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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Gradient Mesh Tool
Design

How to Create a Set of Vector Suitcases in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the Mesh Tool and Gradient Tool in Adobe Illustrator to create a pair of photo-realistic suitcases!

If you want to skip the tutorial and just use these suitcases in your work along with some other elements, you can purchase the Travel Background with Mechanical Departures Board from GraphicRiver!

Travel illustration
Travel Background with Mechanical Departures Board

1. How to Create the First Suitcase

Step 1

First, let's create a rectangle with rounded edges and fill it with a brown color.

fill color 773900

Step 2

Modify the rectangle by dragging its right side down. Using the Mesh Tool (U), create a Mesh with three rows and four columns.

see above

Step 3

Select the third column from the left and color it with a lighter, orange-ish color.

color 935314

Step 4

Color the rest of the suitcase following the directions in the image below.

darker on the right lighter on the left very dark on the right and top edge

Step 5

Once you are done and happy with the front of the suitcase you have made, draw a horizontal narrow brown rectangle.

color 9B5C20

Step 6

Modify the rectangle by dragging its nodes, and then add the Mesh indicated in the screenshot.

modify so it looks like a top of a suitcase in perspective

Step 7

Draw another narrow rectangle, this time vertical, and fill it with the same color. Drag its node on the right side upwards to create an illusion of perspective.

see above

Step 8

Add some Mesh nodes to the shape, and then curve its edges somewhat so it looks like the side of a suitcase.

see above

Step 9

Join both shapes we made together. Make sure the bordering nodes of both shapes perfectly line up!

the first shape we made is the top the second is the right side of the suitcase

Step 10

Color the side of the suitcase.

darker on the bottom and on the right

2. How to Finish the Suitcase

Step 1

When you are happy with the finished side, move on to creating the handle!

Create a really rounded rectangle, filled with a brown color. Add a Mesh node in the middle of the shape.

color 744304

Step 2

Bend the shape with Effect > Warp > Arc and 30% Bend. After applying the effect, Expand it using Object > Expand Appearance.

Step 3

Modify the shape to make it look like a suitcase handle, and then add lots of rows of Mesh to it.

see above

Step 4

Color four middle nodes with a darker color. They must alternate with the original brown.

color 402400

Step 5

Color the rest of the handle.

Darker on the sides lighter on the top and the bottom

Step 6

Create another shape, following the steps in the image. You can find the Pathfinder panel in Window > Pathfinder.

Step 7

Apply a 3D effect to the shape (Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel), using the following angles:

  • -2°
see above

Step 8

Expand Appearance of the resulting shape and Ungroup it twice (right-click > Ungroup). Select all the parts of the segmented right side and Unite them in the Pathfinder panel.

see above

Step 9

Apply a golden Radial Gradient to the front part of the shape. Position the gradient with the Gradient Tool (G) until there is a white shine on the top of it.

gradient from white to F1E5B4 to B7955C

Step 10

Similarly color the side part of the shape. Position the gradient with Gradient Tool (G) until the bottom part of the shape is dark, indicating the shadow.

gradient from white to DFCE99 to 836C46

Step 11

Create a long, narrow, horizontal rectangle. The color does not matter.

Step 12

Apply a 3D effect to the shape (Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel), using the following angles:

  • -9°
  • 14°

Step 13

Expand Appearance of the resulting shape and Ungroup it twice (right-click and then Ungroup).

Color the front of the shape with the gradient we used in Step 9 and the sides with the colors indicated in the image.

top with F3E6CC right side with 9F825D

Step 14

Create a copy of both shapes we made and arrange them together to make two clasps. These will be holding up the handle.

see above

Step 15

Make a copy of the clasps and add both to the handle. Rotate all objects clockwise a little bit.

Step 16

Create another rectangle, filled with brown. Create a simple Mesh on it.

color A56627

Step 17

Color four nodes on the sides of the shape with a darker color.

color 5D2A06

Step 18

Select all nodes on the edges of the rectangle and set them to 0% Opacity in the Transparency panel.

see above

Step 19

Using the Mesh Tool (U), create two more nodes to soften the dark color.

see above

Step 20

Finally, put everything together to make a suitcase! The last shape we made is a shadow under the handle.

finished suitcase

Step 21

Congratulations, you've finished the first suitcase! Now let's move on to the second one.

3. How to Create the Second Suitcase

Step 1

Create a grey rounded rectangle. Drag its bottom corners to put it in perspective, and then create a single Mesh node in the middle, and with the help of the created node on the left make the left side more rounded, like a suitcase.

Step 2

Color the resulting shape to make it look like the front of a black plastic suitcase.

see above

Step 3

Create the right side of the suitcase by bending a rectangle as in the image below.

color is D4D4D4 final shape is bent to the left

Step 4

Color the left side of the shape with a darker color.

515151

Step 5

Attach the side part to the front that we made before.

Step 6

Create a bar that is holding up the handle of the suitcase by coloring a rectangle with the following Linear Gradient, alternating grey, dark grey and white to create a metal bar effect.

alternate 919191 4E4E4E and white to create a metal effect

Step 7

Create a very dark grey rounded rectangle shape, looking like a handle of a modern suitcase.

color is 3F3F3F

Step 8

Modify the shape a bit and color it with the help of Mesh.

Step 9

Create a dark grey rectangle, and then shape it using the Mesh Tool (U) to look like a part between the handle and the metal bar.

Step 10

Color the part with alternating lighter and darker grey colors.

Step 11

Make a copy of the finished part and Reflect it vertically (right-click > Transform > Reflect), and then put all of the parts together to create a modern handle.

Step 12

Create a rectangle and bend it with Mesh to create a part attaching the wheel to the suitcase.

the color is 313131

Step 13

Color the right side of the part with a lighter color to make it more 3D.

color is 545454

Step 14

Create the wheel by applying a Radial Gradient from black to light grey to darker grey.

black to ABACAE to 4A5154

Step 15

Create a little shiny pin that holds the wheel in place by following the steps in the image below.

highlight on the left side

Step 16

Put each part together to create a wheel for our suitcase! We will be needing three of these for the final image, so create two more copies.

see above

Step 17

Now, bring all the parts together to create our modern, plastic suitcase!

Step 18

Lastly, let's go back to our first suitcase.

To create more versions of it, you can simply recolor it by using Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Color Balance and tweaking the color settings.

Here are some sample recolored versions. I have used the grey suitcase in the final picture.

Step 19

Put the suitcases together for a final arrangement!

Awesome Work, You're Done!

This is how your complete image should turn out! Thank you for following along, and please feel welcome to post your result in the comments. I'll be looking forward to seeing it!

In this tutorial, you learned how to create a pair of different photo-realistic suitcases, using the Mesh Tool and the Gradient Tool.

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and learned how to use some useful tools for the future! Check out some of my other vector tutorials in my instructor profile.

You can purchase these suitcases with more elements as well as other similar designs in my portfolio on GraphicRiver.

Travel illustration
Travel Background with Mechanical Departures Board
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