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How to Create a Colorful Retro Style TV

Read Time: 5 mins

In this tutorial, we'll teach the intermediate vector artist how to create a retro style TV with gradients and layers. We'll also create a nice funky background with circles and lines. Let's have some fund creating this colorful illustration.

Final Image Preview

Below is the final icon we will be working towards.

Step 1

Create a shape like you see in the image below. You can create it with the Rectangle Tool (M) and alter the paths or draw it with the Pen Tool(P).

Step 2

Fill it with a golden radial gradient and place the gradient highlight near the top left corner.

Step 3

Add a Stroke of 3pt and align the Stroke to the Inside.

Step 4

Create a duplicate and scale it down a bit.

Step 5

Create another duplicate on top (Command + C + F) and set the Layer Mode to Screen. Next, fill the shape with the Diagonal Lines Pattern found in the Basic Graphic Pattern from the Swatch library.

Step 6

Place the two smaller shapes on top of the first and center them.

Step 7

Make another copy of one of the shapes. It doesn't matter which one. We will apply new fills and new strokes and scale it down. Fill this new shape with a light green and a black Stroke of 3pt.

Step 8

Place the green shape onto the main shapes and scale it down to 3/4 its size, then move it towards the left. This will be our base object for the TV screen.

Step 9

Create a duplicate of the screen shape and fill it with a black to white radial gradient. Place a big gradient highlight almost in the middle of the shape.

Step 10

Make another copy on top and fill it with a light gray and add a white Stroke of 1pt. This is important in order to achieve a screen reflection. Scale it down a bit.

Step 11

Create another duplicate on top and fill it with a radial black to white gradient. Add a Stroke of 1pt.

Step 12

Set the Layer Mode of the just created shape to Color Burn.

Step 13

Select all three TV screen shapes, group them (Command + G), and place them onto the green shape, then scale them down just a little bit.

Step 14

Let's create the knobs. Create a circle and fill it with a radial gray gradient. Give it a Stroke of about 3pt align to the Outside. Then make two copies of it and scale each of them a bit smaller then the other. Set the Layer Mode of the smallest to Color burn. Then select all three and align them centered, vertically, and horizontally via the Align palette.

Step 15

Create yet another circle and fill it with black. Place this one behind the knob circles and make it just a tiny bit smaller. Move it to towards the bottom, so it sticks out bit. This will act as a shadow.

Step 16

Group all knob circles, create two more duplicates, and align them vertically on the right side of the TV.

Step 17

Let's give the TV some dimension. Select all TV shapes and group them. Then select the Scale Tool (E) and skew the TV proportionally by clicking on the top left scale corner, hold down the mouse key, and then press Command + Shift+ Alt at the same time and move the mouse upwards a bit. You will see that the object gets skewed equally on the left side.

Step 18

Let go of the mouse key and then rotate the skewed TV counterclockwise.

Step 19

Let's add the side of the TV. Draw a similar shape to the one shown in the image below. Next, apply the same golden gradient and a Stroke as the base TV shape, then place it behind the TV object.

Step 20

Group the just created shape and the TV object together, then make a duplicate and choose Add to Shape Area from the Pathfinder Palette.

Step 21

Now fill it with black and scale it down to about 90% of its original size.

Step 22

Place this shape behind the TV and move it downwards a bit. This will act as a base.

Step 23

Now on to the background. Create a rectangle and fill it with a black to dark blue radial gradient.

Step 24

Create several diagonal lines, about 1pt thick.

Step 25

Select the lines, group them, and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp. Choose the Flag style and apply the settings you see below. Since we placed the lines diagonally, we will achieve a good curved outcome.

Step 26

Expand the appearance (Object > Expand Appearance) and then go the Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Fill the now outlined lines with the Blended Rainbow gradient, which is a standard Illustrator gradient.

Step 27

This is how it should look after applying the Blended Rainbow gradient :)

Step 28

Place the TV onto the background.

Step 29

Let's add some fun Symbol Sprayer circles. Create several circle with different colors. Group them and make a copy of them, as we will need them again. Next, drag them into the Symbol Palette, and name them "circles."

Step 30

Select the copy of the circles and apply a Drop Shadow effect. (Effect > Stylized >Drop Shadow)

Step 31

Drag this group also into the Symbol Palette and call them "circles-shadow."

Step 32

Now while having the desired symbol (circles or circles-shadow) selected, choose the Symbol Sprayer Tool (Shift + Alt) and add circles to your background. I placed them behind each side of the TV. You can apply as many as you want. Switch between the shadow ones and the regular. Have fun!


This is the final outcome. I added a startburst and the retro stylized TV is ready!

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