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'Tis the season for candy, ghouls, and goblins. We're just tackling the candy bit today with a cute candy corn pattern made using the Pen Tool, Blob Brush Tool, and Pattern Options. So get ready for toothache with this sickeningly sweet, kawaii Halloween tutorial!
1. Draw the Candy Corn Base
Candy corn kernels are pretty simple: they're rounded cones. Start with a bright yellow and the Pen Tool (P) on the right, curve up to the left, down, and around to the bottom left. Add another anchor point on the right side. Instead of trying to mimic the curve you made on the left, join your line with the original anchor point and close the shape.
Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) the candy corn kernel, right-click, hit Transform and Reflect. Flip it over a vertical axis. Align the two pieces so the top curves are overlapping. Unite the two shapes in Pathfinder and manipulate the borrow anchor point to bring the bottom curve out more (and so there's less of an indent).
2. Add the Stripes
The stripes are pretty simple. There's only two of them. Draw an orange shape that mimics the bottom curve and overlaps both sides.
Select both shapes and, using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M), select the bits of the orange piece that do not intersect with the yellow kernel.
Delete the two outside shapes and you've got an orange stripe that conforms perfectly to the boundaries of the yellow piece. Repeat for the white stripe on top of the candy corn.
3. Add Outline and Gradients
Add a brown outline to the candy corn by Copy and Pasting the yellow shape, setting the fill and stroke color to brown, and the Stroke Weight to something thick (I chose 8pt, but it depends on the size of your object). Speaking of object, Expand the stroke so when you resize the candy corn later the outline doesn't change.
For the gradient shapes on the corn, repeat the steps of the stripes, but use an orange to 0% Opacity orange for the bottom shadow and a white to 0% Opacity white for the highlight. Make sure any stray parts of the new shapes are deleted.
4. Draw a Kawaii Face
For the cute faces, start with two ellipses using the Ellipse Tool (L).
The mouth is a circle drawn with the Ellipse Tool chopped in half by placing a rectangle over half of the circle and hitting Minus Front in Pathfinder. Draw half a heart with the Pen Tool, Copy and Paste, reflect over a vertical axis, and Unite in Pathfinder.
Draw some sparkles with the Blob Brush Tool (Shift-B) and add some cute pink circles for cheeks below the eyes.
5. Create Face Variations
Group (Control-G) the candy corn pieces together in the Layers panel and the face pieces together as well (separate groups here). Copy the candy corns and Paste them three times. Stagger their placement.
For each of the four candy corns, change some of the facial features. I used the Blob Brush Tool to draw some quick expressions (smiles, surprised mouths, and winking eyes).
6. Fill in the Background
Once your candy corns are all set, Group their pieces together (keeping each corn an individual group), add a thick white outline to each (same method from the brown outline). In order to see the design better, I added a dark purple rectangle shape behind the candy corn.
Sparkles were doodled with the Blob Brush Tool and scattered around the candy corn to fill in the gaps in the design.
7. Making a Simple Pattern
This is the best part. The Pattern Options panel exists in both Adobe Illustrator CS6 and upwards, and makes creating quick patterns (or giant, intricate patterns) easy business.
Select your candy corn and sparkle pieces. In the Pattern Options panel hit Make Pattern. This handy dialogue box will pop up informing you that your pattern is editable.
Only the pattern pieces will show up while in Pattern Editing Mode. This makes it difficult to see the white sparkles within the artboard (your background shape could also be selected with the other pattern shapes. In my case, I wanted a transparent pattern). Move the sparkle shapes around the pattern to the best of your ability. You'll be able to see how it effects the overall pattern in the areas beyond the artboard.
Once you're satisfied with your pattern, save it, and apply it to a shape. Here I'm aligning it with a dark purple square to form my final image.
If you're anything like me, you'll want to make everything into a pattern and push the Pattern Options panel as far as its little options will allow. Or you're a reasonable person who's happy with their candy corn pattern and ready to cave up some pumpkins for your front porch.
In any case, Happy Halloween and Happy Pattern Making!