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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Icon Design
Design

How to Create a Camping Icon Pack in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Today we’re going to get a little adventurous and learn how to create our very own camping icon set, using some of the most basic shapes and tools that you probably already work with on a daily basis. So put on those hiking boots, and let’s get started!

Oh, and before I forget, you can always expand the pack by heading over to GraphicRiver, where you’ll find an awesome selection of camping themed icon packs just waiting to be snatched.

1. How to Set Up a New Document

Since I’m more than sure that you already have Illustrator up and running in the background, bring it up and let’s set up a New Document (File > New or Control-N) using the following settings:

  • Number of Artboards: 1
  • Width: 800 px
  • Height: 600 px
  • Units: Pixels

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color Mode: RGB
  • Raster Effects: Screen (72ppi)
  • Preview Mode: Default
setting up a new document

Quick tip: some of you might have noticed that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid option is missing, which is because I’m running the new CC 2017 version of the software, in which great changes have been made to the way Illustrator handles the way shapes snap to the underlying Pixel Grid.

2. How to Set Up a Custom Grid

Since we’re going to be creating the icons using a pixel-perfect workflow, we’ll want to set up a nice little Grid so that we can have full control over our shapes—that is if we’re running the older version of the software.

Step 1 

Go to the Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid submenu, and adjust the following settings:

  • Gridline every: 1 px
  • Subdivisions: 1
setting up a custom grid

Quick tip: you can learn more about grids by reading this in-depth piece on how Illustrator’s Grid System works.

Step 2

Once we’ve set up our custom grid, all we need to do in order to make sure our shapes look crisp is enable the Snap to Grid option found under the View menu, which will transform into Snap to Pixel each time you enter Pixel Preview mode.

Now, if you’re new to the whole “pixel-perfect workflow”, I strongly recommend you go through my how to create pixel-perfect artwork tutorial, which will help you widen your technical skills in no time.

3. How to Set Up the Layers

With the new document created, it would be a good idea to structure our project using a couple of layers, since this way we can maintain a steady workflow by focusing on one icon at a time.

That being said, bring up the Layers panel and create a total of four layers, which we will rename as follows:

  • layer 1: reference grids
  • layer 2: lamp
  • layer 3: tent
  • layer 4: backpack
setting up the layers

4. How to Create the Reference Grids

The Reference Grids (or Base Grids) are a set of precisely delimited reference surfaces, which allow us to build our icons by focusing on size and consistency.

Usually, the size of the grids determines the size of the actual icons, and they should always be the first decision you make when you start a new project, since you’ll always want to start from the smallest possible size and build on that.

Now, in our case, we’re going to be creating the icon pack using just one size, more exactly 128 x 128 px, which is a fairly large one.

Step 1

Start by locking all but the reference grid layer, and then grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 128 x 128 px orange (#F15A24) square, which will help define the overall size of our icons.

creating the main shape for the reference grid

Step 2

Add another smaller 120 x 120 px one (#FFFFFF) which will act as our active drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4 px padding.

creating the main shape for the active drawing area

Step 3

Group the two squares composing the reference grid using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, and then create two copies at a distance of 40 px from one another, making sure to align them to the center of the Artboard.

Once you’re done, lock the current layer and move on to the next one where we’ll start working on our first icon.

creating and positioning all three reference grids

5. How to Create the Lamp

We’re going to kick off the project by creating the little gas lamp, so make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the second one) and then zoom in on the first reference grid and let’s get started.

Step 1

Create the main shape for the lamp’s base using a 60 x 12 px rounded rectangle with a 4 px Corner Radius, which we will color using #6DA56D and then center align at a distance of 4 px from the bottom edge of the underlying active drawing area.

creating and positioning the main shape for the lower section of the lamp

Step 2

Give the shape that we’ve just created an outline using the Offset Path method, by selecting it and then going to Object > Path > Offset Path and entering 4 px into the Offset value field.

adding the outline to the lower section of the lamp

Step 3

Set the fill color of the outline that we’ve just added to #3A3232 so that it will stand out from the green shape.

adjusting the fill color for the lamps lower section outline

Step 4

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), add a 60 x 4 px horizontal divider line (#3A3232) over the green shape that we created a few steps ago, making sure to center align it with the help of the Align panel.

adding the horizontal divider line to the lower section of the lamps body

Step 5

Create two small 4 x 6 px rounded rectangles (#3A3232) with a 2 px Corner Radius and position one on each side of the lamp’s base, at a distance of 4 px from the fill shape’s edges.

Once you’re done, select all the shapes that we’ve made so far and group them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the small insertions onto the lower section of the lamps body

Step 6

Create the main shapes for the control knob using a 12 x 12 px circle (#D6D0D0) with a 4 px outline (#3A3232), which we will center align to the underlying shapes that we’ve just grouped.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the lamps control knob

Step 7

Using the Ellipse Tool (L) create an 8 x 8 px circle which we will color using #3A3232 and then position over the knob’s main shapes, making sure to center align it to them.

adding the center section to the lamps control knob

Step 8

Finish off the knob by adding four 4 x 4 px circles (#3A3232) to each side of the grey shape, making sure to position them so that only a small section of their surface remains visible.

Once you’re done, select all the knob’s composing shapes and group (Control-G) them together.

adding details to the lamps control knob

Step 9

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create the upper section of the lamp’s base using a 44 x 4 px shape (#4C7F4C) with a 4 px outline (#3A3232), which we will position so that the two outlines end up overlapping each other.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the upper section of the lamps base

Step 10

Add five 4 x 4 px squares (#3A3232), positioned 4 px from one another, to the center of the green shape that we’ve just created, grouping (Control-G) them and then the entire upper section.

adding the little detail lines to the upper section of the lamps base

Step 11

Start working on the base of the tube by creating an 8 x 2 px rectangle (#A39B9B) with a 4 px outline (#3A3232), center aligning a 4 x 1 px rectangle (#3A3232) to its top edge. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all three shapes together, positioning them onto the upper section of the lamp’s body.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the lamps feed tube

Step 12

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), add the upper section of the tube by creating a 4 x 1 px rectangle (#7F7E7E) with a 4 px outline (#3A3232) and a 4 x 2 px rectangle (#3A3232) positioned above it, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all its composing shapes together afterwards.

adding finishing touches to the lamps feed tube

Step 13

With the tube in place, start working on the glass casing by creating a 34 x 58 px ellipse (#FFE38A), which we will cut in half by selecting and removing its center-right Anchor Point¸ positioning the resulting shape onto the left side of the lamp’s body, at a distance of 32 px from the active drawing area’s left edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the lamps glass enclosure

Step 14

Create a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the yellow shape that we added in the previous step, and position it onto the opposite side of the lamp, making sure to flip it vertically (right click > Transform > Reflect > Vertical).

creating and positioning the right section of the lamps glass enclosure

Step 15

Unite the two paths by selecting them and then pressing Control-J twice so that both their upper and bottom Anchor Points get joined together.

uniting the two sections of the lamps glass enclosure

Step 16

Select the resulting shape, and then give it an outline (#3A3232) using the Offset Path method.

adding the outline to the lamps glass enclosure

Step 17

Since we’ll want the yellow shape to be transparent, we’ll need to create a cutout into its outline to allow the other shapes to be seen. To do this, first click on the yellow shape and use the Control-C shortcut to add a copy of it to the Clipboard.

Then, select both it and the outline and use Pathfinder’s Minus Front Shape Mode to remove it from the latter’s surface, pasting the yellow copy back in place (Control-F). Adjust the shape’s Transparency by setting its Opacity to 40%, grouping (Control-G) it and the outline together afterwards.

adjusting the transparency of the lamps glass enclosure

Step 18

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), start working on the lamp’s upper section by creating a 40 x 4 px rectangle (#6DA56D) with a 4 px outline (#3A3232) which we will group (Control-G) and then position onto the glass casing, center aligning them to one another.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the lamps upper section

Step 19

Create the ventilation chamber using a 28 x 6 px rectangle (#4C7F4C) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 2 px from within the Transform panel. Give the resulting shape a 4 px outline (#3A3232), and then select and position the two on top of the section that we created in the previous step.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the lamps ventilation chamber

Step 20

Add the ventilation holes using three 4 x 8 px rounded rectangles (#3A3232) with a 2 px Corner Radius positioned 4 px from one another, which we will group (Control-G) and then position onto the green fill shape, center aligning them to the outline’s bottom edge.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to group (Control-G) the holes to the two underlying shapes as well.

adding the ventilation holes to the upper section of the lamp

Step 21

Switch over to the Ellipse Tool (L) and create an 8 x 8 px circle, which we will color using #3A3232 and then center align it to the lamp’s ventilation chamber, so that its lower half overlaps the underlying outline.

adding the circular section to the lamps ventilation chamber

Step 22

Add the little hooking ring by creating a 20 x 24 px rounded rectangle (#3A3232) with a 10 px Corner Radius from which we will cut out a smaller 12 x 16 px one (#3A3232) with a 6 px Corner Radius. Remove the resulting shape’s bottom half, and then position it on top of the ventilation chamber, center aligning the two.

Once you’re done, you can select and group (Control-G) all the lamp’s upper sections composing shapes.

adding the hooking ring to the upper section of the lamp

Step 23

Create the lamp’s side handles using an 84 x 74 px rounded rectangle with a 20 px Corner Radius, from which we will cut out a smaller 76 x 66 px one with a 16 px Corner Radius. Color the resulting shape using #3A3232, and then center align it to the glass casing, making sure to send it to the back afterwards (right click > Arrange > Send to Back).

adding the side handles to the lamps body

Step 24

Finish off the icon by creating two 8 x 18 px rectangles (#3A3232) and adding one to the center of each side handle. Once you’re done, select and group all the icon’s composing shapes using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the grip to the lamps side handles

6. How to Create the Tent

Assuming you’ve already locked the previous layer and moved on to the next one, zoom in on the second reference grid, and let’s start working on our little tent.

Step 1

Kick off the icon by creating its base using a 112 x 4 px rectangle (#D6D0D0) with a 4 px thick outline (#3A3232), which we will align to the bottom edge of the underlying active drawing area.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the tents base

Step 2

Add two 8 x 2 px rectangles (#3A3232) positioning one on each side of the tent’s base, at a distance of 24 px from its outer edges, making sure to align them to the top edge of the underlying grey shape.

Then, don’t forget to select and group all of the base’s composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the small insertions to the tents base

Step 3

Create the tent’s main body, using a 112 x 192 px ellipse (#61AEC9) which we will adjust by selecting and removing its bottom Anchor Point using the Direct Selection Tool (A). Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3A3232) and then group (Control-G) and position the two shapes above the tent’s base, making sure their outlines overlap.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the tents body

Step 4

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), add a 112 x 2 px horizontal line divider, which we will color using #3A3232 and then center align to the tent’s base, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from its outline.

adding the horizontal divider line to the tents upper body

Step 5

Create two 4 x 2 px rectangles (#3A3232), and position one on each side of the horizontal divider line that we added in the previous step, making sure to position them 4 px from its edges.

adding the two insertions onto the lower body of the tent

Step 6

Create the tent’s poles using a 120 x 216 px ellipse (#3A3232), which we will adjust by cutting out a smaller 112 x 208 px one (#3A3232), removing the bottom half afterwards. Once you’re done, select and position the resulting shape onto the tent’s body, making sure to center align it to the top edge of the underlying active drawing area.

adding the poles to the tents body

Step 7

Add a 4 x 8 px rectangle to the center of the empty space created by the tent’s body and its poles, coloring it using #3A3232.

Once you’re done, select and group all the composing shapes of the tent’s body using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the back section to the tents poles

Step 8

Create the “door’s” main shape using an 80 x 148 px ellipse (#4D8AA1), which we will adjust by removing its lower half by selecting its bottom Anchor Point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then pressing Delete. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3A3232) and then position the two shapes above the tent’s base, center aligning them to it.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the tents door

Step 9

Add the zipper line using a 2 x 74 px rectangle, which we will color using #3A3232, and then position onto the tent’s door, center aligning it to its bottom edge.

adding the zipper line to the tents door

Step 10

Create the zipper’s slider, using a 2 x 4 px rectangle (#D6D0D0) with a 4 px thick outline (#3A3232), on top of which we will add a 2 x 2 px circle (#3A3232) at the top. Select and then group (Control-G) all three shapes together, positioning them over the zipper line, making sure to align them to its top edge.

creating and positioning the zipper slider onto the tents door

Step 11

Finish off the tent by adding four 4 x 4 px circles (#3A3232) which we will position into a square shape, by placing them 32 px from one another both horizontally and vertically. Group (Control-G) and position the circles 12 px from the tent’s base, center aligning them to it.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to select all the icon’s composing shapes, and group (Control-G) those together as well.

adding the little circles to the tents door

7. How to Create the Backpack

We are now down to our third and last icon of the pack, which any serious camper can’t do without. So, assuming you’ve already learned the drill, zoom in on that third reference grid, and let’s get started.

Step 1

Create the main shape of the backpack’s body, using a 56 x 82 px rounded rectangle (#E0604F) with a 4 px Corner Radius which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 24 px. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3A3232), and then center align the two shapes to the underlying active drawing area, positioning them exactly 22 px from its bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the backpacks body

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), add a 56 x 2 px horizontal divider line, which we will color using #3A3232 and then position at a distance of 4 px from the red fill shape’s bottom edge.

adding the horizontal divider line to the lower section of the backpacks body

Step 3

Add another smaller 16 x 2 px rectangle (#3A3232) underneath the horizontal divider line that we’ve just created, center aligning the two.

Then, once you’re done, select and group all the shapes that we have so far using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the small insertion to the bottom section of the backpacks body

Step 4

Create the main shape for the backpack’s front facing pocket, using a 32 x 18 px rounded rectangle (#895947) with a 2 px Corner Radius and a 4 px thick outline (#3A3232), which we will group (Control-G) and then align to the center of the backpack, positioning them 2 px from its horizontal divider line.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the backpacks front facing pocket

Step 5

Add the pocket’s folded section using a smaller 32 x 10 px rounded rectangle (#C48469) with a 2 px Corner Radius and a 4 px thick outline (#3A3232), which we will center align to the top edge of the pocket’s outline.

adding the folded section to the backpacks front facing pocket

Step 6

Add a 4 x 4 px circle (#3A3232) to the lower section of the pocket’s fold, and a pair of two 4 x 2 px rectangles (#3A3232) positioned 2 px from one another, to both its left and right side, grouping (Control-G) them and the fold itself.

adding details to the backpacks front facing pocket

Step 7

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 8 x 4 px shape (#895947) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 2 px. Give the resulting shape a 4 px outline (#3A3232), and then group (Control-G) and position the two above the front-facing pocket, making sure to left align them to the fold’s fill shape.

adding the left section from above the backpacks front facing pocket

Step 8

Create another slightly wider 12 x 4 px rectangle (#895947), adjusting it by setting the Radius of its top corners to 2 px. Give the resulting shape a 4 px outline (#3A3232), and add a small 8 x 2 px rectangle (#3A3232) towards its bottom, grouping (Control-G) and then positioning them next to the section that we created in the previous step.

Then, once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the front-facing pocket’s composing shapes as well.

adding the right section from above the backpacks front facing pocket

Step 9

Start working on the left-sided pocket by creating an 8 x 20 px rectangle (#895947) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top-left corner to 2 px and the bottom one to 4 px. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3A3232), and then position the two next to the backpack, at a distance of 12 px from its outline’s bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the backpacks left sided pocket

Step 10

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), add the zipper line by creating a 2 x 4 px vertical rectangle, which we will color using #3A3232, and then center align to the top edge of the side pocket’s fill shape.

adding the zipper line to the backpacks left sided pocket

Step 11

Add the zipper’s slider by grabbing a copy of the one we’ve created for the tent, and positioning it right underneath the zipper line.

Then, select all the pocket’s composing shapes and group (Control-G) them together, creating a copy (Control-C > Control-F) which we will flip vertically (right click > Transform > Reflect > Vertical) and position onto the other side of the backpack.

adding the right sided pocket onto the backpacks body

Step 12

Create the little label using a 12 x 4 px rectangle (#D6D0D0) with a 4 px thick outline (#3A3232), on top of which we will add a 6 x 2 px rectangle (#3A3232) followed by another smaller 2 x 2 px one (#3A3232) at a distance of 2 px from it. Group (Control-G) all four shapes together, and then center align them to the backpack, positioning them at a distance of 16 px from the red shape's top edge.

creating and positioning the label onto the backpacks body

Step 13

Add the top handle, by creating a 20 x 24 px rounded rectangle (#3A3232) with an 8 px Corner Radius which we will adjust by cutting out a smaller 12 x 16 px one (#3A3232) with a 4 px Corner Radius, removing the bottom half afterwards. 

Once you’re done, center align the resulting shape to the top edge of the underlying active drawing area, making sure to send it to the back (right click > Arrange > Send to Back), grouping (Control-G) all of the backpack’s composing shapes afterwards.

creating and positioning the handle onto the backpacks body

Step 14

Start working on the folded sleeping bag by creating a 68 x 18 px rounded rectangle (#4C7F4C) with a 4 px outline (#3A3232) which we will group (Control-G) and then position on top of the backpack, at a distance of 4 px from the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the backpacks folded sleeping bag

Step 15 

Create the front section of the sleeping bag using a 72 x 12 px rounded rectangle (#6DA56D) with a 2 px Corner Radius and a 4 px thick outline (#3A3232), on top of which we will add ten 4 x 2 px rectangles (#6DA56D) positioned 4 px from one another. Group (Control-G) the little rectangles forming the stitch lines, and then do the same for the section’s composing shapes, positioning them above the bag’s main body, center aligning them to its outline’s top edge.

creating and positioning the front section of the backpacks sleeping bag

Step 16

Create the left strap using a 4 x 22 px rectangle (#C48469) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 2 px. Give the resulting shape a 4 px outline (#3A3232), four 2 x 2 px circles (#3A3232) stacked vertically at 2 px from one another, and then group (Control-G) and position them onto the left side of the sleeping bag, making sure to align them to the top edge of its outline.

adding the left strap to the bottom section of the backpack

Step 17

Finish off the backpack by adding the second strap using a copy of the one we created in the previous step, grouping (Control-G) and then sending both the sleeping bag and the straps to the back of the backpack (right click > Arrange > Send to Back).

Oh, and don’t forget to select and group (Control-G) all of the icon’s composing shapes together afterwards.

sending the sleeping bag to the back of the backpack

Time to Explore!

There you have it, fellow explorers: a relatively quick and easy way of crafting your very own camping icons, using the most basic tools and shapes that Illustrator has to offer.

I hope you’ve managed to keep up with each and every step, and most importantly learned something new and useful along the way.

finished project preview
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