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Design

How to Create a Pokémon Themed Icon Pack in Adobe Illustrator

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

With all the Pokémon Go madness going on lately, I thought it would be nice to put together an easy tutorial on how to create your very own icon pack using some of the elements found within the game.

It didn’t take long and that thought quickly came to life in the form of what you’re reading now, where I’ve shared the entire process that uses some of Illustrator’s most basic shapes and tools.

Oh, and before we start, I wanted to remind you that you can always expand the pack by heading over to Envato Market, where you’ll find tons of Pokémon-inspired artwork.

1. Set Up a New Document 

As always, start out by creating a new project file by going to File > New or using the Control-N keyboard shortcut, and then adjust it as follows:

  • Number of Artboards: 1
  • Width: 800 px
  • Height: 600 px
  • Units: Pixels

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color Mode: RGB
  • Raster Effects: Screen (72 ppi)
  • Align New Objects to Pixel Grid: checked
setting up a new document

2. Set Up Some Layers

Once we have our project file, it would be a good idea to layer it so that we can establish and maintain a steady workflow, which will help us focus on one icon at a time.

To do this, bring up the Layers panel, and create five layers which we will rename using short descriptions to make them easier to identify:

  • layer 1 > reference grids
  • layer 2 > poke ball
  • layer 3 > pokedex
  • layer 4 > incubator
  • layer 5 > egg
setting up the layers

3. Create the Reference Grids

The Reference Grids (or Base Grids) are a set of precisely delimited reference surfaces, which allow us to build our icons by focusing on size and consistency.

Usually, the size of the grids determines the size of the actual icons, and they should always be the first decision that you make once you start a new project, since you’ll always want to start from the smallest possible size and build on that.

Now, in our case we’re going to be creating the icon pack using just one size, more exactly 128 x 128 px.

Step 1

Lock all the layers except the reference grids one, and use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a 128 x 128 px red (#ff6b57) square, which will define the overall size of our icons.

creating the main shape for the reference grid

Step 2

Add another smaller 116 x 116 px square (#FFFFFF) which will act as our active drawing area, thus leaving us with an all-around 6 px padding.

creating the main drawing area for the reference grid

Step 3

Group the two squares together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, and then create three copies positioned 40 px from one another, making sure to align them to the center of the Artboard.

creating and positioning all four reference grids

Once we have all the reference grids in place, we can lock the current layer so that we won’t accidentally move them, and then move on to creating the first icon, the poké ball.

4. Create the Poké Ball Icon

The first icon that we’re going to be creating is the iconic red and white sphere that helps its trainer catch and house new pokémons.

Now, before we begin working on the actual icon, position yourself on the second layer, and then zoom in on the first reference grid so that you have a better view of what you’re going to be doing.

Step 1

Start by working on the upper half of the ball by drawing a 108 x 108 px circle (#ff6b57) with the help of the Ellipse Tool (L), which we will then position in the center of the active drawing area.

creating the main shape for the poke ball

Step 2

Create a 116 x 52 px rectangle which we will align to the top section of the active drawing area and then use to mask the circle that we’ve just created by selecting the two shapes and then right clicking > Make Clipping Mask.

masking the red upper half of the poke ball

Step 3

Add the outline to the upper section of the ball, by creating another slightly larger 116 x 116 px circle (#423b3b), which we will mask using a 116 x 56 px rectangle, making sure to send it to the back afterwards (right click > Arrange > Send to Back).

Also, at this point we can also group the two shapes (Control-G), since we’ll create the lower section using a copy of them.

adding the outline to the upper half of the poke ball

Step 4

Create the lower section of the ball, by grabbing a copy of the upper half (Control-C > Control-F) which we will have to adjust by horizontally flipping it (right click > Transform > Reflect > Horizontal) and then changing its color from red to a light grey (#ede2e2).

creating the lower half of the poke ball

Step 5

Fill in the empty space gap created between the two sections of the ball, by adding a 108 x 4 px rectangle (#423b3b) in its center.

adding the middle section connecting the two halves of the poke ball

Step 6

Start working on the insertion surrounding the button, by drawing a 44 x 44 px circle which we will color using #423b3b and then position towards the center of our reference grid.

creating the small insertion holding the poke ball button

Step 7

Add the main shape for the button’s base by drawing a 28 x 28 px circle which we will color using #ede2e2.

adding the base section for the poke balls button

Step 8

Create the button’s outline by drawing a 20 x 20 px circle (#423b3b) which we will align to the center of the previously created shape.

creating the main outline for the poke balls button

Step 9

Add the button itself by creating a 12 x 12 px circle (#ede2e2) which will go on top of all the other composing shapes of this section, and then select and group them (Control-G) so that they won’t get separated from one another by accident.

adding the main fill shape for the poke balls button

Step 10

Since at this point we’re pretty much done working on the composing shapes of the icon, we can now move on to adding the finishing details such as highlights and shadows.

First, double click on the grouped button to enter Isolation Mode, and then create two copies of the larger grey circle (Control-C > Control-F). With the copies in place, move the top one about 2 px towards the bottom and then use Pathfinder’s Minus Front Shape Mode to create a cutout.

creating the main shape for the poke balls button highlight

Step 11

Turn the resulting shape into a highlight by setting its color to white (#FFFFFF) and then lowering its Opacity to 80%.

adjusting the transparency of the poke balls button highlight

Step 12

Using the same process, add a subtle highlight to the smaller grey circle acting as the physical button.

adding the highlight to the poke balls button

Step 13

Add a similar highlight to the upper half of the poke ball, only this time move the second copy 4 px towards the bottom and use Soft Light for the Blending Mode, leaving the Opacity to 80%.

Oh and don’t forget, since the red circle is masked, you’ll have to double click on it to enter Isolation Mode and put your highlight there, otherwise it will end up overlapping the outline.

adding the subtle highlight to the upper half of the poke ball

Step 14

Add the last set of highlights to the lower section of the ball, using white (#FFFFFF) as your fill color and 80% for the Opacity.

adding the highlights to the lower half of the poke ball

Step 15

Once you’re done with the highlights, add a shadow in the lower section of the button, by creating a copy of the smaller outline (Control-C > Control-B) which we will adjust by setting its color to black (#000000) and lowering its Opacity to 28%.

adding the subtle shadow to the poke balls button

Step 16

Finish off the icon by adding the final shadow in the bottom section of the grey half, using the same color and Opacity values as in the previous step.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to select and group all of the icon’s elements together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

poke ball icon finished

5. Create the Pokédex Icon

Assuming you’ve already moved on to the second layer, zoom in on its reference grid and let’s get started.

Step 1

Grab the Rounded Rectangle Tool and create a 72 x 108 px shape with a 4 px Corner Radius which we will color using #ff6b57 and then position towards the center of the active drawing area.

creating the main shape for the pokedex

Step 2

Give the shape an outline by selecting it, and then going over to Object > Path > Offset Path and entering 4 px into the Offset value field.

creating the outline for the pokedexs main shape

Step 3

Adjust the resulting shape by changing its color to #423b3b in order to make it stand out.

adjusting the pokedexs outline color

Step 4

Before we start adding any of the icon’s composing elements, we’ll want to add a subtle highlight in its upper section, using white (#FFFFFF) as our fill color, Soft Light as our Blending Mode, and 80% for our Opacity.

adding the subtle highlight to the upper section of the pokedex

Step 5

Once we’ve added the highlight, we can create the main lens by drawing an 8 x 8 px circle (#34d5ea) and giving it a 4 px outline (#423b3b) using the Offset Path method, making sure to group the two using the Control-G keyboard shortcut and position them towards the top-left corner.

adding the main lens to the pokedex

Step 6

Next, add the little light indicators by drawing three 2 x 2 px circles (red: #d96151, yellow: #ffb85a, green: #92db63) and giving them a slightly thinner 2 px outline (#423b3b). Group each circle with its outline (Control-G), and then position them 2 px from one another, placing them towards the upper right side of the lens.

adding the three little light indicators to the pokedex icon

Step 7

With the light indicators in place, grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw the section line that delimits the main body of the icon from the flip cover segment, using #423b3b as your fill color.

adding the section delimiter to the pokedex icon

Step 8

Create the main shapes for the flip cover’s hinge by adding a 4 x 88 px rectangle (#ff6b57) with a 4 px outline (#423b3b) towards the bottom-right section of the device’s main outline.

creating the main shapes for the pokedexs flip cover

Step 9

Add some details to the hinge by drawing two 4 x 4 px rectangles (#423b3b) and positioning one on each side of the red shape.

Once you’ve added them, select all the hinge’s composing elements and group them using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the little detail lines to the pokedexs hinge

Step 10

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw the little right-facing arrow (#423b3b) and position it towards the center of the device’s flip cover.

adding the little right facing arrow to the pokedex icon

Step 11

Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool and create a 28 x 2 px shape (#d96151) with a 1 px Corner Radius, and then give it a 2 px outline (#423b3b), grouping (Control-G) and positioning the two shapes towards the lower section of the flip cover.

adding the small insertion to the pokedex flip cover

Step 12

Since at this point we’re pretty much done working on the icon’s composing sections, we can start adding the rest of the highlights and shadows. That being said, take your time and add details where you feel they are needed, and when you’re done, select and group all the icon’s elements together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

pokedex icon finished

6. Create the Incubator Icon

As always, make sure you’re on the right layer, and then zoom in on its reference grid so that you can have a clear view of what you’re doing.

Step 1

Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, create a 68 x 32 px shape (#ede2e2) with a 14 px Corner Radius which we will adjust by selecting its bottom Anchor Points using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and removing them using the Delete key.

Once you’ve removed the Anchors, press Control-J to close the path of the resulting shape, and then give it a 4 px outline (#423b3b), aligning it to the upper section of the active drawing area.

creating the top section of the incubator

Step 2

Using the Minus Front method, add a subtle highlight to the upper section of the incubator, using white as your fill color (#FFFFFF) and lowering the Opacity to 80%.

adding the subtle highlight to the upper section of the incubator

Step 3

With the highlight in place, start working on the inner panel by drawing a 28 x 10 px rounded rectangle with a 4 px Corner Radius, which we will color using yellow (#ffb85a) and then give a 2 px outline (#423b3b), positioning the two shapes in the center of the underlying section.

adding the main shapes for the incubators top panel

Step 4

Add the inner section of the panel using a 24 x 6 px rounded rectangle (#423b3b) with a 2 px Corner Radius, and then select all of its three shapes and group them (Control-G).

adding the inner section of the incubators top panel

Step 5

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 68 x 4 px shape (#ffb85a). Give it a 4 px outline (#423b3b) and position the two underneath the larger section of the incubator.

adding the yellow segment to the upper section of the incubator

Step 6

With the Rectangle Tool (M) still selected, create two 80 x 4 px rectangles (#423b3b) and position one towards the top side of the yellow segment’s outline, and another one towards its bottom side.

adding the delimiter lines to the yellow section of the incubator

Step 7

Before we group the composing elements of the yellow section, add another 26 x 2 px rectangle (#423b3b) to its center, aligning it to its bottom side.

finishing off the yellow section of the incubator

Step 8

Create the glass panel by drawing a 60 x 48 px rectangle (#000000) which we will adjust by lowering its Opacity to 14% and then position underneath the yellow section that we’ve just created.

adding the main shape for the incubators glass panel

Step 9

Add a 4 x 48 px rectangle (#423b3b) to the left and right side of the glass panel, which will act as outlines.

adding the outlines to the incubators glass panel

Step 10

Using the Pen Tool (P), create the diagonal reflections for the glass panel, by making sure to leave an all-around 4 px empty space between them and the underlying shape. Use white (#FFFFFF) as your fill color, lowering the Opacity to 60%.

Once you’re done, select all of the glass panel’s composing elements and group them using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the reflections to the incubators glass panel

Step 11

Create the lower section of the incubator by grabbing a copy of the one that we already have (Control-C > Control-F), and flipping it horizontally (right click > Transform > Reflect > Horizontal).

creating the bottom section of the incubator using a copy of the top one

Step 12

Adjust the lower section by removing the panel and the down-facing highlight so that we can add the egg hatching progress indicator.

adjusting the lower section of the incubator

Step 13

Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, create a 10 x 24 px shape with a 4 px Corner Radius which we will color using #423b3b and then position towards the center of the grey shape.

creating the main shape for the incubtors progress indicator

Step 14

Add three 4 x 2 px rectangles positioned 2 px from one another towards the center of the shape that we’ve just created, coloring the first two using green (#92db63) and the last one using red (#ff6b57).

Oh, and don’t forget to select them and the underlying shape and use the Control-G keyboard shortcut to stick them together.

adding the lights to the incubators progress indicator

Step 15

Finish off the icon by adding a couple of highlights and shadows where you feel they are needed, grouping all of its composing elements together (Control-G) afterwards.

incubator icon finished

7. Create the Egg Icon

We are now down to our fourth and last icon, which as you’ll see in a moment is probably the easiest to create due to its simple shape.

That being said, make sure you’re on the last layer, and let’s finish this.

Step 1

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and create an 84 x 84 px circle (#f2f0f0) which we will position towards the bottom section of our reference grid, leaving a 4 px empty gap for its outline.

creating and positioning the main shape for the egg icon

Step 2

Adjust the shape by selecting its top Anchor Point using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and pushing it towards the top by 24 px using either the keyboard or the Move Tool (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > -24 px).

adjusting the main shape of the egg icon

Step 3

Once you’ve made the adjustments to the main shape, you can select it and give it a 4 px thick outline (#423b3b) using the Offset Path method.

adding the outline to the egg icons main shape

Step 4

Add a subtle highlight (color: white; Opacity: 40%) to the upper section of the egg and a shadow (color: black; Opacity: 14%) to its bottom one.

adding the highlight and shadow to the egg icon

Step 5

Finish off the icon by adding the little color spots using two circles (#9fb77d), which you will distort by pushing some of their Anchor Points towards the outside, and then give them the same 4 px outline (#423b3b) that we’ve used for most of our shapes.

Once you’ve created the spots, select and group all of the icon’s elements together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

egg icon finished

Hooray! We Got Them All!

There you have it, a nice and easy tutorial on how to create your very own Pokémon themed icon set using some of Illustrator’s most basic shapes and tools.

I hope you’ve found the steps easy to approach and most importantly learned a trick or two along the way.

all icons finished
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