Are you ready for some fairy-tale magic?
Today we’ll try on the role of good Fairy Godmothers (and Godfathers) and
will help our lovely Cinderella to get to the ball! Follow this short tutorial
and learn to create a magical pumpkin carriage in Affinity Designer, using
simple geometric shapes, handy operations, and drawing tools.
By the end of this lesson you’ll be able to apply the described techniques and create any sort of flat fairy-tale illustrations or flat magic assets! Feel free to browse the Envato Market for nice references. For example, here is a great variety of pumpkins in case we need to remind ourselves what it actually looks like.
Let’s get started!
1. Create the Cabin of the Carriage
Let’s start by making a New File of 600 x 600 px size and use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a lilac square for the background of the same size.
Now let's make a sunny orange pumpkin from a 200 x 200 px circle, using the Ellipse Tool (M), while holding Shift.
Then duplicate the circle (Command-C > Command-V), hold the Command key and squash the shape a bit, forming an oval. Move the color slider in the Colour panel to make the new shape a bit lighter. Create another copy and make it narrower and lighter.
Duplicate the smaller oval once again, hold Command-Shift and shrink the shape, making a smaller copy on top.
Let’s fill this shape with the same darker-orange color as we have for the largest circle. To do this, we need to use the Color picker, which is located on top of the Colour panel. Click the Color picker, hold and drag the magnifier over the needed area. Release the mouse button to pick the color. Now we can find the selected color in a tiny circle sample right next to the Color picker. Let’s select the shape that we need to recolor and click the created swatch in the Colour panel. There we have it!
Let’s make the door of our carriage from the created shape. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a narrow stripe across the shape. Select the stripe and the shape beneath and head to the Operations panel in the control toolbar on top. Apply the Subtract Operation to cut out the stripe. And then apply the Divide Operation to split the shape apart.
Duplicate the top half (Command-C > Command-V), hold Command-Shift and shrink the copy, making it smaller. Fill the created shape with a nice shade of pink color.
Use the Ellipse Tool (M) to make a shape over the top left side of the carriage door. Duplicate the shape and Flip Horizontal from the control toolbar on top, placing the new shape on the opposite side.
Add two more ellipses on both sides of the door and fill all the ellipses with light-pink color. Select all four shapes and use the Add Operation to merge them into a single shape.
Now let’s place the created cloudy shape inside the pink window shape to hide the unneeded elements. Head to the Layers panel and drag the light-pink shape over the window shape. You will see a short blue stripe under the window shape, indicating that you’re placing one shape inside of the other. Voila! We’ve created the curtains!
Add a light-pink door in the bottom half of the carriage by duplicating the separated shape, making it smaller, and adding a circular door handle.
2. Add Details to the Pumpkin Carriage
Let’s add a stylized crown to our pumpkin. Take the Ellipse Tool (M) and make a 25 x 25 px circle. Convert to Curves in the control toolbar on top. Take the Node Tool (A) and select the top node. Convert to Sharp from the top toolbar to make the shape pointed and drag the point up, using the Node Tool (A).
Duplicate (Command-C > Command-V) the shape and use the Transform panel to rotate the shape 20 degrees.
Duplicate the rotated shape and Flip Horizontally, placing it on the opposite side. Make the central element a bit taller, forming the top of the crown.
Finally, select all three shapes and use the Vector Crop Tool to cut off the bottom part of the crown, making it flat.
Place the crown, making it float above the carriage.
Let’s create the wheel of our pumpkin carriage! Make a 120 x 120 px circle with pink Stroke, setting the Stroke Width to 10 pt in the control toolbar on top or in the Stroke panel.
Add a small 25 x 25 px yellow circle inside of the wheel.
Take the Pen Tool (P), hold Shift, and draw a vertical line with light-pink Stroke of 7 pt Width, depicting a spoke.
Duplicate the line, hold Shift and rotate it 90 degrees, making the spokes crisscross. Add more copies, rotating them 45 degrees, while holding Shift.
Group (Command-G) all the elements of the wheel and duplicate to add a second wheel, making it somewhat smaller.
Here is what it looks like all together!
Use the Pencil Tool (N) to draw a swirly line, connecting the wheels and the pumpkin cabin. Make sure that your line is smooth enough, using the Node Tool (A) to move the nodes around and deleting those you do not need.
Now let’s create some small generic elements, for example, flower petals. Use the Ellipse Tool (M) to make a 10 x 25 px light-pink oval. Convert to Curves and select the top and bottom nodes with the Node Tool (A) in order to Convert them to Sharp pointed corners from the control toolbar on top.
Now we can duplicate the petal a few times and vary the shades of pink, making every petal unique.
Attach the petals to the pumpkin carriage by rotating them, varying their sizes, and combining them into groups. Don’t add too much, though, in order not to make the illustration too busy.
Good News for Cinderella, Your Pumpkin Carriage Is Finished!
Great job! The main part of our illustration is successfully done! We can make the composition look a bit more finished and balanced by speckling some tiny circle spots around the pumpkin, creating a sense of magic. And don’t forget to place a couple of flat elliptical shadows beneath the wheels, so that our carriage doesn’t just hang in the air.
I hope you’ve enjoyed following this quick and easy tutorial, which will be useful for your future illustrations! Go on and continue creating fairy-tale art in Affinity Designer, and don’t forget to share your results!