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Design

How to Create Vector Sushi Icons in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial you'll learn about different types of sushi and how to draw them. You'll learn a lot of new techniques like: how to create and use a Rice Scatter Brush and a Roe Scatter Brush, and how to draw pretty, realistic seaweed, salmon, and tuna. You'll also save a lot of new graphic styles along the way, which will help you throughout the tutorial. If you fancy some Maki, Uramaki, Nigiri and Temaki sushi in vector form, let's start the fun!

If you are hungry for more food icons or vector icons in general, then Envato Market has you covered with plenty of designs to choose from.

Tutorial Assets

To complete the tutorial you will need the following assets:

1. Start a New Project

Launch Illustrator and go to File > New to open a blank document. Type a name for your file, set up the dimensions, and then select Pixels as Units and RGB as Color Mode. Make sure that Align New Objects to Pixel Grid is not checked.

Next, go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1 px and, while there, go to Units to make sure they are set as in the following image. I usually work with these settings, and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

create new vector sushi document in illustrator

2. Create the Maki Sushi

Step 1

Maki sushi is a rolled sushi with nori on the outside and rice on the inside.

The first thing to do is to draw a 77 x 77 px circle with the Ellipse Tool (L). While the circle stays selected, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen and apply the settings shown below.

create the shape of maki sushi roll

Step 2

With the circle still selected, go to the Object menu and choose Expand Appearance in order to expand the Roughen effect. Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) if necessary. Fill the resulting “roll shape” with light brown and also give it a 2 pt Stroke.

We'll use this “roll shape” to create another sushi roll later in the tutorial, so make a copy of it before you continue.

create outside seaweed with Appearance panel

Step 3

With the “roll shape” still selected, press Add New Stroke in the Appearance panel and drag this attribute to the bottom. Select a 5 pt Stroke and after that, go to Effect > Path > Offset Path and apply a Radius of 2 px

create outside seaweed with Offset path

Step 4

With the “roll shape” still selected, press Add New Fill in the Appearance panel and drag this attribute above the previous stroke. Select the color indicated and, after that, go to Effect > Path > Offset Path and apply an Offset of 3 px. Next, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen and apply the settings shown below.

create outside seaweed with Roughen effect

3. Create the Rice Scatter Brushes

Step 1

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a small 9 x 12 px ellipse; then draw a smaller ellipse on top of it. Use the colors indicated to fill them and, after that, while both of them are selected, go to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Choose 10 Specified Steps and hit OK, and then go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B)

create the first rice scatter brush with blend tool

Step 2

Use the Ellipse Tool (L) again to draw a 9 x 15 px ellipse; then draw another smaller ellipse on top of it. Use the colors indicated to fill them and, after that, blend the two shapes as you did earlier. 

create the second rice scatter brush with blend tool

Step 3

Drag the first grain of rice, which is darker, into the Brushes panel, and choose New Scatter Brush. Leave the settings as they are for the moment, just type “Rice 1” as the name of the brush and hit OK. Repeat the same thing with the second grain of rice and name the brush “Rice 2”.

You can see in the following image the true size of the rice grains at 100% View. They are very small. We are using two different grains of rice because the end result will look more realistic.

save two new rice scatter brushes

4. Create the Rice Filling

Step 1

Now let's put the new brushes to use. Grab the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a random path over the Maki sushi roll. The goal here is to cover the brown area in the center, as proportional as possible, and without going over the edges. Keep your path inside the brown area and remember that you can move any of the anchor points at any time with the Direct Selection Tool (A).

Stroke this path with the Rice 1 Scatter Brush. The stroke color is not important, and keep the Stroke Weight at 1 pt. Next, open the Stroke Options window and change the settings as shown below. We need more rice, so let's continue.

apply the rice scatter brush

Step 2

While the path is still selected, press Add New Stroke in the Appearance panel. Use the Rice 1 Scatter Brush again and keep the Stroke Weight at 1 pt. Next, open the Stroke Options window and change the settings.

create more rice with rice scatter brush

Step 3

While the path is still selected, add a New Stroke at the top of the Appearance panel. This time, use the Rice 2 Scatter Brush, keeping the Stroke Weight at 1 pt but changing the settings in the Stroke Options window. After you are done, press the New Graphic Style icon at the bottom of the Graphic Styles panel in order to save it for later use. You can change the name to “Sushi Rice Graphic Style”.

save a new sushi rice graphic style

Step 4

Your rice filling won't look perfect on the first try, but don't worry—everything is fixable in Illustrator. If your rice goes over the edges or you have empty areas, you can grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move any of the anchor points individually. Make all the adjustments necessary until you are happy with the result.

make adjustments to sushi rice filling

5. Create the Maki Sushi Filling

Step 1

Let's start with the piece of tuna. Grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw a shape like the one below over the rice. 

create a piece of tuna for maki sushi filling

Step 2

Next, draw three paths like below over the piece of tuna. Select a 10 pt Stroke and the Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel. Reduce the Opacity to 25%.

add details on piece of tuna

Step 3

While the three paths are still selected, add a second Fill above the first. Select a 4 pt Stroke, the Width Profile 2, and keep the same pink color. Set the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add more details on piece of tuna

Step 4

While the three paths are still selected, add a third Fill above the others. Select a 2 pt Stroke, the Width Profile 2, and keep the same pink color. Reduce the Opacity to 50%.

After you are done, press the New Graphic Style icon in order to save it for later use. You can change the name to “Tuna details Graphic Style”.

save a new tuna details graphic style

Step 5

Draw a white shape over the right side of the tuna and reduce the Opacity to 15%. This will create a shine.

Next, draw a thinner white shape on top and reduce the Opacity to 18% this time.

add shine to the piece of tuna

Step 6

Select the piece of tuna and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) in order to obtain a copy of it and remove the existing gradient fill. Now, select this copy along with the two white shapes and the three paths, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).

create a mask for the piece of tuna

Step 7

To create the piece of cucumber and the piece of omelette, simply draw the two shapes shown below and use the colors indicated.

Rotate and arrange them next to the tuna as you want. To add some depth, take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a shape around the filling, using a dark olive green as the fill color. Send this shape behind the filling but in front of the rice.

create a piece of cucumber and omelette for maki sushi filling

Step 8

Now, grab the two grains of rice and make as many copies as you want. Rotate and arrange them around and slightly over the filling. Group (Control-G) all the grains of rice, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown.

The Maki sushi is ready at this point.

add extra rice over maki sushi filling

6. Create the Uramaki Sushi

Step 1

Uramaki is a rolled sushi with nori on the inside and rice on the outside, also known as an inside-out sushi roll.

Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw a small red circle. Next, draw a moon-like shape on the left side filled with a darker red and, finally, the two small white shapes.

Drag all the shapes into the Brushes panel and choose New Scatter Brush. Type “Roe Scatter Brush” as the name, leave the settings as they are, and hit OK.

create and save a roe scatter brush

Step 2

Grab the copy of the “roll shape” that you made at the beginning of the tutorial. Replace the existing stroke with the Roe Scatter Brush and set the Stroke Weight to 1 pt. Next, open the Stroke Options window and change the settings as shown below. 

apply the roe scatter brush for uramaki sushi

Step 3

Draw a random path over the brown area as you did before, and simply choose the Sushi Rice Graphic Style that you have saved in the Graphic Styles panel. Make extra adjustments if necessary. 

create the rice filling for uramaki sushi

Step 4

To create the piece of avocado, draw a triangle shape and fill it with green. Draw another triangle over it and fill it with the radial gradient shown. Group (Control-G) the two shapes and make a copy. Arrange the pieces of avocado over the rice.

create a piece of avocado for uramaki sushi filling

Step 5

Draw a shape like the one in the next image as the piece of salmon. Use the linear gradient shown to fill it.

create a piece of salmon for uramaki sushi filling

Step 6

Draw two paths on top of the salmon shape and select the Tuna details Graphic Style that you have saved in the Graphic Styles panel earlier. Replace the existing pink color and change some of the settings as shown below.

While the two paths are still selected, press the New Graphic Style icon in order to save the new style for later. You can change the name to “Salmon details Graphic Style”. 

create and save a salmon details graphic style

Step 7

Select the salmon shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) in order to make a copy of it and remove the existing gradient fill. Now, select this copy along with the two paths and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).  

create a mask for the piece of salmon

Step 8

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a shape around the filling and fill it with a dark olive green color. Stroke this path with the Charcoal – Thick Art Brush from the Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPencil. Set the Stroke Weight at 0.5 pt and then send this shape behind the filling but in front of the rice. 

create the inside seaweed for uramaki sushi

Step 9

Grab the two grains of rice and make as many copies as you want. Rotate and arrange them around the filling and slightly over the nori sheet on the inside for a more realistic look. Group (Control-G) all the rice grains, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown below.

The Uramaki sushi is ready at this point.

add extra rice over uramaki sushi filling

7. Create the Nigiri Sushi With Tuna

Step 1

Nigiri is a hand-pressed sushi often made with raw tuna and salmon.

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a 44 x 118 px rectangle filled with light brown. After that, go to Effect > Stylize > Round Corners and apply a Radius of 15 px

create the shape of tuna nigiri sushi

Step 2

With the Pencil Tool (N) draw a random path over the brown shape and simply select the Sushi Rice Graphic Style that you have saved in the Graphic Styles panel. Make extra adjustments if necessary, and at this point you shouldn't see portions of the brown shape underneath. 

create the rice for tuna nigiri sushi

Step 3

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape of the tuna, but don't cover the rice entirely. Use the same gradient shown for the piece of tuna in the Maki sushi filling. Next, draw five paths over the tuna and select the Tuna details Graphic Style from the Graphic Styles panel. 

create the slice of tuna for nigiri sushi

Step 4

To add some shine, draw a white shape on the right side of the tuna and reduce the Opacity to 15%. Next, draw a thinner white shape on top and reduce the Opacity to 18%

add shine to slice of tuna

Step 5

Select the tuna shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) in order to make a copy of it and remove the existing gradient fill. Now, select this copy along with the five paths and the two white shapes and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).

The Tuna Nigiri sushi is ready at this point.

create a mask for the slice of tuna

8. Create the Nigiri Sushi With Salmon

Step 1

The drawing process is pretty similar. First, draw the light brown rectangle and apply the Round Corners effect. Continue with the random path and select the Sushi Rice Graphic Style from the Graphic Styles panel.  

create the shape of salmon nigiri sushi and the rice

Step 2

Next, draw the shape of the salmon with the Pen Tool (P) and use the linear gradient shown to fill it. Continue with the four paths and select the Salmon details Graphic Style that you have saved in the Graphic Styles panel. After that, draw the two white shapes on the left side of the salmon to give it some shine. 

create the slice of salmon for nigiri sushi

Step 3

Select the salmon shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to create a copy of it and remove the existing gradient fill. Now, select this copy along with the four paths and the two white shapes, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).

create a mask for the slice of salmon

Step 4

Let's continue with the strip of seaweed over the salmon. First, draw a shape like below and fill it with the linear gradient shown.

While the seaweed shape is still selected, add a New Fill in the Appearance panel. Use white as the fill color; then go to Effect > Sketch > Reticulation and apply the settings shown below. Set the Blending Mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to 20%

create a seaweed stripe over salmon

Step 5

While the seaweed shape is still selected, add a New Fill above the others. Use white as the fill color; then go to Effect > Artistic > Sponge and apply the settings shown. Set the Blending Mode to Color Burn and reduce the Opacity to 75%.

While the seaweed is still selected, press the New Graphic Style icon in order to save it for later. You can change the name to “Seaweed Graphic Style”. 

create and save a seaweed graphic style

Step 6

Grab the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a random zig-zag path on the right side of the seaweed. Select a 0.1 pt Stroke; then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 1 px. Set to Blending Mode Hard Light and 75% Opacity.

Draw a smaller zig-zag shape on the left side of the seaweed and apply the same settings, but reduce the Opacity to 50%.

add shine to seaweed stripe

Step 7

Select the seaweed shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) in order to make a copy of it and remove all existing appearances. Now, select this copy along with the original seaweed shape and the two zig-zag paths and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). As a result, you will get clean edges. 

create a mask for the seaweed stripe

9. Create the Temaki Sushi

Step 1

Temaki is a cone-shaped roll having the sheet of nori on the outside and rice on the inside.

Start with a rhombus-like shape. Use the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) to add two extra points at the top and with the Direct Selection Tool (A) distort the top part of the cone as shown in the following image. After that, simply select the Seaweed Graphic Style from the Graphic Styles panel. 

create the shape of temaki sushi

Step 2

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a black shape at the top of the cone to define the area where the rice will be placed. Draw a random path that covers the black shape and apply the Sushi Rice Graphic Style to it. Make extra adjustments by moving some of the anchor points if the rice goes over the edge of the cone.

Select the black shape from behind the rice, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown. 

create the rice filling for temaki sushi

Step 3

With the Pencil Tool (N) draw a random zig-zag path on the left side of the cone, give it a 0.1 pt Stroke and apply a 2 px Gaussian Blur. Set it to Blending Mode Hard Light and 60% Opacity

add shine to seaweed cone

Step 4

Draw a black shape on the right side of the cone as in the following image; then go to Effect > Stylize > Feather and apply a Radius of 7 px in order to create a discreet shade. 

add shading to seaweed cone

Step 5

Select the cone shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) in order to make a copy of it and remove all existing appearances. Now, select this copy along with the original cone shape and everything else except the rice, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). As a result, you will get clean edges. 

create a mask for the seaweed cone

Step 6

The salmon roe is basically the same as the small roe from the Uramaki sushi but bigger. Multiply and arrange a few in the middle of the rice. After that, select only the roe at the bottom and from the sides and apply the Drop Shadow effect. 

add salmon roe to temaki sushi

Step 7

For decoration, draw two green shapes and arrange them between the roe. Make a copy of the piece of avocado from the Uramaki sushi and place it behind the salmon roe.

The Temaki sushi is ready at this point. 

add greens and avocado to temaki sushi

10. Create the Soy Bowl and Chopsticks

Step 1

Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw a 104 x 104 px white circle. After that, draw a smaller circle in the center and fill it with the radial gradient shown.

create the shape of the soy bowl

Step 2

Draw a slightly smaller circle in the center and fill it with the radial gradient shown. To add some shine, draw a half circle on the upper left side of the soy and fill it with the linear gradient shown below.  

create the soy liquid

Step 3

For the chopsticks, draw a long triangle-like shape but rounded at the top. Continue with the thinner shape on the left side. Now, select both shapes and go to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Choose 10 Specified Steps, hit OK, and then go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B)

create vector chopstick with blend tool

Step 4

Draw another thin shape on the right side of the chopstick and fill it with light brown. Go to Effect > Stylize > Feather and apply a Radius of 2 px

add shading to vector chopstick

11. Add the Shadows

Step 1

Go back to the Maki sushi and select only the “roll shape”. Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V), and then send this copy behind everything by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[). Remove all existing appearances and select any fill color; then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown below.

Repeat the same thing for the Uramaki sushi to create the shadow. 

create shadow for sushi rolls

Step 2

Go back to the Nigiri sushi with salmon. Select only the salmon shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to create a copy of it. Send this copy behind everything by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[) and, after that, apply the Drop Shadow effect.

Repeat the same thing for the Nigiri sushi with tuna, using a copy of the tuna shape to create the shadow.

create shadow for nigiri sushi

Step 3

The same thing goes for the Temaki sushi. Make a copy in back of the cone shape, replace the existing appearances with any fill color, and then apply the Drop Shadow effect. 

create shadow for temaki sushi

Step 4

Group (Control-G) all the shapes that make up the chopstick and, after that, apply the Drop Shadow effect. Make a copy of the chopstick so you have two, and position them as you want on your artboard. 

create shadow for vector chopsticks

Step 5

To add the shadow for the soy bowl, select the first white circle and apply the Drop Shadow effect using the settings shown. Group (Control-G) all the shapes and name the group “soy bowl”. 

create shadow for vector soy bowl

Congratulations! You're Done

The sushi board is ready now. You can find and download the beautiful background on Freepik. It's free, realistic, and vector above all.

I hope this tutorial was fun for you, and don't forget to share your delicious sushi re-creations with us. 

final vector sushi icons
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