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Illustration

How to Create a Vector Binders Illustration

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In the following tutorial, you will learn how to create a binders illustration. We’ll use basic illustrator shape creation tools and Illustrator’s Pathfinder tool to cut the shapes you need. Then we’ll color in details using gradients and control how lighting effects our illustration. We’ll use additional Illustrator tools along the way and work to pixel precision.


Step 1

Hit Command + N to create a new document. Enter 600 in the width box and 500 in the height box, then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the "Align New Objects to Pixel Grid " box is unchecked before your click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Next, you'll need a grid every 5px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box.

You can also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to replace the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Unit > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.


Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 75 by 205px shape, and fill it with a random color. Select this rectangle and grab the Add Anchor Point Tool (+). First, focus on the top side and add two new anchor points as shown in the second image. Move to the bottom side and do the same thing. The Snap to Grid will ease your work.


Step 3

Make sure that the shape created in the previous step is still selected and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the top, left and right anchor points, then drag them 5px down. Move to the bottom side, select the bottom, left and right anchor points, then drag them 5px up. Again, the Snap to Grid will ease your work. In the end, your shape should look like the second image shown.


Step 4

Reselect the shape edited in the previous step and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 1px radius, click OK, and apply Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). You'll need it for the next step.


Step 5

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 65 by 215px shape, fill it with a random color, and place it as shown in the first image. Select it, along with the copy created in the result of the previous step, open the Pathfinder panel, and click on the Intersect button.


Step 6

Reselect the shape created in the previous step and fill it with the linear gradient shown in the following image. The white number from the gradient image stands for location percentage.


Step 7

Reselect the shape edited in the previous step and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Select it, along with the shape created in the first steps, and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Move to the Layers panel and you will find a new group with two simple shapes. Ungroup them (Shift + Command + G). Fill the left shape with R=50 G=50 B=50 and the right shape with R=30 G=30 B=30.


Step 8

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), then go to Edit > Preferences > General, and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1px. Reselect the left shape created in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px up. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the following image.


Step 9

Reselect the right shape created in the seventh step and make two new copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px up. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the following image.


Step 10

Let's get back to the main shape created in the fifth step. Select it and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the data shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 11

Reselect the main shape and make two new copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the data shown in the following image, click OK and apply Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 12

Reselect the main shape and make two new copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the right. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below.


Step 13

Reselect the main shape and make two new copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px to the right. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below.


Step 14

Reselect the main shape and make two new copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the left. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below.


Step 15

Reselect the main shape and make two new copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px to the left. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below.


Step 16

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For the next steps you will need a grid every 1px. So, go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, then enter 1 in the Gridline every box.

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 24px circle, fill it with a random color and place it as shown in the first image. Select it, along with the main shape, and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Send the resulting shape to back (Shift + Command + [ ).


Step 17

Reselect the Ellipse Tool (L), create a new 24px circle, and place it above the hole created in the previous step. Fill it with none but add a 3pt stroke. Pick a random color for the stroke, align it to inside, then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Fill the resulting path with the linear gradient shown below:


Step 18

Reselect the shape created in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the top, resulting shape and fill it with white, then select the bottom shape and fill it with R=215 G=215 B=215.


Step 19

Reselect the shape created in the seventeenth step, then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the following image and click OK. Keep focusing on this shape and add a 1pt stroke. Set its color at R=25 G=25 B=25 and align it to outside.


Step 20

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 49 by 125px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below, and place it as shown in the following image. Add a 1pt stroke for this shape, set its color at R=225 G=225 B=225, and align it to inside. Make sure that this new shape is still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 1px radius and click OK.


Step 21

Reselect the shape created in the previous step, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button. It's the little white square icon located at the bottom of the Appearance panel.

Select this new fill, drag it to the bottom of the Appearance panel, use the linear gradient shown below, then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset and click OK. The yellow zero from the gradient image stands for opacity percentage.


Step 22

Keep focusing on the shape edited in the previous steps and add a third fill. Select it, drag it to the bottom of the Appearance panel, use the linear gradient shown below, then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 2px Offset and click OK.


Step 23

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create five, 39 by 1px shapes. Fill them with R=225 G=225 B=225 and place them as shown in the following image.


Step 24

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 3 by 26px shape, and fill it with the linear gradient shown below.


Step 25

Reselect the shape created in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the left. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=175 G=175 B=175.


Step 26

Reselect the two rectangles created in the last two steps and group them (Command + G). Select this new group and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown in the following image and click OK.


Step 27

Reselect the group created in the previous step, send it to back (Shift + Command + [ ), and place it as shown in the first image. Finally, pick the Type Tool (T) and add some simple text as shown in the second image.


Conclusion

Now your work is done. Here is how it should look.

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