Create a 2D posable stick man in Illustrator


I need to design some aide memoir cards for a martial arts club, to help people learn the forms (kata - see These are to consist of a series of stick men in the various positions of the forms.

There a are a lot of variations, so I want to make it as simple as possible. Ideally I want to have a stick man in something like illustrator where I can "lock" the line lengths / joints etc so I can drag the limbs into the correct positions.

I know this can be done in stuff like Maya / 3d Studio Max, but a) I don't have them (and don't want to pay for them) and b) it's a bit over complex. My preference is to use either Adobe CS stuff, an online tool, or something opensource.

5/19/2014 2:40:00 PM

Accepted Answer

I'm not aware of any way to lock line lengths. Maybe someone knows a better trick, but I think the best option would be:

  • Each stick guy as a group of paths or lines where each segment (left hand, lower left arm, upper left arm, lower torso, upper torso, etc etc) is a separate path or line
  • ...then when editing each one, you double click into the group and rotate and move each segment into place.
  • I'm not aware of any way to lock joints, I think you'd just have to be careful with that. Some flow chart programs have features like that but they'd most likely be too limiting in other ways. Smart guides (cmd-u to toggle on and off) can help with things like this, but can also get in the way.

Like this (but hopefully better...!):

enter image description here

5/19/2014 3:40:00 PM