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Create a Detailed Vector Chalkboard Icon

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Gift

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In the following Illustrator tutorial you will learn how to create a detailed vector chalkboard icon. This classic school, blackboard illustration is composed using vector shape building techniques, pixel perfect highlighting, as well as brushes and textures for adding interest to the work.


Step 1

Hit Command + N to create a new document. Enter 700 in the width and height boxes, 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 you click OK. Now, turn on the Grid (View > Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Next, you'll need a grid every 10px.

Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 10 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) and create a 490 by 330px shape. The Snap to Grid will ease your work. Remember to look into your Info panel for the live preview with the size and location of your shape. Once created fill your shape with R=196, G=154, B=108. Remove the color from the stroke then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 20px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Next, you will need a grid every 5px. Simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Reselect the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 440 by 280px shape and place it as shown in the second image. Again, the Snap to Grid will come in handy. The color properties for this second shape are not important.


Step 3

Reselect the two shapes created in the previous step, go to the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Minus Front button. The resulting shape should be a compound path that looks like the second image shown.


Step 4

Reselect the compound path created in the previous step and focus on the Appearance panel. Simply click on the Add New Fill button. It's the little, white square from the bottom of the Appearance panel. Obviously, this will add a new fill for your path.

Select it from the Appearance panel and make it black. Lower its Opacity to 7%, change the blending mode to Multiply, then go to Effect > Sketch > Graphic Pen. Enter the properties shown below, click OK and add a new fill for this compound path.

Select it from the Appearance panel and use the linear gradient shown below. Also, lower its Opacity to 10%, then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5px Offset and click OK. Have a closer look at the gradient image and you will notice a yellow zero above the right slider. It stands for Opacity percentage. This means that you need to select that gradient slider and lower its Opacity to 0%.


Step 5

Keep focusing on the existing compound path. Select it and go to the Appearance panel. Add a 2pt stroke, align it to inside and set its color at R=225, G=204, B=162. Add a second stroke for this path using the Add New Stroke button from the bottom of the Appearance panel.

Select the new stroke, make it 1pt wide, align it to inside and set the color at R=139, G=94, B=60. Reselect the entire compound path and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the data shown below and click OK. Go to the Layers panel, Double-click on your compound path and name it "Wooden Frame".


Step 6

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 25px square and place it as shown in the following image. Fill it with R=128, G=130, B=133. Now go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 7

Select the shape created in the previous step and make 3 copies in front (Command + C > Command + F). Select the copies one by one and place them as shown below. Reselect all four rounded rectangles and go to Object > Compound Path > Make.


Step 8

Select "Wooden Frame" and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Select this copy along with the compound path created in the previous step and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. This will create a group with four gray shapes. The shapes should look like the third image.


Step 9

Focus on the top right shape created in the previous step. Add a new fill for this path and use the linear gradient shown below. Add a new fill for the other three gray shapes and use the same linear gradient, but with a different angle.


Step 10

Select one of the gray shapes and add a 2pt stroke. Align it to inside and set its color at R=209, G=211, B=212. Add a second stroke for this shape. Make it 1pt wide, align it to inside and set the color at R=139, G=94, B=60. Continue to add the same stroke properties for the remaining gray shapes.


Step 11

Reselect "Wooden Frame" and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 500 by 170px shape and place it as shown in the second image. Select this new shape along with the fresh copy of "Wooden Frame" and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white and lower its Opacity to 10%.


Step 12

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 440 by 280px shape. Fill it with R=169, G=124, B=80. Now place it as shown in the first image and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5px Offset and click OK. Reselect both shapes and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like the third image. It's a thin compound path.


Step 13

Pick the Pen Tool (P) and draw four simple, horizontal paths. Place them as shown in the following image. Once again, the Snap to Grid will ease your work.


Step 14

Select the four paths created in the previous step, along with the thin compound path created in the twelfth step, and click on the Divide button. This will divide your compound path into four simple paths. Have a look into your Layers panel and you will find a group with these four shapes.

Select the bottom shape and fill it with R=117, G=76, B=41. Select the left and right shapes and fill them with R=139, G=94, B=60. Finally, make sure that the top shape is filled with R=169, G=124, B=80.


Step 15

Focus on the left shape created in the previous step. Add two new fills for this path and use the linear gradient shown below.


Step 16

Focus on the right shape created in the fourteenth step. Add two new fills and use the linear gradients from the previous step, but with a different angle.


Step 17

Again, focus on the left shape created in the fourteenth step. Add a new fill for this path and select it from the Appearance panel. Use the linear gradient shown below, lower its Opacity to 20% and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1.5px Offset and click OK.

In the end your shape should look like the second image shown below. Now move to the right shape created in the fourteenth steep. Add a new fill for this path and use the same properties mentioned earlier.


Step 18

Select the top shape created in the fourteenth step and add a new fill. Use the linear gradient shown below, lower its Opacity to 20% and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1.5px Offset and click OK. In the end your shape should look like the image shown.


Step 19

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 430 by 270px shape. Fill it with R=58, G=90, B=77. Now place it as shown. Add a second fill for this shape and use the radial gradient shown below. Select this new fill from the Appearance panel and lower its Opacity to 50%.


Step 20

Add a third fill for the shape created in the previous step. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 5% and change the blending mode to Multiply, then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 21

Reselect the shape edited in the previous step and add a 2pt stroke. Align it to inside and set its color at R=225, G=204, B=162. Add a second stroke for the same path, make it 1pt wide, align it to inside and set the color at R=37, G=61, B=48. Continue to add a new fill for this path. Lower its Opacity to 50%, change the blending mode to Multiply and use the linear gradient shown below.

Again, have a closer look at the gradient image. This time you will notice a white number. It stands for Location percentage. Simply select that little diamond icon and drag it to 20%. Finally, go to the Appearance panel, select this last fill and drag it to the top of the Appearance panel, above the strokes.


Step 22

Go to the Brushes panel, open the fly-out menu and go to Open Brush Library > Artistic > Artistic_Paintbrush. This will open a new window with a bunch of built-in brushes. You will need the "Quick Brush 3".

Pick the Brush Tool, select the "Quick Brush 3" brush, set the stroke color to R=255, G=255, B=255. Now draw some random paths as shown in the following image. When you're done select all paths and group them (Command + G).


Step 23

Reselect the green shape created in the nineteenth step, make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F), and bring it to front (Shift + Command + ] ). Select this copy, along with the group of brushes, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make. This will mask your brushes. In the end the group should look like the third image shown below.


Step 24

Move to the Layers panel, focus on the group of brushes and select all the existing paths. Make sure that you did not select the entire path. Once selected, go to the Transparency panel and lower the Opacity to 5%, and set the blending mode to Overlay.


Step 25

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 450 by 5px shape and fill it with R=139, G=94, B=60. Place it as shown in the first image, then go to Object > Transform > Move. Enter 0 in the Horizontal box and -5 in the Vertical box, then click on the Copy button. This will create a copy of the selected shape, right above the original shape.


Step 26

Focus on the second shape created in the previous step. Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the top left anchor point and move it 10px to the right. Select the top, right anchor point and move it 10px to the left. In the end your shape should look like a trapezoid. Replace the flat fill color with the linear gradient shown in the third image.


Step 27

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. Select the first shape created in step 25 and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F).

Select the top copy and hit the down arrow once. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white, lower its Opacity to 30%, and change its blending mode to Overlay.


Step 28

Re-enable the Snap to Grid. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 450 by 15px shape. Place it as shown in the first image and fill it with the linear gradient shown below. Move to the Layers panel. Drag this path below the shapes created in the last three steps, lower its Opacity to 80%, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 2px radius and click OK.


Step 29

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 30 by 5px shape and fill it with the linear gradient shown in the first image. Add a second fill for this shape. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 7%, and change the blending mode to Multiply, then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below and click OK. Continue in the Appearance panel and add a 0.5pt stroke for this shape. Align it to inside and set its color to R=188, G=189, B=192.


Step 30

Reselect the shape created in the previous step and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the data shown below and click OK. Place the resulting shape as shown in the second image.


Step 31

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a new 490 by 330px shape. Fill it with black and make sure that it completely covers the existing shapes. Go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners and enter a 20px radius. Click OK and the apply Object > Expand Appearance. Lower the Opacity of the resulting shape to 15% and then make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F).


Step 32

Focus on the two shapes created in the previous step. First, disable the Snap to Grid. Now, select the top shape and hit the up arrow twice, then select the bottom shape, and hit the down arrow twice.


Step 33

Select the two shapes edited in the previous step and make a copy in back (Command + C > Command + B). Select these two copies and lower their Opacity to 10%. Now, select the top copy and hit the up arrow 3 times, then select the bottom copy and hit the down arrow three times.


Step 34

Reselect the two shapes created in the previous step and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 5px radius and click OK. Select the four shapes created in the last threes steps and group them. Send this group to back (Shift + Command + Left Bracket key).


Step 35

Re-enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 40px square. Fill it with R=196, G=154, B=108, and place it as shown below.


Step 36

Reselect the shape created in the previous step, add the second fill, and use the linear gradient shown below. Add a third fill for this path and make it black. Select it from the Appearance panel, lower its Opacity to 5%, and change the blending mode to Multiply, then go to Effect > Sketch > Graphic Pen. Enter the properties shown below and click OK.


Step 37

Reselect the shape edited in the previous step and add a 2pt stroke. Align it to inside and set its color to R=225, G=204, B=162. Add a second stroke for this path, make it 1pt wide, align it to inside, and set the color to R=139, G=94, B=60.


Step 38

Reselect the shape edited in the last steps and go to the Appearance panel. Select the bottom fill (R=196, G=154, B=108) and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 39

Reselect the path edited in the last steps and make sure that no fill or stroke is selected. First, go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the data shown below, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow. Again, enter the data shown below and click OK.

Finally, go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 3px radius and click OK. Go to the Appearance panel and make sure that the Rounded Corners is placed in the top of the Appearance panel. You can easily drag if you need to. In the end your shape should look like in the following image.


Step 40

For the following step you will need a grid every 1px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 5px circle, and place it as shown in the following image. Fill it it with R=147, G=149, B=152, then add a second fill.

Select it from the Appearance panel and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1.5px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat. Drag the slider to -50% and click OK. Now add a 1pt stroke, then Align it to outside, and set its color at R=88, G=89, B=91.

Add a second stroke for this path, make it 0.5pt wide, align it to outside, and set the color at R=209, G=211, B=212. Reselect this entire path and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 41

Return to gridline every 5px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Select the two shapes created and edited in the last six steps, then group them. Select this fresh group and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Horizontal button and click on the Copy button. This will create a vertically flipped group copy.


Step 42

Select the flipped group created in the previous step and drag it several pixels down. It will be easier for you to edit the shapes inside the group. First, let's edit the rounded rectangle.

Select it, go to the Appearance panel, select the fill with the linear gradient and set the angle at 90 degrees. Next, open the Drop Shadow effect applied for the first fill. Enter 0 in the X Offset box and 1 in the Y Offset box.

Move to the gray circle. Select it, go to the Appearance panel and open the existing Drop Shadow effect. Enter 0 in the X Offset box and -1 in the Y Offset box.


Step 43

Reselect the flipped group and drag it down as shown in the first image. Next, select both groups, duplicate them and drag the copies to the right. Select all four groups and group them (Command + G). Finally, send this group to the back (Shift + Command + Left Bracket key).


Step 44

Pick the Brush Tool (B) and go to the Brushes panel. Select the 3pt Round Brush, set the stroke color at white and draw some balloons or anything you like.

After you're done, select all paths, lower their Opacity to 90%, and group them (Command + G). Select this group and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the data shown in the final image and click OK.


Step 45

Finally, let's add a background for the chalkboard. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a shape the size of your artboard. Fill it with the radial gradient shown below and send it to back (Shift + Command + Left Bracket key).


Step 46

Reselect the shape created in the previous step and add a second fill. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 15%, and change the blending mode to Multiply. Now go to Effect > Sketch > Note Paper. Enter the data shown below, click OK and you're done.


Conclusion

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

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