Are you ready for one of the most magical holidays of the year? Let’s feel this warm atmosphere of Christmas by creating a cozy scene depicting a flat fireplace decorated with Christmas stockings, candles, and a holly wreath. We’ll be using various tools and functions of Affinity Designer, which will help us to make a festive illustration from simple geometric shapes!
By the end of this tutorial, you’ll be able not only to create a fireplace scene but also to apply the new techniques to the task of making a detailed illustration! Check out this extended version of the Festive Christmas Fireplace on GraphicRiver to see what else can be added to the interior!
Let's get started!
1. How to Create a Flat Chimney
We’ll be working on an 800 x 600 px dark-purple rectangle, which is equal to the size of our Document.
Let’s start designing our fireplace from its largest part! Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 245 x 195 px shape. Fill it with light-brown color similar to the color of a brick wall. Add two narrow dark-brown rectangles in the bottom of the wall for the front hearth.
Let’s make a firebox from a 155 x 80 px dark-brown rectangle. Select the rectangle and Convert to Curves by clicking the button in the control panel on top. Take the Node Tool (A) and pull the top edge of the shape up, making the firebox arched.
Duplicate (Command-C > Command-V) the firebox and make the shape smaller by either shrinking it manually or setting its size to 135 x 100 px in the Transform panel. Fill the shape with dark-blue or dark-purple color, depicting the inner part of the firebox.
Add a smaller copy on top, changing the color to lighter purple for the overtone.
Let’s put a wooden log into the firebox. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 105 x 23 px shape and fill it with brown color of a different tint. Use the Pen Tool (P) while holding Shift to make a group of horizontal dark-brown strokes, depicting a wooden texture. Set the Width to 2 pt and Cap to Round Cap in the Stroke panel.
Let’s add a simple grate in front of the log. Make a dark-grey vertical stroke with 4 pt Width and Butt Cap.
Make a horizontal stroke with 4 pt Width and Round Cap. Now take the Node Tool (A) and pull the node handles down, placing them in vertical position to make the line arched. This way we’re making a semicircle, forming the top part of the grate.
Group (Command-G) and Duplicate (Command-C > Command-V) the created object, placing the copy on the opposite side of the log.
Now let’s add a flame. Use the Ellipse Tool (M) to make a 40 x 40 px bright red circle. Convert the shape to Curves.
Select the top node with the Node Tool (A) and Convert to Sharp by clicking the button in the control panel on top to make the shape pointed. Drag the node up, making the flame larger.
Duplicate the shape and make the copy smaller, changing its color to orange. Then add another copy on top, shrinking it even more and filling it with bright yellow color to make the flame more true to life.
Finish off the flame by adding a few bright circle sparks here and there.
Now that the inner part of the firebox is finished, let’s add a mantelpiece on top of the fireplace, adding a wooden texture to the plank as well.
Let’s add a brick texture to our fireplace. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 35 x 15 px shape for the brick. Hold Option-Shift and drag the shape to the side, making a copy.
Make more copies, covering the fireplace with bricks and slightly varying the colors.
Notice that I’m making the bricks at the edges of the fireplace a bit shorter than those in the center.
2. How to Design Flat Christmas Decorations
Let’s make the fireplace look festive by decorating it with various Christmas items. First of all, we’ll create Christmas stockings!
Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 50 x 20 px green shape with fully rounded corners. You can adjust the Corner Radius in the control panel on top by setting it to 100%.
Create another green shape of 40 x 27 px and combine it with the bottom part of the sock, as shown in the image below. You can use the Align panel on top to Align Left Edges easily.
Select both shapes and use the Add Operation in the control panel on top to merge the two shapes together.
Create a 35 x 15 px white shape for the top part of the stocking, setting the Corners to 30%.
Use the Ellipse Tool (M) to create two 25 x 30 px white ovals and make them overlap the toes and the heel of the stocking.
Select the ovals in the Layers panel and drag and drop them over the stocking layer. You will see a blue stripe below the stocking, indicating that you’re placing the object inside the shape, like inside a clipping mask. You can still edit the elements inside the clipping group.
Let’s create two copies of our stocking, alternating the colors.
Attach the stockings to the mantelpiece. Let’s create a gentle shadow cast by each stocking. Duplicate (Command-C > Command-V) the stocking shape and move the bottom copy down and to the right a bit. Change the fill color to dark brown and lower the Opacity to 30% in the Layers panel.
Let’s decorate the mantelpiece with candles! Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 25 x 30 px white shape for the candle. Add two horizontal red stripes across the body of the candle for decoration. As for the flame, let’s use the one that we’ve created for the chimney and just make it much smaller.
Group the elements and make a copy of the candle. Merge the elements of the bottom copy using the Add Operation and fill the created silhouette with dark purple, slightly darker than the background. Move the copy to the right, making a shadow behind the candle.
Let’s create a tall red candle with spiral white strokes. We can do this by selecting all the nodes on the right side of the white stripes with the Node Tool (A) and pulling them up, making the lines diagonal.
Place the candles on the mantelpiece, making the composition look balanced.
Now let’s make a festive wreath. Make a 120 x 120 px green circle and place a smaller 55 x 55 px circle of any color on top of it. You can Align Horizontal and Vertical Centres of both shapes using the Align function in the control panel on top.
Keeping both shapes selected, use the Subtract Operation to cut the top circle out, creating a donut shape.
Create another circle on top of the donut and set the outline color to dark green. Set the Width to 3 pt in the Stroke panel. Add more strokes, varying the width and color of the outlines to add texture to the wreath.
Let’s make a bauble to decorate our wreath. Make a 33 x 33 px dark-red circle. Add a lighter and smaller circle on top, adding dimension to the bauble. And finish up by placing tiny white highlights above the previous circles.
Attach the baubles to the wreath and create more copies, varying their sizes and colors to make the wreath more detailed.
Now let’s create some leaves to make our wreath more bushy. Make a 10 x 20 px green ellipse and Convert it to Curves.
Select the top and bottom nodes with the Node Tool (A) and Convert to Sharp from the control panel on top, making the leaf pointed.
Duplicate (Command-C > Command-V) the leaf and make the top copy darker. Use the Vector Crop Tool to cut the top shape in half, and Group the elements of the leaf as you finish. Remember that this action is non-destructive and you can still edit the cropped shape or return it to its initial form by using the same tool.
Rotate the leaves and place them beneath the baubles of the wreath, either by dragging them down in the Layers panel or by pressing Command-[ a few times to rearrange the position of the items.
Finish off the wreath by adding tiny red holly berries and attaching more leaves.
Hang the wreath above the fireplace, making the whole scene look more festive. Don’t forget to add a gentle shadow beneath the wreath.
3. How to Create a Simple Background for a Flat Image
Let’s add a minimalistic background in order to make the whole composition look balanced and complete. First of all, we’ll add some bricks around the fireplace, filling them with dark-purple tints to match the color of the background.
Place two dark rectangles behind the fireplace for the shadow.
Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a horizontal line while holding Shift to depict a stylized floor. Set the Stroke color to dark purple and Width to 5 pt, and switch the Cap the Round Cap.
Add shorter strokes along the floor line. And there we have it! Almost done!
Ho-Ho-Ho! Our Festive Christmas Fireplace Is Finished!
Wonderful! Our image is almost ready—just a few finishing strokes for the floor!
I hope you’ve enjoyed following this tutorial and discovered some new tips and tricks that will help you to create more Christmas illustrations with flat decorative elements.
If you want to see how this illustration was made or to have it in other formats for your own purposes, make sure you check out my Festive Christmas Fireplace Set at GraphicRiver! As a bonus, you get two detailed Christmas interior compositions with more elements and an additional color scheme for the fireplace card. Have fun!