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How to Create a Still Life Illustration of German Food in Adobe Illustrator

This post is part of a series called German Week.
How to Create a Half-Blurred Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator
How to Create a Bauhaus Poster in Adobe InDesign
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

We're honouring the Germany, their language and their culture this week in celebration of the launch of the German version of Envato Elements

In this tutorial, we will create an illustration with delicious German food. All the elements of this illustration are simple, made from basic shapes, which will lead you to quick but awesome results. We’re going to need the Pen Tool a couple of times, but I promise that it won't be that hard.

My family and I lived in Germany for four years, and now that we are in the USA, we miss some hearty German dishes! Envato Market has a beautiful collection of these delicious German meals. Just try not to run to your refrigerator afterwards, as we still need to finish this tutorial! Let’s get to it!

1. Create a Shelf, a Tablecloth, and the Background

Step 1

Start by creating a new document (File > New) with 600 px width and 400 px height. We will first create a shelf where all the foods will be displayed. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a long, narrow rectangle.

creating the shelf

Step 2

Now take the Pen Tool (P). Don't be scared—you will just need to click your artboard five times with this tool. Place the first dot where the number 1 is in the image below. Then move on to the second position, then the third and the fourth. The fifth dot has to be exactly where the first dot is. Change the fill color as shown in the image below.

creating the background

Step 3

Let’s move on to the tablecloth. We will use the Polygon Tool to make a triangle. Take the Polygon Tool and click on your artboard. In the new dialogue window, type 3 Sides with any Radius. Then click OK

Turn the triangle upside down: right-click >Transform > Reflect. In the new dialogue window, check Axis Horizontal and press OK. After that, stretch the triangle and place it on the shelf. We’re going to turn this into a Bavarian-themed tablecloth.

creating the tablecloth

Step 4

Select the triangle from the previous step. Now take a look at the Appearance panel. Click on the tiny triangle in the top-right corner and, in the pop-up menu, select Add New Fill

Now look at the Swatches panel. Go to Swatches > Patterns > Decorative > Decorative_Geometric 1 and select the Diamond Harlequin pattern for this new fill. Set the Opacity to Color Burn. Our Bavarian tablecloth is ready!

creating the pattern of the tablecloth

2. Create a Beer Stein

Step 1

Draw a rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M). While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Arc. In the new dialogue window, adjust the options as you see in the image below—this is our basic glass shape.

creating the glass

Step 2

Go to Object > Path > Offset Path. In the new dialogue window, make Offset -12 px. Make Joins Miter, Miter Limit 4, and press OK. Change the fill color to what you see below. We just filled it up with the beer.

creating the beer

Step 3

Delete the fill color and set the stroke color. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw an ellipse. Then take the Direct Selection Tool (A), and move the left anchor to the right. You will get a handle for our beer stein.

creating the handle of the glass

Place the handle on the side of the glass.

placing the handle on the glass

Step 4

Delete the stroke color and set the fill color. Hit the Rounded Rectangle Tool and draw a long rounded rectangle. While keeping it selected, hold down the Alt and Shift keys together, move it to the right, but not too far. 

Press Control-D once more to move this rounded rectangle again. Go to Effect > Warp > Arc, as we need to warp it a little. In the new dialogue window, adjust the options as you see here:

adding some elements to the glass

Place warped rounded rectangles on the beer stein. Germans call it Maß or Mass (pronounced [mas]), which is the Bavarian word describing the amount of beer in a beer mug, which in modern times is exactly 1 liter (33.8 US fl oz) (from Wikipedia).

placing the elements on the glass

Step 5

Let’s go ahead and place this beer stein on the shelf. It’ll be easier to draw the foam for our beer since we’ve got a colored background. 

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), hold down the Shift key (to draw an even circle) to draw many small circles representing the beer foam. Once you’re finished, take the Rounded Rectangle Tool and add a tiny, long, rounded rectangle to show overflowing of the beer.

creating the foam of the beer

3. Create a Pretzel

Step 1

I’ve always wondered how to draw a pretzel in a simple way. Different people have different ways of drawing the pretzel, but I divided the shape into simple parts, especially for you! So it goes!

First, draw an ellipse with the stroke color from below and no fill color. Then you need to get a sharp bottom anchor point with the help of the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C).

Select the left and right anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and shift them up. You should have a upside-down drop shape.

creating the pretzel

Step 2

Keep this drop shape selected, and while holding the Alt key, shift it to the right. You will get two of the same shape. Notice that they still need to be overlapping. Take the Arc Tool to draw a curve. Place it upside down on the bottom of the two drop shapes.

Now, check Round Cap on the Stroke panel. Draw two small lines using the Line Segment Tool (\) on the bottom part. The simple pretzel shape is ready.

creating the pretzel 2

Step 3

Hold your horses! We need to jazz up our pretzel before we move on. Let’s sprinkle some salt. Add a few tiny beige rectangles over it. Group the whole pretzel (Control-G).

creating the pretzel 3

Place it on the shelf.

placing the pretzel

4. Create a Bavarian Spiral Sausage (Bratwurstschnecke)

Step 1

Since it is a spiral sausage, we will use the Spiral Tool to draw it. 

First, delete the fill color and set the stroke color you see below. Then take this tool and click on your artboard. Enter the following options and click OK. Don't forget to check Round Cap on the Stroke panel. Rotate this shape and adjust the handles of the anchor points to achieve the real shape of the bratwurstschnecke (the German name of this sausage).

creating the bavarian spiral sausage

Step 2

To hold this sausage together, Germans pierce it with a wooden skewer. So let’s delete the stroke color and set the fill color. Draw a long,  narrow rectangle. Make it narrower at the top: move the top-left anchor point to the right, and move the top-right anchor point to the left.

creating the wooden stick

Step 3

Pierce the sausage with the skewer.

piercing the spiral sausage

And place it on the shelf. Hungry, yet? We’re almost there!

placing the bavarian spiral sausage

5. Create the Goose

Step 1

Let’s use a beige ellipse for the body of the goose. By moving the handles of the anchor points, achieve the result you see in the image below. Notice that the bottom and left anchor points remain intact.

creating the goose body

Step 2

Add a small ellipse for the head of the goose. Rotate it a little to the left.

Here comes the next challenging point of the tutorial—another Pen Tool (P) moment for the goose’s neck because he just can't live without it. The top of the neck needs to overlap the head, and the bottom of the neck needs to overlap the body. Notice that when you’re using the Pen Tool (P), you need to stretch the handles of the anchor points, not just click on the artboard as you did at the beginning of the tutorial.

creating the head and neck

Step 3

Let's create a beak for our goose. Create an orange ellipse, and then move the top and bottom anchor points to the left. Move the handles to make this shape sharper, but not pointy.

creating the beak

Step 4

Give the goose a beak. Add a tiny oval for the eye. And of course, brighten up his eyes by adding a white circle.

placing the beak and creating the eye

Step 5

Make a copy of the beak. We’re going to turn this into a tail. Change the fill color: using the Eye Dropper Tool (I), take the color from the body. Place it as the tail of the goose. Let’s make one more copy, but make it a bit smaller. The tail is now ready.

creating the tail

Step 6

For the wing, create two ellipses where the wing should be. The first ellipse is darker (below you can see the fill color) and the second, the top one, is the same fill color as the body. Our goose is done.

creating the wing

6. Create the Traditional Bavarian Hat

Step 1

Start with a green rectangle and add some warp options that you see in the image below. Finish off with an ellipse on the top. You don't need the black stroke on the ellipse—I just marked it to show you where it should be placed.

creating the German hat

Step 2

To create the brim of the hat, we will use a cutout of an ellipse. Cover one half of the newly created green ellipse with any colored rectangle. While keeping both shapes selected, press Minus Front on the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder).

creating the hat 2

Step 3

Combine all the parts belonging to the hat together.

Using the Arc Tool, draw a yellow stroked curve on the hat (without a fill color).

creating the hat 3

Step 4

Here we will create a simple feather which we will add as a decoration to our traditional German hat.

Draw an ellipse with fill color (R=232, G=216, B=175) and no stroke color. Warp it by entering the following options below. Add a long, narrow ellipse over it (fill color R=214, G=196, B=150). Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the left and right anchor points of the new, darker ellipse down. Expand the feather (Object > Expand Appearance).

creating the feather

Step 5

We want to bend the feather for a natural-looking effect. Group the whole thing together (Control-G) and apply the Warp Options you see below. Expand the feather again (Object > Expand Appearance).

creating the feather 2

Place it on the hat but behind the yellow stroke. You can also place the feather, and then put the yellow stroke over it (Control-X, Control-F).

placing the feather

Step 6

Group the hat together and place it on the head of the goose.

placing the hat on the goose

7. Create the Basket

Step 1

Draw a rounded rectangle using the Rounded Rectangle Tool. Cover the upper part of it with a rectangle of any fill color. Press Minus Front in Pathfinder (Window > Pathfinder).

creating the basket

Step 2

Add a long rounded rectangle of a lighter color.

creating the basket 2

Step 3

Delete the fill color, match the stroke color and draw a circle for the handle of the basket. Make the stroke weight very thick on the Stroke panel.

creating the handle for the basket

Step 4

To show a texture of the basket, we can just draw a few lines over it to show the weaving.

creating the texture of the basket

Step 5

And place the goose in the basket!

A little funny story... Once in the middle of the city center in Munich, I spotted an old man in a traditional German outfit. It was pretty evident that was his everyday outfit. And there I saw a very big goose walking near him. It almost looked as though the man had just descended from the Alps and came to the market to sell his goose as if it were the Middle Ages! It was quite a strange and funny sight!

placing the goose in the basket

Awesome Work, You're Done!

Place the basket with the goose on the shelf. We are done!

Yay, we did it! Hope you liked this tutorial, and maybe it even sparked some interest in Germany. Keep posting your results and ask me if you have any questions!

placing the goose in basket on the shelf
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