In order to use many tools, you may:
1) Place a locked copy of the raster image to recreate, possibly with reduced Transparence, possibly on its own lower Layer;
2) Use Live Trace and amend the shape, using the Direct Selection Tool to move individual Anchor Points and their handles, use the Remove Anchor Point Tool to get rid of some Anchor Points, etc,
3) Use the Pen Tool to trace the image, Click Dragging at crucial positions, using the Handle dragging to shape the path in between, thus creating one Anchor Point at a time; during this, you may change the position on the current Anchor Point (freezing the Handles) by pressing the Spacebar; you may make the same amendments as in 1).
4) You may work with paths that have both Fill and Stroke or split (by copying into separate paths with either), and you may Object>Path>Outline Stroke to create narrow filled paths instead of stroked path, Object>Path>Offset Stroke to move the border outwards or inwards, etc.
This was just a quick pile of suggestions.
Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Yes: Help menu > Illustrator Help...
You're asking for someone in an online forum to give you a general crash-course in Illustrator, without any specifics as to the task at hand. That's just not practical. If it were, why would you be taking the course?
Based on your very general description of the task, here are very general instructions:
1. Sketch your "character" (whatever that is) on paper.
2. Scan it as a low-res grayscale image.
3. Import it into Illustrator. Put it on its own Layer. Make the Layer a Template Layer.
4. On a layer above the template layer, use the Pen tool to draw paths. Use the various shape tools to draw "geometric objects."
5. Apply fills and/or strokes to the paths you draw. Make some of the fills Gradient Fills. Apply Transparency effects to some of the paths, fills, and/or strokes. (Don't go nuts with this.)
6. Use the text tool to add PointType and/or AreaType objects.
Search in Online Help for any of the terms mentioned above you don't undestand or operations you don't know how to do.
Come back here after you've made an honest attempt and encounter a specific problem. (Or ask your instructor. After all, what are instructors paid to do; teach or just hand out assignments?)
I think you may have misunderstood me. I was asking if anyone knew of any tutorials (video tutorial) that would be similar to my assignment so I can see exactly what they do.
I was asking if anyone knew of any tutorials (video tutorial)
Just Google for it. YouTube is full of that stuff.
Adobe TV has lots of tutorial mostly basic stuff but that is what you want and then you can go to Lynda.com where you wiull have paid for tutorials by the likes of Mordy Golding. Of course the suggestion of google is also good.
Mordy Goldings book real world Illustrator is excellent and Adobe Illustrator classroom in a book which could be written a little better is good for this as well. I am aware you would like to see how this operates as the books often seem confusing.
BTW on the forum sometimes there is a misunderstanding of the meaning even when it is clear, it is not intentional.
I really like that you clarified the matter so well.