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How to Create a Floral Anchor Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

This post is part of a series called Learn Adobe Illustrator.
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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you'll learn to create a floral anchor illustration in Adobe Illustrator. We will use simple forms, and you'll learn how to move individual anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool, Warp Effects, and Warp Tool. We will also create a special brush to draw a rope. I hope that you will learn some useful techniques which can be used in your future projects. But remember, your result of this tutorial can't be sold on microstock sites.

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1. Draw an Anchor

Step 1

For our anchor, we will start with a rectangle. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), draw a long vertical shape with no stroke color and the fill color you see in the image below. This part of the anchor is called the shank.

On top of this shape, draw a small horizontal rectangle, so that it looks something like a cross. Then apply the warp effect to this small horizontal rectangle: go to Effect > Warp > Bulge and apply the options you see below. Expand this shape (Object > Expand Appearance). This part is called the stock.

creating the anchor

Here is the Warp Options window.

Warp Options window

Step 2

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a circle. Remember to hold down the Shift key to draw an even circle. Make another copy in front (Control-C, Control-F), and while holding the Shift and Alt keys together, make this copy smaller (holding down the Alt key will reduce the circle to the middle). Once you have two circles, go to the Pathfinder panel and press the Exclude button. You will get a hole. This part is called the ring.

creating the anchor 2

Step 3

On the bottom of the anchor, draw a long horizontal rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M). Keep it selected and go to Effect > Warp > Arc. In the image below, you can see the options you want to enter in the new dialogue window that will appear. Expand this shape (Object > Expand Appearance). It's the arm.

creating the anchor 3
Warp Options window

Step 4

Take the Polygon Tool and click on your art board. In the new dialogue window, enter 3 Sides with any Radius and press OK. We will create the crown, the pointy thing on the bottom of every anchor. Once you have the triangle, turn it upside down and place it on the bottom of the anchor. To give our anchor smooth lines, let's apply the warp options to the triangle. Expand this shape (Object > Expand Appearance).

creating the anchor 4
Warp Options window

Step 5

Let’s create two more triangles using the Polygon Tool. The first one must be the same fill color as all the shapes that we created before, and the second one could be any color. Place them as shown in the image below. Select both triangles and press the Minus Front button in the Pathfinder and you will get the palm of the anchor. Apply the warp options and then expand.

creating the anchor 5
Warp Options window

Step 6

Place the palm on the left side of the anchor. While still keeping it selected, right-click your mouse and select Transform > Reflect. In the new dialogue window, check Vertical and Angle 90 degrees. After pressing OK, you will get a reflected copy of the left palm—the right palm. Using the Right Arrow key on your keyboard, move the copy to the right side of the anchor.

creating the anchor 6

2. Create a Special Brush for the Rope

Step 1

Now that we have the basic anchor shape, let’s create a special brush for the rope.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw a small ellipse and rotate it to the left. Holding down the Shift and Alt keys together, slightly move this ellipse to the right. You just created a copy of it. Press Control-D many times to repeat your last movement, until you have a long line of ellipses.

Select all the ellipses and make a copy of them behind (Control-C, Control-B). Delete the fill color from the copies that you have made and set the stroke color to what you see below. Keep it selected, as we want to turn the stroke of these copies into fills. For that you need to go to Object > Expand and press OK in the new dialogue window. Our rope is done.

creating the brush

Step 2

Select the whole rope and drag it to the Brushes panel. Once a new window pops up, check New Art Brush, OK. Then a new window will appear immediately called Art Brush Options. Again, press OK and our new brush is ready to be used.

creating the brush 2

Try to draw a few lines using the new brush, selecting it from the Brushes panel. Make sure to delete the fill color, and choose any stroke color.

drawing by brush

Step 3

Using our new brush, draw a rope over the anchor.

placing the rope

3. Create Pink Flowers

Step 1

It’s floral time! Delete the stroke color and set the fill color. Draw two circles, a smaller one inside a bigger one. Double-click on the Warp Tool (Shift-R). In the new window, enter the options you see below. Your Global Brush Dimensions (Width and Height) can be different than mine—choose what best fits your flower.

Select just one circle and start moving the Warp Tool (Shift-R) from the center of the circle out. Move this tool close to the boundaries of the circle. After that, select the second circle and again move the Warp Tool (Shift-R) over its boundaries from the center of the circle out. Check out the image below to see the sample movements that I used with the Warp Tool.

creating the pink flower
Warp Tool Options window

Step 2

Select the two warped circles and make two copies of them in front (Control-C, Control-F). Make the two new warped circles smaller. You can add more effects on the new petals using the Warp Tool (Shift-R) again. Just don’t forget to select each circle before you warp them.

creating the pink flower 2

Step 3

Add a few dark gray circles in the middle of the flower.

creating the pink flower 3

Step 4

Place the pink flower on the anchor.

Now, let’s see how we can change the color of this flower so that we get another flower.

Go ahead and make a copy of the previous flower, and we’ll change the color. Go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork. In the new dialogue window, press the Edit button, and then press the tiny button that looks like a chain, Link harmony colors (located at the bottom right), and then simply drag the color handles to your choice of color. Enjoy how the color changes on your flower!

placing pink flowers

4. Creating the Blue Flowers

Step 1

Take the Star Tool and draw a blue star. Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat and set the slider to 30%. Place a yellow circle inside, and we have a blue flower!

creating the blue flower

Step 2

Copy-paste them all over the anchor—position them in any way you like.

placing the blue flowers

5. Create the Leaf

Step 1

Go ahead and create a blue ellipse—this will be our leaf. Keep this shape selected, and then take the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and click on the top anchor point—you will get a sharp corner. 

Next, use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select the left and right anchor points, and move them down. Rotate it to the right. Right-click the mouse, and select Transform > Reflect. In the new dialogue window, check Vertical and Angle 90 degrees. After pressing OK, you will get a reflected copy of it. Place them as shown in the image and you’ll get a leaf shape.

creating the leaf

Step 2

Using the Arc Tool, draw three stems. But first, check the Round Cap button and adjust the stroke Weight on the Stroke panel. Place the leaf you created before and then add two more.

creating the leaf 2

Step 3

Place the leaves on the anchor. You can add as many leaves as you want.

placing leaves

6. Create the Berries

Step 1

On to the berries. Start with no fill color, just the stroke color. Hit the Arc Tool again and draw a few stems, this time for the branch of the berries. Add a few circles (no stroke color, gray fill color) which will represent the berries.

creating the berries

Step 2

Place them on the anchor.

placing berries

7. Create the Background and Place All the Elements on It

Step 1

Let’s draw a large square by using the Rectangle Tool (M). Click on your art board and enter the Width and Height at 850 px.

creating the background

Step 2

Draw a circle in the middle.

creating the background 2

Step 3

Place the anchor with the flowers on the background.

placing all the objects on the background

Step 4

To finish off the design, create a few small white circles.

adding withe circles

Step 5

On the Transparency panel, make their transparency Soft Light. Yay! We just completed the illustration of the floral anchor!

reducing the Opacity of white circles

Awesome Work!

You did a fantastic job! Thank you for your patience. You just created a floral anchor illustration in Adobe Illustrator, using simple forms. You learned how to move individual anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool, and used Warp Effects and Warp Tool a lot. You created a special brush to easily draw a rope. I hope you can apply the techniques that you learned from this tutorial on your future projects!

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