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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Icon Design
Design

How to Create a Vampire Hunter Icon Pack in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Since the dawn of time, humans have had a burning fear of the unknown, which led their imagination to give birth to mythical creatures that have haunted them for centuries.

Today, we’re going to access that struggle against the supernatural and create our very own vampire hunting kit, using some rudimentary shapes and tools in Adobe Illustrator.

That being said, put your hands on that silver coffee cup and hold on tight since things are about to get interesting.

Oh, and don’t forget you can always expand the project by heading over to GraphicRiver where you can find tons of awesome vampire themed icon packs waiting to be grabbed.

1. How to Set Up a New Document

Since I’m sure that 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
setting up a new document

Quick tip: some of you might have noticed that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid option is missing, which is 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

Since we’re going to be creating the icons using a pixel-perfect workflow, you’ll want to set up a nice little Grid so that we can have full control over our shapes—that is if you’re running the older version of the software.

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

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 four layers, which we will rename as follows:

  • layer 1: reference grids
  • layer 2: bible
  • layer 3: garlic
  • layer 4: weapons
setting up the layers

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 on 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 grid 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.

creating the main shape for the reference grid

Step 2

Add another smaller 120 x 120 px one (#FFFFFF) which will act as our active drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4 px padding.

creating the main shape for the active drawing area

Step 3

Group the two squares composing the reference grid using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, and then create two copies at a distance of 40 px from one another, making sure to align them to the center of the Artboard.

Once you’re done, lock the current layer and move on to the next one where we’ll start working on our first icon.

creating and positioning all three reference grids

5. How to Create the Bible

We’re going to kick off the project by creating the little stylized Bible, so make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the second one) and then zoom in on the first reference grid so that we can get started.

Step 1

Create the main shape for the Bible’s body, using an 84 x 116 px rectangle which we will color using #895C4D, and then center align to the underlying active drawing area.

creating and positioning the main shape for the bibles body

Step 2

Add the cover’s darker section using a 6 x 116 px rectangle, which we will color using #70473C, and then center align to the left edge of the previously created shape.

adding the darker section to the bibles cover

Step 3

Add the outline to the cover using the Stroke method, by creating a copy (Control-C) of the larger body and pasting it in front (Control-F). With the copy in place, flip its fill color with its stroke (Shift-X) and then adjust it by changing it to #332E2E and setting its Weight to 4 px and its Corner to Round Join from within the Stroke panel.

adding the outline to the bibles body

Step 4

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw the vertical outline for the cover’s darker section, using the same 4 px thick Stroke (#332E2E), making sure that its Anchor Points overlap the path of the larger outline, by going over the right edge of the underlying rectangle.

adding the vertical outline to the darker section of the bibles cover

Step 5 

Add two 8 px thick horizontal divider lines (#332E2E), positioning one on each side of the cover, at a distance of 8 px from the outer edge of the larger outline, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all the cover’s composing shapes afterwards.

adding the horizontal divider lines to the darker section of the bibles cover

Step 6

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 68 x 106 px shape (#332E2E) which we will turn into a 2 px thick outline and then position over the cover, aligning it to the center of its lighter section.

adding the inner decorative line to the bibles cover

Step 7

Create a smaller 50 x 88 px rectangle, which we will color using #70473C and then align to the center of the decorative line that we created in the previous step.

creating and positioning the main shape for the bibles larger cover insertion

Step 8

Adjust the shape from the previous step, positioning a 20 x 20 px circle (highlighted with orange) over each of its corners, and then cutting them out using Pathfinder’s Minus Front Shape Mode.

adjusting the inner darker section of the bibles cover

Step 9

Give the resulting shape a nice thick outline using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of itself, which we will adjust by flipping its fill with its stroke (Shift-X) and then setting its color to #332E2E and its Weight to 4 px.

adding the outline to the bibles inner darker section

Step 10

The next part is going to require you to get a little bit more creative, since you will have to draw in the little vertical detail lines using the Pen Tool (P). That being said, set your Stroke’s Weight to 2 px, your Cap to Round Join, and using #332E2E as your main color, gradually add the lines, grouping (Control-G) them together once you’re done.

Then, before you move on to the next step, make sure that you select the cover’s darker section along with its outline and detail lines, and group (Control-G) those as well.

Step 11

Create the little golden cross, using an 8 x 48 px vertical rectangle on top of which we will add a 24 x 8 px horizontal one, which we will unite and then color using #E0AA75, positioning the resulting shape over the cover’s center darker section, at a distance of 18 px from the top side of its outline.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the bibles golden cross

Step 12

Give the cross a 4 px thick outline using #332E2E as your Stroke color, selecting and grouping the two shapes together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Then, select both the cross and the underlying darker section and group (Control-G) those as well.

adding the outline to the bibles cross

Step 13

Start working on the lower golden corner, by creating a 20 x 20 px rectangle (#E0AA75) which we will adjust by cutting out a 28 x 28 px circle from its top-left corner. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#332E2E) with a Miter Join, and then align the two to the bottom-right corner of the Bible’s main body.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the bibles bottom-right golden corner

Step 14

Add a 6 x 6 px rectangle (#332E2E) to the corner that we’ve just created, which we will then adjust by flipping its fill with a 2 px thick stroke (Shift-X) and setting the Corner to Miter Join. Select and group (Control-G) all three shapes together afterwards.

adding the little detail square to the bibles bottom golden corner

Step 15

Finish off the icon by creating the upper golden corner, using a copy of the one that we’ve just made (Control-C > Control-F) and then positioning it at the top, making sure to flip it horizontally by right clicking > Transform > Reflect > Horizontal.

Then, once you’re done, don’t forget to select and group all of the Bible’s composing shapes using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the top-right golden corner to the bibles cover

6. How to Create the Garlic

Assuming you’ve already locked the previous layer and moved on up to the third one, zoom in on the second reference grid so that we can start working on our second icon.

Step 1

Create the main shape for the garlic’s body using a 100 x 76 px ellipse, which we will color using #AF9591 and then position in the center of the underlying active drawing area, at a distance of 8 px from its bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the lower section of the garlics body

Step 2

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 12 x 2 px shape, which we will color using #AF9591 and then center align to the circle from the previous step, at a distance of 32 px from its top anchor point.

creating and positioning the main shape for the upper section of the garlics body

Step 3

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the rectangle’s bottom anchor points and the ellipse’s top one, and then remove them using the Delete key. Unite the two resulting paths by pressing Control-J twice.

uniting the top and bottom paths of the garlics body

Step 4

Adjust the new shape by smoothening out its side sections. Curve their anchor points using the Convert selected anchor points to smooth button and then play with their handles using the reference image as a guide.

The best way to do this is by turning on Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y) and then dragging and positioning the ends of the handles at 42 px for the top anchor and 28 px for the bottom one.

adjusting the main shape of the garlics body

Step 5

Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#332E2E) with a Miter Join, and then select and group the two shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the outline to the garlics main shape

Step 6

Create the garlic’s center section using the same process, only this time use a smaller 88 x 76 px ellipse for the base, coloring the resulting shape using #BFA9A5, and grouping (Control-G) both it and its outline (#332E2E) together.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the garlics center section

Step 7

Create the front section of the garlic, following the same process only this time using an even smaller 64 x 76 px ellipse (#E5D8D3) for the base. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#332E2E) and then group (Control-G) and position the two shapes onto the other sections, center aligning them.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the garlics front section

Step 8

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw two vertical detail lines onto the top section of the garlic’s body, using a 2 px thick Stroke with the color set to #332E2E and the Cap to Round. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) the two together, doing the same for the rest of the icon’s composing shapes afterwards.

adding the two vertical detail lines to the upper section of the garlics body

Step 9

Create the garlic’s bottom section using a 28 x 8 px rectangle (#BC895B) which we will adjust by individually selecting its bottom anchor points and pushing them to the inside by 2 px (right click > Transform > Move > + / - 2 px depending on which anchor you start with). Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#332E2E) with a Round Join, and then center align the two to the bottom edge of the underlying active drawing area.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the garlics bottom section

Step 10

Add a couple of vertical detail lines using a 2 px thick Stroke (#332E2E) with a Round Cap and then group (Control-G) both them and the main shapes of the garlic’s bottom section together, sending them to the back of the larger body (right click > Arrange > Send to Back).

Also, since we’re done working on the garlic itself, you can select and group (Control-G) all its composing shapes as well.

adding details to the bottom section of the garlics body

Step 11

Start working on the rosary by creating eight 12 x 12 px circular beads (#BF8B6F) with a 4 px thick outline (#332E2E) which we will position next to one another in a row, so that their outlines end up overlapping.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the garlics rosary beads

Step 12

Change the color of some of the beads to #AF7054, starting with the first one, until you have four of the darker color, and another four of the lighter color.

adjusting the colors of some of the garlics rosary beads

Step 13

Adjust the position of some of the beads by selecting two of a pair, and then pushing them to the top using 2 px and 4 px increments until you get a nice downward facing arch.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to select and group (Control-G) all eight of them together.

adjusting the position of the garlics rosary beads

Step 14

Since we want to give the impression that the rosary stretches all along the circumference of the garlic, we’ll need to add two more beads to the back of its body, pushing them slightly towards the top, making sure to keep the coloring in line with the rest of its elements.

adding the back beads to the garlics rosary

Step 15

Start working on the little cross hanging from the rosary, by creating a 6 x 24 px vertical rectangle on top of which we will add an 18 x 6 px horizontal one, which we will then join together using Pathfinder’s Unite Shape Mode. Color the resulting shape using #CCCCCC, and give it a 4 px thick outline #332E2E, grouping (Control-G) and positioning the two underneath the center beads, at a distance of 2 px.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the garlics front cross

Step 16

Finish off the rosary by drawing the little piece of string (#332E2E) using the Pen Tool (P) with the Weight set to 4 px, grouping (Control-G) it to the beads and cross afterwards.

Also, since we’re done with the icon itself, you can select and group (Control-G) all its composing shapes as well.

garlic icon finished

7. How to Create the Weapons

We’re now down to our third and last icon, so assuming you already know the drill, zoom on in on its reference grid so that we can get started.

Step 1

Create the main shape of the wooden mallet using a 14 x 116 px rectangle (#AF7054), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 2 px and its bottom ones to 4 px, aligning the resulting shape to the center of the underlying active drawing area.

creating and positioning the main shape for the mallets body

Step 2

Switch over to Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y), and then grab the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add a pair of anchor points at a distance of 42 px from the shape's top edge, and another pair 34 px from its bottom edge. Then, simply individually select and move the top middle ones to the inside by 2 px using the Move Tool (right click > Transform > Move > + / - 2 px depending on which anchor you start with).

further adjusting the shape of the mallets body

Step 3

Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#332E2E), grouping the two shapes together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the outline to the mallets main body

Step 4

Create the handle section using a 14 x 23 px rectangle (#BF8B6F) with a 4 px outline (#332E2E) on top of which we will add a group of six 2 px thick horizontal detail lines (#332E2E), stacked vertically 1 px from one another. Once you’re done, group (Control-G) all the section’s composing elements, and then center align them to the underlying shape, at a distance of 4 px from its outline.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the mallets handle

Step 5

Add the little cross using a 2 x 10 px vertical rectangle, adding a 6 x 2 px horizontal one at a distance of 2 px from its top edge, joining the two together using Pathfinder’s Unite Shape Mode. Color the resulting shape using #332E2E and then center align it to the handle that we created in the previous step, at a distance of 6 px from its outline.

adding the little cross onto the mallets handle

Step 6

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw in the little vertical detail lines using a 2 px thick Stroke (#332E2E) with a Round Cap, grouping (Control-G) them together afterwards.

You can also select and group (Control-G) the handle’s composing shapes since we’re pretty much done working on this section.

adding the little detail lines to the mallets body

Step 7

Create the mallet’s head using a 64 x 34 px rounded rectangle (#BF8B6F) with a 4 px Corner Radius, and a 4 px outline (#332E2E) which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the underlying handle, at a distance of 6 px from the active drawing area’s top edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the mallets head

Step 8

It’s time to get a little creative again and draw in the little horizontal detail lines onto the mallet’s head, using the Pen Tool (P) with the Stroke’s Weight set to 2 px with a Round Cap, using #332E2E as your color.

Take your time, and once you’re done group (Control-G) all the lines together, and then do the same to the head and the entire mallet.

adding the horizontal detail lines to the mallets head

Step 9

Create the main shape of the wooden stake using a 12 x 64 px rectangle, which we will color using #BF8B6F and then position onto the left side of the mallet, at a distance of 10 px from the outline of its head.

creating and positioning the main shape for the wooden stakes body

Step 10 

Adjust the shape by adding a new anchor point in the center of its bottom edge, and then selecting and moving its side ones towards the top by 14 px (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > -14 px).

adjusting the shape of the wooden stakes body

Step 11

Create and position a slightly shorter 12 x 40 px rectangle (#AF7054) on top of the one that we’ve just adjusted, and then add the 4 px thick outline (#332E2E), setting the Corner to Round Join.

adding the outline to the main shape of the stakes body

Step 12

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw the horizontal divider line (#332E2E) over the bottom edge of the stake’s darker section, making sure to use the same 4 px thickness for the Stroke’s Weight.

adding the horizontal divider line to the darker section of the stakes body

Step 13

With the Pen Tool (P) still selected, draw in the little vertical detail lines using a 2 px thick Stroke (#332E2E) with a Round Cap, selecting and grouping (Control-C) all the stake’s composing shapes afterwards.

adding the little vertical detail lines to the wooden stakes body

Step 14

Start working on the little vial’s body by creating a 16 x 44 px rounded rectangle (#332E2E) with a 4 px Corner Radius, which we will position onto the right side of the mallet, at a distance of 30 px from its head’s outline.

creating and positioning the main shape for the vials body

Step 15

Add a smaller 8 x 2 px rectangle (#332E2E) above the shape that we’ve just created, making sure to center align the two at a distance of 2 px from one another.

creating and positioning the main shape for the vials neck

Step 16

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the rectangle’s bottom anchors and the rounded rectangle’s top ones, and remove them by pressing Delete, uniting the two paths by double pressing Control-J. Then, using a similar process to that used for the garlic’s body, adjust the curvature of the transition, flipping the resulting shape’s fill with a 4 px thick Stroke (#332E2E).

adjusting the stroke of the vials body

Step 17

Create the fill section of the vial using a 16 x 38 px rectangle (#CCCCCC), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 4 px and then position underneath its main outline (right click > Arrange > Send to Back).

adding the fill section to the vials outline

Step 18

With the fill shape in place, draw the horizontal divider line, following the line of its top edge using a 4 px thick Stroke with the color set to #332E2E.

adding the horizontal divider line to the vials fill shape

Step 19

Add the little horizontal detail lines, using a 2 px thick Stroke (#332E2E) with a Round Cap, grouping (Control-G) both them and the vial’s composing shapes afterwards.

adding the horizontal detail lines to the vials body

Step 20

Start working on the lower section of the cork by creating an 8 x 6 px rectangle (#895C4D) with a 4 px outline (#332E2E), which we will group (Control-G) and then position over the top section of the vial’s outline.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the lower section of the vials cork

Step 21

Finish off the vial, and with it the icon itself, by creating the cork’s upper section using a 12 x 8 px rectangle (#AF7054) with a 4 px thick outline (#332E2E), on top of which we will add a 2 px thick horizontal divider line (#332E2E), grouping (Control-G) and positioning the shapes above the section that we created in the previous step.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to group (Control-G) the vial’s composing shapes, doing the same for the entire icon afterwards.

weapons icon finished

It’s a Wrap!

There you have it: your very own vampire hunting icon pack, ready to help you slay any creature that dares to cross your path. I hope you’ve managed to keep up with the steps and most importantly learned something new and useful along the way.

project final preview
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