Make a LEGO man – A Totally Rad Tutorial

lego star wars, lego indiana jones

With the popularity of games like Lego Star Wars and the recent release of Lego Indiana Jones, it’s a new era in the toy that was everyones favorite toy during my childhood. Legos!

So now I’m all grown up – and my modern creative toy, Adobe Suite CS3 is going to become my very own Lego playground! What would YOU look like if you were a Lego character? Well check out what I’ve done and make your own virtual Lego people! This is the first tutorial I’ve ever written and it wasn’t even part of my original plan. I just had so much fun with this little evening project that I wanted to share it. Enjoy!

Meet the “Lego Man” – small, boxy, yellow, shiny, and darn cute! Ok, now that you’ve been introduced – open up Illustrator and lets get drawing! (Disclaimer: For this tutorial you should have a basic working knowledge of Illustrator – and the screen shots featured in this post are from version CS3 – however you can create the exact same results in older versions without too much more fuss.

lego man

lego man illustation

Step 1: The Basic Shapes

It’s always best to start illustrations simple. Lay a good foundation, get started, get something to look at and you’re going to start the process along on a good note. I’ve found that jumping head first into details at the start usually makes the job much more complicated than it should be, and you end up discouraged by the slow results.

Use the Arch Tool in your Lines Menu to create Lego Man happy face smile in a snap.

Step 2: Shape it Up

Now that you have the basic shapes, time to shape them up a little – modify your basic blocks into more dynamic shapes using my favorite tool in the Illustrator box – Pathfinder! Use the basic block shape we’ve got for the head and found out that chin without battling with Anchor point!

Illustrator CS3 Pathfinder Tool

Overlap your 2 simple shaped and the Click the Combine button on your Pathfinder Panel. To lock in the new shape hit Expand, and Voila! – Lego man has an all new chin!

Lego Man Illustration

Step 3: Add some Color

Now to give Legoman that beautiful yellow shinny skin! Adobe must have had little lego man in mind – cause their extensive library of Gradient swatches are going to help you paint your man with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Illustrator CS3 Gradients Swatch Panel

Use the Bright Gradients color “Yellow” straight from the default setting – or do your own tweaks to get it just right. (it doesnt take much of a tweak.) You can play with your Stylize Filters to add a Drop Shadow or Inner Glow to the different Lego components — there is really no science to it, i just eyeballed it along the way. Have fun, experiment!

Illustrator CS3 Gradients Swatch Panel, Filters, Lego Man

Illustrator CS3 Drop Shadow

naked lego man, illustration

One you get the look you like down on the head – Fill each the components of your Lego man. Think about where you’re light source is located and how the many pieces of your man relate to one another. Here’s my lego man in his yellow naked glory!

Step 4: Create your Character!

Now here’s where the fun starts – you can make yourself as a Lego Man, your Mom as a Lego Lady! Now – since I’ve already got
a Lego Man, I am not going to try and make myself – But who? Well after watching this weeks episode of one of my favorite Revision 3 podcast – I got my inspiration!

totally rad show, legos, Alex Albrecht, Dan Trachtenberg, Jeff Cannata

Totally Rad Show – my weekly dose of all things RAD! Every Tuesday night I snuggle up with my cat and we enjoy the reviews of movies, TV, games and comics with the TRS boys – Alex Albrecht, Dan Trachtenberg, and Jeff Cannata. This week the guys reviewed Lego Indiana Jones and kicked off the show in front of a Custom background of the shows logo rendered in Legos! A Lego Logo – How rad is that!? How rad would it be if the guys where part of this Lego World? Well… I got a kick out of the idea, so here you go…

Step 5: Start with the Hair

Start out with the hair – because all Lego Men have that same black smiley face you really have to play up other defining features. Lucky for me, Alex’s hair is so recognizable it hasn’t taken much to get this Lego Man looking like him!
Dan Trachtenberg

Step 6: Time to Play Lego Stylist

OK – so I loved Legos as a kid – but as all little girls do – I also LOVED Barbie. She had way cooler clothes than I did – and s many of them! I loved dressing her up, creating different looks, playing fashion designer and making my own clothes for her! So while these virtual Lego Men can’t run across my coffee table or drive under the kitchen table in their Lego car, they have something real Lego Men don’t – A completely customizable wardrobe!!! Let’s play dress up!

Here it is – pretty darn Rad, wouldn’t you say? This project was a lot of fun! A great exercise in using Adobe Illustrator and in using your imagination!
Lego Totally Rad Show



  1. Great post and great blog. I am a huge fan of TRS.

    I also really liked your post about the beautiful wine labels.

  2. Too bad the final result looks like crap. Tapered legs, curved edge clothing — hello, you’ve just destroyed the resemblance to lego!

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