How to Create a Modern Cottage in a Scandinavian Style in Adobe Illustrator

This post is part of a series called Home Sweet Home.
How to Create a Summer Picnic Community Event Flyer in Adobe InDesign

In today's tutorial you will learn how to create a modern cottage in Scandinavian style with the help of the most basic shapes and tools of Adobe Illustrator.

If you would like to skip the tutorial and just purchase the result together with other houses and homes, just go to GraphicRiver to get my House and Homes Buildings Set.

1. How to Set Up a New Document

First we need to set up a New Document (File > New or Control-N) with these settings:

• Number of Artboards: 1
• Width: 800
• Height: 600
• Units: pixels

• Color Mode: RGB
• Raster Effects: Screen
• Preview Mode: Default
• Uncheck Align New Objects to Pixel Grid

2. How to Make the Basic Section of the House

Step 1

Let's start simple by creating a 300 x 220 px rectangle with the help of the Rectangle Tool (M), filling it with #4a4341 color.

After creating the rectangle, pick the top right anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and press Enter to open the Move window. The Vertical Position value should be set to 60 px and the Horizontal value to 0 px. Our anchor is moving to the bottom.

Step 2

Build another 257 x 170 px rectangle of the same color on the outer left side of the first shape, aligning to its bottom line. Pick the right top anchor of the created figure with the Direct Selection Tool (A). Drag the anchor up, making it snap to the top left point of the first rectangle.

Step 3

Holding down Shift, select both figures that we created with the Selection Tool (V). Use the Unite option of the Pathfinder panel, merging them into one shape. It is going to be the main wall of our house.

Step 4

Take the Line Segment Tool (\). Holding down Shift create the vertical line of any color, which will go through the top anchor point of the shape, crossing the figure.

Pick the vertical line with the Selection Tool (V) and move it to the right by 138 px using the Move window.

Select the line again and choose the Reflect tool (O). Holding the Alt key, click on the top middle anchor of the big shape. In the Reflect option window, set the Axis to Vertical and press Copy, reflecting the line to the left side of the brown shape.

Choose the top points of the vertical lines with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and go to Object > Path > Join (Control-J). A line segment appears between the anchors, joining them. Repeat the move for the bottom points of the line, getting the rectangle outline shape.

Step 5

Change the Fill color of the rectangle that we created to #645a58 and the Stroke to None in the Color panel.

Let's cut off those parts of the upper rectangle that stand outside the main wall figure. Select both the smaller and the larger shapes and then use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) by holding down the Alt key and clicking the unwanted pieces to remove them.

Step 6

Time to add the roof to our wall.

With the help of the Pen Tool (P), draw the roof line which sits over the top edge of the main wall, making it extend slightly from both sides of the main shape. Set the Fill of the roof line to None, the stroke weight to 29 px, and the stroke color to #e8dbd3.

Select the roof with the Selection Tool (V). Press Control-C and Control-F, creating a copy of the roof in front of the first one. Set the Fill of the line to None, stroke weight to 5 px and stroke color to #c4b7b4, forming the inner stripe.

Step 7

Choose both roof lines and go to Object > Expand. Check the Stroke option, and uncheck the Fill option, pressing OK. Our strokes will transform into filled shapes.

Select all the house elements and Group them together with Control-G.

Step 8

Now we are going to form a small outbuilding for our house.

Make a 114 x 92 px rectangle with #3b3534 fill color. Move the upper left anchor point up by 22 px.

Select the resulting shape and Copy it, using Control-C. Click Control-F twice to get two copies in front of the figure. Move the top copy 94 px to the right, add the second copy to the selection, and use the Intersect option of the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with #645a58 color.

Create the roof for the outbuilding using the same method as we did for the main wall in the previous two steps.

Group (Control-G) all the objects together and send them backward using Object > Arrange > Send Backward. Then place the outbuilding to the right outer side of the main section, hiding its left edge behind the wall.

3. How to Create the Porch, the Windows, and the Doorway

Step 1

Let's start working on the porch by creating a 105 x 32 px rectangle, which we will color using #58595b. Then build a 105 x 3 px horizontal stripe, filling it with #f7f4f2

Select both shapes, holding down Shift. Click again on the larger object (you don't need to hold down Shift this time!). A blue outline appears around the dark rectangle, and Align to Key Object is automatically selected in the Control panel and the Align panel.

In the Align panel (Window > Align) or the Control panel, click on the Horizontal Align Center button and then on the Vertical Align Top button, placing the horizontal stripe on the top outer side of the large rectangle.

Choose the stripe and press Enter to open the Move window. Set the Vertical Position to 10 px and the Horizontal Position to 0 px. Then click on the Copy button, getting a second stripe under the first one. Press Control-D to repeat the duplication.

Create two 3 x 32 px vertical stripes of #f7f4f2 color, moving them to the inner sides of the porch. Group (Control-J) all the objects.

Step 2

Build a 27 x 100 px rectangle and color it using #558bab (1). Then make two 27 x 2 px horizontal stripes of #d4d1cf color, placing one of them over the top edge and another one underneath the bottom edge of the blue shape (2).

Select both horizontal lines with the Selection Tool (V) while holding down the Shift key. Choose Object > Blend > Make. By default, Illustrator creates a smooth color transition. Fix it by choosing Object > Blend > Blend Options. Change the Spacing option to Specified Steps, setting the value to 5 (3). Then go to Object > Expand. Leave the Object option checked and uncheck the Fill option. Press OK, dividing the blend object into distinct objects. Ungroup (Control-Shift-G) the blend group and delete the top and bottom stripes (4).

Create a 2 x 100 px vertical stripe of #d4d1cf color, aligning it to the center of the large blue rectangle (5).

Make a 42 x 125 px shape with #f7f4f2 fill color and send it to the back by right-click > Arrange > Send to Back. Align the rectangle to the middle of the blue figure that we started out with (6). Group (Control-J) all the objects together and make a duplicate of the group, placing it next to the right side (7). Now we have the door.

Step 3

Build two 125 x 9.5 px rectangles of #c4c2c0 color, placing them on the outer sides of the door.

Then create a 103 x 6.5 px horizontal shape with #d4d1cf fill color and place it on the top inner side of the door, aligning to the middle of the construction.

Finish creating the door by making a 110 x 3 px rim of #f7f4f2 color and positioning it underneath the top of the upper edge of the door, aligning to the middle. Group (Control-G) all the door elements together.

Drag the porch to the main house construction, aligning to the bottom and the middle of the lighter grey section. Then place the door next to the top of the porch, aligning to its center.

Step 4

Start to create the window by forming a 27 x 64 px rectangle for the windowpane, filling it with #558bab color.

Build two 27 x 2 px horizontal stripes of #d4d1cf color, positioning one of them over the top edge and another under the bottom edge of the pane.

Select both horizontal stripes and go to Object > Blend > Make. Then choose Object > Blend > Blend Options and change the Spacing option to Specified Steps, setting the value to 3. Expand the object and delete the top and bottom lines.

Step 5

Make a 2 x 64 px vertical stripe of #d4d1cf color, aligning it to the center of the windowpane (1). Group (Control-G) the objects together.

Build a 42 x 125 px rectangle of #f7f4f2 fill color and send it to the back with Object > Arrange > Send to Back (2). Align the object to the middle and the left side of the blue windowpane (3). Move the shape we just created to the left by 5 px. Create a duplicate of the windowpane group at the same distance from the right side of the back rectangle (4).

Make a 73 x 3.5 horizontal rectangle of #c4c2c0 color, aligning it to the top and the right side of the large light shape (5). Then form one more 73 x 5.5 px figure of #d4d1cf color and align it to the bottom and the right side of the back rectangle (6). Group (Control-G) all the parts together and place the window on the left side of the doorway. With the help of the Reflection Tool (O), make a copy on the right side of the door (7).

Step 6

Now we are going to build two more windows, using the ones we've already created to help us save time.

Copy the left window and drag it to the free area outside the house. Ungroup (Control-Shift-G) the window elements and delete the lower of the three horizontal lines on each windowpane.

Select the Direct Selection Tool (A). Click and hold the left mouse button on a free area outside the left border of the window and slightly above the level of the underside of the blue shape. Drag to the right and down to the outer free area on the opposite side of the window, adding all the shapes and points of the window's bottom part to the selection.

Press Enter to open the Move window. Set the Vertical Position value to -16.5 px and the Horizontal value to 0 px, moving the lower part of the window up. Group (Control-G) the parts. The window is ready.

Step 7

We will use the small window to create a larger one. Make a copy of the window that we created in the previous step and choose the Reflect tool (O). Holding the Alt key, click on the upper right anchor of the window. In the Reflect option window, set the Axis to Vertical and press Copy, reflecting the window on its right side. Group (Control-G) both smaller windows into one large window.

Drag the smaller window to the left part of the big house section and the large window to the right side.

4. How to Make the Outdoor Furniture and the Flower Pots

Step 1

In this step we will build all the shapes, using a default white Fill and a black Stroke color.

Start forming the chair by creating a 46 x 11 px rectangle. Select the two upper anchors with the Direct Selection Tool (A)

Use the Live Corners feature to make the corners rounded by pulling the circle indicator to the center of the rectangle, setting the corner radius to about 6 px. Build two 3 x 16.5 px vertical shapes for the chair legs and place them underneath the horizontal shape, leaving a few pixels of space between them and the sides of the larger rectangle.

Create a 2 px wide bar between the chair legs, placing it closer to the bottom.

Make a 36.5 x 40 px rectangle and move its bottom anchors 3 px towards the center. Select the upper anchors of the rectangle with Direct Selection Tool (A) and use the Live Corners feature to set the corner radius to about 6 px. Place the resulting shape in the middle of the upper side of the previously created construction, forming the chair back.

Step 2

Add two small 10 x 3 px rectangles to the left and the right side of the chair back, hiding their overlapping parts behind it. These will be the armrests.

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw simple triangle-like shapes that will connect the armrests and the chair seat. Hide the overlapping parts behind the chair seat.

Color the result, using #f7f4f2 for the light parts and #d4d1cf for the dark parts of the chair. Use the example below to understand where each color is located.

Then Group (Control-G) the chair, make a duplicate of it, and place both chairs under the windows in front of the middle house section.

I moved the windows slightly up in order to add more visual space between the windows and the chairs.

Step 3

Now we are going to create an outdoor table and two more chairs.

Build a 32.5 x 4 px rectangle of #f7f4f2 color. Make a duplicate in the front of the first rectangle, moving it down by 10 px (1)

Add two vertical 3 x 45 px rectangles with #c4c2c0 fill color, placing them on the left and the right inner sides of the horizontal shapes and aligning to the top edge (2).

Make a 32.5 x 6 px rectangle of #f7f4f2 color, placing it about 10 px down from the lower horizontal shape (3). Group (Control-G) all the elements.

Create a simple table using a 98 x 10 px rectangle of #d4d1cf color for the tabletop and two 5 x 37 px shapes with #c4c2c0 fill color for the table legs. Group (Control-G) the figures (4).

Make a copy of the chair. Put the chair and its duplicate at the table, positioning them between the table legs (5). Group (Control-G) the table and the chairs and drag them to the house, placing them underneath the large window (6).

Step 4

Start to create a flower vase by creating a 15 x 24 rectangle which we will color using #7a5835 (1). With the help of the Pencil Tool (N), draw a wavy line across the shape, which passes through the bottom left anchor point (2). Divide both shapes in Pathfinder, Ungroup (Control-Shift-G) them, and Delete the left part (3). Reflect the wavy figure that we created to the right, using the Reflection Tool (O) (4). Merge both shapes into one with the Unite option of the Pathfinder panel.

Reflect the resulting shape to the bottom and Unite both forms with the Pathfinder (5). Add two rims of 3 px width and #b38f6a color underneath the top outline and over the bottom outline of the large brown shape (6). Create three parallel lines of the same width and color in the middle part of the vase, making them cross the large shape (7). Cut off the extended parts using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) and Group (Control-G) the objects (8).

Step 5

Start making a decorative tree by forming a 15.5 x 15.5 px circle of #848709 color for the crown with the help of the Ellipse Tool (L).

Build a 1 x 10 px vertical rectangle with the same fill color. Make the top anchors of the shape fully rounded by selecting them with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and using the Live Corners.

Build larger vertical 1.5 x 15 px rectangle of #a3a70b color and make its top rounded. Then add one anchor point to the middle of the bottom edge with the Add Anchor Point Tool (+). Choose the left and right bottom anchors with the Direct Selection Tool and drag them up a few pixels, giving a needle-like form to the shape.

Step 6

Place the smaller rounded shape on the top of the circle, aligning to the center (1). Keeping the rounded shape selected, select the Rotate Tool (R) and then Alt/Option-click in the middle of the circle. In the Rotate panel, set the Angle to 15° and click the Copy button (2). Press Control-D to repeat the last action, and continue pressing Control-D to add all 24 stripes around the circle (3). Delete the top rounded rectangle and then remove every second stripe around the circle, leaving only 12 of them (4).

Drag the larger needle-like shape that we created in step 5 to the top of the circle, making its bottom part overlap the circle and aligning to the middle (5). Make 11 more copies of the needle-like stripe around the circle by rotating and copying the object by 30° around the center of the circle with the help of the Rotation Tool (R) (6). Delete the lower stripe and add a vertical rectangle of #88603c color for the trunk of the tree (7). Group (Control-G) all the tree parts.

Let's create a pot for the tree. Copy the vase that we created in Step 4 and Ungroup (Control-Shift-G) the elements. Select the large wavy shape of the vase together with the lowest of the three horizontal lines. Cut off the lower piece of the vase with the help of the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) (8). Drag the remaining bottom rim to the underside of the vase and place our tree in the pot (9). Group (Control-G) the elements.

Step 7

Use two rectangles of #848709 for the green color and #7a5835 for the brown color to create a cactus pot.

Drag the cactus pot, the decorative tree and the vase to the house.

5. How to Add the Smaller Details, the Shadows and the Reflections

Since we're not quite done with the details, we need to add drainpipes, a chimney and a street lamp to the main house section.

Step 1

First, select the main house section that we created at the end of Step 7 of Part 2.

Right-click and choose Isolate Selected Group from the drop-down menu. The isolated house section appears in full color, while the rest of the artwork appears dimmed.

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw two angled lines with 6 px stroke of #a6a6a6 color without fill. Place them on the outer sides of the wall, leaving a small gap between the lines and the wall and hiding the top of the lines behind the roof, forming the drainpipes.

Choose the drainpipes and go to Object > Expand, checking the Stroke option, and unchecking the Fill option. Press OK and Escape to exit isolation mode or, using the Selection Tool (V), double-click outside of the isolated group.

Step 2

Create a small rounded rectangle which we will color using #d4d1cf. Add the outline to the rectangle by going to Object > Path > Offset Path and setting 4 px in the Offset value field. Set the Fill color of the outline to #4a4341 and Group (Control-G) the shapes. It is going to be the street lamp (1).

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), form a chimney. Color the light parts with #b38f6a and the dark parts with #7a5835 (2).

Place the lamp above the entrance door and the chimney on the roof (3).

Step 3

Select the main roof shape with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and Copy it, using Control-C. Click Control-B to get a duplicate behind the main object. Move it a few pixels lower and change the Blending Mode to Multiply while lowering the Opacity levels to 70% in the Transparency panel. Remove the parts that extend outside the house using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).

Using the same method, create a shadow for the outbuilding.

Step 4

Let's add reflections to the windowpanes.

Select the left door window with the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then right-click and choose Isolate Selected Path from the drop-down menu. The window appears in isolation mode.

Create three long vertical rectangles (#63a1c7) of different widths outside the window. Rotate the vertical rectangles by 45° to the right and drag them to our window. Cut off the outstanding pieces and exit isolation mode.

Add the reflections to all the windowpanes. We're almost done!

Step 5

Finish off the illustration by creating a ground level underneath the house.

To do that, simply build a 710 x 25 px rectangle, fill it with #a3a70b color and make the corners rounded, dragging the Live Corners Widgets. Create the shadow part on the bottom half of the ground level.

Congratulations! Our House Is Finished!

Good job. Now try to imagine yourself sitting on one of the white chairs and meeting the summer sunset with a cup of flavored coffee.

As for me, I hope you enjoyed creating this cosy house and learned some new tricks using the simple tools of the Adobe Illustrator.

This modern cottage illustration is just a part of my House and Homes Buildings Set, and there are many more illustrations in my portfolio!

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