In this Illustrator tutorial, I will show you how to create a magic wand icon. This tutorial will utilize gradient feathering and some simple shapes. These techniques are easily translated to other icons, illustrations, and logos.
Below is the final icon we will be working towards.
Create a new document and draw a 35 px wide by 340 px tall rectangle with the Rectangle Tool (M).
Draw another rectangle at 35 px wide by 210 px tall and place it in the center of the bigger rectangle.
Select the bigger rectangle and go Filter > Stylize > Round Corner to bring up the Round Corners dialog. In the dialog, change the Radius to 15 px.
Select the smaller rectangle and create a Linear Gradient from the Gradient Panel.
For this step we are going to add two more swatches to the gradient. To do this, click two different times below the Gradient Slider. Now you should have 4 swatches on the Linear Gradient. Change the first swatch to a 63% black with a Location of 5 (the Location is middle right text field box in the Gradient Panel). Change the second swatch to a 100% black with a Location of 50. Change the third swatch to white with a Location of 90. Finally, change the last swatch to a 100% black with a Location of 100.
Select the bigger rectangle with the rounded corners and fill it will a Linear Gradient. Make sure the gradient has four swatches like the previous gradient. Change the first swatch to a 40% black with a Location of 0. Change the second swatch to a 60% black with a Location of 30. Change the third swatch to white with a Location of 70. Finally, change the last swatch to a 30% black with a Location of 100.
Create a rectangle the size of your document.
Fill the rectangle with a Radial Gradient from the Gradient Panel. Change the first swatch to a violet color and the second swatch to a dark violet color.
Place the wand over the background at a 35 degree angle.
Adjust the gradient so the lighter part of the gradient originates from the tip of the magic wand. To do this, select the Radial Gradient using the Gradient Tool (G), then click and drag from the tip of the wand to a sixth of the way up from the bottom of the document.
Create a 185 px by 185 px ellipse with the Ellipse Tool (L). Next, fill it with a Radial Gradient, then change the first swatch to black and the second swatch to white.
Squish the ellipse to about a third of its original size and place behind the bottom of the wand. Once placed, change the Blending Mode to Multiply within the Transparency Panel.
Create a 370 px by 370 px ellipse and fill it with a magenta color. Place the ellipse behind the wand and center the ellipse with the tip of the wand.
With the ellipse selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Feather to bring up the Feather dialog. In the Feather dialog change the Feather Radius to 100 px. Next, change the Opacity to 35% within the Transparency Panel.
Create another ellipse at 175 px by 175 px and fill it with a yellow color. Next, place it behind the wand, and center the ellipse with the tip of the wand. Feather this ellipse like the last, but change the Feather Radius to 50 px.
Create five to seven more ellipse, as in the previous step, though use varying colors and place them around the top of the wand.
Select the longer wand shape and Copy (Command + C) and Paste in Front (Command + F). Change the fill to a yellow color with no stroke.
With the Selection Tool (V), grab the right center anchor and expand right. Then select the left center anchor and expand left.
With the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the bottom right anchor (just before the paths starts curving) and drag it in close to the original shape of the wand. Do the same with the left anchor.
Give the edited shape a 25 px feather and place it behind the wand.
It's looking pretty good, but let's create some little sprites to dress it up. Start by creating a 40 px by 40 px ellipse and fill it with white and no stroke.
Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat to bring up the Pucker and Bloat dialog, then change the option to -90. Next, go to Object > Expand Appearance. Once the ellipse is expanded, Feather the sprite at 1 px.
Create a 35 px by 35 px ellipse over the center of the sprite and fill it with white with no stroke. Feather the ellipse at 7 px and rotate both the ellipse and sprite at 45 degrees.
Place the new sprite element over all other artwork close to the tip of the wand.
Copy (Command + C) and Paste (Command + V ) the sprite around the icon, making sure you change the size and Opacity of the different copies.
Finished! Below is the completed image.