Brains Icon

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BRAAAIIINNNSSS!! . This may not be a scary brain, but hey, it's a brain, right? Here's how to make it! This tutorial is based off of an Illustrator tutorial at vectortuts+ by Alexey Botkov. you can also find free vector graphics at

This tutorial requires some basic knowledge of the Paths Tool. Take a look at this guide to the Paths Tool before continuing if you need to.

Step 1

First thing's first, we need to draw a brain. It's hard to draw it straight on the computer (unless you have a tablet of course), so we'll go with the traditional method- hand draw it! If you don't have a scanner or digital camera available, your best bet is to draw it with a tablet or mouse (mouse being the hardest option).

Find a diagram of the human brain. Use it as somewhat of a bases to draw your cartoon brain. Here is the diagram used in the original tutorial. It gives you a very good idea of how the brain should be drawn.

When you are done drawing your brain, scan your drawing into the computer.

Step 2

Open up your scanned image into the Gimp. Create a new layer and name it "outline." Now we will need to trace the brain. The easiest way to do this is with the Paths Tool. If you are already familiar with the Paths Tool, then go ahead and begin tracing. If you are not familiar, take a quick look at this amazing Paths Tool guide. Once you understand it, begin to trace the brain. Once done, in the toolbox, hit the Path to Selection button. Fill the selection with black. Select > Deselect.

Step 3

Once your brain is outlined, we need to color it. Set your foreground color to #ff6ca0. Create a new layer and name it "base color." Move the layer underneath the brain outline layer. Color the brain with using the Bucket Fill tool onto the new layer.

Step 4

Let's add more detail. We can do this by adding in gloss. Create a new layer and name it "gloss." Place it between the "base_color" and the "outline" layers. First, decide on which direction the light source is coming from. Mine will be like in the original tutorial, the top-left. With the Paths Tool, begin to draw very rounded shapes on the edges of the brain. Convert the paths to selection like before. Fill with #ff9ec0.

Step 5

Now for shade. Create a new layer above the base layer and name it "shade." Do like we did earlier and draw in shadows with the pen tool. Fill them with #c84976.

Step 6

Duplicate the outline and base_color layers. Merge them into one layer and name it "gradient." Set #f992bd as your foreground color and #f9778f as your background color. Right click the gradient layer in the Layers dialog and click Alpha to Selection. Select the Blend tool and apply the gradient from left to right on in the selection. Go to Select > Deselect. Lower the gradient layer's opacity to 25% and set the blend mode to Color.

Step 7

Duplicate the gradient layer and drag the new layer to the bottom. Raise the opacity to 100% and change the layer mode to Normal. Go to Filters > Light and Shadow > Drop Shadow. Enter 8 for the blur radius and 30% for the opacity. Drag the shadow towards the bottom right like in the image.


There you have it! A BRRAAAAAIIIINNNN!!!!! The zombies will love it. Happy Halloween!

2009 - Sarah Davison - --Happy Halloween!

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