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Design

How to Create an Auto Repair Shop Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

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

In today’s tutorial, we’re going to put on our mechanic’s hat and take a look at the process of creating a car repair shop illustration, using the most basic of tools that Illustrator has to offer.

That being said, take a quick sip of that freshly brewed coffee and let’s get started!

Oh, and don’t forget you can always expand the project by checking out GraphicRiver, where you can find tons of car-themed illustrations ready 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

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 a few layers, since this way we can maintain a steady workflow by focusing on one section of the illustration at a time.

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

  • layer 1: background
  • layer 2: garage
  • layer 3: car
setting up the layers

Quick tip: I’ve colored all of my layers using the same green value, since it’s the easiest one to view when used to highlight your selected shapes (whether they're closed or open paths).

4. How to Create the Background

We’re going to kick off the project by creating the little sunset background, so make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the first one), and then lock all the other layers and let’s get started.

Step 1

Grab the Pen Tool (P) and use it to create the foreground line by drawing a 600 px wide 16 px thick Stroke line, which we will color using #382E2E and then center align to the underlying Artboard at a distance of 106 px from its bottom edge.

creating the foreground line

Step 2

With the foreground in place, start working on the circular background by creating a 488 x 488 px circle, which we will color using #EFBB6A and then center align to the Artboard’s bottom edge.

creating and positioning the backgrounds larger circle onto the Artboard

Step 3

Create a slightly smaller 328 x 328 px circle (#DDA25B), which we will position on top of the previous one, aligning it to its center. Once you have both shapes in place, select and group them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

creating and positioning the backgrounds smaller circle

Step 4

Since we want the bottom sections of both circles to be hidden, we’ll have to mask them using a 600 x 380 px rectangle (highlighted with red) which we will center align to our foreground line, positioning it over its top half. Once we have the rectangle in place, simply select both it and the grouped circles and then right click > Make Clipping Mask.

masking the bottom section of the backgrounds two circles

Step 5

Finish off the background by simply selecting the circles that we’ve just masked and then sending them to the back of the foreground line by right clicking > Arrange > Send to Back. Once you’re done, quickly select all of the background’s composing shapes and group them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

sending the masked circles to the back of the foreground line

5. How to Create the Garage

Since we’re done working on the background, you can lock its layer and move on up to the next one (that would be the second one), where we will take our time and build the little garage.

Step 1

Create the front section of the building, using a 272 x 200 px rectangle, which we will color using #E5DCDC and then position onto the upper half of the foreground line, at a distance of 196 px from the Artboard’s left edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the garages front section

Step 2

Give the shape that we’ve just created 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 #382E2E and then flipping its Fill with its Stroke (Shift-X). Set the resulting shape’s Weight to 16 px, and then select and group (Control-G) both it and the underlying rectangle together.

adding the outline to the garages front section

Step 3

Start working on the garage entrance by creating a 168 x 72 px rectangle (#755757) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E) which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the front section’s bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the front section of the garages entrance

Step 4

Give the entrance some depth by adding its side section using a 24 x 72 px rectangle (#998181) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E), which we will group (Control-G) and then align to the larger section’s left edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the side section of the garages entrance

Step 5

Create the actual door using a 168 x 32 px rectangle (#65ABCE) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E), to the center of which we will add a 168 px wide 8 px thick Stroke line (#382E2E). Group (Control-G) all three shapes together, and then position them on top of the entrance’s front section.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the garage entrances front door

Step 6

Create the little motor operating the door, using a 32 x 16 px rectangle (#382E2E), on top of which we will add a smaller 16 x 8 px one (#382E2E), which we will group (Control-G) and then left align to the garage door.

adding the little motor to the garages door

Step 7

Start working on the garage’s shelf by creating its left leg using a 74 px tall 8 px thick Stroke line (#382E2E), which we will center align to the entrance’s front section, positioning it at a distance of 26 px from its right edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the garage shelfs left leg

Step 8

Create the leg’s bottom section using a 16 x 16 px square (#382E2E), which we will center align to its bottom edge.

adding the bottom section to the garage shelfs leg

Step 9

Draw the actual shelves using two 38 px wide 8 px thick Stroke lines (#382E2E), which we will vertically stack at a distance of 16 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then positioning them between the leg and the entrance’s right edge.

adding the horizontal lines to the garages shelf

Step 10

Add a 14 x 8 px rectangle (#382E2E) on each shelf, and then select and group all its composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut. Also, since we’re pretty much done with the garage’s entrance, you can select all its composing sections and group (Control-G) those as well.

finishing off the garages shelf

Step 11

Create the building’s street number sign using a 20 x 16 px rectangle (#382E2E), which we will position on the right side of the entrance, aligning it to the door outline’s bottom edge.

adding the little street plate to the garages front section

Step 12

Create the little road blocker using a 32 px tall 8 px thick Stroke line (#382E2E) on top of which we will add a 16 x 16 px circle (#382E2E) which we will group (Control-G) and then position on the right side of the garage’s entrance. Once you’re done, select and group all the shapes that we’ve created so far using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the little road block to the garages front section

Step 13

Create the garage’s side section using a 136 x 200 px rectangle (#998181) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E), which we will group (Control-G) and then position on the right side of the building.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the garages side section

Step 14

Add the horizontal detail lines using eleven 136 px wide 8 px thick Stroke lines (#382E2E), which we will vertically stack at a distance of 16 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then center aligning them to the building’s side section.

adding the horizontal detail lines to the garages side section

Step 15

Create the little window using a 32 x 40 px rectangle (#5086A3) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E), which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the building’s side section, positioning it on the second horizontal detail line. Once you’re done, select all of the side section’s composing shapes and group (Control-G) those together as well.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the garages window

Step 16

Draw the drainpipe using an 8 px thick Stroke line (#382E2E) which we will then position on the right side of the building, at a distance of just 4 px from it.

adding the drainage pipe to the garages side section

Step 17

Connect the pipe to the building using two 16 x 8 px rectangles (#382E2E) which we will vertically stack at a distance of 136 px from one another, and then position between the pipe and the larger garage itself. Once you’re done, select and group all three shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

connecting the drainage pipe to the garages side section

Step 18

Move a few pixels up, and start working on the air conditioner unit by creating its side section using a 56 x 32 px rectangle (#6B6868) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E), which we will group (Control-G) and then position onto the building’s side section, at a distance of 24 px from its right edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the air conditioner units side section

Step 19

Create the front section using a 24 x 32 px rectangle (#969393) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E) which we will group (Control-G) and then position on the left side of the shapes from the previous step.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the air conditioning units front section

Step 20

Finish off the air conditioner by adding a couple of rectangles as seen in the reference image to give it more detail, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all its composing shapes together afterwards.

adding details to the garages air conditioner unit

Step 21

Create the garage sign’s front section using a 128 x 48 px rectangle (#65ABCE) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E), which we will group (Control-G) and then left-align to the motor’s left edge, positioning it at a distance of 48 px from it.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the signs front section

Step 22

Next, grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw in the little wrench using an 8 px thick Stroke line with the color set to #382E2E.

adding the little wrench to the garage signs front section

Step 23

Add the little screws using four 8 x 8 px circles (#382E2E), which we will position onto each of the sign's corners, making sure to leave a 4 px gap around them. Once you’re done, select and group all of the front section’s composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the little screws to the garage signs front section

Step 24

Create the sign’s side section using a 24 x 48 px rectangle (#5086A3) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E), which we will group (Control-G) and then position onto its right side.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the garage signs side section

Step 25

Finish off the sign by adding the support legs using two 16 x 16 px squares (#382E2E) underneath its front section, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all its composing shapes once you’re done.

adding the support legs to the garage signs front section

Step 26

Start working on the street light’s pole by drawing it using an 8 px thick Stroke line (#382E2E), which we will position on top of the larger building, on the left side of its sign.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the street lights pole

Step 27

Create the light cap using a 32 x 32 px circle (#382E2E) which we will adjust by cutting its bottom half by selecting its bottom anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then removing it by pressing Delete. Position the resulting shape onto the shorter end of the pole, and then add a 16 x 8 px rectangle (#382E2E) underneath it, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all three shapes together afterwards.

Since we’re pretty much done working on the garage, you can select and group (Control-G) all its composing sections together as well.

finishing off the garages street light

6. How to Create the Car

Assuming you’ve already locked the previous layer, move on up to the third and last one, where we will create the last piece of our little illustration.

Step 1

Start working on the rear end of the car by creating a 40 x 32 px rectangle (#E2775A) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E) which we will group (Control-G) and then position onto the left side of the garage.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the cars rear end

Step 2

Add the tail lights using two 12 x 16 px rectangles (#382E2E) which we will bottom align to the shapes that we’ve just created, positioning each one onto its sides.

adding the tail lights to the cars rear end

Step 3

Create the rear handle using a 12 x 12 px square (#382E2E), which we will center align to the rear end’s top section.

adding the little handle to the front section of the cars rear end

Step 4

Finish off the front section of the car's rear end by adding the little bumper using a 12 x 16 px rectangle (#382E2E) which we will position onto the left side of the current section, making sure to select and group (Control-G) all its composing shapes together afterwards.

adding the little bumper section to the cars rear end

Step 5

Create the rear end’s side section using a 72 x 32 px rectangle (#CC5F46) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E), which we will group (Control-G) and then position onto the right side of the previously grouped shapes.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the side section of the cars rear end

Step 6

Next, create a 16 x 4 px rectangle (#382E2E) and position it onto the side section’s lower-left corner, selecting and grouping all its shapes together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the little detail rectangle to the side section of the cars rear end

Step 7

Create the front section of the car’s front end using a 40 x 28 px rectangle (#E2775A) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E), which we will group (Control-G) and then right align to the previously grouped shapes.

creating and positioning the front section of the cars front end

Step 8

Add the little window using a 12 x 16 px rectangle (#382E2E) which we will center align to the bottom edge of the shapes from the previous step, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all of them together afterwards.

adding the little window to the front section of the cars front end

Step 9

Start working on the side section of the car’s front part by creating a 90 x 40 px rectangle (#CC5F46) which we will position onto the right side of the rear end.

creating and positioning the main shape for the side section of the cars front end

Step 10

Add the cabin’s upper section using a 32 x 20 px rectangle (#CC5F46), which we will position on top of the larger one’s left side.

creating and positioning the main shape for the upper section of the cars front end

Step 11

Unite the two rectangles into a single larger shape using Pathfinder’s Unite Shape Mode, and then adjust the resulting shape by selecting and pushing its inner anchor point to the right side by a distance of 16 px (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > 16 px).

adjusting the upper section of the cars front end

Step 12

Continue adjusting the shape by selecting its top-right anchor point and pushing it to the bottom by a distance of 4 px (right click > Transform > Vertical > 4 px).

adjusting the side section of the cars front end

Step 13

Give the resulting shape a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E) using the Stroke method, selecting and grouping both shapes together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the outline to the side section of the cars front end

Step 14

Create the side window using a 24 x 16 px rectangle (#382E2E), which we will adjust by selecting and pushing its top right corner to the left by a distance of 12 px (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > -12 px). Once you’re done, position the resulting shape onto the upper section of the car’s front end.

adding the side window to the side section of the cars front end

Step 15

Add the door handle using a 12 x 4 px rectangle (#382E2E) underneath which we will add a narrower 8 x 4 px one (#382E2E). Group (Control-G) the two shapes and then position them below the window, at a distance of 4 px.

adding the door handle to the side section of the cars front end

Step 16

Add the headlight using a 14 x 20 px rectangle (#382E2E), which we will position onto the nose of the car.

adding the head light to the side section of the cars front end

Step 17

Add the little front bumper section using a 12 x 16 px rectangle (#382E2E), which we will bottom align to the front end of the car. Once you’re done, select and group all of the current section’s composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, doing the same for the entire car afterwards.

adding the little bumper section to the cars front end

Step 18

Create the front wheels using two 32 x 32 px circles (#969393) with a 16 px thick outline (#382E2E) on top of which we will add a set of smaller 8 x 8 px circle (#382E2E). Individually group each tire’s shapes together, and then position them over the car as seen in the reference image.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the cars front wheels

Step 19

Create the back side wheels using a copy (Control-C) of the front ones which we will paste in the back (Control-B) and then move towards the left by a distance of 28 px (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > -28 px). Quickly adjust the copies by changing the color of the grey circles to #6B6868, and then select and group all of the car’s composing sections together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the cars back wheels

Well Done!

There you have it—a fairly short and easy tutorial on how to create your very own car repair shop illustration, which can be used in any future personal projects. I hope that you’ve managed to keep up with each and every step and most importantly learned something new and useful along the way.

finished project preview
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