Advertisement
  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Illustrator
Design

How to Create a Detailed Pencils Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

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

In the following steps you will learn how to create a detailed illustration of pencils in Adobe Illustrator. 

For starters you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to create the tip of your pencil using basic tools and effects along with some neat stroke techniques. Moving on, you will learn how to create the body of your pencil using basic vector shape building techniques and a bunch of linear gradients. 

Next, you will learn how to add subtle shading and a piece of text and how to easily recolor your entire pencil. Finally, you will learn how to create your own calligraphic brush and how to add some colorful scribbles using the Polar Grid Tool and the Scribble effect.

1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 1400 in the width and height boxes, and then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72 ppi), and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters you will need a grid every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, and enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier. And keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

new docuemnt setup grid

2. Create the Main Shapes of the Pencil Tip

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke, and then select the fill and set its color to R=181 G=135 B=101. Move to your artboard and simply create a 35 x 55 px rectangle—the Snap to Grid should make this easier.

create rectangle

Step 2

For this step you will need a grid every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Focus on the bottom side of your rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor point and drag it 17 px to the right and then select the right anchor point and drag it 17 px to the left.

edit rectangle

Step 3

Using the Pen Tool (P), create a 25 px horizontal path and place it exactly as shown in the first image. Make sure that this path stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Remove the color from the fill and then select the stroke. Make sure that the Weight is set to 1 px and replace the existing color with a random blue.

Return to your artboard, keep focusing on this blue path and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the right anchor point and simply drag it 9 px up as shown in the second image.

create path

Step 4

Make sure that your blue path is still selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click OK and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

edit path

Step 5

Reselect your blue path along with the brown shape, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Divide button. Make sure that the resulting group is selected and simply hit Shift-Control-G to Ungroup it. Now, select the bottom shape and replace the existing fill color with R=147 G=149 B=152.

cut trapezoid

3. Add a Subtle Wooden Texture

Step 1

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 63 x 90 px shape and place it approximately as shown in the following image. Make sure that this new shape stays selected and move to the Appearance panel.

First, remove the color from the fill and then select the stroke. Replace the existing color with a random green and then click that "Stroke" piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel. Set the Weight at 2 px and then move to the Profile drop-down menu and select Width Profile 2.

first circle

Step 2

Make sure that your green oval shape is still selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F).

Select this copy, make it 56 px wide and 80 px long, place it approximately as shown in the following image and then move to the Appearance panel. Select the existing Stroke and simply increase the Weight to 4 px.

second circle

Step 3

Make sure that the smaller green oval shape is still selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F).

Select this copy, make it 49 px wide and 70 px long, place it approximately as shown in the following image and then move to the Appearance panel. Select the existing Stroke and simply decrease the Weight to 2 px.

third circle

Step 4

Make sure that the smaller green oval shape is still selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F).

Select this copy, make it 42 px wide and 60 px long, place it approximately as shown in the following image and then move to the Appearance panel. Select the existing Stroke and simply increase the Weight to 3 px.

fourth circle

Step 5

Make sure that the smaller green oval shape is still selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F).

Select this copy, make it 35 px wide and 50 px long, place it approximately as shown in the following image, and then move to the Appearance panel. Select the existing Stroke and simply lower the Weight to 2 px.

fifth circle

Step 6

Now, you need to make sure that these green oval shapes are concentric. Select all these shapes and pick the Selection Tool (V). Click on the border of the largest oval shape (it should get emphasized), move to the Align panel (Window > Align) and then click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons.

Make sure that all your green oval shapes are still selected and simply hit Control-G to Group them. Make sure that this new group is selected and go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK.

rarp circles

Step 7

Reselect your group of green shapes and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is still selected and simply hit Control-8 (or go to Object > Compound Path > Make) to turn it into a compound path.

Now, select your brown shape and make a copy in front using that same Control-C > Control-F keyboard shortcut. Select this copy along with your green compound path and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a new compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and move to the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black (R=0 G=0 B=0), lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

subtle wooden texture

4. Add Shading and Highlights for the Tip

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 18 x 55 px shape and place it as shown in the first image. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Keep focusing on this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the top left anchor point and drag it 8 px to the right, and then select the bottom right anchor point and drag it 17 px to the left. In the end things should look like in the second image.

dark highlight

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 17 x 52 px white shape and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the bottom side of this new rectangle and grab the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor point and drag it 8 px to the right, and then select the right anchor point and drag it 8 px to the left. Make sure that this white shape stays selected, lower its Opacity to 80%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 2 px Radius and click OK.

blurred highlight

Step 3

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 17 x 60 px white shape and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the bottom side of this new rectangle and grab the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor point and drag it 8 px to the right and then select the right anchor point and drag it 8 px to the left. Make sure that this white shape stays selected, lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

first white highlight

Step 4

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 5 x 40 px white shape and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the bottom side of this new rectangle and grab the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor point and drag it 2 px to the right, and then select the right anchor point and drag it 2 px to the left. Make sure that this white shape stays selected, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

second white highlight

5. Create the Body of Your Pencil

Step 1

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 15 x 400 px rectangle, place it as shown in the first image and pick a simple blue (R=39 G=170 B=225) for the fill color.

Switch to gridline every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 15 x 18 px shape, place it as shown in the second image, and use that same blue for the fill color.

blue shapes

Step 2

Reselect both blue shapes and simply click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.

unite blue shape

Step 3

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 10 x 400 px rectangle, place it as shown in the first image and pick a simple green (R=0 G=161 B=75) for the fill color. Focus on the top side of this new rectangle and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor point and drag it 5 px down as shown in the second image.

green shape

Step 4

Switch to gridline every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 10 px circle, place it as shown in the first image and use that same green (R=0 G=161 B=75) for the fill color. Make sure that this new shape stays selected, pick the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and simply click on the left anchor point that makes up your green circle. In the end things should look like in the second image.

second green shape

Step 5

Reselect both green shapes and simply click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.

unite green shapes

Step 6

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box.

Duplicate your green shape (Control-C > Control-F), select the copy and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this copy stays selected and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical box and then click the OK button.

duplicate green shape

Step 7

Disable the Snap to Grid (Control-'). Make sure that your blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px to the left using the left arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, lower its Opacity to 15%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image. Keep in mind that the yellow numbers from the Gradient image stand for Opacity percentage, while the blue ones stand for Location percentage.

thin highlight

Step 8

Make sure that your blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px to the right using the right arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Next, you need to copy the properties used for the thin shape made in the previous step and paste them onto the thin shape made in this step. Here is how you can easily do it. Go to the Layers panel, focus on the right side, and you'll notice that every shape comes with a little grey circle. It's called a target icon. Hold the Alt button from your keyboard, click on the target icon that stands for the thin shape made in the previous step, and drag onto the circle that stands for the thin shape made in this step.

thin highlight

Step 9

Make sure that your blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3 px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Again, copy the properties used for the other thin shapes and paste them onto the thin shape made in this step.

thin highlight

Step 10

Make sure that your blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 6 px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Once again, copy the properties used for the other thin shapes and paste them onto the shape made in this step.

thin highlight

Step 11

Reselect your blue shape and simply replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image.

first body shape

Step 12

Select the green shape on the right and simply replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image. Don't forget that the blue numbers from the Gradient image stand for Location percentage.

second body shape

Step 13

Reselect your remaining green shape and simply replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image.

third body shape

6. Add More Shading and a Piece of Text

Step 1

Reselect all the shapes made so far and duplicate them (Control-C > Control-F). Select these copies and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with a simple black.

shadow shape

Step 2

Make sure that your black shape stays selected, send it to back (Shift-Control-[) and then move to the Appearance panel. First, select the existing fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the top left window, click OK, and then add the other three Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

Return to the Appearance panel and add a second fill for your shape using the Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, make sure that the color is set to black, and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset, click OK, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow. Enter the properties shown below, click OK and then return to the Appearance panel.

Select the existing stroke, make sure that the color is set to black, lower its Opacity to 50%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then open that Stroke fly-out panel. Make sure that the Weight is set to 1 px and then check the Align to Outside button.

shading

Step 3

Reselect all the shapes made so far and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Set the Angle at -90 degrees and then click the OK button.

rotate pencil

Step 4

Pick the Type Tool (T) and focus on the Character panel (Window > Character). Select the Ignis et Glacies Extra Sharp Bold font, setting the size to 10 px and the tracking to 100. Now, simply click on your canvas and add your piece of text. Make sure that it stays selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK.

add text

Step 5

Select the tiny grey shape that makes up the tip of your pencil along with the three long shapes that make up the body of your pencil, and duplicate them (Control-C > Control-F). Select these copies, click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel and then hit Control-8. You'll use this new compound path to recolor your entire pencil. Make sure that it stays selected, replace the existing fill color with a simple black, and then change its Blending Mode to Overlay. In the end your pencil should look like in the third image.

recolor pencil

7. Multiply Your Pencil and Recolor the Copies

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (Control-'). Switch to gridline every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 105 px circle, make it blue (R=39 G=170 B=225) and place it as shown in the first image. Using the same tool, create a 15 px white circle and place it as shown in the second image.

blue white circles

Step 2

Select all the shapes that make up your pencil and switch to the Rotate Tool (R). Hold the Alt button from your keyboard, drag that reference point near the center of your tiny white circle, release the mouse button and the Rotate window should open. Set the Angle at 45 degrees and then click the OK button. Make sure that this newly created group stays selected and simply hit the Control-D keyboard shortcut six times. In the end things should look like in the third image.

multiply pencil

Step 3

Focus on the newly created pencils. Select the black compound paths used to recolor your pencils and change the Blending Mode from Overlay to Color Burn. Now, select these compound paths one by one and simply replace that black with the colors shown in the following images.

recolor pencils

8. Add the Round Scribbles

Step 1

Reselect that tiny white circle and get rid of it. Pick the Polar Grid Tool and simply click on your artboard. Enter all the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button. Make sure that this polar grid stays selected, place it as shown in the first image, and then go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Set the Angle at 22 degrees and then click the OK button.

polar grid

Step 2

Reselect your polar grid along with the blue circle and click the Divide button from the Pathfinder panel. Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) the resulting group, select the shapes highlighted in the second image, and simply delete them.

divide blue circle

Step 3

Select the eight shapes that make up your central circle and replace the existing fill color with the colors shown in the following images.

add colors

Step 4

Make sure that the colored shapes that make up your central circle are still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Scribble. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

scribble effect

9. Create a Calligraphic Brush and Add More Scribbles

Step 1

Open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and click the New Brush button. Check the Calligraphic Brush box and click OK. Name your new brush, enter all the attributes shown in the following image, and then click the OK button.

create calligraphic brush

Step 2

Pick the Brush Tool (B), select your calligraphic brush from the Brushes panel, move to your artboard and draw a bunch of wavy paths that connect your pencils with the colored scribbles. Use the colors shown in following image (the same colors used for the shapes that make up the central circle), and once you're done, don't forget to send these paths to back (Shift-Control-[).

use calligraphic brush

10. Add the Background

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 1410 px square, set the fill color at R=255 G=250 B=240, make sure that it covers your entire artboard and don't forget to send it to back (Shift-Control-[).

background shape

Step 2

Make sure that your background square is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, lower its Opacity to 50%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and replace the existing color with the radial gradient shown in the following image.

background gradient

Step 3

Make sure that your background square is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a third fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, make it black, lower its Opacity to 2%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

background effect

Step 4

Make sure that your background square is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a fourth fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, make it white, lower its Opacity to 8%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Sponge. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

background effect

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

final result
Advertisement
Advertisement
Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.