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How to Create an Enchanting Broom in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Halloween and Day of the Dead Vector Design.
Using Meshes to Create a Detailed Skull With Adobe Illustrator
Create a Colorful, 1940s-Inspired Witch in Adobe Illustrator

In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a broom illustration in Adobe Illustrator. In the first steps you will learn how to create the wooden stick using only a simple rectangle and the Appearance panel. Next, you will learn how to create two art brushes, how to create a simple blend, how to cleverly use the Warp effects, how to easily mask your shapes and how to save a simple graphic style. Finally, you will learn how to create a calligraphic brush, how to use the Pucker & Bloat effect and how to easily recolor your final illustration.


1. Create a New Document and Setup a Grid

Hit Control + N to create a New document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width and height boxes then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters you will need a grid every 5px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

Broom Illustration

2. Create the Wooden Stick

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color at R=196 G=154 B=108. Move to your Artboard and simply create a 5 x 170px rectangle, the Snap to Grid should ease your work.

Broom Illustration

Step 2

Make sure that your thin rectangle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Select this new fill, make it white and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a third fill for this shape. Select it, open the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient) and simply click on the gradient thumbnail to add the default black to white linear gradient. Keep focusing on your Gradient panel, set the angle at 0 degrees then move to the gradient bar. Simply click on this bar to add a third gradient slider. Select it, set the Location at 50% and the color at R=139 G=94 B=40. Move to the right slider, select it and set the color at R=196 G=154 B=108 then select the left slider and add the same color. Make sure that this third fill stays selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Focus on the Move section, drag both slider at 1px then click OK. In the end things should look like in the following image.

Broom Illustration

Step 3

Make sure that your rectangle is still selected, return to the Appearance panel and add a fourth fill. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and get back to the Appearance panel. Select the existing stroke, set the color at R=139 G=94 B=60 and the weight at 1pt then align it to outside.

Broom Illustration

Step 4

Make sure that your rectangle is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, add a fifth fill and drag it above the stroke. Select this new fill, add the linear gradient shown below, lower its Opacity to 75%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset and click OK. The yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage, meaning that you simply have to select that gradient slider and lower its Opacity to 0%.

Return to the Appearance panel, select the entire path (simply click on the "Path" piece of text from the top of the Appearance panel) and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 2.5px Radius and click OK. In the end things should look like in the following image. Move to the Layers panel (Window > Layers), open your only layer, double click on the existing shape and simply name it "stick".

Broom Illustration

3. Create Two Art Brushes

Step 1

For the following steps you will need a grid every 1px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 1 x 20px shape and fill it with black.

Make sure that this squeezed circle stays selected, open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and click the New Brush button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Check the Art Brush box and click OK to open the Art Brush Options window. Enter all the attributes shown in the following image, set the name at "Art Brush 1" and click OK. Once you can see your new art brush inside the Brushes panel you can remove that squeezed circle from your artboard.

Broom Illustration

Step 2

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 2 x 20px shape and fill it with black. Select this new shape and click the New Brush button button from the Brushes panel. Again, check the Art Brush box then hit the OK button to open the Art Brush Options window. Enter all the attributes shown in the following image, set the name at "Art Brush 2" and click OK. Once you can see your new art brush inside the Brushes panel you can remove that squeezed circle from your artboard.

Broom Illustration

4. Create the First Bundle of Straws

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 11 x 10px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the bottom side of this new rectangle. Select the left anchor point and move it 1px to the right then select the right anchor point and move it 1px to the left. This should turn your rectangle into a trapezoid. In the end things should look like in the second image.

Broom Illustration

Step 2

Reselect your trapezoid shape and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, replace the linear gradient used for the fill with a flat red (R=237 G=28 B=36) then go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting shape and simply go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points.

Broom Illustration

Step 3

Keep focusing on your red shape, grab the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the two anchor points highlighted in the first image and simply hit the Delete key from your keyboard. Obviously, this will remove both anchor points and you will end up with two curved paths.

Select both paths and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove the red from the fill, select the stroke and add your "Art Brush 1" from the Brushes panel. Move to your Toolbar and double click on the Blend Tool (W). Select Specified Steps from the Spacing drop-down menu, enter 4 in that white box then click OK. Grab the Blend Tool (W) and make sure that both curved paths are selected. Focus on the left path and click on the top anchor point then move to the right path and click on the top anchor point. This will create a simple blend as shown in the fourth image.

Broom Illustration

Step 4

Reselect your trapezoid, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 20%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and return to the Appearance panel.

Select your entire path and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 1px Radius, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset and click OK. Take a closer look at this shape and you'll notice that the edges are a bit pixelated. It's not a big deal, but we'll take care of it in the next step.

Broom Illustration

Step 5

We'll hide those pixelated edges using a simple opacity mask, so open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency). Reselect your trapezoid and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F).

Select this copy and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove the black fill then select the remaining fill and replace the existing linear gradient with a flat white. Select both trapezoids, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. This will hide those ugly pixels. In the end things should look like in the fourth image.

Broom Illustration

Step 6

Reselect that blend, lower its Opacity to 70% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 3 x 6px shape, set the fill color at white and place it as shown in the second image. Make sure that this white shape is selected, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 1px Radius and click OK. Select this blurred shape along with the blend and the masked trapezoid and Group them (Control + G). Move to the Layers panel, double click on this new group and simply name it "strawsOne".

Broom Illustration

5. Create the First Piece of Twine

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 9 x 5px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new rectangle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 50%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and return to the Appearance panel.

Add a 1pt, black stroke, align it to inside, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower its Opacity to 50%.

Get back to the Appearance panel, select the entire path and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK. Make sure that the shape made in this step is still selected, open the Graphic Styles panel (Window > Graphic Styles) and simply click the New Graphic Style button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Double-click on this new graphics style and name it "twine".

Broom Illustration

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 9 x 16px rectangle, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the bottom side of this new rectangle. Select the left anchor point and move it 3px to the left then select the right anchor point and move it 3px to the right to turn your rectangle into a trapezoid.

Broom Illustration

6. Create the Second Bundle of Straws and Piece of Twine

Step 1

Reselect that second trapezoid and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, replace the linear gradient used for the fill with a flat red (R=237 G=28 B=36) then go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting shape and simply go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points.

Broom Illustration

Step 2

Keep focusing on your red shape, grab the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the two anchor points highlighted in the first image and simply hit the Delete key from your keyboard.

Select the remaining paths and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove the red from the fill, select the stroke and add your "Art Brush 1" from the Brushes panel. Grab the Blend Tool (W) and make sure that the two paths made in this step remain selected. Focus on the left path and click on the top anchor point then move to the right path and click on the top anchor point. In the end your new blend should look like in the following image.

Broom Illustration

Step 3

Reselect your second trapezoid, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 20%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and return to the Appearance panel.

Select your entire path and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 1px Radius, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset and click OK. Make sure that the shape edited in this step stays selected, focus on the Graphic Styles panel and save a new graphic style using that same New Graphic Style button. Double-click on this new graphics style and name it "straws".

Broom Illustration

Step 4

Again, you need to take care of those pixelated edges. Reselect your second trapezoid and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove the black fill then select the remaining fill and replace the existing linear gradient with a flat white. Select both trapezoids, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask.

Broom Illustration

Step 5

Reselect that new blend, lower its Opacity to 70% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 4 x 8px shape, set the fill color at white and place it as shown in the second image. Make sure that this white shape is selected, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 2px Radius and click OK. Select this blurred shape along with the blend and the masked trapezoid in the back and Group them (Control + G). Move to the Layers panel, double-click on this new group and simply name it "strawsTwo".

Broom Illustration

Step 6

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 15 x 5px shape and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new shape stays selected, click on the "twine" graphic style from your Graphic Styles panel and move to the Appearance panel. Focus on the black fill and open the existing Rectangle effect. Simply increase the Width to 17px and click OK.

Broom Illustration

7. Create the Third Bundle of Straws and Piece of Twine

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 15 x 20px rectangle, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the bottom side of this new rectangle. Select the left anchor point and move it 2px to the left then select the right anchor point and move it 2px to the right. In the end your will have your third trapezoid.

Broom Illustration

Step 2

Reselect your third trapezoid and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, replace the linear gradient used for the fill with a flat red (R=237 G=28 B=36) then go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting shape and simply go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points.

Broom Illustration

Step 3

Keep focusing on your red shape, grab the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the two anchor points highlighted in the first image and simply hit the Delete key from your keyboard. Select the remaining paths and focus on the Appearance panel.

Remove the red from the fill, select the stroke and add your "Art Brush 1" from the Brushes panel. Grab the Blend Tool (W) and make sure that the two paths made in this step remain selected. Focus on the left path and click on the top anchor point then move to the right path and click on the top anchor point. Select this new blend and go to Object > Blend > Blend Options (or double click on that Blend Tool from your Toolbar). Select Specified Steps from the Spacing drop-down and, enter 6 in that white box and click OK. In the end your new blend should look like in the following image.

Broom Illustration

Step 4

Reselect your third trapezoid and simply add the "straws" graphics style from your Graphic Styles panel.

Broom Illustration

Step 5

Next, you need to mask your third trapezoid. Reselect it and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy and focus on the Appearance panel.

Remove the black fill then select the remaining fill and replace the existing linear gradient with a flat white. Select both trapezoids, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask.

Broom Illustration

Step 6

Reselect that new blend, lower its Opacity to 70% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 4 x 12px shape, set the fill color at white and place it as shown in the second image. Make sure that this white shape is selected, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 2px Radius and click OK. Select this blurred shape along with the blend and the masked trapezoid in the back and Group them (Control + G). Move to the Layers panel, double click on this new group and simply name it "strawsThree".

Broom Illustration

Step 7

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 19 x 5px shape and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new shape stays selected, click on the "twine" graphic style from your Graphic Styles panel and move to the Appearance panel.

Focus on the black fill and open the existing Rectangle effect. Simply increase the Width to 21px and click OK.

Broom Illustration

8. Create the Fourth Bundle of Straws and Piece of Twine

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 19 x 79px rectangle, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the bottom side of this new rectangle. Select the left anchor point and move it 5px to the left then select the right anchor point and move it 5px to the right. In the end you will have your fourth trapezoid.

Broom Illustration

Step 2

Reselect your fourth trapezoid, focus on the Appearance panel, make sure that the entire path is selected and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Flag. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. In the end things should look like in the following image.

Broom Illustration

Step 3

Reselect your fourth trapezoid and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, replace the linear gradient used for the fill with a flat red (R=237 G=28 B=36) then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Select the resulting shape and simply go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Keep focusing on this red shape, grab the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the two anchor points highlights in the third image and simply hit the Delete key from your keyboard.

Broom Illustration

Step 4

Select the wavy, red paths made in the previous step and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove the red from the fill, select the stroke and this time add your "Art Brush 2" from the Brushes panel. Make sure that both paths are still selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Broom Illustration

Step 5

Grab the Blend Tool (W) and create a simple blend using your two wavy paths. Select this new blend, open the Blend Options window and set the Specified Steps at 8. In the end this should look like in the first image. Make sure that this new blend is selected, lower its Opacity to 50%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Broom Illustration

Step 6

Reselect your fourth trapezoid, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select this new fill, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and return to the Appearance panel.

Add a third fill and select it. Make sure that the color is set at black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Sketch > Torn Edges. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click OK and get back to the Appearance panel. Select the entire path and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 2px Radius and click OK. Return to the Appearance panel and simply drag that Rounded Corners effect in the top of the panel, above the rest of the effect.

Broom Illustration

Step 7

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 16 x 50px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new shape is selected, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 7px Radius and click OK.

Broom Illustration

Step 8

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 7 x 30px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new shape is selected, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 7px Radius and click OK.

Broom Illustration

Step 9

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 30 x 7px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new shape is selected, lower its Opacity to 75%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 5px Radius and click OK.

Broom Illustration

Step 10

Reselect your fourth trapezoid along with the blend and the three blurred shapes and Group them (Control + G). Move to the Layers panel, name this new group "strawsFour" then open it. Duplicate that fourth trapezoid (Control + C > Control + F), select the copy and drag it outside the group, in the top of the Layers panel.

Make sure that this copy stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove both black fills then select the remaining fill and replace the existing linear gradient with a flat white.

Broom Illustration

Step 11

Reselect the wavy white shape along with the "strawsFour" group, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask.

Broom Illustration

Step 12

Focus on the bottom side of your "strawsFour" group. Using the Pen Tool (P), create a 31px, horizontal path and place it as shown in the first image. Select this new path, focus on the Appearance panel, make sure that it has no color set for the fill then add a 2pt stroke and set its color at black. Reselect this black path and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK.

Broom Illustration

Step 13

Reselect your horizontal, black path along with the "strawsFour" group, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. Once you're done select this masked group and send it to back (Shift + Control + [ ).

Broom Illustration

9. Create a Calligraphic Brush

Step 1

Focus on your Brushes panel and hit the New Brush button. Check the Calligraphic Brush button and click OK to open the Calligraphic Brush Options panel. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. In the end your new brush should show up in the Brushes panel.

Broom Illustration

Step 2

Focus on your Toolbar, remove the color from the fill and set the stroke color at R=63 G=0 B=0. Grab the Paintbrush Tool (B), select your calligraphic brush from the Brushes panel then add a bunch of simple paths as shown in the first image. Select these new paths, Group them (Control + G) and send the group to back (Shift + Control + [ ).

Broom Illustration

10. Add a Subtle Shadow and Some Sparks

Step 1

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 32 x 6px shape, set the fill color at R=106 G=52 B=1 and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this squeezed circle stays selected, send it to back (Shift + Control + [ ) and focus on the Appearance panel.

Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 35% and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 5px Radius, click OK and return to the Appearance panel. Add a second fill for your shape, select it, make sure that the color is set at R=106 G=52 B=1 and lower its Opacity to 10%. Get back to the Appearance panel and add a third fill for this shape. Select it, make sure that the color is set at R=106 G=52 B=1, lower its Opacity to 20% and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1.5px Offset and click OK.

Broom Illustration

Step 2

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 4px circle, a 3px circle and a 2px circle. Select all three shapes, set the fill color at white, lower their Opacity to 75%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat. Drag the slider at -50% and click OK.

Broom Illustration

Step 3

Multiply (Control + C > Control + F) your little, white circles and spread the copies roughly as shown in the following image.

Broom Illustration

11. Recolor the Final Broom Illustration

Step 1

Select all the shapes that make up your broom and simply Group them (Control + G).

Broom Illustration

Step 2

Duplicate your broom group (Control + C > Control + F). Focus on the Layers panel, open this new group, select only the straw subgroups ("strawOne", "strawTwo", "strawThree" and "strawFour") and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork.

Go to the Edit section, make sure that the Recolor Artwork box and Link harmony colors button are checked, then simply play with the Brightness and the color handles. There are countless possibilities.

Broom Illustration

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

Broom Illustration
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