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How to Create a "BBQ Time" Concept Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a summer barbecue illustration in flat design using the most basic shapes and tools of Adobe Illustrator.

If you would like to skip the tutorial, you can just purchase the result as a part of my Summer Activity Concept Backgrounds package. Find more inspiration on GraphicRiver.

Summer Activity Concept Backgrounds

1. How to Create a New Document

Let's start our project by creating a new document. Just go to File > New (or Control/Command-N) and set up the document as follows:

  • Number of Artboards: 1
  • Width: 800
  • Height: 600
  • Units: pixels

From the Advanced Tab:

  • Color Mode: RGB
  • Raster Effects: Screen
  • Preview Mode: Default
  • Align New Objects to Pixel Grid: Uncheck
Creating a new document

2. How to Make a Picnic Table and a Chair

Step 1

Let's start simple by taking a Rectangle Tool (M) and creating a 215 x 15 px rectangle which will act as a tabletop, filling it with #BD3337 color.

Build another 8 x 130 px vertical shape with #B8B79D fill color. Place it closer to the left side of the red rectangle, aligning to its bottom edge.

Select the vertical stripe and choose the Reflect Tool (O). Holding the Alt key, click on the middle of the large rectangle. In the Reflect option window, set the Axis to Vertical and press Copy, reflecting the stripe to the right side of the red shape, getting the table legs.

Building the table

Step 2

Build two small 10 x 12.5 px rectangles of #47392C color, placing them right over the bottom outline of the vertical table legs and aligning to their middle.

Form a 65 x 4.5 px horizontal stripe which we will color using #B8B79D. Select the figure and double-click the Rotate Tool (R) to open the Options menu. Set the Angle value to 90 degrees, press OK and send the rectangle backward with Object > Arrange > Send Backward.

Place the shape that we created to the left side of the table underneath the red rectangle, hiding its top and bottom parts behind the tabletop and the table leg.

Choose the angled rectangle and select the Reflect Tool (O). Holding the Alt key, click on the middle of the tabletop. In the Reflect window, set the Axis to Vertical and press the Copy button, getting a mirror copy of the angled shape on the right side of the table.

Group (Control-G) all the table parts together.

Finishing the table

Step 3

Begin to create the chair by making a 94 x 40 px rectangle of #E04938 color.

Add two thin vertical rectangles of 4 x 110 px size (#DEDDBD) on each inner side of the red shape, placing them underneath the bottom edge of the large figure. They will act as the chair legs.

Create two 22 x 7 px small rectangles, coloring them with #E04938. Put each rectangle in the middle of the chair leg, placing them about 20 px below the upper shape.

Add one more 118 x 9 px rectangle and place it on the chair legs, lowering it about 15 px down from the smaller red shapes and aligning to the middle of the upper large rectangle.

Making a chair

Step 4

With the help of the Pen Tool (P), draw an angled line of 4 px width, which goes from the intersection of the left table leg and bottom red shape diagonally to the bottom edge of the right chair leg and then by about 10 px to the right side (look at the example below)

Reflect the line to the right side of the chair using the Reflect Tool (O).

Choose both lines that we created and go to Object > Expand. Check the Stroke option, and uncheck the Fill option, pressing OK. Our strokes will transform into filled shapes.

Keeping both figures selected, go to Object > Arrange > Send Backward, putting them behind the other parts of the chair. Group (Control-G) all the chair pieces together.

Finishing the chair

3. How to Create a Cup

Step 1

Start to build the cup by making a 52 x 53.5 rectangle which we will fill using #DEDDBD. Select the two bottom anchors with the Direct Selection Tool (A)

Use the Live Corners feature to make the corners rounded by pulling the circle indicator to the center of the rectangle, setting the corner radius to about 6 px.

Forming a rectangle

Step 2

Create a 55 x 3.5 px stripe and color it using #977866.

Select the stripe and the large rectangle, holding down Shift. Click again on the larger object (you don't need to hold down Shift this time!). 

A blue outline appears around the bigger form, and Align to Key Object is automatically selected in the Control panel and the Align panel.

In the Align panel (Window > Align) or the Control panel, click on the Horizontal Align Center button and then on the Vertical Align Top button.

Creating a cup

Step 3

We still need a handle for our cup.

Build a 16 x 20 px rectangle with no Fill color, setting the stroke weight to 3 px and stroke color to #977866. Using the Leave Corners feature, make the top-right and the bottom-right corners of the shape rounded. Send the handle backward and place it on the right side of the cup, hiding its left part behind the cup. Group (Control-G) all the cup pieces together.

Finishing the cup by adding a handle

4. How to Make a Spoon and a Fork

Step 1

First we are going to create a handle, which we will use in the next steps to form a spoon and a fork.

Build a 5 x 41 px rectangle of #DEDDBD color. Keeping the created shape selected, apply Effect > Warp > Bulge with -3% Vertical Bend value and 25% Vertical Distortion.

Go to Object > Expand Appearance to turn the effect into a solid shape. Make the bottom part of the figure fully rounded by dragging the Live Corners widgets. 

Since we will need the same handle for the spoon and the fork, create one more copy of the shape.

Creating the bottom part for the fork and spoon

Step 2

With the help of the Ellipse Tool (L), build a 17 x 27.5 ellipse of #DEDDBD color, sitting on the top of the handle. Choose its side anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and drag them down a little.

Select both figures and merge them into one using the Unite option of the Pathfinder panel.

Make the corners between the top egg-like part of the spoon and the handle rounded using the Live Corners feature.

Building a spoon

Step 3

Take the Polygon Tool and click on the artboard near the second handle that we created in Step 1. In the Polygon option panel, set the radius to 7.5 px and sides to 8, getting the octagonal shape. Change the Fill color of the figure to #DEDDBD and drag the shape on the top of the second handle, making it overlap the handle and aligning to its middle (1).

Select the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and click on the two top anchors of the octagonal shape, deleting them (2). Choose the left bottom anchor of the remaining shape and move it to the right while holding down Shift, snapping the point to the left outline of the handle. Using the same method, drag the bottom-right anchor point to the right outline of the handle (3).

Choose both shapes and Unite them in Pathfinder. Make the corners between the top part and the handle rounded with the help of the Live Corners feature (4).

Building a fork

Step 4

Build a vertical 2 x 15 px rectangle of the same #DEDDBD color and put it on the top side of the previously built shape, aligning it to the left side. Then add an anchor point to the middle of the top edge of the rectangle with the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) (1).

Delete the left and right top anchors with the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-), getting a needle-like shape. Create the same shape on the right side of the figure (2).

Select both needle-like forms with the Selection Tool (V) while holding down the Shift key. Choose Object > Blend > Make.

By default, Illustrator creates a smooth color transition. We are going to fix it by choosing Object > Blend > Blend Options or double-clicking the Blend Tool. Change the Spacing option to Specified Steps, setting the value to 2 (3).

Keeping the object selected, go to Object > Expand. Check the Object option, and uncheck the Fill and the Stroke option, pressing OK. 

Choose the needle-like shapes together with the bottom figure and use the Unite option of the Pathfinder panel.

Make the spaces between the needles rounded by selecting the angled anchors with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and dragging the Live Corners widgets (4).

Our fork is ready!

Finishing the fork

5. How to Create a Frying Pan and a Grill Pan

Step 1

Let's start to build a frying pan by taking the Ellipse Tool (L) and creating a 95 x 95 px circle of #635042 color. Add two smaller circles inside: a 77 x 77 px circle of #977866 color and a 65 x 65 px circle( #B08F64).

Make a 17 x 175 px rectangle without Fill color but with a 5 px stroke (#46382B) near the circles group. Make the top part of the shape fully rounded. Then slightly round the bottom anchors by dragging the Live Corners with the Direct Selection Tool (A). Place the resulting shape on the circles, aligning to their middle and making the bottom part of the rectangle slightly stand out from the bottom outline of the outer circle.

Send the rectangle shape backward by selecting it and going to Object > Arrange > Send Backward. Group (Control-G) all the parts together.

Working over the cooking pan

Step 2

Create a 90 x 90 px circle with 3 px stroke weight and #DEDDBD color without any Fill color. Select the circle and go to Object > ExpandCheck the Stroke option, and uncheck the Fill option, pressing OK. Our stroke will transform into a filled shape.

Make a 1.5 x 130 px stripe of #47392C color near the left side of the circle shape, aligning its center between the top and the bottom anchors of the circle.

Select the vertical stripe and choose the Reflect Tool (O). Holding the Alt key, click on the top middle anchor of the circle shape. In the Reflect option window, set the Axis to Vertical and press Copy, reflecting the stripe to the right side of the circle.

Send both vertical figures to the back with Object > Arrange > Send Backward, hiding them behind the circle shape.

Creating a stroked circle and two vertical stripes

Step 3

Choose both vertical stripes and go to Object > Blend > Make.

Selecting Object > Blend > Blend Options or double-clicking the Blend tool, set the Spacing option to Specified Steps and the value to 10. Keeping the object selected, use Object > Expand. Check the Object option, and uncheck the Fill and the Stroke option. Then press OK. 

Select the group of lines that we created and press Control-C and Control-F, creating a copy of the group in front of the first one. Keeping the objects selected, move the pointer outside the bounding box and near the bounding box's upper right handle so that the pointer changes to an angled arrow. Then drag to the bottom, holding down the Shift key, rotating the copy by 90 degrees.

Copying the vertical stripes and making the grill

Step 4

Let's cut off the parts of the stripes that stand outside the circle shape.

Select the vertical stripes group together with the circle. Then use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M). Hold down the Alt key, click and hold the left mouse button on a free area near the left side of the group, drag along the outstanding part, and release the mouse to delete it. Repeat the action for all overlapping parts.

Group (Control-G) all the parts together.

Cutting of the outstanding grill parts

Step 5

Create a 7 x 167 px rectangle without Fill color and with 2 px stroke (#DEDDBD). Delete the bottom edge by clicking on it with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and pressing the Delete button. Make the top part rounded.

Build a 9.5 x 27 px red rectangle of #E04938 color, placing it on the top half of the vertical shape, leaving a gap of about 9 px between the red shape top and the upper outline of the vertical rounded figure.

Add one more rounded 12 x 6.5 px rectangle with no Fill and with 2 px stroke (#47392C) a few pixels lower than the red shape, aligning to its middle. Group (Control-G) the whole construction and put it on the previously created circle, aligning to its center and making the bottom part extend down by a few pixels from the bottom outline of the circle.

Group (Control-G) the grill pan objects.

Finishing the grill pan

6. How to Create the Barbecue Grill

Step 1

Let's start simple by creating a 125 x 95 px ellipse of the default color settings with the help of the Ellipse Tool (L). Draw a horizontal line which goes across the middle and side anchors of the figure. Select both shapes and Divide them, using the Pathfinder panel. Ungroup (Control-Shift-G) the shapes and set the Fill color of the top half to #E04938 and of the bottom part to #DEDDBD.

Building an ellipse and dividing it on two parts

Step 2

Build a 135 x 9.5 px rectangle of #BD3337 color for the rim, positioning it in the middle of the ellipse shape.

Create a small rounded rectangle with no fill and 2 px stroke (#915B3F) which will act as a handle. Place it on the top of the red part, hiding the bottom half of the rectangle behind the larger shape.

Add a small #E1F4F7 colored circle to the right part of the red form, depicting a flat, stylized glare.

Make a T-like shape consisting of two rectangles which we will color using #47392C: the horizontal one of 10.5 x 2.5 px size and the vertical one of 2 x 5 px size. Unite both rectangles in Pathfinder and, rotating the figure, place it on the left side of the large bottom half of the circle form, hiding the right edge behind it. Make a mirror copy of the T-like shape on the right side using the Reflect Tool (O).

Finishing the top part of the BBQ grill

Step 3

Create a 4.5 x 95 px vertical stripe for the barbecue leg, filling it with #B8B79D and making the bottom rounded.

Add a 4.5 x 7 px small rectangle (#47392C) to its middle part, imitating the rubber joint. Build a larger rectangle of the same color, overlapping the bottom part of the leg. Cut off the parts of the rectangle that stand out from the leg with the help of the Shape Builder Tool (M) and Group (Control-G) all the parts of the leg.

Select the leg group and double-click the Rotate Tool (R), opening the Options menu. Set the Angle value to 20 degrees and press OK. Send the leg backward with Object > Arrange > Send Backward and position it on the right side of the circular barbecue section that we created in the previous step.

Make a symmetric copy of the leg on the left side of the ellipse shape using the Reflect Tool (O) method.

Creating the legs for the BBQ grill

Step 4

Add a 4.5 px width bridge (#C4C4C4) between the barbecue legs, hiding its sides behind the upper black joints.

Create one more vertical 4.5 x 95 px rectangle with a rounded bottom, filling it with #524C4E. Position it between the barbecue legs, aligning to the middle of the ellipse-like barbecue part and the bottom of the rubber feet. Send the object backward, hiding its top behind the circle section.

Group (Control-G) all the parts together. Our barbecue grill is ready!

Finishing the BBQ grill

7. How to Create the Barbecue Background

Time to finish the whole barbecue scene by creating a simplistic background and forming the final composition.

Step 1

Create a background rectangle and fill it with #A2B51B. Build another rounded rectangle which we will color using #FDF9FF in the bottom part of the composition for the ground level.

Add a large rectangle of #DEDDBD color which fully overlaps the bottom half part of the rounded light figure. Select both shapes and delete the outstanding parts of the lower figure using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M), getting the flat-stylized shadow on the lower part of the ground level.

Creating the ground level

Step 2

Build a simple fir tree consisting of triangles, and spread the firs behind the ground level, creating the forest background.

Rendering the fir and the forest background

Step 3

To fill the empty space and add depth to our landscape, create cloud-like shapes over the forest with the help of the Pen Tool (P) or the Rectangle Tool (M), making the corners of the resulting figures rounded.

Creating the clouds

Step 4

Since we are done with the background scene, it's time to go back to the previously created barbecue appliances and spread them over the ground level, forming a balanced composition. You can use the example below as a reference, but feel free to use your own imagination.

Finishing the whole scene

It's BBQ Time!

And there we have it! Nicely done!

If you need to check out the source file to see all the details, or if you want to get the whole set of outdoor activities concept illustrations for your designs, you can grab these Summer Activity Concept Backgrounds on GraphicRiver.

Summer Activity Concept Backgrounds

I hope you enjoyed creating this barbecue illustration and learned something useful along the way.

Final illustration
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