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How to Create a Stylized Shoes and Clutch Fashion Illustration in Illustrator

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Read Time: 15 mins

In this tutorial I'd like to show you the main principles of my style of drawing which I apply in my fashion illustration. I'll be using Clipping Masks and Blending Modes to produce a styled illustration of shoes and a clutch bag in Adobe Illustrator. Hope you will enjoy it!

Step 1

To begin with I'm going to prepare my file and create the following layers: "Sketch", "White", "Shoe 1", "Shoe 2", "Clutch", and "Colored Sketch".

Step 2

Now I will add my pencil sketch to the layer "Sketch" and set up image's Blending Mode to Multiply and 50% Opacity. Please note that this layer will always be on the top of all of my layers. And I will be drawing everything under it, toggling visibility on and off when needed. This layer will be Locked all the time.

I also will add colored sketch to the corresponding layer in order to remember how I planned to color my illustration, Lock this layer and toggle off it's visibility for now.

Step 3

Next step is to add a simple white .JPG file to the layer "White", set it's Blending Mode to Multiply and Lock the layer. This little trick allows me to grab with the help of Eyedropper Tool (I) the exact color from any place of the image, instead of collecting all characteristics of a definite path.

Step 4

At this stage I'm going to create Swatch palettes for this illustration. First of all I deleted all default swatches except first three.

Now I toggle on visibility of the "Colored Sketch" layer, and start grabbing colors from it with the help of Eyedropper Tool (I). I'm also adding at once lighter and darker shades of the main colors and radial white transparent gradient.

And I also add radial transparent gradients in darker and lighter colors than the main ones.

Step 5

Now it's time to begin drawing. I will start by creating all main shapes for the first leg and clutch – all on their layers. second leg will be created later from the first one, so that we could save some time.

So let's start. The layer "Sketch" and "Colored Sketch" are visible and using Pen Tool (P) and colors from my Swatch panel I'm drawing main shapes. I will be toggling off visibility of the "Sketch Layer" to see how everything is looking and to correct points of the main shapes where necessary.

On this step I decided to resize my colored sketch and move it closer to my image, so that I could see it when scaling my image to bigger size.

You may also see that I correct the shapes in comparison to the sketch, to make them look more neat and sophisticated. When drawing darkest parts it is easier to draw them first in lighter color, so that you could see the sketch, then just color them back to dark shade. Make sure all paths are drawn in the correct order, use Ctrl + [ to send backward or Ctrl + ] to bring forward.

Draw with darker tan back sides of the belts. Select them with Selection Tool (V) and Unite them using Pathfinder panel, then right-click on them > Make Compound Path (Ctrl + 8), and send them to the back of the layer (Ctrl + Shift + [). Now select two belts and also Unite them using the Pathfinder panel, and make Compound Path from them. I colored the ends of the belts in lighter color for now, later I will change their color to the main shade. This is needed just to see where they are.

Almost done with the shoe.

Step 6

I will now correct some bad points to make everything look neat. And have an overall look over the shapes to correct everything to look nice. I also added back side for the blue "tongue" and sent it to the back of the layer (Ctrl + Shift + [).

Step 7

Now I decided to make belts closer to the shoe. I used Add Anchor Point Tool (+) to add two points and then Delete Anchor Tool (-) to delete old two points. Then using the Convert Anchor Tool (Shift + C) corrected the shape. Same procedure will be done to the second belt and then just correct the back sides of the belts accordingly.

I colored the toe and back of shoe to dark grey to see better where the borders of the shapes are, and where those need to be corrected. Once I'm happy with the result – I will recolor them to almost black color again and Unite with the help of Pathfinder panel and then Make Compound Path (Ctrl + 8).

Step 8

Now will make two buckles and holes on the belts. For buckles will use Rounded Rectangle Tool and draw rounded rectangle in light grey color. Then duplicate this one, recolor to any other color, reduce it's size with the help of Free Transform Tool (E) and holding Shift + Ctrl while transforming (that will scale the second rounded rectangle right in the middle of the first). Now select these two shapes and use Pathfinder panel to do Minus Front and Make Compound Path.

Scale the ready buckle using Free Transform Tool (E) to the size required in the illustration and rotate it as needed, then place where it should be. I also corrected the end of the buckle so that it didn't show in the buckle's "window".

To draw the buckle's "tongue" I'm using Rounded Rectangle Tool again. And then put on it's place according to the sketch.

Now let's make few holes in the belt. Draw circle in dark brown color using Ellipse Tool (L). Duplicate the shape. Recolor to brighter shade. Then holding Shift make this brighter copy bigger with the help of Free Transform Tool (E) by dragging the lower left corner of the circle's bounding box and place behind the darker original (Ctrl + [).

Select these two circles and Group them (Ctrl + G). Then press Ctrl + X, you will cut out the group, after that using selection Tool (V) choose the belt and press Ctrl + F – that will paste the hole that we've just made straight in the correct place – under the buckle's "tongue".

Duplicate the hole, place in the left side of belt, and make a Blend out of them (Ctrl + Alt + B). To correct number of holes go to panel Object > Blend > Blend Options and set steps to 2.

Then just correct the blends spine so that it looks more natural.

Now just select the holes and buckle with tongue and duplicate them, then place according to the sketch. Correct everything that needs to be corrected.

Step 9

Now I will draw all the main shapes of the clutch. I slightly moved the colored sketch so that it is now straight under the clutch for the convenience.

I will be drawing on the layer "Clutch", having Locked the layer "Shoe 1". For the main shape and metallic parts of the handle will be using Rounded Rectangle Tool, for buttons – Ellipse Tool (L), for belts – Rectangle Tool (M), for other shapes – Pen Tool (P), buckles and holes will copy from the Shoe. To make the long story short - just draw all the parts of the clutch, checking with the sketch, correct and see whether everything looks nice. You may also notice that I changed the handles of the bag to look closer to a real bag.

Step 10

Now we have one shoe and clutch main shapes drawn, I'm going to begin adding details to them. Like I said in the beginning the second shoe will be done from the finished first one. So I'm going to start with the leg. Switch to layer "Shoe 1" and Lock layer "Clutch". Draw a rectangle of the leg's color and send it to back (Ctrl + Shift + [). Then select the leg and this rectangle with Selection Tool (V) and make Clipping Mask (Ctrl + 7), so that rectangle will be now inside the leg's shape.

Step 11

Now I will add some depth to the leg. For this I will create a shape with the help of Pen Tool (P) and in the color of the leg, with 100% Opacity. Then duplicate this shape, transform it with the help of Free Transform Tool (E) holding Shift, recolor this shape to lighter tan color and make it's Opacity 50%.

Now select these two shapes and make Blend (Ctrl + B). Then go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and set steps to 20 (in this tutorial almost all highlight and shadow blends will consist of 20 steps).

I decided to correct shapes a little to make them follow leg's shape and changed inners path Opacity to 70%.

Step 12

Now I will add some shadows from the shoe on the leg. For this I will draw a shape repeating the edge of the shoe with the help of Pen Tool (P). It will be in darker tan color and I will set it's Blending Mode to Multiply with Opacity 70%.

Step 13

At this step I will choose Blend I created in Step 9 and this shadow and press Ctrl+ X, then using Direct Selection Tool (A) I select the rectangle within the leg and press Ctrl + F – thus pasting Blend and shadow within leg's Clipping Mask.

Done with the leg!

Step 14

Now I will make a Clipping Mask (Ctrl + 7) for the grey part of the shoe as described previously. Then will do the stitching on it using Stroke.

Also make Clipping Masks for black and blue parts of the shoe (Ctrl + 7).

Step 15

Now I will add shadows on grey part of the shoe. For that just use Pen Tool (P) and radial transparent gradient of darker grey color, Blending Mode Multiply Opacity 100%.

And these shadows together with the blue stitching should be placed inside the grey's part Clipping Mask.

Step 16

Draw the grey stitching and place them within the black parts' Clipping Mask. Don't forget to Expand the strokes!

Step 17

Begin to work out the blue part of the shoe. First do the stitching. Then add some shadows.

These will add some volume to this area. I'm using transparent radial gradient in darker blue shade.

Step 18

Add the white shape on the edge of the shoe to show this part is not flat, but has some thickness. Set this shape's Blending Mode to Overlay, Opacity 40% (last may be varied to your taste).

Make some highlighting shapes.

Then add more bold highlights.

Then add them to a Clipping Mask (Ctrl + 7) for the tongue.

Step 19

Then I decided to add some more highlights.

Step 20

Draw white shape on the grey part's top edge and place it within the grey part's clipping mask.

This is how everything should look by now.

Step 21

Now I will create a Blend to highlight the middle of the shoe.

This Blend I will duplicate and place one within the grey part's Clipping Mask, and another one – within the black part's Clipping Mask, with only difference – will reduce Opacity of the inner shape in the Blend to 50%.

Step 22

Make shadows from the belts on grey and blue parts. Don't forget to place new shapes within the corresponding Clipping Masks.

Decided to reduce the Opacity to 40%.

Step 23

Now I will add some highlight in the bottom of the shoe. This shape will also be duplicated and placed in both grey and black parts' Clipping Masks.

But for black parts will reduce the Opacity to 50% and transform the gradient.

Step 24

Add some more highlights on black and grey parts, using the Pen Tool (P) and white round transparent gradients, playing around with Opacity where applicable.

Step 25

Draw the shape in white transparent radial gradient to add some gloss to the sole.

Now duplicate the black sole shape, select newly created shape and the copy of the sole, and using Pathfinder panel Intersect those two shapes. Follow the changes in the Opacity.

Duplicate the new shape and draw some free shape above, then again using Pathfinder panel select those two and do Minus Front.

Step 26

Now duplicate the black part of the shoe twice and the second shape move slightly down, select these two shapes and do Minus Front using the Pathfinder panel.

Then add some highlights with transparent white radial gradient.

Step 27

Draw the yellow bottom of the sole. It will go straight to the heel.

Step 28

Make a Clipping Mask for the blue platform. Now let's make some shadows.

And some highlights.

Do shadows from the shoe onto the platform.

And place everything within the Clipping Mask.

Step 29

Now I will do the heel tap. For this I duplicate the heel's two shapes, and recolor them accordingly.

Then draw the new shape as depicted below, duplicate it and then using Pathfinder panel do Minus Front for both outer and inner parts of the heel.

Step 30

Now let's make some highlights and shadows for both outer and inner parts of the heel. First I make the highlights on the outer yellow side of the heel.

And now I will add shadows to the inner blue part of the heel. Duplicate the shape, set it's color to a darker transparent radial gradient and Blending Mode Multiply. Then duplicate the shape once again, color should be solid blue, draw some new shape, then select these two shapes and do Minus Front, using Pathfinder panel.

This is how it should look. I changed it's Opacity to 50%.

And do the same for the heel tap. Here I duplicated the outer shape of it, recolored with transparent darker grey gradient and set Blending Mode to Multiply. And then did come highlighting by duplicating heel tap's shape once again and recolored it to white and set it's Blending Mode to Overlay and 50% Opacity, then modified it's shape using Convert Anchor Point Tool.

Step 31

Now it's time to do the belts. First I created Clipping Mask for them.

And then created few shapes for shadows and highlights, and put them into the Clipping Mask.

Step 32

And on this step I will add some thickness to the belt by creating line on the top edge of the belts. To grab color I toggled on visibility of the "White" layer and using Eyedropper Tool (I) picked the color from the bright yellow part of the highlighted belt.

I also did this for the back of the belts. And I also changed color of the lower shape of the holes – to white, Overlay and 80% Opacity.

Step 33

Same steps I did for the "tongues" of the belts.

Step 34

Let's make the shadow from the "tongues" of the belts on the black parts of the shoe, and then place them within the Clipping Mask.

Step 35

I added some extra touch on the highlighting of the heel.

Step 36

And now let's finally do the buckles. First I colored them with linear grey and white gradient

Then duplicate the buckles recolor them to white, go to Effect > Path > Offset Path and set offset as depicted (or you may try your own number), then Object > Expand.

Set Blending Mode of the newly created shapes to Overlay.

Now duplicate these shapes, draw over them some new shapes as depicted.

Select these new shapes and do Minus Front for both buckles.

The first leg is done!

Step 37

And now let's do the second leg. For this just copy the first one and place it on the layer "Shoe2".

Rotate the leg according to the sketch.

Step 38

Now I need to delete all unnecessary elements and correct everything that needs to be corrected.

Step 39

Add some final touches on both shoes.

Step 40

And now I will correct the heel's inner part.

Check with the sketch and modify the shape accordingly.

And then I did some shadows on it just like I did in step 30.

Step 41

Now bring the yellow stitching upwards and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Mesh and set the Rows and Columns.

Then just modify the shape of the stitching using Direct Selection Tool (A), then Expand the stitching.

And finally place the stitching within the Clipping Mask again.

Step 42

Now I will create Opacity Mask for the second leg. For this Double-click in the Transparency panel on the place beside the leg preview, so that the black square appears.

Draw a rectangle there and set it's color to linear gradient from white to black, the black in this case will mask the edge of the leg. Click on the leg's preview to exit Opacity Mask.

Done with the shoes and legs!

Step 43

And finally let's draw the clutch. First I selected a pattern for it – I choose plaid I created recently, and colored it according to the main colors of the illustration.

And then just put it within the grey's part Clipping Mask.

Then I duplicated the layer to make it look brighter (vertical and horizontal lines have different Blending Modes).

Step 44

And now I will do all the same steps I did for shoes for the clutch.

I'll be using Blends to create soft highlights and shadows, and radial transparent gradients for more intense effect.

What can I say more – just DETAILIZE IT! :)

Step 45

And finally just add some shadows from all objects on the floor, using Blends.


That's it. I do hope it was interesting to read this, and that something from this tutorial will be of use for you in your works!

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