This time we'll be making a medieval fantasy castle in a trendy flat style. We’ll be using basic shapes and various functions and operations of Affinity Designer, paying a lot of attention to aligning and arranging the elements.
By the end of this tutorial, you’ll be able not only to create this flat ancient castle, but also to apply these useful techniques to make any kinds of flat houses, cityscapes or any other flat architecture objects or buildings.
1. Create the Entrance of the Castle
Let’s start building our castle from its front wall with the gates. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a 200 x 130 px rectangle of a stone-grey color with a tint of orange. You can edit the size of the created shape in the Transform panel, setting the needed values for Width and Height.
Let’s add a group of stones to the top of the wall, forming a row of merlons. Make a 20 x 20 px square of the same color and place it above the wall. Select both shapes and use the Align panel in the upper control toolbar to align the shapes to the left side.
Let’s attach the merlon to the wall, deleting the gap between them. We can either do this manually, by moving the stone a few pixels down, or head to the upper control toolbar and open the Arrange panel. From here, click Space Vertically and remove the tick from the Auto Distribute checkbox, so that there is 0 px distance between the shapes.
Great! Add a second rectangle on top of the wall and Align it to the right side of the wall.
Now let's build a so-called crenellation. It is a construction along the top of the walls of medieval castles, which looks like a row of stones with even rectangular gaps between them.
Hold Option-Shift and drag one of the squares to the side, creating a copy. Make three more copies and select all the stones. Head to the control toolbar on top and open the Arrange panel. Click Space Horizontally and check the Auto Distribute box to make the space between the squares even.
Now let’s construct the main gates of our castle. Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool (M) and make a dark-brown 65 x 120 px shape with fully rounded corners. You can change the Corner radius in the upper toolbar.
Duplicate (Command-C > Command-V) the shape and make it somewhat smaller. Fill the copy with lighter-brown color for the doors of the entrance. Finally, create a copy of the smaller shape and make its color a bit lighter.
So, in total, we have three rounded shapes: a bigger dark-brown and two smaller light-brown copies.
Let’s work on the doors of our gates. Select the upper light-brown shape and use the Vector Crop Tool to cut the left half of it. This is a non-destructive way of editing the objects, which means that you can always use the Vector Crop Tool again and return the shape to its initial size.
Move on and use the Ellipse Tool (M) to make a 7 x 7px circle for the door handle.
Add a second circle to make the gates symmetrical. And group (Command-G) all the elements of the entrance.
Obviously, we need to delete the lower part of the gates. We can either use the Vector Crop Tool again or use the wall of the castle as a clipping mask. Let’s try the second option.
Head to the Layers panel, select the gate group, and drag and drop it right above the wall shape. You will see a blue stripe in the Layers panel, indicating that the gates group will be placed inside the wall shape. Great! Now the bottom part of the gates is invisible.
Now let’s add windows or loopholes to the wall. Make a 20 x 40 px rounded dark-grey rectangle and place it at the left side of the wall. Use the Vector Crop Tool to cut off the lower part of the window, making its bottom edge flat.
Add a second window on the opposite side of the wall.
Let’s add some stylized stones to the wall, depicting simplified masonry in order to make the wall more detailed and textured. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 15 x 7 px tiny rectangle of a lighter-grey color. Create two more copies and combine them into a group of bricks. Make multiple copies of the stones and spread them over the wall here and there, making the composition look balanced.
2. Create the Towers of the Castle
Now that we have the front wall ready, let’s use some of its elements to make the towers of our fortress!
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make an 80 x 200 px grey rectangle for the tower. Make it slightly darker than the front wall, to create an illusion of the distance between the objects.
Let’s add a stone border at the top part of the tower. Create a narrow rectangle of 85 x 15 px circle and fill it with the same color as the front wall. Use the Eyedropper tool to pick the color from the wall and apply it to the border. You can find this tool at the top of the Colour panel.
If you’re not sure how to use the Eyedropper tool, then check out Part 2, Step 5 of the following tutorial, in which we use this handy tool as well!
Don’t forget to use the Align feature in the top toolbar panel to center the objects to each other.
Add a darker-grey border in the bottom part of the tower by making a 75 x 25 px rectangle. Copy the loopholes and the stones from the front wall to make the tower more detailed. Group (Command-G) all the elements of the tower.
Copy (Command-C > Command-V) the tower that we’ve created and move it to the opposite side of the wall.
And let’s build a bigger tower in the center of our castle. Make a 145 x 255 px rectangle, placing it on top of the wall and making it slightly darker than the wall.
Now let’s add the loopholes to the tower. I’ve copied those from the wall but decided to make their shape slightly different. Change the Corner radius of the shapes to 0% in the upper control toolbar, making the windows square.
Start adding details to the tower. Form a lighter-grey border right under the windows.
Add another border on top of the tower, making it approximately 10 px wider than the tower. Add a group of squares on top of the tower, forming the merlons. Align the objects to each other, if needed, and put some lighter-grey stones here and there over the tower wall.
Now let’s form a pointed roof!
Use the Triangle Tool to make a 125 x 80 px triangle of clay-orange color. Click it with the right mouse button and Arrange > Move Back One or press Command-[ to place the roof beneath the merlon stones.
Duplicate the roof and make the copy slightly darker. Use the Vector Crop Tool to cut the copy by half.
Let’s make the roof a bit brighter and add a couple of small bricks to both halves.
Grab the Pen Tool (P) and hold Shift to make a vertical spire on top of the roof. You can adjust the Strokes settings either in the upper control toolbar or in the Strokes panel, which you can find in the tabs next to the Colour panel.
Use the Triangle Tool to make a 15 x 15 px shape for the flag. Attach the orange flag to the top of the spire.
Here is how our castle looks at this stage. Nice, yet small. Let’s add more towers to make it look larger!
Use the elements of the small towers to shape another tower at the back left side of the castle. Make it slightly darker than the rest of the towers and cover it with a pointed roof as well.
Add minor details to the dark tower, such as stones and a spire with a flag.
Group the elements of the dark tower, hold Option-Shift and drag it to the right, creating a copy.
Add two smaller towers with merlons at the both sides of the tower, making the whole castle look symmetrical.
3. Finish Up the Castle by Adding Minor Details
Our castle is already built up to the end, but the image still needs some more details. Let’s add a few simple finishing touches to the composition, making the illustration look complete!
Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool (M) to make a narrow green stripe of 650 x 15 px right under the castle, depicting stylized grass.
Arm yourself with the Ellipse Tool (M) and make a 70 x 70 px green circle for a simplified tree or bush. Move it to Back (Shift-Command-[), partially hiding it behind the tower. Add more circles, varying their sizes and filling the empty spaces at both sides of the castle.
Now it looks much better! Let’s finish up by making a simple background.
Make a large, even circle of 780 x 780 px size. Fill it with light yellowish-beige color and Move to Back (Shift-Command-[), placing it beneath the castle.
Finally, create a square of the size of our document and fill it with a more saturated tint of yellowish-beige color. In my case its size is 1000 x 1000 px. Remember that you can always adjust the size of your document in File > Document Setup, where you can set the needed values for the width and height.
Such yellowish background gives a warm, sunny look to our illustration.
Behold! Our Castle Is Completed!
Great work, my friends! We’ve successfully built our great flat castle, using basic shapes and handy Affinity Designer functions and operations. I hope you’ve enjoyed following this tutorial and discovered some useful tips and tricks, which can help you not only to build fantasy medieval castles, but also to draw flat cityscapes, flat cartoon houses and any other stylized architecture objects.
You can continue adjusting our castle by adding, for example, some clouds and trees, or by changing the position of the bricks on the towers in order to make the image more diverse. Use your creativity—everything is up to you! If you want to take a closer look at the source file for this lesson and you want to have it in some other formats, be sure to get it here at Envato Market.
Have fun, and stay tuned for more Affinity Designer tutorials!