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In this tutorial we are going to create a cute, floral Saint Valentine's card in Adobe Illustrator, using simple shapes and Shape Builder Tool. You don't need any advanced drawing skills for making such card and you can easily create it without using a graphic tablet.
1. Form a Dandelion-Like Flower With Berries
Create a New Document of 600 x 600px in size and RGB Color Mode.
Set up a color palette for our future image to make it look harmonic and vivid. You can drag each color to the Swatches panel or just use the Eyedropper Tool (I) to pick up the colors from these circles.
We'll start by creating a simple branch. It reminds me of a dandelion seed, but with berries. Firstly, make a brown circle, by holding the Shift key and using the Ellipse Tool (L).
Duplicate your circle and move the upper copy up a bit. Finally, use the Minus Front function in the Pathfinder panel to delete the unneeded part and you'll get the desired crescent shape.
Hold Alt-Shift keys and drag your shape to the right side. By doing this, you create a copy of your shape and move it horizontally. Use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) to delete the part on the right.
Add more elements to the flower by duplicating and reflecting it's parts with the Reflect Tool (O).
Now let's make a glittering cute berry. It consists only of circles of various diameters. Start by making a big circle of a pink color and continue adding details to our berry.
Put three small spots above to create a sparkling effect (I've shown the spots in black color on screenshot in order to make them visible above the white background. Use white color for your berry).
Finally, put the berries on top of each "twig" of your flower. Vary the quantity and the position of white sparkles to make each berry unique.
Time to add a stem to our flower. Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool and create a very thin and long rectangle. Go to Effect > Warp > Arc and set the Bend of our Arc to Vertical, 13%.
Duplicate the whole flower, rotate the copy a bit and append it to the right side of the main flower, making the copy much smaller.
2. Create a Green Daisy-Like Flower
Let's move to the next element of our composition. This is going to be another flower. First of all, make a heptagon shape by using the Polygon Tool and setting the Sides value to 7.
Then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat and turn our polygon into a lovely flower by setting the Bloat slider to 84%.
Object > Expand your shape after you are satisfied with the result.
Let's create another polygon above the first shape, but make it smaller and change the color to light green. Apply Pucker & Bloat again, but this time move the slider to the Pucker side and set it to -200%. Resize the new shape and rotate it above the flower.
Move on and create another polygon, but this time set the quantity of the Sides to 30. Go to Pucker & Bloat and move the slider to 14% value.
Make 7 copies of the newly created shape and put each copy above the petals of our flower. Select all the light green shapes, Unite them in Pathfinder and use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) to delete the unneeded part outside the petals.
Add some sparkling white spots to our flower to make it more detailed. Once you've finished with that, duplicate your daisy and change the colors of the copy to a darker and lighter pink, using the Eyedropper Tool (I) and our palette.
3. Render an Egg-Like Flower Branch
This time we'll start by forming a stem.
As we did in the first part of this tutorial, draw a thin line with the Rounded Rectangle Tool and use Effect > Warp > Arc to bend a stem by setting the Bend value to Vertical, 13%. Create the second stem across the first one and apply the Arc effect with the following settings: Horizontal Bend, -54%.
The next step will be a making of a flower bud. Start from forming an egg shape out of a circle by selecting both side anchor points with Direct Selection Tool (A) and pulling them down a bit.
Add some details as we did in the previous steps: draw a lighter egg-shape above the first one and put a small shadow on the side of it by cutting off the unneeded parts with Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M). Add a few sparkling spots and a brown lower part of the bud by forming it out of a 30-side polygon with Pucker & Bloat effect.
Place the created flower bud on the top of the stem that we've create earlier. Duplicate the bud three times and make some of the copies a bit smaller. After placing all the buds on one side of the flower, use the Reflect Tool (O) to mirror the copies onto the other side.
4. Form a Lovely Pink Tulip
Start by forming a stem with the Rounded Rectangle Tool, but this time use a Flag warp effect and set the Bend value to -100% to get a smooth wavy line. If you are not satisfied with the degree of waviness, then just repeat this step, applying the same effect twice.
Let's add some leaves to our stem. To simplify this task, just take the basic egg-shape from the previous flower, rotate it and distribute on the both sides of the stem. Put some sparkling spots above the leaves to make them wet and glittering.
Now we need to form the bud of our tulip. We'll cut it out of the shape which we've already used, the 30-side polygon that was processed with Pucker & Bloat effect.
Create an oval shape with the Ellipse Tool (L) above the object, select them both, and delete the unneeded part with Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M). Add minor details in the same style as we did with previous flowers and elements.
Place the bud above the stem and now we have our lovely tulip!
You can continue picturing new various whimsy forms and fantastic flowers, using simple shapes or freehand with Pencil Tool (N) if you wish.
7. Add Some Decorative Branches
We already have a bunch of various flowers and what we also need is a couple of lovely tree-branches with a lot of leaves. To make the process of creation easier, we'll create two simple brushes.
First of all, we need to form the leaves. Make an ellipse and transform it by clicking on its upper and lower anchor points with Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C).
Create another ellipse, convert its lower anchor point into angle and pull both side anchor points up a bit.
Now we need to make a pair of custom brushes out of the created leaves. You may keep the leaves vertical if it is more convenient for you or rotate both leaves to 90 degrees before transforming them into a brush.
Then, drag-drop the first leaf on the Brushes panel and select the Art Brush in the pop-up menu.
As shown on the screenshot below, I've kept all the setting as default, except the Width of the brush. I've set it to 20%. You can always return the brush options after you've created a brush and play with the width value to get the size you need.
6. Compose Your Card
Now we have all our elements ready. I've mirrored and recolored some of them to make our card more detailed and unique. I've also added a couple of cute birds that I can show you how to make by following my Winter Seamless Pattern Tutorial. I've changed their color according to our palette.
The next thing we need to do here is to create a festive ribbon for our message.
Start by drawing two extruded rectangles with the Rectangle Tool (M). Put them one above the other. After that, select all the anchor points on the right sides of both rectangles with Direct Selection Tool (A) and pull them down while holding the Shift key, to make the shapes skewed.
Duplicate one of the rectangles and reflect it over the vertical axis. Fill the copy with dark red color and Send it To Back (Shift-Control-[) to form the inner shadowed part of the ribbon.
Move the rectangles up and down, so that their edges match perfectly.
Create another rectangle of a shorter size but the same width as the first two.
Go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points and you'll get four new anchor points right in the middle of each side. Select the left middle point and drag it to the right in order to create a flag-like shape.
Place the flag-shape behind the ribbons, make it a bit darker and rotate it parallel to the ribbons.
Add a small triangle, forming a folding between a flag-shape and the ribbon.
Finally, duplicate the new elements and place them properly on the lower edge of the ribbons.
We start spreading all our elements over the canvas, creating a fancy and detailed floral card.
Use the Arrange option (right-click on the Object > Arrange or short keys Control-[ and Control-]) to place the object above and below the ribbons.
I start to fill up the picture from the upper left corner by placing a couple of daisies near the ribbon. After that I continue adding details. Rotate and reflect them to you liking making the composition more vivid and diverse.
As for the branches I decided to rotate them and hide behind the ribbons. I duplicate some of the elements and reduce their size.
Continue filling the blank places of the picture. You can delete the unneeded parts of some flowers, because the won't be visible behind the ribbon. I also change the colors of some parts in order to separate elements from each other, to make the composition more versatile. For example, I've changed the flower on the right from green to pink to make it visible over the green leaves of the branch.
When you've added enough elements and become satisfied with the result, it is time to add a message or anything you wish. I've played around with various fonts and chosen the "Noteworthy" font among the pre-installed fonts on my computer. Rotate the text as separate object to make it parallel to the ribbons.
Your Lovely St. Valentine's Card is Ready!
Add a few finishing touches, such as small spots all around the card in those places that seem blank.
Congratulations! The postcard is successfully finished. It looks quite good when printed on thick textured paper. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and discovered some interesting tips and tricks! Love and peace to everyone!