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Design

How to Create a Toronto Skyline Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In today’s tutorial we’re going to step away from the regular program and tackle something new for a change. We’re going to get our architecture hats on and build the Toronto skyline, using some of the most basic shapes and tools that we’ve been working with lately.

So grab a cup of that special coffee blend, and let’s get started!

Oh, and before I forget, you can always expand the project by checking out GraphicRiver where you can find tons of inspiring skyline illustrations just waiting to be clicked on.

1. How to Set Up a New Project File

Since I’m assuming 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) for our project using the following settings:

  • Number of Artboards: 1
  • Width: 1200 px
  • Height: 600 px
  • Units: Pixels

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color Mode: RGB
  • Raster Effects: Screen (72ppi)
  • Preview Mode: Default
setting up a new document

Quick tip: some of you might have noticed that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid option is missing. That's because I’m running the new CC 2017 version of the software, where great changes have been made to the way Illustrator handles the way shapes snap to the underlying Pixel Grid.

2. How to Set Up a Custom Grid

Now, I know we’re not working on icons today, but since we’re going to be creating the illustration 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
setting up a custom grid

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 option found under the View menu, which will transform into Snap to Pixel each time you enter Pixel Preview mode.

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

Once we’ve finished setting up our project file, it would be a good idea to structure our document using some layers, since this way we can maintain a steady workflow by focusing on one section at a time.

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

  • layer 1: background
  • layer 2: frame
  • layer 3: foreground line
  • layer 4: buildings
  • layer 5: water lines
  • layer 6: sky lines
setting up the layers

4. How to Create the Frame

As you’ve probably already noticed, our little city is perfectly framed inside a fairly large rectangle, which we will use in a similar way to how we would normally use a reference grid, since we’re going to position our shapes in relation to its outer edges, in order to reconstruct the composition.

Step 1

Let’s kick off the project by first making sure that we’re on the right layer (that would be the second one) and then creating the main shape for our frame using a 1120 x 520 px rectangle, which we will color using #282020 and then center align to our Artboard.

creating and positioning the main shape for the illustrations frame

Step 2

Turn the shape that we’ve just created into an outline by pressing Shift-X and then setting its Stroke’s Weight to 8 px, making sure to lock its layer once you’re done.

turning the illustrations frame into an outline

5. How to Create the Foreground Line

Before we start, make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the third one) and then zoom in on its bottom-left corner so you can have a better view of what you’re going to be creating.

Step 1

Create the foreground’s smaller line segment using a 36 px wide 8 px thick Stroke (#282020), which we will position at a distance of 84 px from the frame’s left edge and 50 px from its bottom one.

creating and positioning the main shape for the foregrounds smaller line segment

Step 2

Create the larger line segment using a 900 px wide 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position on the right side of the one that we’ve just created, at a distance of 8 px.

Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) both line segments together, locking their layer afterwards.

creating and positioning the foregrounds larger line segment

6. How to Create the First Building

Our next step is to start working on the little buildings that make up our skyline. That being said, make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the fourth one), and then zoom in onto the Artboard’s bottom-left corner so that we can get started.

Step 1

Create the main shape for the first building using 48 x 106 px rectangle (#282020), which we will turn into an outline by flipping its Fill with its Stroke (Shift-X) and then setting its Weight to 8 px. Position the resulting shape on the larger foreground line segment, at a distance of 24 px from its left edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the illustrations first building

Step 2

Start adding details to the building by creating two 16 x 10 px rectangles with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020), which we will bottom align to each of its corners, making sure their strokes end up overlapping each other.

creating and positioning the bottom sections for the illustrations first building

Step 3

Add the windows using seven 48 px wide 8 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) which we will vertically stack at a distance of 12 px from one another. Once you’re done, group the lines (Control-G) and then horizontal center align them to the building’s upper section.

Before you move on, select and group (Control-G) all the shapes that we have so far to separate the building’s different sections.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the first buildings windows

Step 4

Create the rooftop using a 32 x 12 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position on top of the building’s outline, making sure to center align it to the larger group.

creating and positioning the main shape for the first buildings roof

Step 5

Start adding details to the roof by creating a 14 x 12 px rectangle (#282020) which we will position over its outline’s upper half, aligning it to its left edge afterwards.

creating and positioning the main shape for the left section of the first buildings roof

Step 6

Create and position a 6 x 4 px rectangle (#282020) on top of the shape that we’ve created in the previous step, aligning it to its right edge, making sure to group (Control-G) them together afterwards.

creating and positioning the second detail shape onto the first buildings roof

Step 7

Finish off the roof by creating a 10 x 8 px rectangle (#282020) which we will position on top of the roof’s outline, aligning it to its right edge. Once you’re done, select and group all of the roof’s composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

creating and positioning the main shape for the right section of the first buildings roof

Step 8

Since we’re pretty much done working on the first building, we can now select all of its composing sections and group them either by using the Control-G keyboard shortcut or by right clicking > Group.

selecting and grouping all of the first buildings composing sections together

7. How to Create the Second Building (the SkyDome)

Move a few pixels towards the right, and then let’s start working on the second building, which is the iconic SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) that Toronto is known for.

Step 1

Start working on the dome’s center section by creating a 224 x 56 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position onto the foreground detail line, at a distance of 64 px from the first building.

creating and positioning the main shape for the sky domes center section

Step 2

Create the frame for the centered set of windows, using a 48 x 20 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will center align to the larger shape’s base.

creating and positioning the main shape for the domes center window frame

Step 3

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw two 20 px tall 8 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) which we will position 16 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then center aligning them to the frame afterwards.

adding the vertical divider lines to the domes center window frame

Step 4

Finish off the center window frame by drawing a 48 px wide 4 px thick Stroke line (#282020) which we will align to its center, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all its composing shapes afterwards.

adding the horizontal divider line to the domes center window frame

Step 5

Create two copies (Control-C > Control-F x 2) of the windows set that we’ve just finished working on, and position one on each side of the dome, at a distance of 24 px from the original.

creating and positioning the remaining window frames onto the dome

Step 6

Start working on the dome’s top window row, by creating the frame using a 224 x 12 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will center align to its main body, at a distance of 4 px from the windows that we’ve just finished working on.

creating and positioning the main shape for the domes top window frame

Step 7

Create the windows using nine 12 px tall 8 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) which we will position 24 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then center aligning them to the larger frame.

Once you’re done, select both the frame and the vertical stroke lines that we’ve just created and group (Control-G) those and the entire front section of the dome together as well.

creating and positioning the vertical divider lines for the domes top window frame

Step 8

Start working on the building’s left section by creating a 38 x 76 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position on its side, so that their paths overlap.

creating and positioning the main shape for the domes left section

Step 9

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by first turning on Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y) and then adding two new anchor points to its path, one at a distance of 12 px from its left edge, followed by another one at just 8 px.

Then, select the two top-right anchor points and push them to the bottom by 8 px (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > 8 px).

adjusting the upper shape of the domes left section

Step 10

Start adding details to the resulting shape by creating three 38 px wide 4 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) which we will vertically stack 6 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then center aligning them to the bottom edge of the larger shape, at a distance of just 4 px.

adding the horizontal detail lines to the domes left section

Step 11

Create another set of two 38 px wide 4 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) which we will vertically stack at a distance of 10 px from one another, positioning them above the previous lines at a distance of 4 px.

adding the second set of horizontal detail lines to the domes left section

Step 12

Add an 8 x 10 px rectangle (#282020) between the two lines that we’ve just created, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from the section’s larger outline, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all three shapes together afterwards.

adding the small insertion to the domes left side section

Step 13

Create a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the shapes that we’ve just grouped, and then vertically position it at a distance of 8 px from the original, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all of the side section's composing shapes afterwards.

adding the third set of details to the domes left side section

Step 14

Create the building’s right side section using a copy of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will position so that the paths overlap, making sure to vertically reflect it afterwards (right click > Transform > Reflect > Vertical).

adding the right side section to the domes body

Step 15

Start working on the dome’s roof by creating a 224 x 80 px ellipse with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020), which we will center align to the dome so that its outer anchor points overlap those of the building’s side sections.

creating and positioning the main shape for the inner section of the domes roof

Step 16

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by pinching its side anchor points with the help of the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C), cutting it in half afterwards by selecting its bottom anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then removing it by pressing Delete.

adjusting the inner section of the domes roof

Step 17

Create the outer section of the roof, using a 276 x 108 px ellipse with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position over the dome, so that its outer anchor points overlap the top ones of the building’s side sections.

creating and positioning the main shape for the outer section of the domes roof

Step 18

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created using the same process of pinching its side anchor points and then selecting and removing its bottom half, so that in the end you have a nice bolted roof.

adjusting the outer section of the domes roof

Step 19

Start working on the roof’s arches by creating a 48 x 104 px ellipse with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020), which we will cut in half by selecting and then removing its bottom anchor point (Delete). Once you’re done, center align the resulting shape to the roof’s inner section, positioning it so that their paths overlap.

adding the first arch line to the domes roof

Step 20

Add the second arch line using a 128 x 104 px ellipse with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will adjust by removing its bottom half, center aligning the resulting shape to the previously created arch.

adding the second arch line to the domes roof

Step 21

Create the third and last arch line using a 196 x 104 px ellipse with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020), which we will adjust by removing its bottom half and then center aligning the resulting shape to the previously created shape.

adding the third arch line to the domes roof

Step 22

Finish off the roof, and with it the dome itself, by adding a couple of 4 x 8 px rectangles (#282020) to the center of the arches that we’ve just created. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the roof’s composing shapes together, doing the same for the entire building afterwards.

adding the little detail rectangles to the domes roof

8. How to Create the Third Building

Once we’ve finished working on the dome, we can start working on the background building from behind its left side.

Step 1

Create the building’s main body using a 32 x 126 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020), which we will position over the dome's left section, so that their paths end up overlapping.

creating and positioning the main shape for the third building

Step 2

Since we need the building to sit behind the dome, we’ll have to adjust the shape that we’ve just created by adding a new anchor point to the center of its stroke’s bottom edge, which we will then remove by pressing Delete. Then, simply select and drag its bottom anchor points to the top, until they end up overlapping the roof’s outer section.

adjusting the main shape of the illustrations third building

Step 3

Add the windows using two 4 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) vertically stacked at a distance of 8 px from one another, which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the building, at a distance of 4 px from its top edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the third buildings windows

Step 4 

Create the antenna using a 16 px tall 4 px thick Stroke line (#282020) which we will position onto the left side of the building’s roof.

creating and positioning the main shape for the third buildings antenna

Step 5

Finish off the building by adding a 10 x 8 px rectangle (#282020) to the right side of its roof, selecting and grouping all its composing shapes together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

finishing off the third building

9. How to Create the Fourth Building

Move on to the right side of the dome, and let’s start working on our fourth building, which can be seen behind it.

Step 1

Create the building’s main body using a 48 x 92 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020), which we will position behind the dome’s right section, making sure to adjust its left side so that its paths don’t obscure the shapes sitting in front of it.

adjusting the shape of the illustrations fourth building

Step 2

Add the windows using five 40 px wide 8 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) stacked vertically 16 px from one another, which we will group (Control-G) and then position in the center of the front section of the building, at a distance of 8 px from its top edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the fourth buildings windows

Step 3

Create the roof using a 28 x 12 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position on top of the main building, aligning it to its left edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the fourth buildings roof

Step 4

Finish off the roof, and with it the building itself, by adding a 14 x 8 px rectangle (#282020) on its right side, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all its composing shapes together. Once you’re done, do the same for the entire building so that in case you move it, you won’t have shapes left behind.

finishing off the fourth building

10. How to Create the Fifth Building (the CN Tower)

The next building that we are going to recreate is the iconic CN Tower, which is one of the world’s tallest free-standing structures ever made.

Step 1

Start working on the tower’s base by creating a 36 x 260 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position on the right side of the building that we’ve just finished working on, at a distance of 40 px.

creating and positioning the main shape for the cn towers base

Step 2

Start adjusting the shape by first turning on Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y), and then adding a new anchor to each of its sides at a distance of 88 px from its top edge, using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+).

adjusting the main shape of the cn towers base

Step 3

Turn off Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y) and then adjust the shape by individually selecting its bottom anchor points, and then pushing them to the outside by 26 px (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > + / - 26 px depending on which side you start with).

adjusting the base of the cn tower

Step 4

Take a few moments and adjust the curvature of the tower’s leg base by clicking on its center anchor points and then dragging and repositioning its handles’ end points to the bottom, at a distance of 116 px.

adjusting the curvature of the cn towers base

Step 5

Create the frame holding the windows, using a 12 x 244 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will center align to its bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the cn towers lower window frame

Step 6

Add the windows by creating 29 lines that are 12 px wide and have a 4 px thick Stroke (#282020), which we will vertically stack 8 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then center aligning them to the frame that we created in the previous step. Also, since we’re pretty much done working on this section of the building, don’t forget to select and group (Control-G) all its composing shapes as well.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the cn towers lower windows

Step 7

Start working on the sky pod by creating its lower section using a 72 x 12 px rounded rectangle with a 6 px Corner Radius and an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020), which we will position on top of the tower’s base, center aligning it to the larger shape.

creating and positioning the main shape for the cn towers lower sky pod section

Step 8

Create the pod’s main section using a 68 x 26 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020), which we will position on top of the previously created shape, making sure to center align it.

creating and positioning the main shape for the center section of the cn towers sky pod

Step 9

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by first turning on Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y) and then adding two new side anchor points at a distance of 16 px from its top edge, individually selecting and pushing its bottom ones to the inside by 4 px (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > + / - 4 px depending on which side you start with).

adjusting the shape of the sky pods main section

Step 10

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw a 68 px wide 8 px thick Stroke line (#282020) which we will center align to the shape that we’ve just adjusted, positioning it at a distance of 8 px from its top edge.

adding the horizontal divider line to the sky pods main section

Step 11

Next, create four 10 px tall 4 px thick vertical detail lines (#282020), which we will position 16 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then center aligning them to the lower section created by the horizontal divider from the previous step.

adding the vertical dividers to the lower section of the sky pods main body

Step 12

Double-click on the dividers to enter Isolation Mode, and then individually select and adjust the first and last lines by pushing their bottom anchor points to the inside by 4 px (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > + / - 4 px depending on which side you start with).

adjusting the vertical divider lines of the sky pods lower section

Step 13

Create a 68 px wide 4 px thick Stroke line (#282020), which we will center align to the empty space created by the pod’s thicker horizontal divider.

adding the thinner horizontal divider line to the sky pods main section

Step 14

Finish off this section of the pod by creating seven 8 px tall 4 px thick Stroke lines (#282020), which we will position 8 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then center aligning them to the upper edge. Once you’re done, select and group all of the pod’s composing shapes using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the vertical divider lines to the upper section of the sky pods main section

Step 15

Start working on the roof by creating a 60 x 10 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position on top of the sky pod and then adjust by individually selecting and pushing its top anchor points to the inside by 4 px.

creating and positioning the main shape for the sky pods upper section

Step 16

Create a smaller 52 x 10 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) and position it over the shape that we’ve just adjusted, making sure to center align the two to one another.

creating and positioning the center section of the sky pods upper body

Step 17

Create an 8 x 8 px square (#282020) which we will position over the sky pod’s roof, making sure to align it to its left edge. Once you’re done, select and group all of the roof’s composing shapes using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the detail rectangle to the sky pods roof

Step 18

Start working on the tower’s upper section by creating a 20 x 16 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position on top of the sky pod’s roof.

creating and positioning the main shape for the cn towers upper section

Step 19

Create a 12 x 48 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position on top of the previously created shape. Then, add an 8 x 6 px rectangle (#282020) onto each of its sides, positioning them at a distance of 8 px from the wider section, grouping (Control-G) them together afterwards.

adding the center section to the cn towers upper body

Step 20

Create the space deck using a 28 x 10 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position on top of the tower’s upper section.

creating and positioning the main shape for the cn towers space deck

Step 21

Start working on the antenna by creating a 12 x 28 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position on top of the space deck that we’ve just created. Add a 32 px tall 8 px thick Stroke line (#282020) on top of it, and then group the two (Control-G), doing the same for the current section and the entire tower afterwards.

finishing off the cn tower building

11. How to Create the Sixth Building

Assuming you’ve managed to finish the CN Tower, move a few pixels to its right, and then let’s start working on the building next to it.

Step 1

Start by creating its main body using a 60 x 144 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position onto the right side of the tower, at a distance of 14 px.

creating and positioning the main shape for the sixth building

Step 2

Create the building’s front section using a 28 x 144 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will center align to its main body.

creating and positioning the main shape for the sixth buildings front section

Step 3

Add the front section’s windows by creating sixteen 28 px wide 4 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) stacked vertically 8 px from one another, which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to it, at a distance of 4 px from its top edge. Once you have them in place, select them along with the building’s front section and group (Control-G) those as well.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the sixth buildings front section windows

Step 4

Create the side windows using two columns of fifteen 16 px wide 4 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the sides, positioning them at a distance of 8 px from the building’s top edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the sixth buildings side section windows

Step 5

Add the door using an 8 x 8 px square (#282020) which we will center align to the bottom of the building. Then, select all the shapes that we’ve created so far and group them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

creating and positioning the main shape for the sixth buildings door

Step 6

Create the main shape for the building’s roof using a 20 x 12 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position on top of its body, center aligning the two.

creating and positioning the main shape for the sixth buildings roof

Step 7

Finish off the roof and with it the building itself, by creating and positioning a 12 x 8 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) on top of all the other shapes, selecting and grouping them together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

finishing off the sixth building

12. How to Create the Seventh Building

Move a few pixels back towards the left side of the illustration, and let’s start working on the smaller building which can be seen behind the CN Tower.

Step 1

Create the building’s main body using an 18 x 72 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position onto the left side of the office tower that we’ve just finished working on. As we did with most of our background buildings, make sure to adjust it so that it won’t end up obscuring the shapes that are in front of it.

creating and positioning the main shape for the seventh buildings body

Step 2

Add the windows using seven 18 px wide 4 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) vertically stacked 8 px from one another, which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the building’s main body, positioning them at a distance of 4 px from its top edge.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to select and group all the shapes that we have so far using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the seventh buildings windows

Step 3

Start working on the roof by creating a 10 x 8 px rectangle (#282020) which we will position on top of its main body, making sure to align it to its left edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the lower section of the seventh buildings roof

Step 4

Finish off the building by adding its antenna using a 24 px tall 4 px thick Stroke line (#282020), which we will position on top of the previously created shape, selecting and grouping all the shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

finishing off the seventh building

13. How to Create the Eighth Building

Move a few pixels back to the right side of the illustration, and let’s start working on the eighth building, which is probably the shortest of the bunch.

Step 1

Create the building’s main body using a 64 x 40 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position on the right side of the office tower that we’ve built before it.

creating and positioning the main shape for the eighth buildings body

Step 2

Add the window rows using three 64 px wide 4 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) stacked vertically 8 px from one another, which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the previously created shape, positioning them at a distance of 4 px from its top edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the eighth buildings windows

Step 3

Add the little doors using seven 4 x 6 px rectangles (#282020) which we will position 4 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then center aligning them to the bottom edge of the building. Once you’re done, select all the shapes that we’ve created so far and group (Control-G) those together as well.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the eighth buildings doors

Step 4

Start working on the roof by creating a 24 x 10 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position onto the left side of the building, at a distance of 4 px from the office tower.

creating and positioning the main shape for the eighth buildings roof

Step 5

Add a 14 x 8 px rectangle (#282020) to the right side of the roof, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from the previously created shape.

creating and positioning the main shape for the right section of the eighth buildings roof

Step 6

Finish off the roof, and with it the building itself, by creating the little antenna using a 20 px tall 4 px thick Stroke line (#282020) which we will position on the left side of the taller rectangle. Once you’re done, group (Control-G) all of the roof’s composing shapes together, doing the same for the entire building afterwards.

finishing off the eighth building

14. How to Create the Ninth Building

The next building is basically a duplicate of the one from section 11, so it shouldn’t take us long to get it done.

Create a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the sixth building that we created in section 11, and then position it on the right side of the illustration, next to the one that we’ve just finished working on.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the ninth building

15. How to Create the Tenth Building

We are now down to our tenth (yes tenth) and last building, so without wasting any more time let’s wrap up this section of the illustration.

Step 1

Create the building’s main body using a 42 x 88 px rectangle with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) which we will position onto the right side of the taller structure from the previous step, at a distance of 20 px.

creating and positioning the main shape for the tenth building

Step 2

Add the windows using six 42 px wide 8 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) vertically stacked 12 px from one another, which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the previously created shape, positioning them at a distance of 8 px from its bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the tenth buildings windows

Step 3

Create the doors using two 6 x 8 px rectangles (#282020) which we will distance at 14 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then center aligning them to the bottom edge of the building. Once you’re done, select and group all of the shapes that we’ve created so far using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the tenth buildings doors

Step 4

Start working on the roof by creating a 16 x 12 px rectangle (#282020) which we will position on top of the building, at a distance of 8 px from its left edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the left section of the tenth buildings roof

Step 5

Finish off the roof, and with it the building itself, by creating another smaller 10 x 8 px rectangle (#282020) which we will position onto the right side of the shape from the previous step.

Then, once you’re done, group (Control-G) all of the roof’s composing shapes together, doing the same for the entire building afterwards.

finishing off the tenth building

16. How to Create the Trees

Since we’re actually done working on the buildings, our next step is to start creating and adding some of nature’s finest creations: trees.

Step 1

Start by creating the trunk using a 10 px tall 4 px thick Stroke line (#282020) (1), on top of which we will add an 8 x 10 px ellipse with a 4 px thick Stroke (#282020) (2). Adjust the ellipse by selecting its top anchor point and then clicking on it with the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) in order to make it pointy (3). 

Finish off the tree by pushing the pointy anchor point to the top by 2 px (4), selecting and grouping (Control-G) both shapes together afterwards.

creating the tree

Step 2

Since each tree is basically identical to the next one, we’ll create one instance and then use multiple copies (Control-C > Control-F) to fill up some of the empty spaces found between the buildings.

Then, once you’re done, lock the current layer before moving on up to the next one.

adding the trees to the different sections of the illustration

17. How to Create the Water Lines

Assuming you’ve moved on up to the next layer (that would be the fourth one), let’s take a couple of minutes and work on our little water lines.

Step 1

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw a couple of horizontal lines with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) and position them below the foreground. Take your time, and once you’re done, move on to the next step.

creating and positioning the regular water lines onto the illustration

Step 2

Add some variation to the water by drawing some waves using a couple of slightly jagged lines, which we will position between the ones that we created in the previous step.

Once you’re done, select and group all of the water lines together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, locking the current layer and moving on to the next one.

creating and positioning the jagged water lines onto the illustration

18. How to Create the Sky Lines

Once we’ve finished working on the lower section of the illustration, it’s time to start working on the upper one, where we will create the little sky lines and clouds.

Step 1

As we did with the water, grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw a couple of 4 px thick Stroke lines (#282020) above and between the illustration’s buildings. Take your time, and once you’re done, move on to the next step.

creating and positioning the regular sky lines onto the illustration

Step 2

Start working on the clouds by creating a 12 x 12 px ellipse with an 8 px thick Stroke (#282020) (1) and then positioning a slightly larger 20 x 20 px ellipse (#282020) onto its upper right side so that its left anchor point overlaps the top one of the smaller shapes (2). 

Adjust the first shape by removing its bottom and right halves, and then the larger shape by removing just its bottom one, uniting the resulting paths using the Control-J keyboard shortcut (3). Extend the paths into each direction using the Pen Tool (P) (4) and then draw a pair of horizontal strokes and position them underneath (5), selecting and grouping (Control-G) all the shapes together afterwards.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the clouds

Step 3

Create a couple of variations of the cloud using either a larger or smaller pair of circles, and then position them around the buildings at different heights.

Once you’re done, select and group all of the sky’s composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, locking the current layer before moving on to the last section.

creating and positioning the clouds onto the illustration

19. How to Create the Background

We’re almost there! All we need to do in order to finish this illustration is add the two colored rectangles making up its background. That being said, make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the first one) and let’s wrap things up.

Create two 258 x 520 px rectangles, which we will color using #f96a53, and then individually select and align them to the sides of the frame.

finishing off the illustration by adding the two colored rectangles to its background

It’s a Wrap!

This is probably one of the longest tutorials I’ve done in a long time, but I really hope that most of you managed to stay with me until the end, since I believe the result pays off.

That being said, I hope that you’ve found the steps easy to follow and most importantly learned something new along the way.

finished project preview
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