Easter is a lovely spring holiday, which is well known for its tradition of painting eggs. It's usually associated with gentle, vivid colors and a spring mood. In this tutorial, we’ll go through a descriptive process of creating of flat Easter icons, using basic shapes, the Pathfinder panel and some of the new Adobe Illustrator tools.
1. Make Festive Easter Egg Icons
Let’s start by making the base of the egg. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and make a 70 x 70 px circle. Select its side anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and drag them down a bit, making the bottom of the shape bulged. Then select the upper anchor point and drag it up, making the top of the egg pointed.
We’ll be using a bright spring palette with gentle colors that you can pick up directly from the screenshot below with the Eyedropper Tool (I) while holding the Shift key.
Fill the base of the egg with yellow and keep a copy in back (Control-C > Control-B), as we may need it later.
Now let’s depict the decorative ornament above the egg. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a 70 x 15 px blue shape.
Take the Line Segment Tool (\), hold Shift and make a horizontal shape with pink Stroke of 3 pt Stroke Weight.
Let’s align all the shapes to the egg. Select everything (Control-A) and click the egg while holding Alt in order to make it a Key Object (you will see a thick selection around it). Head to the Align panel and click Horizontal Align Center.
Now let’s modify the pink line. Select it and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag. Set the Size to 5 px, Ridges per segment to 7 and Points to Smooth.
Object > Expand the shape to apply the effect.
Add another rectangle to the bottom of the egg and fill it with green color. Now let’s delete those parts of the rectangles outside the egg. We’ll be using one of the new Adobe Illustrator tools: the Shaper Tool (Shift-N). Take the Shaper Tool (Shift-N) and just scribble above the piece that you want to delete. Repeat the same with other unwanted parts.
If you’re working with earlier versions of Adobe Illustrator, try using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) instead. It works almost the same—just select everything and click the unwanted pieces while holding Alt.
We will also try another way of hiding the unneeded parts a few steps later, when we’ll be making another egg.
Select the modified egg and Object > Expand it. Then select the yellow middle of the egg together with the pink zigzagged line and Divide them in the Pathfinder panel, breaking the shape into two equal halves.
Fill the upper piece of the divided shape in a nice pink color. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and make a 5 x 5 px circle. Hold Alt-Shift and drag the circle to the right, creating a couple of copies.
Now that the basic view of the egg is ready, let’s add a flat-style shadow, covering one half of the egg. Group (Control-G) all parts of the egg, Copy and Paste in Front (Control-C > Control-F). Keeping the copy selected, Unite it in the Pathfinder, merging it into one silhouette.
Draw a vertical line across the egg, using the Line Segment Tool (\). Align the line to the egg silhouette, making the egg a Key Object.
Keeping the line and the egg silhouette selected, Divide them in the Pathfinder.
Delete one of the pieces and switch the remaining half to Multiply mode, making it semi-transparent.
Now let’s make another egg!
We already have a base, as we’ve made a copy of it in the very first step. Move it aside and fill with orange color. Add decorative elements on top and let’s see another way in which we can hide the unneeded pieces. Duplicate the basic shape once again (Control-C > Control-F) and Bring it to Front (Shift-Control-]).
Select all the elements, right click and Make Clipping Mask. Here you have it!
Let’s add a few more decorative elements to the egg. Make two 5 x 5 px circles above the yellow stripe of the egg, placing them closer to the edges. Select both circles and either use the Blend Tool (W) or go to Object > Blend > Make. Then open the Blend Options window (Object > Blend > Blend Options) and set the Spacing to Specified Steps with a value of 3.
Object > Expand the Blend group and add more circles in the upper part of the egg, filling them with yellow color.
When you’re satisfied with the result, add a semi-transparent flat shadow to one half of the egg.
Combine the eggs. Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to make a light-green background for our icon.
Make a square with the Rectangle Tool (M) and rotate it by 45 degrees with the Selection Tool (V) while holding Shift.
Fill the rectangle with linear gradient from light-green to white and switch it to Multiply Blending Mode, making a semi-transparent long shadow.
Duplicate the light-green background and place the shadow between the copies. Use a Clipping Mask to hide the unwanted piece of the long shadow.
Great! Our first icon is ready! Let’s move on to the next one.
2. Make a Cute Bunny Icon
Make a 70 x 70 px grey circle for the bunny’s head. Move the side anchor points down a bit with the Direct Selection Tool (A) to make the head slightly squashed.
Now let’s form the ears. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and make a 15 x 50 px oval. Move its side anchor points up a bit, making the top of the ear wider. Keeping the shape selected, go to Object > Path > Offset Path and set the Offset value to -5 px, leaving all other options as default. This way we create a smaller shape for the inner part of the ear.
Fill the inner part of the year with pink color, group both parts of the ear and Send to Back (Shift-Control-[). Double-click the Rotate Tool (R) to open the options window and set the Rotate Angle value to -20 degrees.
Use the Reflect Tool (O) to flip the ear over the Vertical Axis and click Copy to form the second ear on the opposite side of the head. You can group both ears and Align them to the head, making the whole set perfectly centered.
Squash the head base a bit more.
Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to form a pair of dark glossy eyes with white highlights and a circle for the nose. Take the Scissors Tool (C) and click both side anchor points of the nose in order to split the shape into two halves.
Delete the upper half and turn the remaining part into a cute bunny nose. Press X to swap Fill and Stroke colors. Set the Stroke Weight to 2 px and change the Variable Width Profile in the control panel on top. Create two copies of the nose and make them somewhat thinner and lighter, forming a mouth as shown in the screenshot below.
Let’s finish up with our bunny by adding tiny whiskers to his head. Make a 9 px horizontal stroke of 1 pt, using the Line Segment Tool (\). Rotate the whiskers a bit and add them to both sides of the face.
Add a flat shadow to one half of the bunny’s head, as we did previously. Form a rounded rectangle for the background and create a semi-transparent long shadow to finish up with the icon.
If you feel any difficulty in adding a long shadow to a complex object, check out the following tutorial from Part 7, Step 1 and onwards in order to find out how to give our long shadow the desired shape.
There you have it! Let’s move to the next icon!
3. Make a Cute Chicken Icon
This time we’ll depict a funny little chicken popping out of the egg. First of all, make a striped egg with a few stripes or other decorative elements to your liking, using the techniques that we’ve learned in previous steps.
We need to remove the top part of the egg, creating a cracked edge. Keep a copy of the egg’s base somewhere in the bottom, because we will need it later to form our chicken.
Make a horizontal line across the egg and apply Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag. Set the Size to 4 px, Ridges per segment to 7 and Points to Corner in order to make the cracked edges sharp.
Object > Expand the zigzagged line and position it across the egg, in the center of it. Copy the blue base of the egg, Paste in Front (Control-C > Control-F) and Bring it all the way to Front (Shift-Control-]), placing it on top of all the elements.
Select the zigzag and the egg base and Divide them in Pathfinder. Delete the upper part of the divided shape.
Finally, select everything, right click and Make Clipping Mask. Great! The cracked piece of the egg is ready. Let’s put a chicken into it.
Reveal the copy of the egg base that we’ve created previously and fill it with gentle yellow color for the chicken’s body. Shrink the shape to 60 x 75 px, making it smaller. Select the side anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and drag them up a bit, making the chicken rounder.
Take the Polygon Tool and single-click anywhere on the Artboard to open the pop-up options window. Make a 15 x 10 px triangle for the beak and fill it with orange color.
Combine two triangles to form a beak and squash them to form the proper shape. Don’t forget to add a pair of shiny eyes. We can copy them from our bunny icon.
Add a couple of oval wings, using the Ellipse Tool (L). Place the copy of the chicken’s body above the wings and Make Clipping Mask to hide the unneeded elements inside the mask.
Finish up with the icon by adding all the necessary elements like shadows and background. Awesome!
Let’s move on to our last icon and finish our Easter set!
4. Make a Gift Box Icon
Let’s start shaping our box from a 60 x 40 px green rectangle. Form a top of the box from a 65 x 15 px orange rectangle.
Now let’s create a ribbon across the box. Select both parts of the box and remember the mutual height of the shapes. You can find it in the Transform panel. In our case, it is 55 px. Make a blue ribbon of 5 x 55 px size, placing it right in the center of the box. Add a smaller 5 x 15 px piece of ribbon at the top of the box, filling it with darker blue color.
Use the Pencil Tool (N) to make a bow with blue Stroke of 2 pt Weight.
Let’s decorate our box with some ornament or pattern. Copy the base of the box and Paste it in Front (Control-C > Control-F).
Head to the Swatches panel, open the Swatch Libraries menu > Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Lines. Find the 10 lpi 30% swatch and click to apply a pattern with horizontal lines.
Keeping the textured shape selected, double-click the Rotate Tool (R) and set the Angle to 45 degrees. Deselect the Transform Objects checkbox and click OK, changing the direction of the stripes.
Let’s change the color of the stripes to make them match our overall palette. Double-click the applied pattern in the Swatches panel to isolate it in the Pattern Mode. Apply a light-green color to the Strokes in the Color panel and click Done in the upper part of the working area.
Finish up with the icon by adding depth with the help of the shadows and simple background.
Our Set of Icons Is Finished! Happy Easter!
Congratulations! We’ve done a great job, learning how to use the Shaper Tool and how to use work with basic shapes and the Pathfinder
panel. We can use these simple techniques to expand our set and create
more festive flat Easter icons!