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Create Your Own Gothic Looking Card Deck

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Read Time: 5 min

In this tutorial, we will explain how to create an awesome card deck design. You'll create our own brushes and design elements to achieve a cool looking card. Let's get started!

Final Image Preview

Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.

Video Tutorial

Our editor Sean Hodge has created this video tutorial to compliment this text + image tutorial.

Step 1

Select the Pen Tool (P) and create a leaf like object. Fill it with black and leave the stroke empty. Duplicate and reflect the object (O) to the right. Then group those two together (Command + G) and reflect them again. Thereafter, create a small circle in the middle.

Step 2

Create a copy of the leaf and align it to the right. Keep a tiny distance between the two. Then select both of them, open the Brushes palette and drag both of them into the Brush Palette. In the pop up window, choose Pattern Brush, name it "leaf" and set 5% for the spacing. Leave all the other setting as is, then click OK.

Step 3

Create another shape with the Pen Tool (P), then duplicate the shape and overlap them vertically. Select both of them and set the fill to black. In the Pathfinder Palette, select Add to Shape Area.

Step 4

Select the shape and rotate it counter-clockwise by 90 degrees. Then duplicate it and place them together just like you see it in the image. Select both and drag them into the Brushes Palette again. Repeat Step 2, but keep the spacing at 0%.

Step 5

Create a rectangle with the rectangle Tool (M) and apply the round corner effect (Effect > Stylize > Round Corners). Expand the appearance. Fill the shape with a light gray (5% black) and set the Stroke to 0.5pt. Then apply the second Pattern Brush that we just created in Step 3 and 4.

Step 6

Make a copy of the shape and expand the appearance. Carefully Delete the fill. We just want to have the border left over.

Step 7

Go back to the first rectangle shape with the border and fill and make another copy of it. Expand the appearance again and then fill all shapes with red.

Step 8

Make a copy of the original rectangle shape again and set the border to the first Pattern brush we created. Then fill the shape with a light-gray gradient. If the Pattern Brush doesn't change the color, go back and double-click the brush in the Brushes Palette and set the Colorization Method to Hue Shift. Click OK to apply the new settings.

Step 9

Here is the shape layout that we need: one gray shape without border, one red with border expanded, and one with just the black border. Place each shape on top of each other. I applied an Outer Glow to the bottom shape as well.

Step 10

Group the three shapes together. Select the gradient/border shape and set the layer mode to Multiply. Add a Stroke of 5pt in white and set it to be Inside. Make sure that the new stroke is applied via the Appearance Palette, since we already have a stroke. Drag the new stroke below the leaf stroke.

Step 11

Let's go back to the first shapes we created. Select the sinus shape and make a copy of it. Then duplicate it and reflect it. Overlap them so you have a shape like you see in the image below.

Step 12

Select all the shapes and click the Add to Shape Area in the Pathfinder Palette.

Step 13

Make a copy of the shape and scale it down. Then place it on top. Select both shapes and duplicate and reflect them vertically. Now select them all again, duplicate them again, and reflect them horizontally.

Step 14

Select them all and click Add to Shape Area again in the Pathfinder Palette. Then fill the shape with a light gray gradient and create a pattern (shown below) by duplicating the shape and scaling it down. Set the Layer Mode to 56% Overlay.

Step 15

Set the layer Mode of the smaller shapes to 30% Multiply.

Step 16

Select all the just created shapes and place them on top of the card.

Step 17

Select the shape in Step 11 and start adding strokes. One white one and one red one. The size is up to you. Just make sure that you add them via the Appearance Palette.

Step 18

Make a copy of the stroked shape and add a warp effect by going to Object > Envelop Options > Warp. Apply the settings you see in the image below. Expand the appearance and select the red shape with the Direct Selection Tool (A). Move it downwards away from the rest.

Step 19

Place the warped, expanded, and altered shape on top of the card, then duplicate it and reflect it.

Step 20

Next, select the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a small circle with a Stroke of .025pt. Apply the leaf pattern brush.

Small Tip: If you want to just scale the pattern brush but not the shape, make the stroke bigger or smaller.

Step 21

Take a copy of the stroked shape from Step 17 and scale it down. Rotate it 45 degrees and duplicate and rotate it around each other, just like you see in the image below.

Step 22

I placed a skull shape in the middle, that I created once and had on file. Feel free to add your own graphic in the center.

Step 23

Creating the card front is a fairly easy step. Just leave the red shape and gradient shape out and place some numbers or letters in the corners.


To give the cards a more dimensional look. I created a symbol of them with the Outer Glow. Then I took the original gray rounded corner rectangle and applied the 3D Extrude & Revolve Tool. Play around with the settings to get the look you like. Then just add the symbol of the cards via the Map Art settings. That's it folks, I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

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