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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Vector
Design

How to Create Autumn Leaves, Berries and Chestnut Icons in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Autumn beauty is all around us. Let's display this magic of nature through our artwork. In this tutorial, you will learn how to create perfectly shaped leaves, berries, and chestnuts. As usual—you guessed it—we will use just simple shapes and a few useful tricks.

1. Creating the Chestnut Leaf

Step 1

Open Adobe Illustrator and create a new document (Control-N). First, we are going to create the stalk. Set the fill color at R=132 G=98 B=3, and then take the Polygon Tool and click on your art board. Make it 3 Sides with any Radius. You will get a triangle, which you will need to make very narrow and long. 

Now, go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. In the new dialogue window, enter the following: Style Arc Lower Horizontal, Bend -50%, Distortion Horizontal 0%, Vertical 0%. Press OK. Go to Object > Expand Appearance

So, now you have the stalk. We will use the same stalk with a different fill color for all the leaves. Make one more copy of this shape and keep it for later. I will let you know when you need it!

creating the petiole stalk of the chestnut leaf

Step 2

We'll create the leaf now. Start with the Ellipse Tool (L) and set the fill color at R=215 G=195 B=0. Keeping the ellipse selected, take the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and click on the bottom anchor point to make it sharp. 

Then select the Direct Selection Tool (A) and slide the left and right anchor points up. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A) again while holding the Alt key, move the handles of the top anchor point of the ellipse down to make it sharp. Look at the image below to see what it should look like!

creating the blade of the chestnut leaf

Step 3

Remember the stalk you created in the first step? I asked you to keep it for later—now it's time! Holding the Alt key, drag the stalk across to use it for the chestnut leaf. Be sure to leave a copy of the stalk to use on other leaves. Place one of the copies of the stalk over the leaf you created in the previous step (Control-X, Control-F). Copy-paste the stalk a few times to make several of them. Then arrange them as shown below to create the veins of the leaf. 

adding the veins

Step 4

Copy-paste the leaf to create another one, and make the stalk smaller. Select the whole new leaf and rotate it to the left while holding the Shift key. You will see that the leaf is rotated by 45 degrees.

Copy-paste this leaf, make it smaller, and rotate it to the left by 45 degrees while holding the Shift key. Repeat this last part once again.

composing the leaf 1

Step 5

Select the three leaves from the left side, right-click the mouse and select Transform > Reflect. This will bring up the Reflect dialogue window, where you should enter Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and press Copy. Move the three new leaves to the right. Group the chestnut leaves (right-click > Group).

composing the leaf 2

2. Creating the Berries

Step 1

Set the fill color at R=193, G=5, B=45, choose the Ellipse Tool (L), and draw a circle while holding the Shift key. Keep it selected, and hold the Alt key (to make a copy); now shift this circle diagonally. Then select the first circle and make a copy in the front (Control-C, Control-F). Keeping this new copy selected, hold the Shift key, and select the circle you moved diagonally. Go to the Pathfinder panel and press the Minus Front button. Color the new shape in R=178, G=2, B=40.

drawing the berry

Step 2

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a new ellipse, rotate it a little to the right and place it as shown. Set its color to R=214 G=7 B=46. Then take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the right anchor point inside, as in the image below, to show the volume of the berry.

showing the volume of the berry

Step 3

Let's create a sepal (the base of the berry) from a brown oval (R=85 G=25 B=0). You will need to get sharp corners with the help of the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C). Click on the top and bottom anchor points. Keep the ellipse selected and take the Rotate Tool (R). Click the Enter key on your keyboard to bring up the dialogue box. Enter 90 degrees and press Copy.

creating the sepal

Step 4

Place the sepal where it should be.

placing the sepal

Step 5

Make three kinds of the berry. Play with it!

creating different berries

Step 6

Create one more copy of the stalk and use it to create a branch for the berries (remember to leave another copy of the stalk for further leaves). Give the branch a fill color R=85 G=25 B=0 and place the berries on it. Group the berries (right-click > Group).

placing berries on the branch

3. Creating the Maple Leaf

Step 1

Create an ellipse with sharp corners and fill color R=239 G=65 B=53.

creating the maple leaf 1

Step 2

Create two more copies and place them on the left side of the first ellipse. Select these two copies, right-click the mouse and select Transform > Reflect. In the new dialogue window, enter Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and press Copy. Move the two new ellipses to the right.

creating the maple leaf 2

Step 3

Use a copy of the stalk and change the fill color to R=181 G=18 B=27. Create a copy of the leaf, make it smaller, and rotate it to the left while holding the Shift key.

creating the maple leaf 3

Step 4

Repeat the process until you fill up the left side.

creating the maple leaf 4

Step 5

Select the leaves from the left side, right-click the mouse, and select Transform > Reflect. Make a Vertical reflection and move the new copies to the right.

creating the maple leaf 5

Step 6

Draw a circle on the middle of the leaf.

creating the maple leaf 6

Step 7

Select all blades (sharp red ellipses) and the circle from the previous step together. Use the Unite button in the Pathfinder panel to make a solid shape. After that, use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to achieve the result you want. Group the maple leaf together (right-click > Group).

deleting the unneeded anchor points on the maple leaf

4. Creating the Branch With Pink Leaves

Step 1

Set the fill color to R=209 G=18 B=66. Create the sharp corners of the leaf. Then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen and set the slider to 3 px in Size, check Absolute, move the Detail slider to 10 in, and check Points Smooth. Press OK. Then expand the leaf (Object > Expand Appearance).

creating pink leaf

Step 2

Use a copy of the stalk, and set the fill color at R=130 G=0 B=36. In this case, it's a branch. Place the branch over the leaf that we just created. Create one more leaf (Copy-Paste) and make the stalk smaller. Rotate the new leaf to the left and place it on the left side of the branch. Holding the Shift and Alt keys together, move the new leaf down. Then keep pressing Control-D until you fill up the left side of the branch.

placing pink leaves on the branch

Step 3

Select all leaves from the left side and make a reflection to the right side (right-click > Transform > Reflect). Move the new copies to the right side of the branch. Group the whole branch.

placing pink leaves on the branch

5. Creating an Acorn

Step 1

To create an acorn, start with two ovals (R=205 G=178 B=47).

creating the acorn 1

Step 2

The next part needs a brown oval (fill color R=121 G=68 B=0). Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the left and right anchor points down.

creating the acorn 2

Step 3

Draw a tiny rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M). Then go to Effect > Warp > Arc. In the new window, adjust the options: Style Arc Vertical, Bend -35%, Distortion Horizontal 0% and Vertical -30%. OK. It's a stem to the acorn. Expand it (Object > Expand).

creating a peduncle of the acorn

Step 4

Put all the parts together. To show the volume, create two lighter ovals on the acorn.

showing a volume of the acorn

Step 5

Create two acorns. Play with the colors. Then group the acorns.

creating two acorns

6. Creating the Yellow Leaf

Step 1

Сompose the copy of the stalk and veins as in the image below. Change the fill color to R=117 G=63 B=0.

composing the petiole and veins of yellow leaf

Step 2

Draw a yellow circle. Hit the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and click on the top anchor point. Then go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Adjust the options: Style Arc Horizontal, Bend 0%, Distortion Horizontal 0% and Vertical 30%. Click OK.

creating yellow leaf

Step 3

Now go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Make the Options Size 3 px, check Absolute, Detail 10 in, Points Smooth, and click OK. Group the leaf.

placing together petiole veins and blade of yellow leaf

7. Creating the Three Light Green Leaves

Step 1

Create an oval (R=215 G=195 B=0), and then move the left and right anchor points down. Make the top anchor point sharp. Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag and enter in the new dialogue window Options Size 1 px, check Absolute, Ridges per segment 25 and Points Corner. Your options can be different than mine—just try to find what suits you the best.

creating a zig zag blade

Step 2

Create three leaves following the image below. Make two leaves darker and put them behind (Control-X, Control-B) the lighter one. Group the leaves.

creating three light green leaves

8. Creating the Chestnuts

Step 1

Draw a brown ellipse (R=85 G=25 B=0). Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the handles of the ellipse to distort the shape a little. Draw another ellipse (R=218 G=199 B=146) which overlaps the brown shape. Make a copy of the brown shape in front (Control-C, Control-F), and while keeping it selected, hold down the Shift key and select the light brown shape. On the Pathfinder panel, press the Intersect button. Draw over the chestnut a distorted ellipse with a lighter color to show the volume.

creating the chestnut

Step 2

Try to create more chestnuts by yourself simply by distorting the ellipses.

creating different chestnuts

Step 3

Place them together and group.

placing chestnuts together

9. Creating the Oak Leaf

Step 1

Using the last copy of the stalk, create the stalk and veins of the oak leaf. Draw an oval on the top of the leaf (fill color R=205 G=178 B=47) and add three more on the left side of the leaf. Make a vertical reflection of the left-side ovals to the right side. Draw one more oval on the bottom.

creating the oak leaf 1

Step 2

Select the blade (all the ovals without veins and stalk) of the oak leaf, and on the Pathfinder panel press the Unite button. Make the bottom of the leaf sharp using the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C). Group the leaf.

creating the oak leaf 2

10. Creating the Background

Step 1

Draw a square with a fill color of R=247 G=245 B=178 and a width and height of 600 px. Then draw nine darker (R=239 G=238 B=128) circles where you will place the leaves, berries, and chestnuts.

creating the background

Step 2

Place the plants on the yellow circles.

placing the icons on the background

Conclusion

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial as much as I did! You can also use these autumn icons to create a seamless wallpaper, seasonal greetings cards, and so on. Enjoy!

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