How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator

How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator

In this Illustrator tutorial, we will learn how to illustrate a unicorn using very simple techniques.


We will use the effects along with some basic vector shapes to achieve the final outcome in a short time. Hopefully you will learn some useful work tips.


Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator


Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS6
  • Estimated Completion Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate

Step 1

Let’s create a new document first. Make sure to set the dimensions to 600 x 600 pixels and the Color Mode to CMYK.

Starting with the Pen Tool (P), I’ve drawn the base head shape of my little unicorn.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 1

Apply this gradient to the head shape.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 2

Make sure that your head shape is selected, then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow.

Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button. This will give an illusion of depth.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 3


Step 2

Now we pick the Pen tool (P) and draw the shape of the ear, cone-like shape.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 4

With the shapes still selected, we apply the same gradient…
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 5

and the same Inner Glow effect values as in the previous steps for this ear shape.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 6

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + V) this ear shape and place the copy shape behind the head shape. We will modify the gradient type from Radial to Linear
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 7

And change the Inner Glow effect values for this copy shape.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 8

Now we pick the Pen tool (P) and draw a shape for the inside of the ear and fill it with the gradient shown below.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 9


Step 3

I’m going to now use the Pen Tool (P) to draw my initial base shapes for the body.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 10

Then we apply the same gradient as in the previous step for the body.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 11

And we apply the same Inner Glow effect values for this body shape. This will give an illusion of depth.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 12


Step 4

Now we pick the Pen tool (P) and draw the shape of the unicorn’s leg.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 13

Then we apply the same gradient as in the previous step for this leg shape…
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 14

And we apply the same Inner Glow effect values.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 15

One more step and we will finish with this leg shape. Pick the Pen tool (P) and draw a shape and place it as shown below. Apply this gradient to our new shape.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 16

Group (Cmd + G) your leg shape elements together then duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + V) and place them as shown below. Here is my result.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 17


Step 5

I’m going to work on the unicorn tail now. We continue with the Pen tool (P) and draw the tail shapes. We will apply a gradient and Inner Glow effect in this step.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 18

Keep going with this pink tail.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 19

And keep going with this orange tail.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 20

And we finish with green tail.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 21


Step 6

In this step, I want to add 3 stars on the unicorn’s body. Just grab the Star tool and create, fill them with these gradients then place them as shown below.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 22
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 23


Step 7

Now we duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + V) the stars, resize the copies smaller and place in front of the unicorn’s forehead.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 24


Step 8

I’m going to work on the unicorn’s horn now. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a triangle and manipulate the handle of anchor points. Here is my result.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 25

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw some lines and place them on the horn shape.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 26

Now we select both of the unicorn’s shape and lines, go to Pathfinder > Minus Front.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 27

And you will get a result like this.
HHow to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 28

Choose Open Swatches Library > Gradient > Metal, we can use a pre-made gradient in Illustrator to fill in the unicorn’s horn. Apply Gold gradient for this circle.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 29


Step 9

In this step, I’m going to work on the unicorn’s nostril. Just pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw an oval shape, then fill it with this gradient.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 30

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) this oval shape and paste in front, resize the copy shape smaller and we apply this gradient to it.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 31


Step 10

Working on the hair, I drew the fluffy coif and hair shapes with the Pen Tool (P).
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 32

Repeat Step 5 and apply the same gradient and the same Inner Glow effects values for the unicorn’s hair. And you will have a result like this.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 33


Step 11

I’m going to work on the eyes now. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a shape as in the image below and fill it with this gradient.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 34

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) this eye shape and resize it smaller. Then fill it with white #ffffff.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 35

Continue with the Pen Tool (P) to draw an iris, and fill it with #916c59.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 36

I want to add a reflection on the iris, so just continue with the Pen Tool (P) to draw a shape as in the image below and fill it with white #ffffff, then lower Opacity = 15%.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 37

For the pupil, I’m going to use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create two circles and fill them with white. Here is my result.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 38


Step 12

Let’s jump to a simple gradient background.

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 600 x 600px background and fill it with this gradient.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 39


Step 13

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw a triangle radiating outwards, continue drawing these triangle shapes around the unicorn.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 40

Select all of the triangle shapes and group (Cmd + G) them together.

Apply a radial gradient with the Gradient Tool (G) going from white to white at 40% Opacity.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 41


Step 14

I’m going to work on the sparkles now. Just pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a circle, then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat and set the value.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 42

With the shape still selected, go to Object > Expand Appearance. This will make your effect the actually shape of your object. Fill the sparkle shape with white #ffffff, then go to Effect > Outer Glow and set the values.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 43

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + V) this sparkle and place the copies as you like. Here is my result.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator 44


And We’re Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.
How to Draw a Unicorn Illustration in Illustrator