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How to Create a Delicious Ukrainian Food Buffet in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Today, I want to share a little bit about where I am from: Ukraine. We are not part of Russia, as many people think—we are an independent country with an official language, Ukrainian. Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe. The people are very generous and hospitable, and we will first feed the guests and then ask questions! 

A couple of the most famous Ukrainian cuisines are borshch (beetroot soup), and varenyks (stuffed dumplings). In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw varenyks with sour cream, another piece of Ukrainian food, and a few national symbols. We will use basic shapes and warp effects. At the end of the process, we will have a nice tasty illustration and very hungry illustrators!

1. Creating the Makitra

Step 1

Open your Adobe Illustrator and create a new document (Control-N). We will first create an original Ukrainian bowl called a "makitra". Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw an ellipse. Set its color to R=96 G=47 B=45. Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select the left and right anchor points, and then move them up.

creating a base shape of the makitra

Step 2

Holding the Alt key, move this shape diagonally. Make another copy of the shape created in the previous step and, holding the Shift key, select also the shape you moved up and diagonally. Go to the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and press Minus Front. Color the resulting shape R=73 G=36 B=36.

creating a shadow on the makitra

Step 3

Return to R=96 G=47 B=45 fill color and draw a little ellipse on the bottom. Send it to the back (Control-X, Control-B). Make the fill color lighter R=107 G=55 B=55 and draw a small ellipse as shown in the image below.

creating the bottom of the makitra and a highlight

Step 4

Return again to R=96 G=47 B=45 fill color and draw an ellipse on the top. Create a copy over it (Control-C, Control-F), and make this copy smaller and darker (R=53 G=30 B=30).

creating the bottleneck of the makitra

Step 5

Using the Rectangle Tool (M) we will draw a bottle neck. Keep it selected and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge, and enter the options shown in the image. Expand this shape (Object > Expand Appearance).

creating the bottleneck of the makitra 2

Step 6

Look carefully at the image below. Draw an ellipse as shown in this image, and set the fill color to R=73 G=36 B=36. Then select the bottle neck and make one more copy of it (Control-C, Control-F). Keeping the copy selected, select the ellipse which you created at the start of this step. Press the Intersect button in Pathfinder.

creating the shadow of the bottleneck

2. Making Varenyks

Step 1

Change the fill color to R=231 G=216 B=172 and draw an ellipse. Now we need to warp this shape to make it more like a varenyk. Go to Effect > Warp > Arc and enter the options you see in the image below. Expand this shape (Object > Expand Appearance).

creating the base shape of the varenyk

Step 2

To show the volume, create two more copies of this shape by copying-pasting. For the smaller shape, set the fill color to R=234 G=221 B=182, and for the smallest, set it to R=237 G=225 B=192.

showing the volume of the varenyk

Step 3

Select the biggest shape and make a copy in the back. Change the color to R=218 G=199 B=146. Move it up. Then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag... Enter the following options.

contunuing creating the varenyk

Step 4

Expand this shape. Make a copy of the main varenyk shape by copying-pasting. Change the fill color to R=224 G=208 B=163 and make it smaller. Then make few more copies and spread them as shown below.

contunuing creating the varenyk 2

Step 5

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw an ellipse (R=203 G=180 B=115). Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the top and bottom anchor points and move them down. It's another way to warp the ellipse, without using the Warp Effect.

contunuing creating the varenyk 3

Step 6

Make a few copies of the shape you made in the previous step and place the copies as shown in the image. Group the whole varenyk (right-click > Group).

contunuing creating the varenyk 4

3. Applying a Clipping Mask to the Varenyks

Step 1

Create more varenyks and place them in the makitra.

placing varenyks in the makitra

Step 2

Select the darkest ellipse on the top of the makitra and make another copy over it (Control-C, Control-F). I marked this ellipse with a red stroke for better visibility.

applying clipping mask to varenyks

With the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A), shift the top anchor point up. This anchor point needs to be higher than all the varenyks, and make sure you don't cross them.

Step 3

Select the varenyks and keep the selected ellipse with a red stroke. Then go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make. Now the food is inside the makitra!

applying clipping mask to varenyks 2

4. Creating the Plate

Step 1

Next, we will create a plate. Draw an ellipse (R=77 G=91 B=85). Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the left and right anchor points and move them up.

creating the base shape of the plate

Step 2

Add an ellipse (R=89 G=106 B=99) on the bottom and over the plate (R=96 G=109 B=103).

creating the bottom and highlight of the plate

Step 3

Add two more ellipses on the top of the plate: the bigger one should be R=89 G=106 B=99, and the smaller one R=65 G=76 B=71.

creating the upper part of the plate

Step 4

And now we need to put the varenyks on the plate. We will do it in the same method as we did with the makitra.

So place a few of the varenyks on the plate. Select the darkest ellipse on the top of the plate and make another copy over it (Control-C, Control-F). Shift the top anchor point of this ellipse up. Keep this ellipse selected along with varenyks, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make.

placing varenyks into the plate and making clipping mask

Step 5

Let's create bacon bits. We will start with two squares first (the bigger one  R=187 G=83 B=39, and the smaller one R=158 G=61 B=27). Go to Effect > Distort and Transform > Roughen and enter the properties using your own discretion—just check Smooth in the Points section. Click OK. Expand the two shapes (Object > Expand Appearance).

Create a few more of the bacon bits and then expand them (Object > Expand Appearance).

creating bacon cracklings

Step 6

Sprinkle the bacon bits over the varenyks.

sprinkling bacon cracklings on varenyks

5. Creating the Spoon

Step 1

We have a plate made, and now we need a spoon. Move the top and bottom anchor points of the ellipse down (fill color R=77 G=91 B=85). Add a darker ellipse (R=60 G=73 B=67).

creating a base shape of the spoon

Step 2

Keep the fill color at R=77 G=91 B=85 and draw a rectangle. Enter the following properties to warp this shape (Effect > Warp > Flag). Then expand this shape.

creating a handle of the spoon

Step 3

Draw another ellipse, go to Effect > Warp > Arc, and enter the properties shown in the image below. Expand this shape.

creating a handle of the spoon 2

Step 4

Place all the parts together. The spoon is ready.

placing together all parts of spoon

6. Creating the Pitcher

Step 1

Draw a rectangle (R=208 G=154 B=62). Enter the following properties to warp this shape (Effect > Warp > Fish). Then expand this shape.

creating a base shape of the pitcher

Step 2

Let's warp again. Effect > Warp > Arc Lower.

creating a base shape of the pitcher

Step 3

Move the highlighted point on the image a little to the right. We want to show the spout of the pitcher. Also add an ellipse under the pitcher with the same fill color.

creating a spout of the pitcher

Step 4

Create an ellipse (R=208 G=154 B=62). Using the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) make the right anchor point of this ellipse sharp. Select the top and bottom anchor points and move them to the left. Then create another copy of this shape over it (Control-C, Control-F), but smaller. The fill color is R=147 G=98 B=27.

creating an upper part of the pitcher

Step 5

Draw an ellipse (R=246 G=229 B=195) over the previously created shapes. Place it exactly like in the image below. Create one more copy of the darkest yellow shape (Control-C, Control-F) and select it together with a new beige ellipse. In the Pathfinder, press the Intersect button. 

And now we need to show the streaks of sour cream. Double-click on the Warp Tool (Shift-R) and adjust the options. Enter Width 30, Height 30, Angle 0 degrees, Intensity 80, Detail 1, Simplify 100, and tick Show Brush Size. Then, using the Warp Tool (Shift-R), warp this sour cream to show the streaks on the pitcher.

creating the sour cream in the pitcher

Step 6

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), try to move the handles of the pitcher to make both sides more even.

pitcher sides alignment

Step 7

Make a copy of the sharp corner ellipse under it (Control-C, Control-B), and set the fill color to R=186 G=130 B=49. Make one more copy of the pitcher (Control-C, Control-F), and while keeping it selected, select also the copy of the sharp corner ellipse. In Pathfinder press Intersect.

creating a shadow on the pitcher

Step 8

Select the pitcher shape and, holding the Alt key, move it diagonally. Make one more copy of the pitcher (Control-C, Control-F) and select the copy you moved diagonally. In Pathfinder, press Minus Front. For the new shape set the fill color to R=186 G=130 B=49. Using the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C), make the sharp corner marked in the image smooth. Add the highlight (R=219 G=169 B=97).

creating a shadow on the pitcher 2

Step 9

Create two circles with the same fill color as the pitcher. You do not need to make a black stroke for the circle—I marked it just for better visibility. Keep them selected and on the Pathfinder panel press the Exclude button. After that, go to Effect > Warp > Arc and enter the properties you see in the image below. Expand this shape.

creating a handle on the pitcher

Step 10

Place all the parts of the pitcher together.

placing all parts on the pitcher together

7. Creating the Garlic

Step 1

Move down the two (left and right) anchor points of the ellipse (R=226 G=216 B=191). Create another copy in front (Control-C, Control-F) and make it narrower. Then select this narrow ellipse and make a copy of it in the back (Control-C, Control-B). Make the new copy a little bit wider, and make it darker (R=226 G=216 B=191).

creating a base shape of the garlic

Step 2

Create another ellipse and deform it using the Direct Selection Tool (A). Then choose the Reflect Tool (O), and click on the Enter key. In the newly appeared window check Vertical, Angle 90 degrees and click Copy. Place the two parts as shown.

creating a base shape of the garlic 2

Step 3

Place these two elements on the garlic. Then delete the fill color and set this color as a stroke. Take the Pencil Tool (N), on the Stroke panel check Round Cap, and draw the garlic roots. The Weight of the Stroke depends on the size of the garlic.

creating roots of the garlic

Step 4

Three long ellipses will be the garlic leaves. Warp them as you want by using the Warp Effect Arc. Then expand the three leaves.

creating leaves of the garlic

Step 5

Place on top of the garlic.

placing all parts of the garlic together

Step 6

Create another copy of the garlic. Keep one copy selected and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Saturate. Check Preview in the new dialogue window and move the slider to achieve the result you want.

creating another color garlic

8. Creating the Sausage

Step 1

Delete the fill color and set the stroke color to R=96 G=47 B=45. On the Stroke panel make the stroke Weight 30 px, and check Round Cap. Take the Arc Tool and draw a line. You can move the handles of the line to achieve the desired result. Return again to the Stroke panel. Now check Dashed Line, in the first dash box enter 30 px and look at your line—it turned into a sausage! Make a copy in the front, make the stroke color lighter (R=107 G=55 B=55) and decrease the stroke Weight.

creating a base shape of the sausage

Step 2

Delete the stroke color and set it as a fill color. Take the Polygon Tool and click on your art board. In a new window, enter 3 Sides with any Radius and press OK. Warp this triangle using the Warp Effect. Expand it.

countinuing creating the sausage

Step 3

Create two triangles and place them on the sausage. Then draw two tiny ellipses (R=214 G=208 B=189) and place them as you can see in the following image.

countinuing creating the sausage 2

9. Creating the Guelder Berries

Step 1

Draw two circles (R=172 G=31 B=35, R=183 G=48 B=58).

creating a base shape of the guelder

Step 2

Let's create a sepal (the base of the berry) from a brown oval (R=73 G=36 B=36). You will need to get sharp corners with the help of the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C). Click on the top and bottom anchor points. Keep the ellipse selected and take the Rotate Tool (R). Click the Enter key on your keyboard to bring up the dialogue box. Enter 90 degrees and press Copy.

creating a sepal of the guelder

Step 3

Put all the parts of berry together.

placing all parts of the guelder together

Step 4

Again, draw an ellipse (R=109 G=106 B=44) and make sharp corners on the top and bottom. Create a leaf from the ellipses with the sharp corners.

creating a leaf of the guelder

Step 5

Make the fill color darker and draw an ellipse (R=86 G=82 B=34). Then move down the left and right anchor points. That's a petiole. Now put it on the leaf.

creating a petiole of the guelders leaf

Step 6

Arrange the berries and leaves how you like. You can also slightly change the color of some berries.

arrangement the guelders and leaves

Step 7

Let’s warp some leaves. Now you know how to do it.

warping the leaves

10. Creating the Spikelet

Step 1

Now we will create the stem of spikelet with the same technique as you used for the petiole of the leaf. The fill color is R=223 G=187 B=36.

creating a stalk of the spikelet

Step 2

To create the grain, first draw an ellipse (R=237 G=203 B=72). Then make the top and bottom anchor points sharp. After that, holding the Alt key, move it diagonally and you will get a copy of the grain. Create a shadow of the grain; keep it selected (not the copy you moved diagonally), press Control-C, Control-F, and then select the copy you moved diagonally and in Pathfinder press Minus Front. Set the fill color to R=223 G=187 B=36. Add a highlight (R=249 G=215 B=105).

creating a grain of the spikelet

Step 3

Place the grain on this stem. With help of the Arc Tool, draw the line as shown in the image. Don't forget to check Round Cap on the Stroke panel. Select a grain and this line together. Move the grain and line to the top, holding Shift-Alt. Then keep repeating (Control-D will repeat the last movement). When you reach the top, place one grain on the top. Then select everything from the left side and make a vertical reflection using the Reflect Tool (O).

continuing creating the spikelet

Step 4

Create a few copies of the spikelet and warp them. Then expand the spikelets.

warping spikelets

11. Arranging the Composition and Creating the Background

Step 1

Place everything together. Before placing, it would be better to group every object.

arrangement the composition

Step 2

Create a gray (R=198 G=205 B=201) square behind (Control-X, Control-B) the dishes, 600 px width and height.

creating the background

Step 3

Add a darker oval (R=160 G=175 B=166).

creating the background 2

Conclusion

You’ve created a Ukrainian feast! Now you just have to try real Ukrainian food at a restaurant.

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