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Quick Tip: How to Create a Heart Illustration without the Pen Tool

Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:

In the following steps you will learn how to create a simple heart illustration. It's a pretty simple quick tip that will teach you how to avoid using the Pen Tool when you're looking to create a somewhat complex vector shape. We'll start with two simple rectangles. Next, using basic Transform options, the Rounded Corners effect, a little script, some simple tools and the Warp Fisheye effect we'll build the main heart shape. Moving to the coloring, we'll use the Appearance panel, several linear gradients, Pathfinder options plus some basic effects and blending techniques. For the final touches we'll use a simple Transform effect.

Step 1

Hit Command + N to create a New document. Enter 600 in the width box and 400 in the height box then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the "Align New Objects to Pixel Grid" box is unchecked before your click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For this tutorial you'll need a grid every 5px. Simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Unit > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 90 by 150px shape, fill it with R=235, G=235, B=235 then make a Copy in Front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy and replace the light grey used for the fill with R=238, G=26, B=26. Move to the Layers panel, focus on the red rectangle and make it invisible by clicking on the little eye icon. You'll need this shape later, but for the moment it's better to keep it hidden.

Step 3

Let's focus on that grey rectangle. Select it and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Enter a 45 degrees angle, click OK and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical button and click on the Copy button. Obviously, this will create a horizontally, flipped copy of the grey shape. Select this copy and go to Object > Transform > Move. Enter 42.4px in the Horizontal box and 0px in the Vertical box then click OK. In the end your flipped rectangle should be placed as shown in the fourth image. Select both grey rectangle, open the Pathfinder panel and click on the Unite button. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 125 by 60px shape and place it as shown in the sixth image. Select this new rectangle along with the grey shape and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like in the seventh step.

Step 4

Focus on the Layers panel and turn on the visibility for that red rectangle made in the second step. Select it and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 45px radius, click OK and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Enter a 45 degrees angle, click OK and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical button and click on the Copy button. Select the newly created shape and go to Object > Transform > Move. Enter 42.4px in the Horizontal box and 0px in the Vertical box then click OK. Select both red shapes, go to Object > Expand Appearance then click on the Unite button button from the Pathfinder panel. Finally, select the red shape along with the grey triangle made in the previous step and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.

Step 5

Next, you'll need the Round Any Corner script. You can find it in the Vectortuts+ article 20 Free and Useful Adobe Illustrator Scripts. Save it to your hard drive, return to Illustrator and grab the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the top anchor point highlighted in the first image and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter a 3px Radius and click OK. Continue with the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the bottom anchor point highlighted in the first image and go again to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter an 8px Radius and click OK. Switch to the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply remove the anchor points highlighted in the second image.

Step 6

Make sure that your red shape is still selected and go to Effect > Warp > Fisheye. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Move to the Layers panel, double click on this red shape and simple name it "heart".

Step 7

Select "heart" and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 185 by 90px shape and place it as shown in the second image. Select it along with the copy made in the beginning of the step and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -3px Offset and click OK. Remove the original shape and focus on the newly created vector path. Select it, fill it with the linear gradient shown in the following image, lower its Opacity to 70% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. The yellow zero from the gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

Step 8

Select "heart" and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -3px Offset and click OK. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the second image, lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Multiply. Reselect "heart" and make a Copy in Front (Control + C > Control + F). Select it, fill it with the radial gradient shown in the fourth image, lower its Opacity to 75% and change the Blending Mode to Multiply. Remember that the yellow zeros from the gradient images stand for Opacity percentage.

Step 9

Disable the Grid (View > Hide Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) then go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1px. Select "heart" and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px down using the down arrow from your keyboard. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 5% and change the Blending Mode to Multiply. Select "heart" and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, move it 2px down using the down arrow from your keyboard then duplicate it (Control + C > Control + F). Select this new copy and move it 3px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white, lower its Opacity to 70% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

Step 10

Select the second shape made in the previous step and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and increase its Opacity to 100%. Select "heart" and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, move it 2px down then duplicate it (Control + C > Control + F). Select this new copy and move it 8px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white, lower its Opacity to 40% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

Step 11

Select "heart" and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px up using the up arrow from your keyboard. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Multiply. Select "heart" and make a Copy in Front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, move it 2px up then duplicate it (Control + C > Control + F). Select this new copy and move it 2px up. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white, lower its Opacity to 40% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

Step 12

Select "heart" and make a Copy in Front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, move it 4px up then duplicate it (Control + C > Control + F). Select this new copy and move it 3px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the following image, lower its Opacity to 5% and change the Blending Mode to Multiply.

Step 13

Select "heart" and make a Copy in Front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, move it 4px up then duplicate it (Control + C > Control + F). Select this new copy and move it 11px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the following image, lower its Opacity to 5% and change the Blending Mode to Multiply.

Step 14

Select "heart" and make a Copy in Front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, move it 4px up then duplicate it (Control + C > Control + F). Select this new copy and move it 18px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the following image, lower its Opacity to 5% and change the Blending Mode to Multiply.

Step 15

Select "heart", focus on the Appearance panel and add a 1pt stroke. Select it, set the color at black, align to inside and lower its Opacity to 10%. Make sure that your "heart" shape stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add four new stroke using the Add New Stroke button (pointed by the little, blue arrow). Select the top, new stroke, make it 14pt wide, set the color at R=162, G=25, B=24, align it to inside and lower its Opacity to 5%. Move down to the next stroke, select it, make it 7pt wide, set the color at R=162, G=25, B=24, align it to inside and lower its Opacity to 15%. Continue with next stroke, select it, make it 3pt wide, set the color at R=162, G=25, B=24, align it to inside and lower its Opacity to 20%. Finally, select the bottom, new stroke, make it 1pt wide, set the color at R=162, G=25, B=24, align it to inside and lower its Opacity to 25%.

Step 16

Select "heart" and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the top, left window, click OK then add the other four Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

Step 17

Select All the shapes created so far (Control + A) and Group them (Control + G).

Step 18

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a shape the size of your Artboard, fill it with R=40, G=40, B=40 and send it to back (Shift + Control + [ ). Make sure that this rectangle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button (pointed by the little, blue arrow). Select this new fill, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 15%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Step 19

Finally, select the group made in the seventeenth step and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the left window, click OK and go again to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the right window, click OK and you're done.

Conclusion

Now your work is done. Here is how it should look. You can do a lot more with those Transform effects added in the final step. Simply add a different angle for the rotation and the outcome might surprise you.