1. Design & Illustration
  2. Designing

Create a Fun Halloween Vector Poster


In this tutorial, we'll cover how to create a dark graveyard scene with bats and a glowing moon. Lets get in the spooky holiday spirit and have some fun making this Halloween poster design.

Final Image Preview

Below is the final design we will be working towards. 

Step 1

Before we start, we need to get some images that will help us to create a realistic looking tree outline and some scary bats. I went to stock.xchng and picked some awesome imagery. You can download the photos here, bats and tree. Let's get started. Open a new document and place the tree image by going to File > Place.

Step 2

Once you have it placed and shrank down a bit, select it and go to Object > Path > Live Trace > Tracing Options. In the Tracing Options Palette, keep the default settings and click OK.

Step 3

Now go to Object > Path > Live Trace > Expand. Once you have done that, you will have a quite detailed black tree.

Step 4

Select the Direct Selection Tool and click on the white part of the tree. Then go to Select > Same > Fill Color and delete the white shapes.

Step 5

Let's repeat the previous Steps with the bat image.

Step 6

When selecting the Live Trace Options, choose in the preset drop down menu the One Color Logo Option. This way we will get no white. Don't forget to expand the Live Trace.

Step 7

There we have some cool looking bats!

Step 8

Next create a large rectangle on a new layer below the tree and fill it with a radial black and white gradient. Place the gradient highlight towards the middle left corner, then click on the black gradient slider and choose CMKY instead of 100% K. Next, set the Magenta M and Yellow Y slider to 100%. Set the Black K slider to 94%. This will give your gradient a reddish glow without having to add another color slider.

Step 9

Move the dark gradient slider towards the middle to play around with the color and highlight placement.

Step 10

If necessary, place another duplicate of the dark gradient slider on the right. (Click on the gradient slider, hold down the Alt key and drag).

Step 11

Set the right gradient slider to 100% K.

Step 12

Make a new layer and copy the bat shape that we created earlier onto the artboard. Make as many copies as you want. Scale them down or up, depending on your placement preference.

Step 13

Let's create some tombstones. Draw a rectangle with the Rectangle Tool (M) and fill it with black.

Step 14

Create a circle. The diameter should be just a little smaller then the width of the rectangle. Place it so the top edge of the rectangle is lining up with the center point of the circle, then center them both vertically.

Step 15

Select them both and choose the Add to Shape Area in the Pathfinder Palette.

Step 16

Make a duplicate and place it behind the original and fill it with 95% K. Have it stick out on the right a bit.

Step 17

Group them both together and make several copies. Scale them, move them, layer them. You could build up a whole graveyard.

Step 18

Create a large ellipse that covers the tombstones and apply a linear black to white gradient with the white being on top. Next, select both and add an Opacity Mask. Pay attention to the white part of the gradient. This will reveal the tombstones, the black will hide them.

Step 19

This it what it should look like. You can move the mask around if you need to.

Step 20

Place the tombstones on top of the background layer, just below or next to the tree.

Step 21

Create a circle and fill it with white. Make sure you place it on top of the background shape. Then set the Transparency to Overlay and the Opacity to 74%

Step 22

Next we need a cool looking halloween font. I went to DaFont and downloaded haAJJA by Anton. I chose an orange color for the font.

Step 23

To make it look a little bit more grungy and scary. I created a rectangular grunge shape that I will use for an Opacity Mask. Create a rectangle the size appropriate for the Halloween poster. It doesn't matter what color you choose. Apply a Watercolor Brush or any order thick brush to the stroke. Expand the appearance of the stroke.

Step 24

I repeated Step 23 and applied another brush stroke to it and expanded the appearance.

Step 25

Once all is expanded, select the shape ,and choose Add to Shape Area in the Pathfinder Palette.

Step 26

Copy the shape. Then select everything (Command + A) and apply an Opacity Mask. Click on the Opacity Mask window and paste the shape. (Command + P). Fill it with white and move it so it will show the elements you wan to reveal.

Step 27

That's it. Happy Halloween!


I added more text to make it into a full Halloween Party Poster. Be creative and have fun! :)

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