# How to Create a Summer-Themed Icon Pack in Adobe Illustrator

Read Time: 16 min

Since summer is already upon us, I thought it would be nice to treat you to a little icon tutorial using some of the most common accessories that you would normally bring with you on vacation. As always, we’ll be creating each and every asset using basic geometric shapes and tools, so if you’re new to Adobe Illustrator, this will be a really good exercise.

Oh, and before I forget, you can always expand the pack by heading over to GraphicRiver, where you’ll find a great selection of summer-themed icons.

That being said, grab a cup of that mint iced tea, and let’s jump into it.

## 1. How to Set Up a New Project File

Since I’m hoping you already have Illustrator up and running in the background, bring it up and let’s set up a New Document (File > New or Control-N) using the following settings:

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

And from the Advanced tab:

• Color Mode: RGB
• Raster Effects: Screen (72ppi)
• Preview Mode: Default

## 2. How to Set Up a Custom Grid

Since we’re going to be creating the icons using a pixel-perfect workflow, we’ll want to set up a nice little Grid so that we can have full control over our shapes.

### Step 1

Go to the Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid submenu, and adjust the following settings:

• Gridline every: 1 px
• Subdivisions: 1

Quick tip: you can learn more about grids by reading this in-depth piece on How Illustrator’s Grid System Works.

### Step 2

Once we’ve set up our custom grid, all we need to do in order to make sure our shapes look crisp is enable the Snap to Grid and Snap to Pixel options found under the View menu.

Now, if you’re new to the whole “pixel-perfect workflow”, I strongly recommend you go through my How to Create Pixel-Perfect Artwork tutorial, which will help you widen your technical skills in no time.

## 3. How to Set Up the Layers

With the New Document created, it would be a good idea to structure our project using a couple of layers, since this way we can maintain a steady workflow by focusing on one icon at a time.

That being said, bring up the Layers panel, and create a total of five layers, which we will rename as follows:

• layer 1: reference grids
• layer 2: sunglasses
• layer 3: sun cream
• layer 4: inflatable ring
• layer 5: shell

## 4. How to 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 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, which is a fairly large one.

### Step 1

Start by locking all but the “reference grids” layer, and then grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 128 x 128 px orange (#F15A24) square, which will help define the overall size of our icons.

### Step 2

Add a smaller 120 x 120 px one (#FFFFFF) which we will position on top of the previous shape, since it will act as our active drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4 px padding to work with.

### Step 3

Select and group the two squares together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, center aligning them to the underlying Artboard afterwards. Create the remaining grids using three copies (Control-C > Control-F three times) at a horizontal distance of 40 px from the original, locking the current layer before moving on to the next section.

## 5. How to Create the Sunglasses Icon

Assuming you’ve finished creating the little reference grids, move on up to the next layer (that would be the second one) and let’s kick off the project by creating our first icon.

### Step 1

Start working on the glasses left section by creating the lens using a 48 x 44 px ellipse, which we will color using #FF8C69, and then position at a distance of 6 px from the active drawing area’s left edge and 8 px from its top one.

### Step 2

Adjust the shape of the rectangle by setting the Radius of all but its top-right corner to 22 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

### Step 3

Give the resulting shape an outline using the Stroke method, by creating a copy of it (Control-C), which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by first changing its color to #3D2F2C. Flip the copy’s Fill with its Stroke (Shift-X), making sure to set its Weight to 4 px. Once you’re done, select and group both shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut before moving on to the next step.

### Step 4

Start working on the left end piece, by creating a 12 x 4 px rounded rectangle (#3D2F2C) with a 2 px Corner Radius, which we will align to the active drawing area’s left edge, positioning it at a distance of 16 px from its top edge.

### Step 5

Create another smaller 8 x 4 px rectangle (#3D2F2C), which we will align to the previous shape’s right edge, positioning so that it ends up overlapping its top half. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) the two together before moving on to the next step.

### Step 6

Select the shapes that we’ve just grouped and then position them underneath the larger lens by right clicking > Arrange > Send to Back.

### Step 7

Finish off the left lens, by adding a 20 x 4 px rectangle (#3D2F2C) on top of its larger outline, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from its right edge. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the current section’s shapes together before moving on to the next step.

### Step 8

Create the right lens using a copy of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will vertically reflect (right click > Transform > Reflect > Vertical) and then position onto the opposite side of the underlying active drawing area.

### Step 9

Link the two lenses using a 40 x 4 px rectangle (#3D2F2C), which we will center align to the active drawing area’s top edge.

### Step 10

Create the smaller bridge sections using two 12 px wide 4 px thick Stroke lines (#3D2F2C), which we will vertically stack at a distance of 2 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then aligning them to the lenses’ top edge.

### Step 11

Create the nose section using a 12 x 12 px circle with a 4 px thick Stroke (#3D2F2C), which we will position below the smaller bridges, at a distance of just 2 px.

### Step 12

Adjust the shape of the circle that we’ve just created, by selecting its bottom anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then removing it by pressing Delete. Since we’re pretty much done working on the actual glasses, select all their composing sections and group (Control-G) them together before moving on to the next step.

### Step 13

Add the left string section using a 12 x 88 px rectangle with a 4 px thick Stroke (#3D2F2C), which we will align to the active drawing area’s bottom edge, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from its left one.

### Step 14

Adjust the string’s bottom section by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 6 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties. Once you’re done, don’t forget to position the resulting shape underneath the glasses (right click > Arrange > Send to Back) before moving on to the next step.

### Step 15

Create the right string section using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will position onto the opposite side of the glasses, maintaining the same 4 px gap between it and the active drawing area’s right edge.

### Step 16

Finish off the icon by adding the center string section using a 12 px wide 4 px thick Stroke line (#3D2F2C), which we will position below the nose section, at a distance of 8 px from its upper arch. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the icon’s composing sections together, before moving on to the next one.

## 6. How to Create the Sun Cream Icon

Assuming you’ve finished working on the first icon, lock its layer and then move on up to the next one (that would be the third one) where we’ll start working on our second summer item.

### Step 1

Create the sun cream’s cap using a 40 x 14 px rectangle (#89DBCC) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 4 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), grouping (Control-G) and then center aligning the two to the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

### Step 2

Add the little insertion using a 12 x 6 px rectangle (#3D2F2C), which we will center align to the cap’s top edge, making sure to select and group them together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

### Step 3

Create the neck section using a 40 x 8 px rectangle (#FF8C69) with a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), which we will group (Control-G) and then position on top of the previously grouped shapes.

### Step 4

Start working on the bottle’s main body by creating a 40 x 8 px rectangle (#C5EFE7), which we will position on top of the neck section. Add a slightly wider 56 x 8 px one (#C5EFE7), which we will position at a distance of 8 px from the active drawing area’s top edge.

### Step 5

Open up the two rectangles’ paths by adding an anchor point to the center of their inner facing edges using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), and then removing them by selecting them using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and immediately pressing Delete.

### Step 6

Unite the two paths into a single larger shape by selecting them and then pressing the Control-J keyboard shortcut twice.

### Step 7

Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), selecting and grouping the two together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

### Step 8

Start adding details to the bottle by creating the two dummy text lines using a 16 x 4 px rectangle (#3D2F2C) vertically stacked at a distance of 4 px from a slightly wider 20 x 4 px one (#3D2F2C). Group (Control-G) the two, and then center align them to current section’s bottom edge, positioning them 10 px above it.

### Step 9

Create the little sun using a 16 x 16 px circle (#FFCF6E) with a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), which we will group (Control-G) and then position above the two text lines, at a distance of 18 px.

### Step 10

Take your time, and draw in the little sunrays using eight 4 px thick Stroke lines (#3D2F2C) with a Round Cap, which we will position at a distance of 2 px from the sun’s outline. Once you’re done, select both the rays and the sun and group (Control-G) them together before moving on to the next step.

Quick tip: for this step, I strongly recommend you switch over to Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y) in order to have full control over the positioning of your anchor points.

### Step 11

Add the horizontal detail line using a 56 px wide 4 px thick Stroke (#3D2F2C), which we will position at a distance of 4 px from the bottle’s top edge.

### Step 12

Create the vertical insertions using six 4 x 4 px squares (#3D2F2C) vertically stacked at 4 px from one another, which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the bottle’s top edge. Once you’re done, select and group all of the current section’s composing shapes together before moving on to the next step.

### Step 13

Finish off the bottle, and with it the icon itself, by adding a 56 x 6 px rectangle (#FFCF6E) with a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the active drawing area’s top edge. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the icon’s composing sections together, before moving on to the next one.

## 7. How to Create the Inflatable Ring Icon

Make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the fourth one) and then zoom in on our third reference grid so that we can start working on our next icon.

### Step 1

Create the float’s bottom section using a 104 x 104 px rounded rectangle (#89DBCC) with a 16 px Corner Radius, which we will position to the center of the underlying active drawing area.

### Step 2

Create the circular cutout using a 40 x 40 px circle (highlighted with red), which we will position in the center of the larger shape and then remove using Pathfinder’s Minus Front Shape Mode.

### Step 3

Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), selecting and grouping (Control-G) the two together before moving on to the next step.

### Step 4

Create the float’s front section using a 116 x 116 px circle which we will color using #9D93E5, and then center align to the previously grouped shapes.

### Step 5

Add the circular cutout using a 52 x 52 px circle (highlighted with red) which we will remove from its larger body using Pathfinder’s Minus Front Shape Mode.

### Step 6

Start working on the top trapezoid by creating a 32 x 40 px rectangle (#FFCF6E), which we position in the center of the reference grid’s top edge, and then adjust by individually selecting and pushing its bottom anchor points to the inside by a distance of 10 px using the Move Tool (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > + / - 10 px depending on which side you start with).

### Step 7

Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), selecting and then grouping the two together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

### Step 8

Create the bottom trapezoid using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will horizontally reflect (right click > Transform > Reflect > Horizontal) and then align to the bottom edge of the underlying reference grid.

### Step 9

Add the left and right trapezoids by creating a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the ones that we already have, which we will rotate 90º using the Rotate tool (right click > Transform > Rotate > 90º).

### Step 10

Take a couple of moments and add the little cheetah black spots (#3D2F2C) to each of the trapezoids. Once you’re done, individually select and group (Control-G) each of the four sections together, doing the same for all four of them afterwards.

### Step 11

Mask the trapezoid, using a copy (Control-C) of the float’s front section, which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then turn into a Clipping Mask by selecting it and the shapes that we want to mask and then right click > Make Clipping Mask.

### Step 12

Give the front section a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C) using the Stroke method, making sure to select and group all its composing shapes together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

### Step 13

Finish off the float by creating the little air valve using an 8 x 8 px circle (#89DBCC) with a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), to the center of which we’ll add a smaller 2 x 2 px one (#3D2F2C). Group (Control-G) and position all three shapes onto the inner section’s bottom-right corner, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all of the icon’s composing sections together before moving on to the last one.

## 8. How to Create the Clam Shell Icon

We are now down to our fourth and last icon, so assuming you’ve already positioned yourself onto the right layer (that would be the fifth one), zoom in on its reference grid and let’s finish this.

### Step 1

Start working on the shell’s upper section by creating a 24 x 6 px rectangle (#3D2F2C), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 6 px, center aligning the resulting shape to the active drawing area’s top edge.

### Step 2

Create the umbo section using a 36 x 16 px ellipse (#6CBAAB), which we will adjust by pushing its bottom anchor point downwards by a distance of 8 px using the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > 8 px). Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), grouping (Control-G) and then positioning the two on top of the previous shape as seen in the reference image.

### Step 3

Create another smaller 12 x 8 px ellipse (#3D2F2C), which we will center align to the previous section’s top edge. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all the shapes that we have so far before moving on to the next step.

### Step 4

Start working on the shell’s main body by creating a 92 x 72 px ellipse (#89DBCC), which we will position at a distance of 2 px from the center of the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

### Step 5

Adjust the shape by selecting its top anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then pushing it upwards by a distance of 28 px using the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > -28 px).

### Step 6

Create the shell’s inner section using an 96 x 56 px ellipse (#C5EFE7), which we will position at a distance of 12 px from the larger body’s bottom edge.

### Step 7

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by selecting and pushing its top anchor point upwards by a distance of 32 px using the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > -32 px).

### Step 8

Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), selecting and grouping (Control-G) the two together afterwards.

### Step 9

Create the vertical ring using a 58 x 164 px ellipse with a 4 px thick Stroke (#3D2F2C), which we will adjust by removing its bottom half by selecting and deleting (Delete) its lower anchor point. Once you’re done, position the resulting shape in the center of the inner section’s top edge.

### Step 10

Add the vertical detail line using an 88 px tall 4 px thick Stroke line (#3D2F2C), which we will position in the center of the inner section’s bottom edge.

### Step 11

Select and group (Control-G) all of the inner section’s composing shapes together, masking them afterwards using a copy (Control-C) of the shell’s larger body which we will paste in front (Control-F), and then use as a Clipping Mask (right click > Make Clipping Mask).

### Step 12

Finish off the icon, and with it the whole project, by adding the 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C) to the shell’s main body, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all its composing shapes together afterwards. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the icon’s sections together before using that Control-S keyboard shortcut.

## It’s a Wrap!

There you have it, fellow icon designers, a nice and easy exercise on how to create your very own summer-themed icon pack using the most basic of shapes and tools. I hope you’ve managed to keep up with each and every step, and most importantly learned some new and useful things along the way.