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How to Create a Tram in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial we're going to create a classic tram using simple shapes in Adobe Illustrator. If you're looking for other tram vectors and graphics, pop on over to GraphicRiver for more.

Let's go!

1. How to Create a New Document

Press Control-N to make a New Document. Set the Units to Pixels, and enter 800 x 600 for the width and height of the document. Then in the Advanced options, select RGBScreen (72 ppi), and make sure to uncheck the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box before clicking OK.

Go to the Preferences (Control-K) and enter 1 px for the Keyboard increment. Press OK.

You can activate the Info panel (Window > Info) in order to have a preview of the size and position of your shapes. Remember to set the measuring unit to Pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. This will greatly increase the speed of your work.

set new document

2. How to Create a Background

Step 1

Let’s begin by creating the background. Start by drawing a rectangle (#006482) using the Rectangle Tool (M) at the bottom of the canvas.

create a rectangle

Step 2

Now draw some skyscrapers and buildings using the Pen Tool (P), with #00C7DB as the fill color. And finish with an 800 x 600 px rectangle (#00E5DB). 

using Pen Tool for create a skyscrapers

3. How to Create a Tram

Step 1

Create a 515 x 60 px rectangle (#A01127) for the basic shape. Then create a 170 x 20 px rectangle for the door.

The second rectangle should have two chamfered corners; modify the shape using the Transform panel.

Creating the car of the tram

Step 2

Now create a 520 x 6 px bar (#A01127), a 515 x 100 px bar (#EDEEE6) for the upper body, and a 520 x 10 px bar (#A01127) at the top.

Adding more rectangles

Step 3

Create some details on the front of the tram by adding a few nodes using the Pen Tool (P) and moving the nodes to the right. Then draw two rectangles and apply Minus Front, which is located in the Pathfinder panel.

Add details in the front of the tram

Step 4

Let’s move to the door. Create a 84 x 172 px rectangle (#A01127), and then draw two 5 x 172 px rectangles (#EDEEE6) at the sides of the door.

creating the first door of the tram

Step 5

Create the door’s window using a 15 x 25 px rectangle (#445675) and a second 15 x 54 px rectangle. Duplicate the group three times (Control-C > Control-F) and align them horizontally using the Align panel.

Align the windows of the door

Step 6

Drag the last four windows while pressing Alt, and place them at the bottom of the door.

Add another windows

Step 7

Select all the elements of the door, including the windows, and drag them to the right while pressing Alt. Then, using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the lower nodes and align them with the tram.

Duplicating the door

Step 8

Create the other windows of the tram using a 27 x 85 px rectangle (#A01127) for the frame and 24 x 24 px and 24 x 47 px rectangles (#445675). Under the windows, draw a rectangle using #EDEEF0 as the fill color. 

Creating the windows of the tram

Step 9

Group the window (Control-G) and duplicate it ten times (Control-C > Control-F) to fill the tram. Align horizontally using the Align panel to separate them evenly.

Duplicating the windows in the car

Step 10

Create the back windows using the same fill but adapting the rectangles. Then select the whole window and drag it to the front using the Direct Selection Tool (A), aligning the nodes with the tram.

Drawing the windows front and end of the tram

Step 11

The next thing is to create the roof. For this, use a 515 x 32 px rectangle (#EDEEE6) and round the upper corners using 25 px as the radius from the Transform panel.

Add a rectangle for the top of the tram

Step 12

Create the bell of the tram using a 45 x 13 px rectangle (#87868A), and add a bevel to the upper corners using the Transform panel. Duplicate it four times and align the copies.

Creating the bells

Step 13

Create five wheels using 52 x 52 px ellipses (#444242), 44 x 44 px ellipses (#9A999E) and 24 x 24 px ellipses (#444242) using the Ellipse Tool (L). Group everything together (Control-G) and position it as shown in the image below.

Creating ellipses for the wheels

Step 14

Create a small ellipse (#5B5B5F) on one of the bells and then add a rectangle and move the upper nodes to the left. Finally, place a rectangle on top for the part that connects to the electric wire above.

Adding rectangles and ellipse for the tram rails

Step 15

Draw some details at the front of the tram using the Rectangle Tool (P) and use #5B5B5F as the fill color.

Adding details in the front

Step 16

Create the top lantern (#DBCEC0) of the train using the Pen Tool (P) and place it behind (Control-[).

Creating the top lantern

Step 17

Create a rectangle of 84 px width (#444242) under the front door. Then create an 84 x 17 px rectangle (#5B5B5F) and move the lower corners.

Then draw a 17 x 2 px rectangle (#9A999E) using the Rounded Rectangle Tool and duplicate it (#444242), send it back (Control-[), and move it to the right. Duplicate it three times (Control-C > Control-F) and align them.

Adding rectangles under the front door

Step 18

Now select all the windows and duplicate them (#5B6E91) (Control-C > Control-F). Afterwards, apply a -2 px offset (Effects > Path > Offset Path) and expand the appearance (Object > Expand appearance).

Now create different-sized rectangles and rotate them 45º with the Rotate Tool (R). Selecting the windows and rectangles, subtract them using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).

Creating the highlights in the windows

Step 19

Now let’s add some shadows, and we’ll begin with the wheels. Draw a rectangle (#444242) and, using the Appearance panel, set the Opacity to 45% and set to Multiply mode. Then select the shadows and the wheels and subtract them using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).

Add some shadows in the wheels

Step 20

Draw shadows in the body using a rectangle with #AA202F as the fill color, and set the shadow color to #641111.

Shadows in the tram

Step 21

Now create the bolts on the body using the Pen Tool (P) to draw strokes following the configuration shown in the image below. Use #AA202F as the stroke color and then duplicate the strokes. Create shadows, sending the duplicate strokes back and using #641111 as the fill color.

Creating the bolts on the body

Step 22

Finally, draw a rectangle (#006482) from side to side of the canvas to represent the overhead wire, and place it above the tram.

Adding the rail main

Congratulations! You're Finished!

Terrific! We’ve finished, and the result was terrific. This will surely bring more creativity to your artwork thanks to the techniques you just learned. I hope you enjoyed the process, and I will be expecting your comments.

Final result
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