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How to Make an Eco Friendly Vector Poster

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Read Time: 4 min

In this tutorial, we'll explain how to create an illustrated poster and how to set up our own crop marks in a few easy steps. This tutorial is aimed at the beginning Adobe Illustrator user. Creating this poster is relatively easy, so let's get started at the jump!

Final Image Preview

Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.

Step 1

First, pick a movie or a documentary of your interest that you want to recreate or illustration your own artistic style. I picked a documentary that has to do with the rain forest. The title of the documentary is "Wanamei: The Last Tree." Therefore, we will start with a tree as our main focus. Select the Pen Tool (P) and start drawing an outline of a simple tree. It can be whimsical or stylized or even a real to a tree.

Step 2

Fill the tree with a dark brown and set the stroke to a dirty green. Then duplicate the tree shape by clicking Alt and dragging the shape away. Repeat this several times. I created three duplicate to have a total of four trees. Lastly, group them close together.

Step 3

Next we need some leaves. With the Pen Tool (P) start drawing similar shapes like you see below. Quick tip: raw the outer shape first, then draw a line through the middle and select both with the Add to Shape Area in the Pathfinder palette. Next, fill the shape with a light shade of bright green, then set the stroke to a dirty green.

Step 4

Place the leaves close together. Select them all and drag them into the Symbol Palette. Name them "leaves" and check the Graphic button.

Step 5

This is the symbol instance of the leaves.

Step 6

Select the Sprayer Symbol Tool (Shift + S) and start adding leaves to your trees.

Step 7

Create as many as you like, but don't make it too dense. Select some of the trees and place them in front of the leaves, so the branches stick out. You might have to expand the leaves and ungroup them so it looks more natural.

Step 8

Let's get it going with the grass. Draw several shapes as shown below. Next, fill them with the same green as the leaves. Quick tip: draw three and then mirror them while duplicating.

Step 9

Group them close together and repeat Step 4 and drag an instance into the Symbol palette.

Step 10

Create a long rectangle and fill it with the grass green.

Step 11

Select the grass symbol and with the Symbol Sprayer start spraying grass along the top of the rectangle.

Step 12

Select both the grass and the rectangle and select Add to Shape Area in the Pathfinder Palette.

Step 13

This is what the stripe of grass should look like.

Step 14

Draw a long rectangle and fill it with a red to black linear gradient.

Step 15

Place the trees in the top middle of the background.

Step 16

Create a sun burst with two different greens. I chose a slight mint green. Place the sun burst behind the trees but in front of the background and set the Layer Mode to Darken.

Step 17

Place the grass shape above the trees hiding the bottom of it. Duplicate and mirror the grass if it is not long enough.

Step 18

Select the grass shape and reflect it vertically (Object > Transform > Reflect).

Step 19

Copy the tree part and scale it up about 200%. Remove the stroke. Then select the shape and flip or rotate it and apply an Opacity Mask to it. This will make it fade into the background.

Step 20

Repeat Step 19, but don't apply an Opacity Mask.

Step 21

Create the title (T) of your movie and place it on the grass line. I chose a free font over at called
Astro 867 .

Step 22

Once you've added the text, it's time to set it up with crop marks. We need some bleed (the artwork should extend beyond the edge of the paper sheet, see Wikipedia Explanation of Bleed Printing). Select the background and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. In the pop up window, choose for Scale, set Vertical and Horizontal to 115%, and click OK. This will extend the background shape, but we can still see the original borders when selected.

Step 23

Drag guidelines onto the artboard along the background's original size. Then Select the Crop Area Tool (Shift + O) and place the crop area along the guides.

Step 24

Grab the Selection Tool (V) and you will see the crop marks have been added. Now you could print it out yourself and cut it easily. Keep in mind that to a professional printer there are a few more steps involved. This will work fine to build a portfolio piece for yourself or artwork for your home.


This is the final poster. You can add much more information and elements though. So have fun and be creative!

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