Get a free year on Tuts+ this month when you purchase a Siteground hosting plan from $3.95/mo
In today's tutorial, we're going to learn how to create a cordless mouse and mouse pad using basic shapes, brushes and gradients in Adobe Illustrator. You'll learn how to create a variety of Blend Art Brushes as well as the odd texturing effect. So let's get started!
To begin you will need to create the main geometry sketch of the mouse which is shown in the diagram below. We'll be creating this initial plan to work from, there we can add highlights and shadows to make it look less flat. If you know how to achieve the main outlines of the object and its elements, go to the Step 8. If not, read the following steps carefully.
Using the Ellipse Tool (L), change the Stroke color to null and the Fill color to orange, and illustrate the path which will represent the mouse shape.
With the Rotate Tool (R), rotate the ellipse to about 45 degrees.
With the Direct Selection Tool (A), change the anchors handles of the path in order to form the following view.
Using the Pen Tool (P), draw a thumb grove as shown below in the grey.
Select the orange path, Copy and Paste in Front (Command + C then Command + F).
Select the duplicate orange shape and the grey, then go to the Pathfinder panel and click there the Intersect button. Alternatively, use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift + M) for this purpose if you use version CS5 or CS6.
The blue path is created the same way.
Make a violet path shown below on top the blue path by using the Pen Tool (P).
This part will represent two mouse buttons. Draw a line dividing the shape using the Pen Tool (P).
There should be a slight indent in the center of the line to allow for the placement of the scroll wheel button.
After that select both: this line and the violet path, and click the Divide button in the Pathfinder panel.
Then go to Object > Ungroup and change the filling color of any mouse button.
Create the wheel cavity shown with brown shape...
...and the wheel itself shown with a yellow shape.
Draw a black button in the lower parts of the mouse buttons and your sketch of the main geometry will be complete.
Select the orange path, Copy and Paste in Front (Command + C then Command + F). Name the copy "Main Path", make it invisible and Lock it in the Layers panel.
Then select the orange path again, go to Object > Create Gradient Mesh, and set the values which you can see in the dialog box shown below.
With the Mesh Tool (U) or the Direct Selection Tool (A) and change the visible mesh nodes colors in accordance with the light distribution principle.
Let's superimpose a texture on the mouse surface presented with mesh.
Do you know how to achieve this? First of all, draw two white inclined lines as shown in the image below with the Line Segment Tool (\).
Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen, and set the shown values in the opened dialog box.
Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options, set the Spacing to Specified Steps, and the number of steps to about 80.
Go to Object > Blend > Make (Command + Alt + B).
Decrease the Opacity of the blend.
And change the Stroke Weight of the paths included into the Blend.
After that select the "Main Path", Copy and Paste in Front (Command + C then Command + F).
Select the blend and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Command + 7).
The thumb grove of the mouse will be done in a similar way, by using a Gradient Mesh.
Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw a horizontal elliptical path. Fill it with white and change the Stroke color to null.
With the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the right most anchor point...
...and press the Delete button on your keyboard.
Go to Object > Path > Join (Command + J) to close the open path.
Select both right most anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool (A)...
...and convert them to smooth.
With the selected points, pull them to the right to create a long, slim shape.
Go to Object > Transform > Scale, set the shown values in the dialog box, and click the Copy button.
Move the copy of the path to the left as it is seen in the diagram below.
Change the Opacity of the largest path to 0%.
Then create a Blend from both teardrop-shaped paths.
Drag and drop then this blend into the Brushes panel and choose the Art brush option in the opened dialog box.
Name the brush as the "White brush" and click on OK.
With a similar method, create another Art Brush from Blends and Ellipses (L).
However change the Colorization Method to Hue Shift so as to manage the brush color more effectively.
Create a light spot on the mouse by drawing a line with the Pen Tool (P) and then applying the "White brush" to it.
Change the Stroke Weight of the path.
Fill the blue path with a white to grey radial gradient. Use the Gradient Tool (G) to move the source of the gradient.
Copy this path and Paste it in Front (Command + C then Command + F), change the gradient filling to an angled linear one.
Change the Blending Mode to Color Burn in the Transparency panel.
The previously created light spot should be continued over the grey part of the mouse in order to satisfy the light distribution principle.
So, select the grey path, Copy it and Paste in Front (Command + C then Command + F), take the Scissors Tool (C) and cut the path.
Apply the "Black brush" to it, change the Stroke color to white, and change the Opacity of the path.
And crop this with the corresponding Clipping Mask (Command + 7).
Both buttons of the mouse (crimson and violet ones) are filled with angled linear gradients as shown in the following images.
The brown cavity for the wheel is also filled with an angled linear gradient.
Let us see at the scaled image. Something is wrong here. Do you know what?
Yes, you are right! The buttons are merged with each other and with other paths of the mouse. In order to fix this problem, you need to apply the "Black brush" to the borders of the buttons. Change then the Opacities, the Stroke colors, and the Stroke Weights of the paths to which the "Black brush" will be applied. See the image below for reference.
But if not, Copy the left button of the mouse, and paste it in Front (Command + C then Command + F). Change both: the Filling color and the Stroke color to None, take the Scissors Tool (C), and click in the indicated anchor point with it.
Apply the "Black brush" to it with the black Stroke color.
Change the Stroke Weight and the Opacity of the path, in order to achieve the next result.
Apply the "Black brush" with the white Stroke color to the analogous path over the right button. Change the Stroke Weight and the Opacity of it the same way.
After all the paths be completed...
...crop all of them with a corresponding clipping mask. See the image below.
The yellow path of the wheel, should be filled with a white to black radial gradient.
Then it should be Copied and Pasted in Front (Command + C then Command + F), and filled with a linear gradient.
Set the Blending Mode of the copy to Screen via the Transparency panel.
The soft shadow from the wheel is illustrated with the help of the "Black brush."
Draw a light spot on the wheel and crop it with a Clipping Path (Command + 7), and the wheel of the mouse will be completed.
The small button of the mouse is colored the same way. Just apply the techniques you learned earlier in the tutorial here, and do it by yourself. Use the images below for your reference.
Place the mouse on the pad. Using the Pen Tool (P), draw the shown path and fill it with an angled linear gradient.
The pad, is not 2D figure, but 3D one, although its thickness is small. So, Copy the pad and Paste it in Back (Command + C then Command + B), move it slightly to down and fill the copy with a linear gradient as shown in the diagram below.
With the Line Segment Tool (\) draw a grey incline as shown below.
Drag and drop it into the Brushes panel, and choose the Scatter Brush option in the opened dialog box.
Choose the shown values for the options in the dialog box and then click on OK.
Using the Paintbrush Tool (B) and while this Scatter brush is selected in the Brushes palette, draw the path shown below.
Go to Object > Expand Appearance,...
...delete the unnecessary paths, and change the Blending Mode to Overlay in the Transparency panel for the remained paths.
Crop the paths with a Clipping Mask (Command + 7).
Double click the Rectangular Grid Tool in the Toolbar and specify the shown options in the dialog box. Change the Stroke color to grey and the Stroke Weight if it is necessary in your own artwork.
With the Lasso Tool (Q), select the top anchor points of the grid...
...go to Object > Transform > Scale to reduce the Non-Uniform scale to create perspective.
Then rotate the grid slightly if it is necessary in your artwork by using the Rotate Tool (R).
Add the grid to the previously created Clipping Mask group.
Create a circular black blend using the Ellipse Tool (L). The outer circle will need a 0% Opacity and inner 100% Opacity. In Blend Options, define the Spacing as "Specified Steps" with the value of 50. Click on OK once done.
Decrease the color intensity by changing the Opacity of the paths in the blend.
Create a similar Blend, however this time with a white fill.
The shadow from the mouse is created by using the "Black brush."
Use the techniques you've learned here in your own artworks. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial.