Using adobe illustrator and will a little practice, you can easily turn yourself into a cartoon looking picture. You will need to master one specific tool and that's the pen tool. of course you could go the short rout and trying the auto trace tool but you just wont get the same result. The pen tool is really powerful and offer you much flexibility once you understand it. So lets get started shall we?
Step 1: Get Yourself a Picture and Upload to Adobe Illustrator
Choose your favorite picture and upload it to Illustrator. Select a large enough picture so that you will be able to draw over it easily. This program is vector based, that means you will be able to scale the final artwork without loosing it's form. It will always look great if you want to make it larger or smaller.
Step 2: Draw or Outline the Image
Now it's time to put your tracing skills to the test in adobe Illustrator.
1. Open a new layer.
2. Lock It.
3. Now use the pen tool to draw the outline of your original picture. At this point you can choose how detailed you want to be. A simple outline will work for starters.
Step 3: Add Colors to You Picture
Now comes the exciting part where you can add color to the picture. You want to use shades of colors that is close to the original, unless of course your are looking for a different effect. An easy way to do this is to outline each color segment separately or it's own layer. This will enable you to color each section and add your gradients.
Step 4: Refine With Gradient Colors and Background
Now you want to be a little but more detailed with the gradient tool to give your picture depth. You can play around with solid colors and gradients until it looks great. Adobe illustrator offers many options to create different effects.