illustration of yuki daruma in the snow

Yuki Daruma

I recently finished Deke McClelland’s Advanced Adobe Illustrator CC course on It was a joy to learn about AI in an advanced manner. So to show off some of what I learned, I wanted to challenge myself and make an illustration on AI entirely composed of shapes and dynamic + static effects.

Yuki-daruma are basically the Japanese version of the snowman. And they are very cute, as well as easy to make. Furthermore, it’s a great idea for this wintry, and cold season. I put them on the front of my website (courtesy of QUEEN’s free graphics), and might take them off after the winter season but maybe not …

The actual image. it looks complicated, but it's really just a bunch of shapes, effects and paths.

I used a lot of different skills that I learned in depth and some that were not introduced (I researched them myself) yet; I believe they'll be introduced in the master course.


Appearance panel

Draw inside

Art brushes


Blend tool


Pen and curvature tools

Pencil tool




Free transform

Envelope Distort (mesh + pattern)

Some of these tools are excellent; my favourite would be the scale and transform tools, since they are dynamic. You can always change the values without sacrificing the original shape due to the dynamic nature of these tools. Of course its fine to work statically as well, but generally, the more efficient way to work is dynamically. When I first started, and I think most people begin this way, I thought static was the efficient way since I didn’t know better, and did not have the knowledge and experience I have now. In reality, you really want the freedom to be able to change mostly anything on the fly, without breaking your head. AI requires a technical approach in the beginning, rather than intuitive.

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