it with the same color as the rest of the body (1).

Now,
let’s add some shading and highlights. Draw a path following the left
edge of the arm, give it a 3 pt brown Stroke, and apply a 3 px
Gaussian Blur
(2). Next, draw a path following the right side of the
arm, give it a 3 pt white Stroke, and apply a 2 px Gaussian Blur again
(3).

You
need to create a mask now. Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V)
the arm shape in order to make a copy of it in front of everything.
Set this copy to stroke-none and fill-none. Now, select the arm
shape and the shading and highlight paths along with the copy of the arm, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7) (4).

how to create sailor moons upper arm

Step
2

Use
the Rectangle Tool (M) to draw a small rectangle; then rotate and
arrange it at the end of the arm (1). Next, draw three paths on the
rectangle, give them a 3 pt or 4 pt pink Stroke, and select the Round Cap
option in the Stroke panel (2). You can see the end result in the
image below (3).

how to create sailor moons pink elbow

Step
3

It’s
time to draw the shape of the hand/glove with the Pen Tool (P). Take
your time and make as many adjustments as needed. Fill this shape
with white (1). Draw a finger shape filled with the linear gradient
shown and send it behind the glove (2).

Now,
let’s add some shading. Draw three paths following the bottom edge of
the glove and give them a 2 pt black Stroke using Width Profile
4
. Also apply a 1. 5 px Gaussian Blur, and then reduce the Opacity to
20% (3).

To
mask the blur that goes over the edges, use a copy of the glove set
to stroke-none and fill-none (4).

how to create sailor moons white glove

Step
4

At
this point, the entire arm is ready, and you can Group (Control-G) all
the shapes. Reflect this arm vertically and you will get the left
arm. All you have to do is to move it to the correct place.

how to create sailor moons left arm

10. How
to Create Sailor Moon’s Front Bow

Step
1

Take
the Pen Tool (P) and draw the two halves of the bow filled with a
dark shade of pink (1). Make a copy in front of each shape, scale
them down, and replace the fill color with pink (2).

Now,
select the pair of shapes from the right side and go to Object >
Blend > Blend Options
. Choose 10 Specified Steps and then go back
to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B). Repeat the same thing
for the left side of the bow (3).

Lastly,
draw the two end pieces of the bow filled with the linear gradient
shown at a -90 degree Angle and send them to the back (4).

how to create sailor moons front bow

Step
2

Zoom in on the bow as much as needed. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a
petal-like shape on the right side of the bow. After that, draw a
similar but smaller shape in the center. Both shapes are filled with dark purple, but set the Opacity for the bigger shape to 0% (1).

Blend
these two shapes using 10 Specified Steps (2) and then Reflect
vertically the resulting blend group to get another one on the left
side of the bow. Reduce the Opacity to 45% for both groups (3).

Duplicate
these two groups and scale them up to get a new pair. Reduce the
Opacity to 25% (4).

how to add details on sailor moons front bow

Step
3

Use
the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw a circle in the middle of the bow.
Select a 0.5 pt yellow Stroke, a 1 pt brown Stroke, and pale orange as
the fill color (1).

Use
the Star Tool to draw a small star and give it a 0.75 pt yellow Stroke
(2); then make a copy of the moon that you used earlier in the
tutorial for the earrings, and arrange it in the center (3). Group (Control-G) all the
shapes, and you can see the result in the image below (4).

how to create sailor moons badge

Step
4

Select
the right side of the bow (without the two blend groups) and apply
the Drop Shadow effect. For the left side of the bow, use the other
Drop Shadow settings shown.

how to add shadow to sailor moons front bow

11. How
to Create Sailor Moon’s Necklace

Use
the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape of the necklace at the base of the
neck and fill it with the linear gradient shown (1). Grab a copy of
the moon and arrange it in the center (2); then Group (Control-G) these two shapes. While the necklace group stays selected, apply the Drop
Shadow
effect, and you are done (3).

how to create sailor moons necklace

12. How
to Create Sailor Moon’s Skirt

Step
1

First,
draw a “V” shape at the bottom of the blouse filled with white, as shown in the image below (1). 

Still using the Pen Tool (P), draw a path
following the bottom edge of the blouse which is also in the shape of
a “V”, and give it a 2 pt black Stroke using Width Profile 1.
Go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur, apply a Radius of 2 px, and
then reduce the Opacity to 40% (2). 
This
will act as a shadow at the waist, and you should send it behind the
blouse along with the white border (3).

how to draw sailor moons waist

Step
2

The
skirt is composed of six rectangle-like shapes, slightly rounded at
the bottom corners. Follow the sequence of images and draw the skirt, making sure the pieces are in the correct order. Also adjust the
angle of the gradient for each piece.

how to draw sailor moons skirt

Step
3

Sailor
Moon has a big bow on the back of the skirt, so draw a shape like the one in
the next image as a small corner of the bow and send it to the back.

how to draw sailor moons back bow

13. How
to Create Sailor Moon’s Legs

Step
1

First,
draw a rectangle-like shape filled with the same color as the body
(1), and then continue with the shape of the boot filled with bright pink
(2).

Now,
use the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) to add an extra point at the top of
the boot and move t
his point upwards with the help of the Direct
Selection Tool (A)
(3).

With
the boot shape still selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Inner
Glow
and apply the settings shown (4).

how to create sailor moons right leg  boot

Step
2

To
add some shading, draw two paths on the boot as shown. Give
them a 5 pt Stroke and use Width Profile 4 in the Stroke panel.
Apply a 5 px Gaussian Blur to both of them. Keep the longer path at
100% Opacity and set the shorter path to 75% Opacity.

how to add shading on sailor moons right boot

Step
3

Draw
a “V” path following the top edge of the boot and give it a 7 pt
white Stroke (1).

To
highlight the boot, draw a white ellipse on the boot; then apply a 10
px Feather Radius
and a 5 px Gaussian Blur (2).

how to highlight sailor moons right boot

Step
4

It’s
time to mask the blur that goes over the edge of the boot. Select the
boot shape and Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a
copy of it in front of everything. Set this copy to stroke-none and
fill-none (the green shape).

Now,
select the two shading paths, the white stripe at the top of the
boot, the white ellipse and the copy of the boot, and go to
Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).

how to mask sailor moons right boot

Step
5

Let’s
add some shading and highlights on the leg. This is pretty much the
same thing that you did for the arms. So draw a path on each side of
the leg and use the same settings (step 9.1).

Make
a copy in front of the leg and use this copy to mask the two paths as
you did earlier. You can see the result in the image below (2).

how to add shading  highlight to sailor moons right leg

Step
6

Grab
a copy of the moon and place it at the top of the boot. Copy and
Paste in Back (Control-B) the moon and change the fill color to
purple. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select only the bottom
point of this shape and move it downwards a little to create a shadow
(1).

At
this point, the leg is ready, and you can Group (Control-G) all the
shapes. Reflect the group vertically and you will get the left leg.
All you have to do is to move it to the correct place (2).

how to create sailor moons left leg  boot

Step
7

Here
is the final Sailor Moon character:

final Sailor Moon character

Congratulations!
You’re Done

Sailor
Moon is ready for action!

I
hope you enjoyed this tutorial as much as I did. Cartoon characters
are one of my favorite things to draw. Apply the techniques you learned
today in your future projects, and keep drawing.

Tell
me what your all-time favorite cartoon character is, and maybe I will draw it
next.   

Sailor Moon character tutorial final image