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Design

Create a Travel Bag Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

For starters you will learn how to setup a simple grid and how to create the main shapes using basic tools and effects along with some basic vector shape building techniques. Moving on you will learn how to add subtle shading and highlights using the Appearance panel, basic blending techniques and a simple blur effect. Finally, you will learn how to create the wheels, and the little handles using the Live Corners feature, a built-in gradient and some simple grouping techniques.

1. Create a New Document and Setup a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 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.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters you will need a grid every 5px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid, it will ease your work and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.

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

setup grid

2. Create the Two Main Shapes

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color at R=39 G=170 B=225. Move to your artboard and simply create a 100 x 255px rectangle, the Snap to Grid should ease your work.

create main shapes

Step 2

Keep focusing on your blue rectangle and grab the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the three anchor points highlighted by the black circles (in the following image), focus on the top bar and simply enter 20px in the Corners box. Make sure that the Direct Selection Tool (A) is still active, select the the anchor point highlighted by the red circle (in the following image), return to the top bar and simply enter 15px in that Corners box. In the end your blue shape should look like in the second image.

The Live Corners feature is only available for CC users. The best solution to replace this effect would be the Round Any Corner script that can found in this article: 20 Free and Useful Adobe Illustrator Scripts. Save it to your hard drive, return to Illustrator and grab the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select that anchor point and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter a values shown in the following image and click OK. Keep in mind that the end result might look a bit different.

create main shapes

Step 3

Reselect your blue shape and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

create main shapes

Step 4

Set a dark red for the fill color, grab the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 20 x 265px shape and place it as shown in the first image. Select this new rectangle along with your blue shape, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Minus Front button. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected and simply hit Shift-Control-G to Ungroup it.

create main shapes

3. Add Highlights and Shading for Your Right Shape

Step 1

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.

Make sure that your right, blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the left using the left arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Set the fill color at black (R=0 G=0 B=0) then simply click on that Opacity piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel. Change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 10%.

add shading and highlights

Step 2

Make sure that your right, blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3px to the left. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add shading and highlights

Step 3

Make sure that your right, blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the right using the right arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add shading and highlights

Step 4

Make sure that your right, blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add shading and highlights

Step 5

Make sure that your right, blue shape is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5px Offset, click OK, make sure that the resulting shape is selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 10px to the left. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white (R=255 G=255 B=255), lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add shading and highlights

Step 6

Make sure that your right, blue shape is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5px Offset, click OK, make sure that the resulting shape is selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 5px down and 5px to the left. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white (R=255 G=255 B=255), change its Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 7px Radius and click OK.

add shading and highlights

Step 7

Make sure that your right, blue shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light then focus on the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient) and simply click on the gradient thumbnail to add the default, black to white linear gradient. Keep focusing on your Gradient panel, set the angle at 90 degrees then move to the gradient colors.

Select the left slider and set the color at black then select the right slider. Make sure that the color is set at black then lower the Opacity to 0% and the Location to 75%. Keep in mind that the blue numbers from the Gradient images stand for Location percentage while the yellow ones stand for Opacity percentage. Reselect all the shapes that make up the right side of your bag and simply hit Control-G to Group them.

add shading and highlights

4.Add Highlights and Shading for Your Left Shape

Step 1

Make sure that your left, blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add shading and highlights2

Step 2

Make sure that your left, blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add shading and highlights2

Step 3

Make sure that your left, blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the left. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add shading and highlights2

Step 4

Make sure that your left, blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3px to the left. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add shading and highlights2

Step 5

Make sure that your left, blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 7px to the left. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add shading and highlights2

Step 6

Select your left, blue shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5px Offset, click OK, make sure that the resulting shape is selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 10px to the right. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add shading and highlights2

Step 7

Select your left, blue shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5px Offset, click OK, make sure that the resulting shape is selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 5px down. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white, change its Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 5px Radius and click OK.

add shading and highlights2

Step 8

Make sure that your left, blue shape stays selected and simply replace the existing fill color with the left, linear gradient shown in the following image. Move to the Appearance panel and add a second fill for your shape using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, lower its Opacity to 80%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light then add the right, linear gradient shown in the following image. Don't forget that the yellow zero from the Gradient images stands for Opacity percentage while the blue numbers stand for Location percentage.

add shading and highlights2

Step 9

Reselect all the shapes that make up the left side of your bag and simply Group them (Control-G).

add shading and highlights2

5. Create Two Thin Edges

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For this step you will need a grid every 1px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Set a random orange for the fill color, grab the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 5 x 257px shape and place it as shown in the following image. Make sure that this new rectangle stays selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 1px Radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

create thin edges

Step 2

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Make sure that your orange shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the left. 

Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Reselect your orange shape and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the right. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the following image, lower its Opacity to 60% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

create thin edges

Step 3

Reselect your orange shape and simply replace the existing fill color with R=19 G=150 B=205.

create thin edges

Step 4

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Set a random orange for the fill color, grab the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 5 x 257px shape and place it as shown in the following image. Make sure that this new rectangle stays selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 1px Radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

create thin edges

Step 5

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Make sure that your orange shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the left. 

Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Reselect your orange shape and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the right. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the following image, lower its Opacity to 70% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

create thin edges

Step 6

Make sure that your orange shape stays selected and simply replace the existing fill color with R=190 G=190 B=200. Focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill for this shape. Select it, lower the Opacity to 70% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light then add the linear gradient shown in the following image.

create thin edges

6. Create the Zipper and the Middle Section of You Bag

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Return to gridline every 5px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Set the fill color at R=80 G=80 B=90, pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 10 x 255px shape and place it as shown in the following image.

create zipped and middle section

Step 2

Switch to gridline every 1px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 5 x 1px shape, set the fill color at R=40 G=40 B=50 and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new rectangle stays selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 0.5px Radius and click OK. Duplicate this shape (Control-C > Control-F), drag the copy 1px down and 3px to the right then simply replace the existing fill color with R=50 G=50 B=60.

create zipped and middle section

Step 3

Reselect the two rectangles made in the previous step and simply Group them (Control-G). Make sure that this fresh group stays selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

create zipped and middle section

Step 4

Make sure that your group of thin rounded rectangles stays selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

create zipped and middle section

Step 5

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create two, 3 x 255px shape and place them as shown in the following image. Fill both shapes with black, lower their Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

create zipped and middle section

Step 6

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create two, 1 x 255px shape and place them as shown in the following image. Fill both shapes with black, lower their Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

create zipped and middle section

Step 7

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 12 x 115px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the following image.

create zipped and middle section

Step 8

Make sure that your 12 x 115px rectangle stays selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 1.5px Radius, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK.

create zipped and middle section

7. Create the Wheel Supports

Step 1

Focus on the Layers panel and open the two groups that make up the left and the right side of your travel bag.

Duplicate the main shapes (Control-C > Control-F), select the copies, drag them in the top of the Layers panel (outside their groups) and simply replace the existing Appearance attributes with a single, orange fill.

create wheel support

Step 2

Return to gridline every 5px and focus on the bottom side of your right, orange shape. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 30 x 15px shape, set the fill color at R=50 G=50 B=60 and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the top side of this new rectangle. Select the left anchor point, focus on the top bar and simply enter 8px in the Corners box.

Reselect the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 5px square, make sure that the fill color is set at R=50 G=50 B=60 and place it as shown in the third image. Set a dark red for the fill color, switch to the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 10px circle and place it as shown in the fourth image. Select this red circle along with your 5px square and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape along with the other shape made in this step and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. In the end your shape should look like in the seventh image.

create wheel support

Step 3

Select your right, orange shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) then select the shape made in the previous step and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape along with the copy made in the beginning of the step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

create wheel support

Step 4

Reselect that dark shape along with your right, orange shape and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), select the top copy and move it 1px down and 1px to the right. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white, lower its Opacity to 40% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Add a second fill for your dark shape and select it. Use the radial gradient shown in the following image then lower its Opacity to 80% and change the Blending Mode to Multiply.

create wheel support

Step 5

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) and focus on the bottom side of your left, orange shape. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 30 x 15px shape, set the fill color at R=50 G=50 B=60 and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the top side of this new rectangle. Select the right anchor point, focus on the top bar and simply enter 8px in the Corners box.

Reselect the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 5px square, make sure that the fill color is set at R=50 G=50 B=60 and place it as shown in the third image. Set a dark red for the fill color, switch to the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 10px circle and place it as shown in the fourth image. Select this red circle along with your 5px square and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape along with the other shape made in this step and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. In the end your shape should look like in the seventh image.

create wheel support

Step 6

Select your right, orange shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) then select the shape made in the previous step and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape along with the copy made in the beginning of the step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

create wheel support

Step 7

Reselect that dark shape along with the orange one and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), select the top copy and move it 1px down and 1px to the left. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white, lower its Opacity to 40% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Add a second fill for your dark shape and select it. Use the radial gradient shown in the following image then lower its Opacity to 80% and change the Blending Mode to Multiply.

create wheel support

8. Create the Wheels

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Set a random orange for the fill color, grab the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 20px circle and place it as shown in the first image. Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), make sure that your orange circle is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up and 1px to the right. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 40% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Reselect your orange shape and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down and 1px to the left. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

create wheels

Step 2

Make sure that your orange shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. First, replace the existing fill color with R=50 G=50 B=60. Add a second fill for this shape, select it, set the color at R=40 G=40 B=50 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -7px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and return to the Appearance panel. Add a third fill for your shape, set the color at R=20 G=20 B=30 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -9px Offset and click OK.

create wheels

Step 3

Make sure that your 20px circle stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Select the existing stroke, set the color at R=40 G=40 B=50 and the Weight at 1px then check the Align Stroke to Outside button from the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke). Return to the Appearance panel and add a second stroke for your shape using the Add New Stroke button. Select this new stroke, set the color at white and the Weight at 1px, lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light then check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

create wheels

Step 4

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) and switch to gridline every 1px. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 16 x 5px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this squeezed circle stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel.

Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 30% and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 5px Radius and click OK. Return to the Appearance panel and add a second fill for your shape using that same Add New Fill button. Select the new fill, lower its Opacity to 10% and make sure that the color is set at black.

Send your squeezed circle to back (Shift-Control-[ ) then select it along with the three shapes that make up your wheel and Group them (Control-G). Duplicate this new group (Control-C > Control-F), select the copy, drag it to the right and place it as shown in the third image.

create wheels

9. Create the Handles

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 10 x 2px shape, set the fill color at R=50 G=50 B=60 and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the top side of this new rectangle. Select both anchor points, focus on the top bar and simply enter 1px in that Corners box. In the end things should look like in the third image.

create handles

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 8px square, fill it with the linear gradient shown in the following image and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the top side of this new shape. Select both anchor points, focus on the top bar and simply enter 4px in that Corners box. In the end things should look like in the second image.

create handles

Step 3

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 1 x 10px shape, set the fill color at black and lower its Opacity to 20%. Switch to the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 4 x 2px shape, make it white, lower its Opacity to 40% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

create handles

Step 4

Return to gridline every 5px. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 5 x 90px shape and place it as shown in the following image. Make sure that this new rectangle stays selected, open the fly-out menu of the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) and go to Open Swatch Library > Gradients > Metal. Simply click the "Steel" gradient, move to the Gradient panel and set the Angle at 0 degrees.

create handles

Step 5

Make sure that your 5 x 90px rectangle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select it, lower its Opacity to 15% and simply add the linear gradient shown in the following image.

create handles

Step 6

Switch to gridline every 1px. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 9 x 30px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the top side of this new rectangle. Select both anchor points, move to the top bar and simply enter 4.5px in the Corners box. Move to the bottom side of your shape, select both anchor points, return to the top bar and enter 2px in that Corners box.

create handles

Step 7

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the shape made in the previous step and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset, click OK and duplicate the resulting shape (Control-C > Control-F). Select the newly created copy and simply move it 1px down and 1px to the left. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the following image, lower its Opacity to 80% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

create handles

10. Recolor Your Travel Bag

Step 1

Finally, feel free to try different colors for your travel bag. Simply select the two, blue shapes and replace the existing colors with the ones shown in the following image or the ones that you prefer.

recolor travel bag
recolor travel bag

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

ABCD
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