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In this tutorial we'll manipulate basic shapes into an Art-Nouveau-inspired composition featuring my favorite robot friend, Bitty Love Bot. Learn how to create compound shapes in CorelDRAW® with the Shaping docker, manipulate fountain fills, convert an outline to an object, and effectively use PowerClips to aid your design.
1. Preparing Your Document
Let's start by creating a New Document. Mine is 8 inches by 10 inches at 300 dpi. You can adjust your page size later in the Property Bar if you find you'd like to work at a different size.
Next, I've imported my sketches for this design. I like to quickly map out what I think I want the composition to be before diving into any sort of complex vector work. I've placed both sketch files in their own layer in the Object Manager docker.
When working on the Object Manager, you can create a new layer by hitting the New Layer button at the bottom of the docker. I'll be working in the same Master Layer for the entirety of this tutorial.
2. Set Up Your Background Layout
Art Nouveau pieces often have beautiful backgrounds whose layouts help inform the rest of the piece's composition. I think this is an excellent place to begin our design. The colors used for this step are entirely up to you, as I've only chosen black and shades of gray for visibility's sake.
- On a new Layer, use the Ellipse tool (F7) to draw a large circle in the top half of your page.
- Draw a rectangle in the upper left corner with the Rectangle tool (F7) that overlaps the circle slightly.
- Draw a larger rectangle over the bottom two thirds of the page, overlapping the circle slightly.
Adjust the fill and stroke colors of your objects in the Object Properties docker.
Select the smaller of the two rectangles and in the Property Bar, select Scallop for corner radius type. Enter in the following numbers for each corner radius:
- Top Left: 1.39"
- Top Right: 0.12"
- Bottom Left: 0.2"
- Bottom Right: 0.06"
Select the bottom rectangle and drag out the right side so it covers half of the large circle. In the Property Bar, select Scallop for corner radius type. Enter in the following numbers for each corner radius:
- Top Left: 0.2"
- Top Right: 0.2"
- Bottom Left: 1.8"
- Bottom Right: 1.8"
3. Using the Shaping Docker
Reorder your objects so the circle is above the two rounded rectangles.
- Select all three of your shapes and hit Simplify in the Property Bar or the Shaping docker.
- Select the circle and in the Property Bar reduce its Object Size to 95% of its original size. Regardless of the dimensions of your circle, reduction by percentage should give you a good basis for creating similar spacing between objects. If you'd like more or less space between your objects, your reduction percentage will vary from mine.
Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) the upper left shape. In the Property Bar, hit Mirror Horizontally so your shape flips over a vertical axis, and place it on the right side of the page.
Make sure the shape lines up with the other shapes in the same manner that the left shape does. Do this in the Align and Distribute docker by Aligning the smaller rounded rectangles to the outer edges (left and right respectively) of the larger rectangle.
- Draw two identical narrow vertical rectangles and place them on either side of the circle. I found it easiest to line them up with the corners of the medium gray shapes without the use of the Align and Distribute docker simply because they do not hit an outer edge or center of any object perfectly. Sometimes you've just got to eyeball design elements.
- Select the two black rectangles and Weld them in the Shaping docker. Select the black rectangles and the lower light gray shape and hit Back Minus Front in the Shaping docker.
Group (Control-G) your objects together.
- Draw a smaller circle on the large black circle with the Ellipse tool. Align it to the center of your object group in the Align & Distribute docker.
- With the Star tool draw some five-pointed stars on the left side of your circle. Group them together.
- Duplicate (Control-D) and Mirror the star group. Place it on the right side of the black circle. I dragged some Guides out from the rulers to make sure they were aligned properly.
Weld the stars and the small circle together in the Shaping docker. Ungroup (Control-U) the rest of your design so you can select the black circle, and then hit Back Minus Front in the Property Bar to subtract the circle and stars from the black circle.
4. Converting Outlines to Objects
On a new Layer, select the Bezier tool. In the Object Properties docker, set the Outline properties to the following:
- 8.0 pt width
- the bright, distracting color of your choice
- solid line style
Use the Bezier tool to draw a long curve across the upper left shape.
- Continue drawing a series of mostly vertical curving shapes.
- Then, begin connecting them with smaller curves. Note how they flow into each other. It's important your outlines move smoothly together for this design.
Once satisfied with your outline shapes, select all of them and Convert Outline to Object (Control-Shift-Q). In the Object Manager, delete the extraneous paths so you're only left with the outlines seen below (I switched over to Wireframe view so the objects could be seen more easily).
- Weld your curved shapes together.
- Select the gray corner shape and your newly welded curves and apply Back Minus Front in the Shaping docker.
Repeat the previous steps of creating curving shapes on the lower left corner shape.
- Draw interlaced curving outlines with the Bezier tool.
- Select the curves and Convert Outline to Object. Delete the duplicate outlines in the Object Manager. Weld the curves together in the Shaping docker.
- Select the gray corner shape and your newly welded curves and apply Back Minus Front in the Shaping docker.
5. Completing the Background Composition
- Copy and Paste the left corner shapes. Mirror them Horizontally in the Property Bar.
- Align the copied shapes to their counterparts in the Align & Distribute docker. Delete the original right corner shapes.
Weld all of your background shapes together in the Shaping docker to complete your background composition.
Select the newly welded shape. In the Object Properties docker, set the Outline to the following attributes:
- Weight: 1.5 pt
- Color: Gray (
- Cap: Rounded
- Corner: Rounded
- Outline: Outside
Move on to Fill in the Object Properties docker. Select Fountain Fill and change the colors to cyan (
#00F2FF) and light yellow (
#FEFFA6). Make sure it's a Linear Fountain Fill whose angle is set to 90°.
6. Let's Draw a Robot
Let's start with the head. Most of the robot is built with basic shapes. Draw a rectangle with the Rectangle tool and adjust the corner radii to the following settings:
- Corner Type: Scalloped
- Upper Corners: 0.2"
- Lower Corners: 0.37"
Or whatever corner radii you find fit your robot friend best. Additionally, much of this section shows each object filled with white and outlined with black. If you already have plans for your color palette, feel free to use them from the start.
Let's speed things up a bit.
- The eyes and balls on the antennae are circles drawn with the Ellipse tool. The mouth and the antennae were drawn with the Bezier tool. They are closed shapes.
- Use the Pen tool to draw a cute heart. Two ellipses form the robot's cheeks. I've drawn a curved shape with the Pen tool to form the inside of the robot's mouth. When we apply fills and outlines to these shapes it'll make a bit more sense.
- The neck is a thin rectangle while the body is a rounded rectangle. Two circles form the shoulders.
Draw a long, curved leg with the Bezier tool. Set the Outline width to 20 pt. Convert the Outline to an Object, as has been done previously with outlines.
Next up are the arms.
- Draw a curve from the shoulder to elbow.
- Consider this robot's arms to be like metal noodles. My path has four nodes in total.
- Set the Outline width to 20 pt, same as the legs, and Convert the Outline to an Object. Repeat on the other side.
Place the legs beneath the body and the arms beneath the shoulders. Use ellipses for the hands and rounded rectangles for the fingers. Set the outline color to null and the fill colors to the following:
- Hot Pink (
- Gray (
- Cyan (
- Yellow (
- Light Pink (
- Purple (
Group the robot's components together and Align it to the center of the background design.
7. Drawing Flowers and Mushrooms
Our robot friend needs some company within the design. On a new layer, we'll draw flowers and mushrooms around the legs of the robot. I'll be using my sketch as a guide for the design. You can freehand your flowers or work from a more detailed sketch.
Select the Freehand tool from the Toolbox. In the Property Bar set Freehand Smoothing to 100.
- Draw petal shapes. Use reference if you're unsure of what sort of flowers to draw.
- Notice how each shape converges around the same area and then curves upward and outward.
- Finalize four or five petal shapes. Adjust their node handles if needed with the Shape tool (F10).
- Weld your objects together to form your flower.
- Use the Bezier tool to draw curved stems and large leaves.
- Note how the leaves and stems curve away from the robot while converging in the same place near the bottom of the design.
- Add another flower or two in the same manner as before.
For the mushrooms, I manipulated half circles to create a few designs. To create a half circle that's not quite exact (more like a 3/5 circle), do the following:
- Draw a rectangle and a circle.
- Overlap the two shapes.
- Hit Back Minus Front in the Shaping docker.
- Draw freehand scallops on the edge of a mushroom for cute frills. For other mushroom types, cut ellipses and circles in half.
- Draw curved stems with the Bezier tool and Convert the Outlines to Objects.
- Group your mushrooms together and Mirror Horizontally to place them on the right side of the design.
Compile your flower and mushroom composition. Weld together your flower stems and leaves on each side and set the fill colors to the following:
- Yellow (
- Green (
- Purple (
- Cyan (
- Magenta (
- Cream (
8. Rendering the Robot Head
Let's start at the top of the robot, working on the robot layer.
- Select the antennae and change the fill to a Linear Fountain Fill going from dark gray to gray. Adjust the angle with the Interactive Fill tool (G).
- Apply a Radial Fountain Fill to each of the balls on the antennae going from hot pink to light pink. Adjust the position of the fill's radius with the Interactive Fill tool. Transfer the fill to the second circle with the Attributes Eyedropper tool.
- Copy and Paste the white heart. Set the fill color to gray and the Merge Mode to Multiply under Transparency in the Object Properties docker. Set the copied heart downward slightly so it looks like a cast shadow.
- Apply a Radial Fountain Fill on the head of the robot itself going from cyan to dark cyan. You can adjust your colors as you see fit for your overall composition.
- Draw five identical rectangles over the left eye. Weld them together after having Distributed evenly in the Align & Distribute docker.
- Apply Simplify to the rectangle objects and the eye circle from the Shaping docker. Delete the non-intersecting rectangular components.
- Add an Outline to the circle of the same dark yellow as the rectangles. Draw a circle behind the eye. Offset it to the lower left, and set the fill color to gray and the Merge Mode to Multiply. Repeat on the right eye.
- Set the cheek circles to a Radial Fountain Fill going from light pink in the center at 0% Transparency to 100% Transparency.
- Draw a shape inside the mouth and fill it with a white to gray fountain fill to create a shadow. Set the Merge Mode to Multiply.
- Set the neck rectangle's fill to a Linear Fountain Fill going from dark purple to light purple. Make sure the darker color is at the top of the shape.
9. Rendering the Robot Body
- Copy and Paste one of the arms from your working page. Use the Pen tool to draw curved stripe shapes down the length of the arm.
- Make sure the shapes curve along with the curve of the arm itself. Weld the stripes together in the shaping docker.
- Place the stripe group behind the arm and hit Back Minus Front in the Shaping docker.
- Place the stripes on the corresponding arm behind the shoulder in the Objects Manager docker.
Repeat these steps on the other arm and both legs. Fill the stripe objects with transparent gray.
Use the Attributes Eyedropper tool to apply the same Radial Fountain Fill from the shoulders to the hands. Adjust the radius with the Interactive Fill tool.
Apply the fountain fill used on the robot's neck to each of its rounded rectangle fingers.
Group together all of your robot components. Copy and Paste the robot and Weld the copied robot together. Set the fill and outline color to gray and the Outline Weight to 2-4 pt. Align the copied robot behind the original robot group.
10. Render and PowerClip the Flowers
- Draw a rectangle over the background of your design. Adjust the corner radii so they match that of the background drawn previously in this tutorial.
- Weld a rectangle across the rounded rectangle so that it contains the yellow flowers which would otherwise be cut off by the background. Notice how the shape cuts off the bottom of the flowers.
- Select the flower and mushroom group and go to Object > PowerClip > Place Inside Frame. Select the newly drawn welded shape as the frame. Once clipped, set the outline to null.
For the flowers and mushrooms, render each as follows:
- The flowers have a yellow to orange Linear Fountain Fill.
- The stems and leaves have a light green to dark green fountain fill applied.
- The purple mushroom is a light purple to dark purple Radial Fountain Fill.
- The blue mushroom's fill matches the robot's body.
- The mushroom stems are a gray to cream Linear Fountain Fill.
- The pink mushroom's fill matches the robot's antennae balls.
Draw additional details on top of the mushrooms. I drew the faces with the Ellipse tool and the Pen tool, and then added shiny highlights on each of the mushrooms with the Pen tool and applied a transparent white fountain fill.
As a final detail, I scattered sparkles around my composition.
- Draw a small circle with the Ellipse tool.
- Use the Distort tool to apply a Push and Pull Distortion with an Amplitude of 92.
- Check out your sparkle. You can use this object as is, or double it up for a more dynamic and noticeable sparkle.
- Copy, Paste, and Rotate the sparkle on top of the original.
- Weld the shapes together and set the outline to null and the fill color to the sparkle color of your choice (ultimately I chose white).
Great Job, You're Done!
Scatter your sparkles around your composition and draw a large cream-colored rectangle over your page underneath your background design to complete the piece. Push your design further by creating a whole cast of robot characters in various Art Nouveau-inspired frames. Share your work in the comment section below!