In this tutorial I will show you how to create a colorful surfing van using the most basic shapes and tools of Adobe Illustrator.
1. How to Create a New Document
First we need to set up a New Document (File > New or Control/Command-N) with these settings:
- Number of Artboards: 1
- Width: 1200
- Height: 1200
- Units: pixels
From the Advanced tab:
- Color Mode: RGB
- Raster Effects: Screen
- Preview Mode: Default
- Uncheck Align New Objects to Pixel Grid
2. How to Make the Base and the Roof of the Camping Trailer
Let's start forming a trailer's body from a 607 x 177 px
#eecf98 rectangle made with the help of the Rectangle Tool (M).
After creating the rectangle, pick the top-right anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and press Enter to open the Move window. Set the Horizontal value to -55 px and the Vertical value to 0 px and press OK, moving our anchor to the left.
Create another 607 x 55 px rectangle with
#eecf98 color and place it below the bottom of our main part. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the bottom-right anchor point. Press Enter to open the Move options window again, and set the Horizontal value to -5 px and Vertical value to 0 px, moving the point to the left.
Open the same window for the bottom-left anchor point. Set the Horizontal value to 19 px and Vertical to 0 px, moving our corner to the right.
Select both shapes together and use the Unite option of the Pathfinder panel to merge them into one shape.
Using a 583 x 8 px rectangle with
#4f412f color, form a stripe under the bottom.
Build one more rectangle with 552 x 67 px size on the top of trailer's body, using
#613d26 to color it.
Take the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add an additional anchor on the bottom part of the right edge of the shape.
Using the previous method, move the top-right anchor point about 120 px to the left.
Select the top-left corner anchor point of the brown shape with the Direct Selection Tool (A). You can see the Live Corner widget shown inside the corner. Simply grab the widget and pull it to the center, making the corner rounded.
Let's add an outline to the roof section.
Select the roof shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter -4.5 px into the Offset value field and press OK. Set the Fill color of the inner shape to
Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and drag the bottom side of the resulting shape down while holding down Shift, making it sit on the same level as the top edge of the camper's body.
3. How to Add the Stripes, the Door, and the Windows
Time to decorate our camper with stripes.
Build a 750 x 113 px rectangle (
#c25c34), placing it under the upper edge of the main trailer shape.
Form a second 750 x 28.5 px stripe of the same color which goes across the side anchors of the camper base.
Let's cut off the parts of the stripes that stand outside the base trailer shape.
Select the stripes together with the main shape. Then use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M). While holding the Alt key, click and hold the left mouse button on a free area near the borders of the unwanted stripe part, drag along the outstanding parts, and release the mouse to delete them. Repeat the action for the other side.
Make two 110 x 60 px rectangles (
#bfa989) for the windows, placing them near the left and right parts of the larger red stripe.
Select the windows and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter 3 px for the Offset and set the Fill color of the outlines to
Start creating a door by forming a 96 x 252 px rounded shape (
#613d26) on the left part of the trailer near the left window. Leave an empty space between the door and the right window for the smaller window, which we will add later.
Use the Offset Path for the door shape, setting the Offset value to -4.5 px. Change the color of the inner shape to
Build a simple door handle by creating a 14 x 14 px circle with the Ellipse Tool (L) (
#4f412f) and a 28.5 x 4.5 px rounded rectangle (
Add an 87 x 7.5 px horizontal rounded rectangle under the door, filling it with
Form two 4 x 24.5 vertical rectangles of the same color, placing them below the horizontal shape on the left and the right sides, making them overlap the shape.
Add one more horizontal stripe which goes between the two vertical rectangles for the step.
Let's add a smaller window on the empty space near the door.
Form a 65 x 65 px rectangle (
#613d26) and go to Object > Path > Offset Path, setting the Offset to -4.5 px and coloring the inner shape to
Build a 79 x 7.5 px rectangle of
#eecf98 color over the top edge of the window.
4. How to Add the Wheels, the Stands, and Small Details
Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 75.5 x 75.5 px circle of
#4f412f color for the wheel. Add two smaller circles inside: one 48 x 48 px circle of
#d9b97b color and a 42 x 42 px circle without Fill but with a 2 px stroke of
Create one more 17 x 17 px circle (
#fde0a1) in the middle.
Create a small 3 x 3 px circle (
#80624f), placing it under the previously created outlined circle without fill. Keeping the smaller circle selected, add the inner circle to the selection and click again on the inner shape, making it a Key Object. Align to Key Object is automatically selected in the Control panel and Align panel.
In the Align panel (Window > Align) or Control panel, click on the Horizontal Align Center button.
Select the small circle, take the Rotate Tool (R), and then Alt/Option-click in the middle of the wheel. In the Rotate panel, set the Angle to 30° and click the Copy button. Press Control-D to repeat the last action, and continue pressing Control-D to add all 12 circles around the center (1).
Start to create a decorative rim by forming a 92 x 32 px rectangle with no Fill and with
#fde0a1 color stroke of 9 pt Width, placing it under the top of the wheel and aligning to its center using the Align panel (2).
Drag its top anchors horizontally by 15 px towards the center (just use the Move panel as we did before) (3).
Delete the bottom side by clicking on it with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and pressing Delete (4).
Remove the outstanding top part of the wheel (5) with the help of the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) (5).
Using the Pen Tool (P), draw an angled shape sitting on the borders of our rim and hide it behind the wheel (6).
Group (Control-G) all the wheel parts together and put it on the trailer.
Let's create a vent.
Build a 50 x 13.5 px (
#222529) rectangle under the small window and form a 3 px outline using the Offset Path method, setting its color to
#d9b97b. Add two thin stripes of the same color inside the shape and Group (Control-G) its parts together.
Copy the vent and place the copy over the bottom decorative stripe of the trailer. Make the color of the outlines a bit darker.
Time to add a small door on the bottom part of the trailer.
Just form a 83.5 x 34 px rectangle (
#c25c34) outside the trailer and slightly round its corners. Add a 4.5 px outline using the Offset Path, setting its color to
Draw a 16 x 5 px rectangle (
#fde0a1) below the top edge of the red inner part, aligning to its middle. Drag its bottom anchors slightly towards the central axis and make them rounded.
Place a 6 x 6 px circle (
#d9b97b) in the center of the angled shape and add a small rounded rectangle in the middle (
#4f412f), forming a keyhole.
Add two 11.5 x 5 px rectangles (
#4f412f) on the bottom edge of the outline for the hinges. Group (Control-G) all the parts together and place the door on the bottom-right part of the trailer.
The next part we are going to create is a trailer stand.
Build a 68 x 12 px rectangle, coloring it with
#b3532d. Select the shape and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Set the Angle value to 45 degrees and press OK.
Form a 17 x 17 px rectangle (
#eecf98) in front of the bottom part and make its top rounded. Build a 50 x 9 px shape (
#d9b97b), attaching it to the bottom edge of the rounded rectangle. Make its upper anchors rounded.
Make a smaller copy of the red rectangle and rotate it by 45 degrees to the left side. Change the color to darker red (
#9c4827). Hide the copy behind the larger shape, placing its top anchor on the same level.
Group (Control-G) the parts of the stand and place it on the bottom-left part of our trailer. To make sure that our stand sits on the same level as the bottom of the wheel, use the Vertical Align Bottom option of the Align panel. Then create a reflected copy of the stand on the right side of the camper.
Our trailer needs a hitch—a detail which can attach it to a car.
Build a 89 x 15.5 px rectangle (
#b3532d), dragging its bottom-right anchor up by a few pixels.
Add one more 7.5 x 13 px vertical shape (
#eecf98) on the right side and two crossing rectangles, using
#eecf98 color for the lighter color and
#66452e for the darker color.
Hide the crossing shapes between the right vertical rectangle and then hide the three smaller rectangles behind the larger shape.
Group (Control-G) all the parts, putting the resulting hitch behind the bottom-right side of the trailer.
Add a few more details to the camper, such as smaller doors, a windscreen, and parking lights.
You can go further by finding some references on the internet and adding your own details.
5. How to Add Shadows and Highlights to the Trailer
To make it look more vivid and real, we need to add some shadows and shiny parts to the trailer.
Let's start by adding reflections to the left window. Select it with the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then right-click and choose Isolate Selected Path from the drop-down menu. The isolated window appears in full color, while the rest of the artwork appears dimmed. Create two long vertical rectangles (
#fef7d9) of different widths outside the window shape.
Selecting the vertical rectangles, go to Object > Transform > Rotate to rotate them by 45 degrees. Drag the angled rectangles to our window and cut off the outstanding pieces. Press Esc to exit isolation mode or just double-click outside of the isolated group.
Create reflections for the other windows, working the same way. Don't forget to isolate them before making other manipulations.
Now we will create a highlight on the roof.
Select the main roof shape with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and Copy it, using Control-C. Click Control-F twice to get two copies in front of the main object. Move the top copy up, making it overlap the roof, and then add the second copy to the selection.
Use the Intersect option of the Pathfinder and change the color of the resulting shape to
#fde5b6, getting the highlight on the roof.
Since we have finished the highlights, it's time to add shadows to the camper.
Select the largest light base of the camper and make two copies in front of it. Drag one copy down, placing its top edge above the lower red stripe.
Stretch the copy horizontally by holding down the Alt key and dragging with the Direct Selection Tool (V), making it fully overlap the base of the trailer.
Add the second copy to the selection and use the Intersect option of the Pathfinder panel. Change the color of the resulting part to
In the same way, add a shadow to the lower part of the door.
Let's make a shadow for the wheel. It will be a bit harder.
Double-click on the wheel group to get inside of it. Form a dark grey rectangle overlapping the top part of the wheel. Select the rectangle together with the outer wheel circle and remove the outstanding parts.
Hide the resulting shape behind the top angled wheel guard and go to the Transparency panel, setting the Blending Mode to Multiply while lowering the Opacity to 40%.
Group (Control-G) all the camper parts together.
6. How to Create a Desert Background
All we need now is a background landscape that suits our camper. We will add a few cacti, a ground level, and a shining moon above the desert which will create the atmosphere.
Let's start creating the background elements by making two cacti. Use simple rectangles to construct each cactus shape. Then merge them into one figure with the Unite option of the Pathfinder and round the corners by dragging the circle indicator of each anchor. Set the color of the plants to
Make a 830 x 132 px rounded rectangle (
#d99b41) for a ground level.
Add two shadow parts on the bottom part by creating darker rectangles and deleting the outstanding parts.
Position the camper on the ground level and spread a few smaller rounded rectangles over the ground to imitate a sand texture.
Place our cacti near the camper.
Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a silhouette of desert mountains. You can use some photos from the internet for the reference. I was inspired by Arizona desert views while I was creating these mountains.
#cc923d to color the mountains and add a square background, filling it with
Add a shining moon of
#f7ead7 color with the Ellipse Tool (L), hiding it behind the mountains.
To fill the empty space and add depth to our landscape, create a cloud-like shape behind the moon with the help of the Pen Tool (P) or the Rectangle Tool (M), making the corners of the resulting shape rounded.
Add a simple silhouette of a flying bird, placing it over the moon circle.
Time to Relax!
Congratulations! Our illustration is finished.
Use your imagination and feel the atmosphere of a moonlit night, when night birds and animals are screaming somewhere in the desert mountains while you are enjoying your hot tea on the doorstep of your camper home. Sounds like a good plan for spending a weekend, doesn't it?
As for me, I hope you enjoyed creating this scene with me and learned some new tricks using the simple tools of Adobe Illustrator.
Now you are able to create your own travel scenes based on wonderful places all over the world.
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