Make your text look great! Learn how to fix letter-spacing and more in this quick video.
Typography in 60 Seconds: What Is Kerning, Tracking, and Leading?
Designers are very detail oriented. We know the importance of space in design, especially when dealing with typography. And you can learn how to fine tune the spacing of your work by studying some basic typography terms.
Got a minute? Master these terms by following along with our quick lessons! Learn more about kerning, tracking, and leading in this video below.
What Is Kerning?
Kerning is both a typography term and a process. It not only refers to the spacing between two letters, but is also defined as the process of adjusting these spaces manually. Kerning is best used when adjusting logos, headlines, and typographic compositions.
What Is Tracking?
Also known as “letter-spacing“, Tracking refers to the overall spacing of letters (and not just two characters), allowing you to adjust the spaces in any text uniformly.
What Is Leading?
Last but not least, to add more space between the lines of a paragraph you’ll need to adjust the Leading. Increase the number for a quick double spacing effect or for more readability.
Learn More About Typography
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Creating fonts has never been so fast, fun
and easy as with Fontself, a powerful extension for Adobe
Illustrator and Photoshop CC. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to make a color font.
Fontself allows you to create a fully
functional font with all the bells and whistles that most professional fonts
have (kerning, ligatures, etc.), and the most exciting thing about it is that it helps you to create a color font!
You can make your imagination go wild and add any shapes and colors you want (including gradients and other effects) to your characters.
Apart from creating color fonts, that can be used in Adobe Photoshop CC 2017/2018 and Adobe Illustrator CC 2018, you can use Fontself to create standard “non-color” vector fonts that can be used in any other software like older versions of Adobe CC apps, CS6, Microsoft Word, and many others.
Can’t wait to try
Thousands of creatives from Adobe,
Google, Apple, Microsoft and other well-known companies already use Fontself. What
is also cool about it is that it is 100% indie software that was created by
three passionate developers with a goal of bringing us a user-friendly font
creation tool. And they made it!
Let’s go through the whole process of
creating and using our own color font in Adobe Illustrator CC 2018 and Fontself Maker!
1. How to Draw the Letter A
When I’m creating a font from
scratch, I usually start by depicting a general idea. This time I decided to create a font in a colorful line-art style.
I started with a rough sketch of every
letter, trying to make each of them unique yet preserving the overall style.
I’ll be using this sketch as a guide for the outlines that we’ll be making in
Please note that Fontself Maker works with Adobe Illustrator CC 2015.3 and newer but to use color fonts you’ll need CC 2018 so don’t forget to update if you haven’t done so yet!
Begin by creating a New Document of desired size in RGB Color Mode. If you select other Color Mode, all colors will be turned to RGB even if defined in CMYK or if the document in the CMYK color space. You can learn more about color space in Fontself from their help page.
Let’s start with the letter A. Take the Polygon Tool (you can find it in the
same drop-down menu as the Rectangle
Tool (M)) and single-click anywhere on the Artboard. Set the number of Sides to 3 and make a triangle.
Set its Fill color to None and
its Stroke color to dark purple in
the Color panel. Now, in the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke), set the Weight
to 2.5 pt and Cap to Round Cap.
Now we can delete the bottom part of the
shape that we don’t need. Take the Direct
Selection Tool (A) and click the bottom edge of the triangle. Hit the Delete key (or Backspace if you’re on a Mac) to delete it.
Select the shape with the Selection Tool (V) and hit Enter to open the Move window. Set the Horizontal value to 25 px and Vertical to 0 px, and click Copy to duplicate the shape and move it to the right.
Keeping both shapes selected, take the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M), hold down
Alt, and click the piece on the right
to delete it.
Copy the first shape and resize it to make a tiny triangle. Place it at
the bottom, creating the feather of an arrow. Select the shape, hold down Alt, and drag it up to create a copy. Add
two more copies and attach them along the left edge of the triangle.
(Control-G) the created elements of the feather and
double-click the Reflect Tool (O). Select the Vertical Axis and click Copy to flip the shape to the opposite
Take the Ellipse Tool (L), hold down Shift, and make a 10 x 10 px circle with
dark-blue Stroke and turquoise Fill color.
Tip: Use the Eyedropper Tool (I)
to pick the fill or stroke color or any appearance settings and apply them to
other objects. You can access the options of the Eyedropper Tool (I) by double-clicking
it in the Tools panel, and then you can tick the
settings that you want to pick and apply.
Copy the stroke by selecting it and dragging to the side while holding Alt. Use the Pen Tool (P) to add an anchor point in the middle of the line. Then
use the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-)
to delete the point on top of the stroke.
Take the Pen Tool (P) or the Line
Segment Tool (\) and hold Shift
to make a horizontal line across the letter. This is going to be the bar of the
Copy (Control-C > Control-F) the stroke and drag it down. Make it shorter by moving the points
with the Direct Selection Tool (A).
Now use the Pen Tool (P) to create a zigzag line in the upper part of the
letter, as shown in the image below.
Add some more strokes on both sides of the
letter, making it look more detailed.
Now that the outlines of the letter A are
ready, let’s add some color! We can duplicate
(Control-C > Control-B) the letter and Hide the copy in the Layers
panel by clicking the tiny eye icon, just in case we need to use these outlines later.
Select the visible copy and go to Object > Live Paint > Make.
Now grab the Live Paint Bucket (K) and hover over the area that you want to
fill with color. Once you see a red outline, click the area to fill it.
Continue using the Live Paint Bucket (K) and selecting new colors in the Color panel to fill the triangles in the top part of the letter.
Now let’s go to Object > Live Paint > Expand in order to turn each colored
section into a separate object.
Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to drag a couple of elements out, making
the composition more dynamic.
And there we have it! Our first letter is
finished! Let’s move to the next one and see what else we can use to make it
2. How to Design the Letter B
I’m not using any snapping or special grids for this font,
because I want to preserve a bit of a handcrafted touch without making it
geometrically perfect or pixel perfect. However, to make the font consistent, we need to keep
all the letters of the same height (while the width will be different).
Turn on the Rulers (Control-R) and drag a couple of horizontal guides onto the
Artboard to mark the height of the letter A. We can access the Guides menu from View > Guides.
Let’s start with the stem of the letter B.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a
narrow rectangle of about 30 x 120 px
(remember to keep the height equal to the height of your first letter).
Select its bottom edge with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and delete
Add a few horizontal lines and attach a
couple of 10 x 10 px turquoise
circles to the bottom of the shape. We can copy
these circles from our letter A.
Now let’s make a straight horizontal line
using the Pen Tool (P) and go to Effect > Distort & Transform >
Zig Zag. Set the Size to 10 px, Ridges per segment to 5, and Points to Corner.
and go to Object > Expand Appearance
to apply the effect.
Place the created zigzag inside the top
part of the letter and resize it to make it fit the rectangle.
Let’s create a rectangle of about 45 x 55
px size and align it to the top and left edges of the letter. To do this,
select the stem and the created rectangle and click the stem once again to make
it a Key Object (you will see a
thicker selection around it).
Open the Align panel (Window >
Align) and click Horizontal Align
Left and Vertical Align Top.
Let’s select the top and bottom right corners
of the rectangle with the Direct
Selection Tool (A) and make them rounded by pulling the circle marker of
the Live Corners closer to the
center. We can also adjust the Corners radius manually from the control panel on top.
Tip: If you can’t find the top control panel after updating to Adobe Illustrator CC 2018, don’t worry! It’s still there, and you can turn it on in Window > Workspace > Essentials Classic.
Let’s delete the left edge of the shape.
Select the bottom left corner with the Direct
Selection Tool (A) and press Delete
(Backspace on Mac).
Repeat the same for the top left point,
leaving only the arched shape.
Make a larger arc for the bottom bowl of
the letter B.
Add a smaller arc inside the bottom
bowl. Make the letter more intricate by adding horizontal and vertical strokes.
Finish off the outlines by placing two circles inside the bottom bowl.
(Control-C > Control-B) the letter and keep the copy invisible
in case we need it later.
Select the visible copy and Object > Live Paint > Make. Use
the Live Paint Bucket (K) and the Eyedropper Tool (I) to pick and apply
colors to the elements of the letter B.
Let’s finish off the letter. Go to Object > Live Paint > Expand and
use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to
drag some of the colored parts out of the outline.
Awesome! The second letter is finished!
Let’s check out some more techniques that we can use for other letters and
3. How to Draw the Letter C
Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and start with the base of the letter by making a 115 x 115 px circle. Copy the created circle and Paste in Front (Control-C > Control-F). Decrease
the size of the copy to 80 x 80 px.
As you may notice, the letter is a bit
lower than the top guideline. We’ve left some space above the circle in order
to add a few details there.
Take the Pen Tool (P), hold Shift, and make a vertical line across the
circles. Keeping the line selected, double-click the Rotate Tool (R) and set the Angle
to 12 degrees. Click Copy to add a rotated copy of the line.
Now press Control-D to repeat the last action and keep pressing until you get
30 copies to fill the circle.
(Control-G) the created rays and hide
them for now.
Now let’s create a silhouette of the letter
C. Use the Add Anchor Point Tool (+)
to add two points on the right side of the larger circle and two for the
smaller one, as marked in the screenshot below.
Now we can use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to click the segment of arc between the created points and delete it. Repeat the same for
Now let’s reveal the hidden rays and select
all the elements of the C.
Take the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) and click the rectangles formed by
crossing lines. Don’t click all of them; leave some untouched space at the bottom
of the shape.
Now we can select the unneeded pieces of
the rays in the center of the C and delete them.
Let’s break the pieces of the rays on the
left of the letter C.
Use the Pen Tool (P) to add a new anchor point somewhere in the middle of
the line and delete the top point with the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-). This way we detach the piece from the
edge of the letter.
Continue alternating the rays, making some
of them shorter and detaching others to add variation to the silhouette of the
Add some more arched strokes to the inner
part of the letter. Attach circles to the tips of the large arcs.
Duplicate the created outlines and use the Live Paint and the Live
Paint Bucket (K) to add colors.
> Live Paint > Expand the shape and drag out
some of the colored rectangles. Great work! Our third letter is finished!
Go on and create more letters, numerals, and
punctuation, everything that you might need for your future font. Don’t worry if you don’t
make all the desired symbols at once; you can always reopen your font file and add them later.
4. How to Make a Color Font in Fontself
Now for the fun part! Since we have everything
prepared, we can finally create a font using Fontself Maker!
First of all, let’s open the Layers panel and place all the letters
in alphabetical order, from left to right. Fontself will automatically assign the proper characters if your place them in the correct order.
We can rename the bottom guideline, setting it as a baseline.
Now let’s make sure that all our letters
are aligned to the bottom and placed
on the baseline. Select your characters and click Vertical Align Bottom in the Align panel, using one of the characters as a Key Object.
Go to Window
> Extensions and run Fontself
Maker. A compact window of the extension will load, and you can adjust its
size by dragging its bottom corners. It has a simple and user-friendly
drag-and-drop interface with pop-up hints and an online chat assistant that can help you with your questions.
Now let’s select our alphabet and drag it to the Fontself window. Here we have several options to choose from. If you
already have all the characters ready, you can use the ‘A-Z’ area and drop your letters there. Fontself will automatically place them in right order, giving each letter a proper name.
Otherwise, if you don’t have all the characters finished yet, place your mouse
cursor over the ‘Any character (Batch)’
field and release the mouse key to upload your characters.
In our case, we’re making an uppercase
font, so all the letters will be the same for both upper and lower case.
What is great about Fontself is that it
makes things so much easier: once we have arranged and aligned our letters, the
program will place them in the correct order, using the information from the Layers panel. Just make sure that you
drag and drop everything together, including the baseline.
If you need some more control
over the guidelines and you wish to add an ascender and descender, you can make
it too! Just add two more guidelines, rename them “ascender” and “descender”
in the Layers panel, and then drag and
drop them into Fontself together with your alphabet. Voila!
You can learn more about using guides in
Fontself from the help page.
Now we have every letter placed in its own
slot. From here, we can type something in the Live Preview window to check out how it looks and play with Letter Space, Line Space and Scale, if needed.
Clicking the tiny cog icon on the
right allows you to change the font size, alignment, and background color.
We can also expand the letter preview
window by clicking the tiny diagonal arrows icon in the top left corner of every preview
slot (circled in the screenshot below) or by double-clicking the glyph.
Here we have some more options for
each letter. We can drag the lines, changing the position of the ascender and descender and adjusting other settings.
Once we’re happy with the letters, let’s
add other symbols and punctuation! To do this, just select the elements on the
Artboard and click the Batch button
in the Home window of Fontself. Your
symbols will be added and placed in the proper order.
Now let’s take a look at some advanced
settings that are vital when creating any font. Find and click the Advanced button in the Home window of
From here, we can adjust the Spacing, Kerning, and some other
parameters that are important to make our font look balanced and consistent.
Let’s start with Spacing.
In typography, spacing or tracking is the amount of space between the characters, which affects the density and gives the font its relative openness or tightness. In fact, a good spacing will save you a bunch of time when creating a font, so make sure you start by adjusting it first!
There are several ways to work with spacing in Fontself. First of all, click on the Spacing Pad window and type some phrases there to see how the characters behave within a text. Now, in the grey area on the right, you can see a list of letters and their values. Here you can edit the spacing by entering precise values in the table.
Another way to edit spacing is to do it manually by clicking the character itself and dragging the dashed lines on the left and right sides of it. You will see all the adjustments in the Spacing Pad and in the Live Preview area which already has a sample text with all your characters.
Now that we’re happy with the density of the text and its overall look, it’s time to adjust the kerning pairs by clicking
the Kerning button.
Kerning is the process of adjusting the spacing between specific character pairs to
achieve a visually pleasing result. In proportional all-caps fonts, it often
happens that letters in some common combinations (such as VA or AW) look
too far away from each other. In this case, we need to find such pairs and
adjust the spacing between them manually, creating kerning pairs. And Fontself has this function too! What is more, it
already has some common kerning pairs in the Live Preview window, so that you
can see the result instantly.
The same as with spacing, there are several ways to adjust
kerning. First of all, click on the Kerning
Pad window and type some kerning pairs that you want to edit, for example
AVA. Now, in the grey area on the right, you can see the Kerning pairs window and type the values there manually.
Another way to adjust kerning is to click
the character and drag the dashed line between the pair. The red line appears for
negative values, making the space between the letters smaller. The blue
line indicates the increasing space with a positive value that moves the
letters farther away from each other. Simple as that.
The next important thing that you might
want to use in your font—and Fontself has this feature—is the use of ligatures!
A ligature is a combination of two or more letters into one symbol. For
example, in common combinations like ‘tt’, ‘fi’, and ‘ff’, we might want to change
some elements of the letters, such as crossbars, to make them look better together. Moreover, while working with color fonts, we can use ligatures in more creative ways, like making some words or names look fancy by adding new elements to them, such as particles, flowers or swashes. In this case, the whole composition can be used as a symbol, i.e. ligature.
Let’s say we want to merge two letters
together in ‘TT’ to make a single bar for them. Once you draw out the new letter, select it on the Artboard. Then open
the Fontself window and type ‘TT’ in the text area on top and click the Create Ligature button right next to
Once you’ve clicked the button, Fontself
will ask you what kind of ligature you want to create. Later on, you can
find both Standard Ligatures and Discretionary Ligatures in the OpenType panel (Window > OpenType) of Adobe Illustrator and see how they work.
The last but not the least function that
can make your font more unique and playful is using Alternates—the alternative versions of some (or all) characters
that add variety to the whole text. Those can be versions with other colors, outlines, or swashes.
For example, here you can see that in the
word ‘COLORS’, the ‘O’ letters are slightly different. This is how we do it.
Once you have the alternative version of the letter prepared, select it on the
Artboard and add it to Fontself. The program will ask you if you want to Replace the existing letter ‘O’ or create
an alternate glyph. Just click the Alternate
button, and there you have it!
Now that we have added all the characters to
Fontself, adjusted the spacing and kerning, and set the ligatures and alternates, it’s time
to name our baby!
Click the Font Infos button in the Home
window of Fontself and fill in all the needed information. The developers’
hints will guide you throughout the process. I can’t but mention their great
sense of humor in this part.
Finally, it’s time to try out our first
color font! Oh, I’m so excited!
To start with, we can test it right in
Adobe Illustrator by clicking the Install
button in the top part of the Home window of Fontself. Now you can select your font in the Character panel of Adobe Illustrator (Window > Character) and try it out by typing something!
Once you’re happy with the result, go ahead
and click the Export button in the
Fontself window to generate an OpenType file with your font and all the cool
features that we added to it using the extension. Exporting the font also allows you to Save your work and whenever you need to edit it again, you’ll just have to Open it in Fontself and there you have it!
Congratulations! Our Color Font Is Finished!
Great work! Now we can have fun using
our color font in Adobe Photoshop CC 2017/2018 and Adobe Illustrator CC 2018!
The process of adjusting and installing the font with the help of Fontself Maker was
so fun and easy that I haven’t even noticed how I finished all the steps
that usually make me bored.
I hope you enjoy creating characters
in Adobe Illustrator and turning them into a color font in Fontself as much as
I do. Feel free to try it out, and don’t forget to share your results in the
comments below or in social networks with #fontself!
If you like the typeface that we’ve created in this tutorial and you wanna play with it, feel free to grab the Fiesta Color Font at Envato Elements! In the archive you will also get vector files with all the characters to make your own lettering or to try out how it functions in Fontself Maker. Enjoy!
This tutorial will show you how to use Photoshop’s shapes and shape settings, along with its 3D tools and options, to create a 3D coin text effect. Let’s get started!
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:
- Bodoni MT font
- Poppins font
- Indira K font
- Laurel Custom shape Pack [Photoshop] by anulubi
- ORNAMENT CUSTOM SHAPE SET.csh by Roula
- Metal seamless textures by jojo-ojoj
- 30 Simple Patterns by mslooten
- Old Wooden Planks Texture 02 by SimoonMurray
- Room by StockSnap
1. How to Create Basic and Custom Shapes
Create a new 1500 x 950 px document. Pick the Ellipse Tool, make sure that the Shape option is active in the Options bar, and create a circle shape. Then rename the shape layer to Coin.
Pick the Custom Shape Tool, and add any of the Laurel Custom shape Pack [Photoshop] shapes as a frame inside the coin shape you created.
You can use the Direct Selection Tool to select and delete the anchor points of any of the laurel shape parts that you don’t like or that you just want to remove in order to add text in their place.
Feel free to try different things with the shape until you get an outcome you like.
Add a number as text in the middle of the coin shape. You can use any fonts and font attributes you like, depending on the type of coin you want to create.
The font used here is Bodoni MT, the Size is 120 pt, and the Tracking is set to -60.
Add some more text to the laurel shape where you removed the anchor points. The font used here is Poppins, the Size is 20 pt, and the Tracking is set to 200.
2. How to Add Text on a Work Path
Create another circle shape to create a new coin, rename its layer to Coin as well, and add any of the ORNAMENT CUSTOM SHAPE SET.csh shapes to its center.
It is a good idea to name each layer you create now to keep things organized and easy to work with throughout the tutorial.
Duplicate the coin’s circle shape and scale the copy down to create a smaller circle inside the original one. Change the copy‘s Fill value in the Options bar to None, click the Set shape stroke type icon, and click the More Options button.
Choose the dotted stroke preset, and adjust its settings as you like.
Pick the Ellipse Tool again, and choose the Path option in the Options bar.
Create a circular work path around the ornament shape in the center to add text on it.
Pick the Text Tool, click on the path, and type your text.
The font used here is Indira K, the Size is 17 pt, the Tracking is 10, and the text is created in All Caps.
These are some ideas to explain the tools you can use to create your coins, but feel free to try different shapes, settings, and fonts to create your own coins.
3. How to Create 3D Layers
For each of the shape layers you have, select it and go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion from Selected Path, and for each of the text layers, select it and go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion from Selected Layer.
Select all 3D layers you have, and go to 3D > Merge 3D Layers.
4. How to Work With the 3D Scene
To access the 3D mesh settings and properties, you’ll need to open two panels: the 3D panel and the Properties panel.
The 3D panel has all the components of the 3D scene, and when you click the name of any of those, you’ll be able to access its settings in the Properties panel. So make sure to always select the tab of the element you want to modify in the 3D panel before you change its settings in the Properties panel.
If you select the Move Tool, you’ll find a set of 3D Modes for it to the right of the Options bar.
When you choose one of those, you can then click and drag to perform changes (on the selected element in the 3D panel).
Use those modes to change the Current View into an angle you like.
5. How to Group 3D Objects
Select all the 3D mesh tabs of the first coin, click the 3D panel’s menu icon, and choose Group Objects.
Repeat that to group the rest of the coin meshes you have.
Rename the groups to whatever you like. Here, we are creating a gold coin and a silver coin, so the groups will be named Gold and Silver.
6. How to Adjust the 3D Mesh Settings
Select the Coin mesh tabs, and change their Extrusion Depth in the Properties panel to 10.
Select the rest of the Gold mesh tabs, and change their Extrusion Depth to 3.
Select the rest of the Silver mesh tabs, and change their Extrusion Depth to 2.
7. How to Adjust the 3D Cap Settings
Pick the Move Tool, select both Coin mesh tabs, and use the 3D Axis to move them back to separate them from the rest of the meshes.
The arrows at the ends of the axis move the mesh, the part below them is used for rotation, and the cubes are used for scaling. The cube in the center is used to scale the object uniformly. All you need to do is click and drag the part you want to use.
Select the Gold Coin mesh tab, and click the Cap icon at the top of the Properties panel to create the coin’s edge.
Change the Sides to Front and Back, the Bevel Width to 5%, the Angle to -23, and the Contour to Cove – Deep.
Change the Gold coin’s Laurel and smaller text‘s Bevel Width to 10% and their Contour to Half Round.
Change the Gold coin’s bigger text‘s Bevel Width to 5% and its Contour to Half Round.
Select the Silver Coin mesh tab, click the Cap icon, and change the Sides to Front and Back, the Bevel Width to 10%, the Angle to -17, and the Contour to Cone – Inverted.
Change the Silver coin’s ellipse stroke‘s Inflate Strength to 20%.
Change the Silver coin’s text and ornament shapes‘ Bevel Width to 5% and their Contour to Half Round.
8. How to Position 3D Meshes
To better see the 3D meshes, click the Filter by: Materials icon at the top of the 3D panel, select all the material tabs, click the Diffuse texture icon in the Properties panel, and choose Remove Texture.
Use the 3D Axis to reposition the 3D meshes to create the final coins.
You can click the Coordinates icon at the top of the Properties panel to use numerical values.
You can also choose between the different Current View presets in order to see things from different angles and make sure all the meshes are in place.
Make sure to finish creating the coins now, because once you instance them, it will be much harder to reposition their meshes.
9. How to Create Gold and Silver Materials
Select all the Gold coin mesh material tabs, and create the gold material using these settings (the color values used are in RGB):
- Specular: 241, 224, 155
- Shine: 50%
- Reflection: 50%
Select all the Silver coin mesh material tabs, and create the silver material using these settings:
- Specular: 222, 223, 205
- Shine: 50%
- Reflection: 50%
Select the Gold Coin Front Inflation Material tab, click its Diffuse folder icon, and choose Load Texture to open the 2.jpg image from the Metal seamless textures pack.
Click the Diffuse texture icon again to choose Edit UV Properties.
Adjust the Tile and Offset values to get a result you like.
Click the Diffuse texture icon and choose Edit Texture.
Add a Solid Color fill layer with the Fill Color
#f5cb71, and change its Blend Mode to Linear Burn.
Select the rest of the Gold coin material tabs, click the Diffuse folder icon, and choose the texture name (2) from the list to apply it.
Select the Silver Coin Front Inflation Material tab, click its Diffuse folder icon, and choose Load Texture to open the 2.jpg image again.
Apply the texture to the rest of the Silver coin material tabs.
10. How to Create a Bump Material
Select the Gold Coin Extrusion Material tab, and click its Bump folder icon to choose New Texture.
Set the dimensions to 100 x 100 px, and click OK.
When the new texture file opens, duplicate the Background layer.
Double-click the copy layer to apply a Pattern Overlay effect, and change the Pattern to 10px vertical stripes.
Save and close the file.
Select the Gold Coin mesh tab, and change its Texture Mapping to Tile.
Select the Gold coin’s Extrusion Material tab again, and adjust the Bump texture’s UV Properties.
Apply the same Bump texture and settings to the Silver Coin Extrusion Material.
11. How to Instance 3D Meshes
Select both the Gold and Silver group tabs, right-click any of them, and choose Instance Object.
This will create linked copies that reflect the changes made to the original meshes, like the material settings, for example.
Rename the original groups to add Original to their names, and you can either use those groups or hide them if you need to keep the original copies aside.
Select the Gold group you want to start using to create the text, click the Coordinates icon, and change the X Rotation Angle to 90.
Click the 3D panel’s menu icon, and choose Move Object to Ground Plane.
Repeat that to rotate and move the Silver group to the Ground Plane as well.
12. How to Create Text Using 3D Grouped Meshes
Select a group, and use the 3D Axis to move and rotate it in order to start creating the text.
If you need to use the Coordinates values, keep in mind that you can check and uncheck the Uniform Scaling option as needed.
What you need to do next is keep instancing and transforming the coin meshes to create the shape of the letters you want. You can type the text using any sans serif font for reference if you like as well.
That can be a bit of a time-consuming process, in which you need to use different camera angles and views. You also need to keep making sure to move each coin to the Ground Plane once you place it, and adjust its positioning so that it sits properly on top of any coins it is above, as well as the Ground Plane itself.
You can simplify the process by placing the coins next to each other without stacking them on top of each other, and then add more coins on top of them, but keep them all horizontal.
It is basically up to you to decide how you’d like to create the text and place the coins, depending on the final result you want to achieve.
Make sure to group each letter’s coin groups to keep things organized.
Create all the letters you need, and add any more coins around them if you like.
13. How to Add a Background Plane
Open the Old Wooden Planks Texture 02 image, copy and paste it on top of the coins 3D layer, rename its layer to Ground, and go to 3D > New Mesh from Layer > Postcard.
Select the Current View tab, and choose the coin 3D layer’s name from the View menu.
Select both 3D layers and merge them.
Select the Ground Mesh tab, change its X Rotation Angle to 90, and move it to the Ground Plane.
After you do so, increase the Y Position value very slightly, so to a value around 0.1, to avoid getting random lines when you render the scene.
With the Ground Mesh tab selected, click the Mesh icon at the top of the Properties panel, and uncheck the Cast Shadows box.
Reposition and scale the Ground mesh until it covers a good area around the text. After that, you can tile the Diffuse texture vertically if needed, or open the Diffuse texture file, and go to Image > Reveal All, to make sure that the scaling doesn’t affect the quality of the texture.
You don’t need to fill the whole document as we will crop it later on, but make sure to fill the area you want to have for the final outcome.
Select the Ground material tab, remove the Opacity texture if there is one, and use these settings:
- Specular: 210, 196, 164
- Shine: 50%
14. How to Generate a Bump Texture From a Diffuse One
Click the Bump folder icon, and click Generate Bumps From Diffuse.
Adjust the settings in the Generate Bump Map box as you like, and click OK.
This will create a more realistic effect.
Make sure to choose a final camera angle before you start adjusting the lighting of the scene.
15. How to Adjust a 3D Scene’s Lighting and Render It
Click the Infinite Light tab, and change its Intensity to 50% and its Shadow Softness to 30%.
Use the Move Tool to move the light around to an angle you like, or use the Coordinates values to do so.
Select the Environment tab, click the IBL texture icon, and choose Replace Texture to open the Room image.
Change the Intensity to 90%, and use the Move Tool to move the texture around until you like its effect.
Click the IBL texture icon, and choose Edit Texture to open the image file.
Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to change the Saturation to -60, and save and close the file.
Go to 3D > Render 3D Layer. The rendering might take a while, but you can stop it any time by pressing the Esc key.
After the rendering is done, right-click the 3D layer and choose Convert to Smart Object to avoid making any accidental changes.
16. How to Make Global Adjustments
Add a Vibrance adjustment layer and change the Vibrance value to -5.
Add a Selective Color adjustment layer, and use these settings:
- Cyan: 7
- Yellow: 10
- Black: 10
- Magenta: 3
- Yellow: -10
- Black: 10
- Cyan: 3
- Yellow: -1
- Black: 1
- Cyan: 3
- Yellow: 5
- Black: 15
Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, change its Blend Mode to Luminosity, and set the Contrast value to 30.
Add a Curves adjustment layer, change its Blend Mode to Luminosity and its Opacity to 35%, and create a simple S-Curve to enhance the contrast some more.
Add a Solid Color fill layer with the Fill Color
Black, and change its Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 43%.
Select the layer’s mask thumbnail, pick the Brush Tool, set the Foreground Color to
Black, and use a big soft round tip to paint over the text to create a quick vignette effect.
You can also decrease the mask’s Density in the Properties panel to get a subtler effect.
Add a Color Lookup adjustment layer, and choose the 2Strip.look table from the 3DLUT File menu.
Change the layer’s Blend Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 30%.
Add another Color Lookup adjustment layer, and choose the Gold-Blue table from the Abstract menu.
Change the layer’s Blend Mode to Lighten and its Opacity to 50%.
Use the Crop Tool to get rid of all the extra areas you don’t need, and you can uncheck the Delete Cropped Pixels box in the Options bar if you want.
Congratulations! You’re Done
In this tutorial, we used a bunch of shapes and shape settings, along with different text layers, to create coins.
Then, we converted the layers we created into 3D layers, adjusted their settings, and created their materials. After that, we instanced and positioned the coins to create the letters we needed for our text.
Finally, we adjusted the lighting, rendered the scene, and added some global adjustments to finish everything off.
Please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions, and outcomes below.
The Lunar New Year brings people together in celebration of ancient tradition. If you love this time of year and plan on having a celebration of your own, check out this collection of premium design assets below.
What Is the Lunar New Year?
With celebrations starting at the turn of the traditional Lunar New Year, the Chinese New Year is a festival that is centuries old with roots in several ancient myths and traditions.
Each year, an animal represents the year according to the ancient Chinese zodiac. It’s also known as the Chinese New Year, and celebrations range from traditional prayers and feasts to incredible lion dances showcasing beautiful costumes. As 2017 comes to an end, 2018 marks the Year of the Dog. Following the rooster in the zodiac, this symbol is believed to represent honesty and loyalty.
Need help modifying these templates? Enlist the help of a design professional by contacting the good folks at Envato Studio.
25 High-Quality Premium Flyers
Let’s kick things off with 27 premium party flyers full of color and wonder. With designs ranging from simple to more complex, you’ll be sure to find just the right flyer to fit your holiday needs.
a simple look is more your style, this beautiful flyer features a few
Chinese-inspired elements against a vibrant red background. The file for
this template comes 100% ready to print, with organized layers that you
can easily modify.
Gold adds instant luxury to any design. Enjoy this lovely flyer, for instance. The sleek design features a few golden lanterns and text placeholders for your party details written with several free fonts. Give this one a try!
Complete with two separate versions available, this flyer is sizzling with fiery red colors and traditional Chinese elements. Replace the model seen below with your own stock for a more personalized touch.
Most flyers during this time will have the same colors. Step out of the box with this suite of unique color schemes. This download includes fully editable Photoshop and Illustrator files ready for your personal touch.
Adorned with ancient Asian symbols and incredible architectural elements, this poster will dazzle your partygoers with its beauty and mysticism. This template comes complete with several color options organized into easy-to-edit layers.
What New Year would be complete without fireworks, champagne, and dragons? This explosive flyer features a dazzling modern design that is easy to modify, with all the design elements included.
If you love a bit of shine and dazzle with your designs, consider this gorgeous template jam-packed with beautiful golden coins and treasure. Perfect for the newbie to Photoshop, this flyer needs no model and is ready for printing right away!
Or keep things minimal with this modern flyer. At the center of its design is a firecracker blasting through typography. Choose from three different color schemes or develop your own using this template!
With the glowing eyes of a beautiful traditional dragon as its centered subject, this gorgeous template design features large, bold text and beautiful orange lanterns. View the video tutorial included with this template to learn how to customize this flyer quickly and easily.
Are flyers good for your business? Test it out with this minimalist design. This template features a bold headline to grab your customers with plenty of room for store and sale details.
For more subdued colors and design, check out this Chinese New Year template below. This design features some elegant sparkly text front and center, with a beautiful red curtain behind it. Change out the party information for your own and send this flyer straight to the printer!
In this incredible club flyer, you get fully editable text organized in an A4 file that is easy to use. Complete your club experience with this fantastic flyer and download your own stock to replace the beautiful model below.
Bring in the Chinese New Year with this elegant and traditional vibe. With five alternatively colored versions to choose from, you’ll be able to use this design for many more years to come.
Need something elegant with an artistic flair? This Chinese-inspired flyer comes complete with a beautiful golden border and a few simple design elements to celebrate the Lunar New Year. With multiple color options to choose from, you’ll find this template a breeze to use.
For a beautiful design with a subtle hint of tradition and history, check out this incredible party flyer. Complete with unique fonts and gorgeous background elements, this flyer is perfect for your next celebration.
Dragons are an important part of any Chinese New Year celebration. Showcase your love for the traditional lion dance with this fun party flyer design. With several color styles to choose from, these design elements are 100% scalable and completely print-ready.
For your next celebration or party event, consider this gorgeous flyer design. Change the text easily to fit your celebrations, and swap out the model below for the preferred stock of your choice.
Red lanterns bring a stunning warm hue to any room. And you can enjoy that vibrant look with this festive flyer. Just add your details for professional design in minutes. Enjoy!
You might want to get your sunglasses for this party flyer. Complete with bright red Chinese elements against a sunny yellow background, this flyer is sure to impress as the perfect invite for your celebration.
Need a flyer that’s simple in design? Well look no further! This elegant flyer design celebrates the year of the monkey, but feel free to adjust the text to your preferences in the fully editable file.
Dive into this Chinese New Year flyer to get access to fully editable layers and so much more. Created in Photoshop, this design features a festive design with Chinese-inspired masks, parasols, and statues. Also included in this package are amazing free fonts.
The beautiful costumes, architecture, and designs of the Chinese culture are truly highlighted in this gorgeous flyer design. Complete with a help file and links to free fonts, this flyer template is incredibly easy to use.
Show off your fashion and style with this fun party flyer design. Swap out the model’s photo for your own, and kick off your celebrations with this print-ready template.
Celebrate the history and tradition of this special time of the year with this incredible premium flyer. Swap out the model’s picture for a stock of your own, and download the free fonts included to utilize this flyer to its fullest.
With a beautiful watercolor back splash of brush textures for the background, these unique party poster features Chinese lanterns, easily editable text, and elements that are 100% scalable.
11 Gorgeous Greeting Cards
In this next collection of Chinese New Year-themed designs, check out these beautiful greeting cards you can use for your personal invitations. Enjoy these incredible designs curated from GraphicRiver.
Kick off your celebrations with this minimalist greeting card. This design features a gorgeous landscape with red paper lanterns and festive elements. Just add your message to finish the charming design.
We start this collection of cards with this elegant and gorgeous folding fan design. This card features a beautiful fan adorned with traditional cherry blossoms, and text that spells out “Happy New Year”. Download this remarkable vector file to complete your New Year celebrations.
Though 2016 marked the Year of the Monkey, you can easily customize this greeting card design to fit your needs. Simply download the appropriate file after your purchase, and swap out the text for the title of your choice.
Celebrate the moment when fireworks light up the air and the wonderful festivities of the Chinese New Year begin. This charming greeting card design features beautiful golden text with firework elements in the background. Included with this template are free fonts, a help file, and so much more.
Greet your friends and relatives with this elegant greeting card design. This design features three gorgeous vector lanterns against a simple red background that is perfect for any invitation.
This fun and clever design features a funny ensemble of traditionally dressed characters and beautiful golden lanterns adorned with happy faces. Enjoy this vector illustration and customize this card to fit your needs with the help of Adobe Illustrator.
Check out this awesome greeting card featuring an amazing character design that is sure to impress your partygoers. This card can be used as a greeting card or e-card for your company and comes with layered Photoshop files for easy editing.
Whether you’ve fallen in love with the funny monkey character or love cherry blossoms, this fun greeting card is sure to bring you and your event attendees some delight. Complete with organized layers, this template is easy to customize in Adobe Photoshop.
Send your loved ones this happy greeting card for a special treat! This design features a charming festival dancer with traditional Chinese New Year elements. Enjoy the bright colors and minimalist details.
a fun mood with this fun dragon greeting card. Created for the Chinese
New Year, this design features a massive gold dragon and small red
lantern. Try it out! We’re sure your friends and family will be happy to
receive this card!
Or leave an elegant message behind with this vibrant greeting card. This illustration features traditional Chinese lanterns, and more details we’re sure you’ll love. Combine it with a nice font for a thoughtful message. Try this design!
22 Divine Vector Design Elements
Last but not least, this next selection includes gorgeous design elements inspired by this fantastic holiday. From icon sets to character designs and more, bring in the Chinese New Year by featuring these incredible designs.
These modern pictograms are happy and energetic. And this essential set includes 10 vector icons with a modern line style. Choose from amazing designs like fire crackers, lotus flowers, and beautiful lanterns.
Dragons are not only an important part of the Chinese New Year festival, but they also represent one of the many animals on the Chinese zodiac. Adorn your celebratory designs with these clean vector dragons: one in the traditional red color, and the second featuring an awesome mix of colors.
In this lovely vector illustration, two kids join together to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Download this file after your purchase, and customize this design to create a darling greeting card or invitation.
You can find many beautiful vector illustrations that celebrate this unique time of the year. In this simple illustration, a group of kids are celebrating the Chinese New Year and enjoying all the festivities. Customize this file yourself, or leave it as is for a beautiful backdrop.
In this collection of Chinese New Year Icons, you’ll find nine vector illustrations that embody this celebration. From lanterns to fruit and so much more, this set will complete your icon needs.
Need a simple background for your flyers, invites, and more? This lovely Chinese-themed background comes complete with elegantly designed flowers and a simple banner with Chinese calligraphy. The translation means “Happy New Year”, so it’ll be sure to fit all your celebratory needs.
If you’re looking for a simple way to say “Happy New Year” without all the fuss, then feast your eyes on this unique vector design. This design features a sublime winter theme with this saying written out in traditional Chinese lettering.
If you ever have the chance of witnessing a traditional lion dance, you’ll stand there in amazement as two dancers skillfully move around in this incredible costume. The following design showcases this dance perfectly, with one dancer on the bottom as the other flies into the air. Incorporate this illustration into your designs for cards, flyers, and so much more.
For that clean, modern look, take a look at these simple vector icon designs. These designs can be used pretty much anywhere, and the file comes complete with fully editable layers that can be customized quickly and easily.
The Chinese dragon is one of the most beautifully designed animals, with a history in ancient myths and folklore. To celebrate the Chinese New Year, adorn your designs with this simple vector dragon for your print or web materials.
Among the incredibly vibrant festivities of the Chinese New Year you’ll also find amazing costumes and delectable looking foods. This set of kids’ illustrations features three young children celebrating the Lunar New Year with traditional attire and food.
If you’re looking for a set of vector illustrations with incredible beauty and detail, then download this set of graphics. Included in this pack are pattern files, high-resolution images, and Asian-inspired design elements you can modify with Adobe Illustrator.
Lion dances feature incredible Chinese costumes with vibrant accents. Use this fun illustration of a lion dance fight for posters and more. Included in this download are vector files you can edit with Adobe Illustrator.
In this charming set of character designs, you’ll find people celebrating the festival with their traditional Chinese New Year costumes. Also included are additional elements like lanterns and a simple banner to celebrate all the festivities.
The holiday season is all about family. Show how much you love your family and the tradition of Chinese culture with this darling family illustration. Use it as the centerpiece of your designs for that unique and heartwarming feel.
If you’re an avid collector of icons, you’ll definitely want this set in your collection. This collection features several fun designs inspired by the Lunar New Year festival, including lanterns, dragons, firecrackers, and two happy characters.
For a simple design without any text, consider this gorgeous background. This design comes complete with three red lanterns and beautiful golden flowers to complement the yellow background. Download this file and set it as your desktop or choose it as the centerpiece of your next design.
When looking for designs inspired by this wonderful tradition, you’ll be amazed at how many incredibly detailed and absolutely gorgeous elements you’ll find. This design features two Chinese lanterns hanging from a branch against a vibrant red background. Download the files and add your own elements to customize this look.
One of the best ways to celebrate any holiday is to simply update your Facebook cover! Download this wonderful Chinese New Year design and customize it with your own information for a clever and unique cover design.
One of the many places where you’ll see these celebrations take place is Shanghai, China. Download this simple vector illustration and insert it into your designs to kick off the New Year with a modern twist.
Bring charm and good luck to the New Year with this delightful Chinese-themed character design. It’s fully customizable and 100% made in Adobe Illustrator so you definitely know you’re sure to retain a high-quality design.
Sometimes, the simpler the design, the better. You’re sure to be in agreement with this set of simple icon designs. Featuring a style that emphasizes clean lines and few colors, this set covers everything you need for the New Year.
Chinese New Year Tutorials
Need a fun project? Celebrate the Chinese New Year with a tutorial! Try your hands at these amazing lessons created by our experts. Learn important tips and tricks for working with a variety of creative software.
Affinity DesignerHow to Create a Cute Rooster for Chinese New Year in Affinity DesignerYulia Sokolova
Chinese New YearHow to Create a Monkey Caricature for Chinese New YearChar Reed
Global InfluencesDesign a Zodiac Calendar to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Adobe InDesignGrace Fussell
Chinese New YearHow to Create Mooncake and Dim Sum Icons for Chinese New YearMary Winkler
This list is jam-packed with exciting resources for the avid designer
familiar with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. If you need additional
help modifying these templates, enlist the skills of a talented
professional by choosing one of the amazing designers from Envato Studio.
And with hundreds of design elements for the Chinese New Year at your fingertips, chances are we’ve missed a few to add to your personal collection. Be sure to browse Envato Market and Envato Elements for more resources, and let us know your favorites in the comments below!
In this tutorial, I will introduce you to the traditional process of paper stretching. There are a lot of tutorials and videos on the subject, but I want to take you through my many, many mistakes—ones that you can avoid—as well as teaching you how to stretch your watercolour paper.
Why Stretch Paper?
you don’t stretch paper, it will buckle—the thinner the paper, the worse the
buckling, and the greater the chances of it tearing. This will lead to unsightly undulations in your work and puddling and pooling of your paint.
artists avoid stretching paper altogether, while some use staples to secure their
paper. I find this destroys my board after only a short time, and I struggle to remove the staples.
am very heavy-handed with my watercolours and gouache. Very. I need paper that will take all the abuse I can
throw at it, and I have found a simple stretching process that still holds the paper
flat once my paintings have dried. It works for me 95% of the time, and if
on that rare occasion my paper has dried buckled, I simply cut out the paper and do it
again using the same sheet. It is a wee bit smaller because of the tape, but
it’s not completely wasted.
is an example of 100gsm with a very light touch of watered-down paint.
I used to buy pre-stretched blocks of paper but
found that the gum around the edges would tear over time. The stretch wasn’t
strong enough either, and the more I removed my finished paintings from the block, the weaker the stretch became. I eventually found I couldn’t
use the last eight or so sheets unless I stretched them myself anyway. And these blocks are expensive.
What You Will Need
1. Board for Stretching Your Paper Upon
only use one type of board—conti. It is the white furniture panel
that cupboards and kitchen units are made out of and can be easily found in
most DIY shops. It has woodchips in the middle which are sandwiched between
melamine. It is durable, can put up with all the water I have been known to
throw at it, is easy to clean after use (leaving it smooth), can be used over
and over again, and is inexpensive for a lot of board.
thickness I use is 1.5cm, and the DIY shop cuts it down to the sizes I want. I
tend to have five paintings on the go at the same time (so I can keep working as
other paintings dry), and I got my five boards from one sheet of conti. Its
downside is that it can be heavy, but once it is cut down to the sizes I prefer
to work on, it is very manageable.
My Mistake: I
used to use normal wood, which was porous, and my tape wouldn’t stick to it 75%
of the time. If it did stick, I either couldn’t get the tape back off once the
painting was finished so I could reuse the wood, or the tape removed chunks and
splinters, leaving a ragged surface. MDF had the same problems and
expanded when it was too wet.
My Mistake: I
did some research online and sealed the wood and MDF but found that my
paintings would stick to this extra coat and tore when I tried to remove them;
or the sealant would lift off the wood with the tape as it dried, which defeated the purpose.
tend to use 220gsm and 300gsm paper. They cope well with the quantities of
liquids and punishment I mete out, but only once stretched. You can get all sorts
of textured or smooth papers, and it is really up to you what you prefer, but
stretching them is more important the lighter they are. The standard ones are 190gsm, 300gsm, 356gsm, and 638gsm (this is coming into the realms
of card and can be expensive).
Try to choose an acid-free paper as this will help
prevent the deterioration of your colours. The texture is up to you, but I
would recommend a NOT (also known as cold pressed) paper. The surface is not
too rough and not too smooth (that’s not why it’s called NOT, which refers to
the way the paper has been made—not hot pressed).
3. Gummed Tape and Other Material
Gummed tape is basically a strip of brown paper
with thin dry glue on one side (the shiny side). This can be bought from all good art shops and online. I
use 5cm wide tape. In the past, I have used 2.5cm, but it was too
narrow and didn’t keep my paper stretched.
Any flat sponge will do that can be easily wrung out. Mine is a kitchen
one that is small enough to be comfortably held in my hand and has a flat,
Scissors are optional. I always have them at the
ready, but prefer to tear the gummed tape to size (it rips very easily).
Make Some Decisions
Where Are You Going to Work?
will need somewhere that you don’t mind getting wet, with enough space to lay
your conti board flat. I use my bathroom.
What Is Going to Contain Your Water?
something that is big enough to hold your preferred size of paper flat; a large
basin, sink, bath, or shower tray (with its drain blocked with a tennis ball).
I use my bath.
Where Will You Be Able to Comfortably Work on Your Board?
mine flat on the toilet; it’s far from glamorous, but it works. Use a table, put it on the floor, or securely place it on a sink.
Where Can You Lay Your Gummed Tape?
do this on the edge of my sink because it is flat, but you can use another
conti board or the edge of your bath.
Where Will You Leave Your Stretching Paper to Dry?
is the slow bit, so find somewhere you can leave your board (or boards) flat overnight, undisturbed.
Stretching Your Paper
Measure out strips of your gummed tape along each
side of your dry paper, tearing or cutting them so that each width is about 6cm
wider than each side of your paper. I measure by eye, just unrolling the tape and holding it against the paper as I go. I split out the lengths, putting the shorter and longer
lengths in separate piles.
My Mistake: My hands were slightly damp when I measured out
the gummed paper. They stuck to themselves, to me, and to the surface I placed
them on. Make sure your hands and the surface you are placing them on are dry.
My Mistake: I didn’t have long enough strips, and
they didn’t have enough tape on either end to stick to the conti board.
Fill your bath/basin/sink with around 5–10cm
deep of cold water and place your paper in it, pushing it down gently with spread fingers so that
all of it is covered by the water. It will still float on the surface. I leave
300gsm paper for 15 minutes and 220gsm for 10 minutes. Anything thinner than
that, I leave for 5 minutes or less.
My Mistake: I didn’t leave the paper for long
enough, and the paper didn’t soak all the way through. It buckled when it was
dry, tearing at the tape I had placed round it. Useless. But this paper can be
reused. Just cut off the tape, and soak it again properly.
My Mistake: I left the paper for too long, and it
Have your sponge at the ready.
After the allotted time, lift your paper out of its
water using both your hands at opposite corners. Give it a
gentle wiggle to get rid of excess water and lay it flat on your conti board from the bottom of the paper to your hands.
If it’s not straight, lift it up again by the same two corners and lay it
gently down again. Don’t try sliding it about—you won’t be able to.
The paper may have bubbles in it or not want to lie
completely flat, but that is OK. Just gently wipe it down with your sponge
(squeeze it out every so often), taking care to move from the middle out. Don’t
rub back and forth; just sweep in one direction. If the bubbles are still
there, again, don’t worry—these will disappear when it stretches.
My Mistake: I rubbed too hard and tore the paper or
rubbed off the top layer of the paper. Keep it light handed.
On a flat dampened surface, lay your first strip of tape gummed or shiny side up. This will keep
it flat—it always wants to roll back up.
Hold one end of it with one finger and with a damp
sponge stroke from your finger to the opposite end across the glue—once only.
It will now lie flat. Have a look at the tape, and if there are any bits
that are not wet, touch them up gently (including the bit where your
My Mistake: I dipped the entire tape into water.
All the glue washed off.
My Mistake: I rubbed the sponge across the tape too
often and rubbed all the glue off.
My Mistake: I wasn’t gentle enough when stroking my sponge across the tape, making it too wet, and it stuck to itself.
My Mistake: I didn’t maintain dry hands, and the
tape stuck to me.
Using two hands, place your tape on the wet paper, overlapping the
paper and the conti board—2cm of tape should be on your paper—and gently
smooth it out with your sponge. If it sits at an angle, slide it into place,
but try not to move it about too much as you will lose glue.
Keep squeezing your sponge out as often as possible.
My Mistake: I used one hand when lifting it, and the tape stuck to itself.
Repeat this process with all four sides.
Using your sponge, press the tape into the edges of the paper, but don’t fiddle
with it too much. Again, squeeze out excess water from your sponge as you go.
will find that as it dries, the paper will buckle, but it will flatten out as time
your paper to dry overnight or until it is no longer cold to the touch, and as
tempting as it is, don’t use a hairdryer on it. The paper and tape need to dry
at the same pace, slowly.
Using Your Stretched Paper
your paper is dry, it is ready to use. However, I have sometimes found that the tape has torn. But if the paper is flat, I’ve still been able to use it without any consequences, as you can see below.
paper did buckle a bit when it was wet, but dried flat every time.
you have finished your painting, use a sharp knife and ruler to cut it out. It doesn’t matter if you cut into the conti
board as the scores don’t seem to affect the next paper I stretch. Just try to avoid it if you can, as you want the board to last a long time.
You can also see in the image above how the tape
has torn along the edge of the paper. This didn’t affect the paper while I
worked on it—and this painting had gesso, sand medium, glues, and oriental
papers stuck to it as well as watercolour and gouache paints.
Below is an example of a painting in progress; you can just see where the paint is pooling (the blue puddle). This is where the
paper is buckling because I have laid so much down on it. Again, the painting
Preparing a Used Board
Tear off the remaining tape and paper after
removing your painting (you can see where I scored the board with my knife,
above) and using a Stanley knife blade, scrape off anything else that still
remains (below). Use a damp sponge to wipe away excess paper and paint,
effectively cleaning the conti, ready for your next stretching session.
paper takes patience. The actual activity time is fairly short; it’s the drying
time that takes a while. I have found it to be very worthwhile, and given that artists have been doing it for centuries, I find it very warming that I am part of that old, old tradition.
Just avoid my mistakes and you’ll be fine.
Realistic textures and patterns are easy to make in Photoshop. They’re perfect for text effects and help make shape layers stand out.
Want that denim look yourself? Learn how to make a denim pattern in this quick tip!
1. How to Create a Denim Pattern in Photoshop
Create a New Document at 850 x 850 pixels.
Here are all the colors I’ll be using for this effect:
Set the Foreground Color to light blue and the Background Color a few shades
Then create a New Layer and Fill it with that darker blue using the Paint Bucket Tool (G).
Now go to Filter > Sketch > Halftone Pattern and set the Size to 3 and the Contrast to 5.
Keep the filter window open and add a New Effect Layer. Then go to Artistic > Smudge Stick, and plug in these numbers:
- Stroke Length: 2
Highlight Area: 2
- Intensity: 10
Adding new effect layers like this can help you mix and match filters fast. Hit OK when you’re finished.
Again, add a New Effect Layer. Then go to Distort > Water Paper, and plug in these numbers:
- Fiber Length: 8
- Contrast: 81
Create a New Layer and repeat the same steps as before, this time setting the Foreground Color to dark blue and the Background Color to white.
Fill the layer with the dark blue using the Paint Bucket Tool (G).
Then go to Filter > Sketch > Halftone Pattern and set the Size to 3 and the Contrast to 5.
Keep the filter window open and add a New Effect Layer. Then go to Artistic > Sponge, and plug in these numbers:
- Brush Size: 7
- Smoothness: 1
Set the second layer with the new fiber texture to Multiply. Lower the Opacity to 75%.
Create a third New Layer, and follow the same steps as before, this time setting the Foreground Color to dark blue and the Background Color to bright red.
Just like our previous steps, we’ll need to apply the Halftone Pattern filter first, followed by the Smudge Stick filter.
Keep the filter window open and add a New Effect Layer. Then go to Artistic > Smudge Stick, and plug in these numbers:
- Stroke Length: 2
Highlight Area: 3
- Intensity: 10
Set this third layer to Divide, and lower the Opacity to 40%. Study jean reference images to understand the general makeup of its thread and fabric.
Create a New Adjustment Layer of Color Balance to correct the color scheme. Add the following values for the Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights.
Merge all the layers together. Here’s the first denim pattern texture.
2. How to Make Different Denim Colors
For a few more color variations, try these quick steps.
Control-J the selected denim layer to create a Copy.
Cycle through the different Layer Blend Modes to apply this copy to the original denim texture. Each mode will give you a slightly different denim color. Here I set the Blend Mode to Exclusion.
This second layer will help us create a more realistic denim finish.
Then Merge the two layers together.
Continue to try out different Blend Modes so you can save a variety of denim colors.
When you’re through, select it with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), and then go to Edit > Define Pattern to use it in future projects.
Access your saved patterns at any time with the Preset Manager.
3. How to Apply the Denim Pattern
Using this pattern is just as easy as making it! If you need a quick refresher on how to install Photoshop patterns, check out this video:
Test out your pattern with a cool shape by selecting the Custom Shape Tool (U). Try out different shapes to see your pattern in effect.
Just select the Pattern option from the dropdown menu and choose your new denim swatch (either of the last two swatches).
Show Us Your Results!
Remember, the best way to absorb this material is to try it out. Practice with different textures to perfect your custom patterns.
Most of the textures we find in our everyday lives can be replicated with design software. Experiment with Photoshop’s advanced filters, color adjustments, and more to improve your skills with time.
Check out these tutorials to learn more from design lovers like you!
If you love gazing into the depths of outer space as much as I do, then buckle in since today we’re going to learn how to create a detailed space illustration with the new Omber software from Wobastic.
Compared to some of the other solutions out there, Omber gives you the possibility of using either an online version or a downloadable one—which is something that I think more developers should be doing—and it’s being distributed completely free of charge.
So whether you decide to go online or local, bring up the software and let’s get started!
1. How to Set Up a New Project File
As always, let’s
start by setting up a new document. Head over to Options > Page Setup and adjust it as follows:
- Width: 800
Since we want to
be able to see the actual page, be sure to check show page outline and set the Background
Color to white so that we can have a better view of the shapes that we’ll
2. How to Set Up a Custom Grid
When it comes to grids, the software gives you the option of setting up and using a custom one,
which I really recommend you do, since we want the illustration to be based
on a pixel-perfect workflow.
To do this, simply
go to Options > Grid and instruct
it to use a gridline every 1 pixels,
making sure to enable the snap to grid
option so that the shapes will move using a 1 px increment no matter the direction in which you push them.
3. How to Enable
When you start a new project, you should always make sure that the HQ Rendering option is turned on, otherwise you might notice that the shapes that you’ve just created are a little bit choppy.
If this happens, don’t worry and keep calm,
since this is due to the rendering engine that needs to be enabled by going
over to Options > HQ Rendering.
Once you turn it on, all your old and new shapes will instantly become smooth, as you can see for yourself from the reference example.
Before we move on
and start working on the actual illustration, I wanted to point out that most
of the options that we’ve set up until this point will automatically return to their defaults once you close
the software, so remember to go over them each and every time you start working
on a new project.
4. How to Create
As soon as we’ve finished setting up our new document, we’re going to
kick things off by drawing the wobbly background, so take a quick sip of that hot coffee and let’s get started!
Start by working on the larger section, by going over to Shape and then selecting Solid from the top toolbar in order to
create an object with a solid fill. Set the color to purple (
#82147f), and then
use the Curve tool to draw a shape
similar to the one from the reference image. Don’t worry if it ends up looking
weird, since we’re going to fine-tune it in the following moments.
Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by going over to Edit Points and then carefully repositioning
the anchor points and their handles as seen in the reference image.
on the shape that you’ve drawn, you can add new anchor points using the Add tool, by simply clicking on the
path, or remove the ones you don’t need by clicking on their little square using
the Delete tool.
Take your time, and once you’re done, position
the resulting shape in the center of the underlying page.
This next step is really one of my favorites,
since it demonstrates the amazing capabilities of the software’s gradient
engine. If you’re used to radial or linear gradients, Omber takes
things to a completely new level. It allows you to select any of its
composing anchor points and assign it a different color in order to create an
In my case, I went with a couple of purple tints and shades
as well as orange ones, which gave me a nice smooth, space-like background that
you can see below.
Once you’ve finished working on the larger section, take a couple of
moments and draw the smaller one using the same process as before. Adjust the
resulting shape’s anchor points using the Edit
Points tool, and then apply a smooth gradient using orange for its left
anchor points and purple for its right ones.
Next, draw the left gas swirl using white (
#FFFFFF) as your fill color, positioning
the resulting shape on the left side of the larger background section.
Since we want the shape to be transparent and act as a background
overlay, we’ll have to bring up the Info
panel (Options > Info) and then, using the Edit Points tool, individually select and adjust the Transparency
of each of its composing anchor points.
Once you’ve finished working on the left gas section, create the right
one using the same process.
Start working on the little background stars by zooming in on the page using the scroll wheel, and then
creating a 6 x 6 px circle with the
color set to a light beige (
#F8DBBB), which we will position on the left side
of the larger background section.
Add the remaining stars using some copies, which we will make by
selecting the circle that we’ve just created and then using the Duplicate function found within the top
toolbar. Move around the page by holding down the Space Bar, and then gradually create and reposition the copies until
you’ve populated the background, making sure to leave the center section empty.
Once you’re done, make sure to select and group all of the stars together using the Group
Start working on the right comet by drawing its main body (
the Straight line tool. Simply
click on the page to create the start and end points, and then end the line using the End Line function.
Adjust the line segment that we’ve just created by setting its width to
2 px from within the Info panel (Options > Info > width), setting the color of its left anchor
point to white (
#FFFFFF) and its right one to yellow (
Select the comet’s right anchor point using the Edit Points tool, and then lower its transparency all the way down to 100% to give it the illusion of movement.
Create the left comet using a copy (Select
> Duplicate) of the one that we’ve just finished adjusting, which we
will vertically reflect by selecting the center-right square of its bounding
box and dragging it all the way to the left side until the anchor points swap
Then repeat the same process, only this time reflect it horizontally, adjusting
its length and then positioning the resulting shape on the opposite side of
Since we’re pretty much done working on the background, we can select
all its shapes (Control-A)
and group them together (Select >
Group), before moving on to the next section of our illustration.
5. How to Create
the Main Planet
finished working on the background, we can move on to the center section of the
illustration, where we will gradually create the larger yellow planet.
Start by creating the larger outer glow section using a 240 x 240 px yellow circle (
#FCD85C), which we will horizontally center align to the
underlying page. To do this, we’re going to do some simple math and remove the width of the planet from that of the
document, and then divide the resulting number by 2 in order to find the X
So (800 px – 240 px)/2=280 px, which is the value that the X coordinate needs to show in order for
the shape to be perfectly horizontally centered. When it comes to the vertical
alignment, I’ve done the same math (600
px – 240 px)/2=180 px, but I’ve ended up pushing the shape to the bottom by
an additional 20 px in order for it
to fit inside the background.
Adjust the transparency of the shape that we’ve just created, by setting
its left and top anchor points to 70% and its bottom and right ones to 0%.
Create the smaller
outer glow using a copy of the resulting shape (Select > Duplicate), which we will resize by selecting the
top-right square of its bounding box and dragging it to the opposite corner,
until you have a 220 x 220 px circle.
Then, center align it to the larger one using the X and Y coordinates.
- x: (800 px – 220 px)/2=290 px
- y: (600 px – 220
px)/2=190 px (from which we will remove the additional 20 px)
Add the main shape
for the actual planet using a 200 x 200
px yellow circle (
#FCD85C), which we will position using the following
- x: (800 px – 200 px)/2=300 px
- y: (600 px – 200
px)/2=200 px (from which we will remove the additional 20 px)
Give the planet a smooth gradient by selecting its bottom and right
anchor points using the Edit Points
tool while holding down the Shift
button to do a multiple selection, and then setting their color to a darker yellow
Start adding details to the planet by creating the larger crater using
a 60 x 40 px ellipse made with the Oval tool, which we will color using a
darker yellow (
#F5A941) and then position on its lower-right side.
Give the crater some depth by selecting its bottom and right anchor
points using the Edit Points tool,
and then setting their color to a lighter yellow using the Eye Dropper tool (simply make a quick selection from the left
side of the planet’s larger body).
Create the smaller crater using a duplicate (Select > Duplicate) of the one that we’ve just finished working
on, which we will resize by dragging its bounding box until we have a 30 x 20 px oval. Once you’re done,
position the shape on the lower-left side of the planet, selecting and
grouping all its shapes together using the Group function (Select >
6. How to Create
the Background Planet
Next on our interstellar
list is the smaller background planet, which will give some balance to our
Start by creating the belt using a 94
x 40 px Oval with a 2 px line
width, which we will color using a light blue (
#2DA3AF) and then position on the right side of the larger planet.
Apply a gradient to the belt by selecting each of its anchor points
using the Edit Points tool, and then
adding darker color values as you go round its back section. Since we want
the ellipse to fade towards the rear, we’ll have to add a darker anchor
point and lower the Transparency of
its back anchors to 50% and 34%.
Create the planet’s main body using a 48 x 48 px circle, which we will color using a light blue
#31ABB8) and then position over the belt. As long as you have the grid up and running, you should
be able to do it by simply dragging the shape around.
Finish off the planet by creating a nice smooth gradient, making the
right side darker in order to give it some depth. Take your time, and once you’re
done, select and group the two shapes together (Select > Group) before moving on to the next section of the
7. How to Create
We are now down to
the last section of our illustration, so without wasting more time, let’s get
ready to wrap things up.
Create the satellite’s main body using an 8 x 16 px rectangle, which we will color using a light grey
#DEF0F6) and then position on the left side of the larger crater.
Create the top and bottom sections using two 4 x 4 px squares (
#62808A), which we will position as seen in the
Add the two rectangular details to the larger
body using a 4 x 8 px rectangle (
#62808A) followed by a smaller 4 x 2 px one (
#62808A), which we will space 2 px vertically from one another, positioning them
in the center afterwards. Once you’re done, select and group all five shapes
together (Select > Group), before moving on to the next section.
Start working on the antenna assembly by
creating the neck section using a 2 x 4
px rectangle (
#DEF0F6), which we will position on top of the
satellite’s upper section.
Add the antenna assembly using a 10 x 10 px circle (
#62808A), on top of
which we will add a smaller 6 x 6 px one
#DEF0F6), followed by a 2 x 2 px one (
#62808A). As we did with the previous section, make sure to select and
group all four shapes together using the Select
> Group function.
Start working on the left solar wing by
creating the two arms using a 4 x 2 px rectangle
#62808A) 1 px above a thinner 4 x 1 px one
#62808A), which we will position as seen in the reference image.
Create the main shape for the wing using a 15 x 12 px rectangle, which we will
color using a light grey (
#DEF0F6) and then position on the left side
of the extending arms.
Add the solar cells using four 2 x 8 px rectangles, horizontally
spaced 1 px from one another (
which we will position in the center of the wing. Once you’re done, select and
group all of the current section’s shapes (Select > Group) before moving on to the next step.
Finish off the satellite by adding the right
wing using a copy (Select > Duplicate)
of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will
vertically reflect and then position on the opposite side of the larger body.
Once you’re done, select and group all of the satellite’s shapes (Select > Group) before moving on to
the last step.
Finish off the
illustration by adding the subtle shadow cast by the satellite onto the
planet, using a copy of it (Select >
Duplicate), which we will color using a dark yellow (
#EEA822). Adjust the
transparency of the shadow’s shapes by entering their respective
group using the Enter Group option,
and then selecting and lowering some of their anchor points’ (Select > Edit Points).
Then, move the duplicate a few pixels towards the bottom-right corner, making
sure to position it underneath the satellite using the Backward One function (Select
> Backward One). Once you’re done, select and group the satellite and
its shadow together (Select > Group),
doing the same for the entire illustration before hitting that save button.
It’s a Wrap!
Using some clicks here and there and a few shapes, we’ve managed to create a pretty detailed and vivid space illustration that you can use in any personal project.
As always, I really hope you’ve managed to follow each and every step and, most importantly, learned something new and useful along the way.
Welcome back to our International Artist Series!
we’re catching up with seven amazing artists from Bulgaria, the beautiful country west of the Black Sea. I asked each
their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered great
Trifon is a self-taught illustrator from Plovdiv, Bulgaria. His unique dot-line style combines black and white textures for a stunning graphic look.
Check out his work below, and see more in his portfolio.
A Higher Place Art Print
artwork is often based on lyrics or old legends that I’ve heard from my
Spreading the Disease Dotwork Illustration
I graduated from high school this year, and now I’m working
hard on my portfolio.
My dream is to one day create artwork for my favorite bands like Mastodon and Kvelertak. I have already made some pieces for a local band that I admire, and I am really proud of the
Divine Comedy Dotwork Illustration – Details
Diamonds Aren’t Forever
My hometown is an amazing place. We have a
strong creative community, too.
A lot of young people are trying to build something new and different.
Katina is an artist from Sofia, Bulgaria. She makes amazing creatures out of clay and paper and even creates gorgeous illustrations.
Check out her work below, and see more in her portfolio.
What I love about Bulgaria is the nature, the mountains and the old
villages have preserved their authentic spirit.
I love Sofia
because of its small alleys with their special atmosphere, especially in the
city’s center. I also love the warm and generous people you
can meet everywhere.
For me, the Bulgarian folklore is a great source of inspiration. I love
the magic fairy tales, the mythology and the fantastic stories about all the different strange creatures.
I hope that someday I will have the time
and opportunity to do illustrations based on more Bulgarian tales.
Denis is an illustrator from Sofia, Bulgaria. His illustration style mixes cool colors with fluid shapes. Enjoy his unique eye and point of view.
Check out his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
He’s a Punk Illustration
Growing up in a
small town, I have always felt like I could be more creative
and productive in a peaceful environment. As a graphic designer in a
digital advertising agency, both my work and personal projects seem to come out better when my mind is at peace, which is here in Bulgaria.
A Really Busy Businessman Looking at His Shoe
I mostly focus on form, color, aesthetic and atmosphere for my work. I believe these are important things illustrators should have in mind while working on a project.
Ever since I moved to Sofia six years ago I have had various developments in my opinion on the art community here. Overall, I have come to realize
that the community is very supportive.
We have some amazing and talented contemporary
illustrators and there are often group exhibitions here in Sofia where you can
participate and display your work. And that’s honestly what’s so good about it—you feel motivated to be productive because there is always a
need for different points of views.
Radostina is a graphic designer from Sofia, Bulgaria. She’s passionate about branding and creates brilliant branding packages with a vibrant minimalist style.
Check out her work below and see more in her portfolio.
I love the beaches, the mountains, the beautiful nature and the tasty
food. I live in Sofia, the capital city, and I really like that people
here know how to balance work and social life. After a day in
the office there is nothing better than a beer in the park with some
Publishing House Branding
When it comes to style, I would say I am influenced by worldwide design movements and international artists.
Oxygen Fitness Center Branding
We have a really strong design community here, I`ve met a lot of new friends on the regular meet ups and workshops.
Sofia is full of young creatives, design events, exhibitions and
workshops so inspiration is easy to find. This has helped me improve my
skills and develop lots of professional connections.
Hristian is a concept artist based in Lukovit, Bulgaria. His awesome 3D style features futuristic concepts you’ll wish were real.
Check out his work below and see more in his portfolio.
I really love the nature in Bulgaria. Even when you travel by train or car, you’ll see impressive views looking out the window.
The first thing that probably influenced me was my grandfather’s
drawings, but I guess my curiosity about art also came from inside.
I come from a small
town and thanks to internet I’ve
learned a lot. I feel I’ve now opened myself to the greater art world.
The Bulgarian art community is pretty strong. There are a lot of
talented people in different areas of art. It’s not a big country but I try to
contribute with whatever I can, and give directions and tips.
Gergana is a pattern and textile designer from Sofia, Bulgaria. Her gorgeous patterns feature designs inspired by Bulgarian culture and traditional embroidery.
Check out her work below and see more in her portfolio.
Inspired by Bulgarian Motifs No.8
I love how much potential there is around here. There are more and
more people returning to Bulgaria once they’ve completed their
education abroad. You can now feel a new vibe in so many ways. I hope it
will lead to a visible change
Shevitza Geometrics Design #9
My work in particular is strongly influenced by the
cultural heritage of Bulgaria. I research archaic textile figures
and base my designs on the challenge to turn them into contemporary
3D Printed Jewellery
I am in awe of the systematic techniques behind old craftsmanship and have been looking for direct inspiration from it for the last five years.
Luckily, the community here is big enough to always have someone to collaborate with yet small enough that everyone knows each other.
Boris is a concept artist from Sofia, Bulgaria. Vibrant and enigmatic, his incredible work features digital illustrations of landscape concepts and game designs.
Check out his work below and see more in his portfolio.
The thing I love most about living in Bulgaria is by far the nature. We
have a few beautiful mountains and quite a few awesome forests.
I live in the capital right next to Vitosha mountain, so a nice trek
through nature is only a few minutes away.
The Dawn of The New World Children’s Book illustrations
The region has definitely affected my
thinking process. I’m currently working as a background
designer on a folklore-based animation series, so you can say I have
started delving a bit further into Bulgarian culture. I am sure that
will influence my work in the coming years.
The First Kuker Warrior Animation Short
I have started to notice an increasing number of people interested in animation
and illustration in Bulgaria. Something that until a few years ago, was considered
to be a no prospect field.
Overall, the art community is full of young,
positive and super talented people and I am eager to see what they will
be doing next!
Many thanks to the artists who took time to answer my
questions and share a bit about themselves and how their country and/or culture
has affected their work. You can check out more of their work in the links
In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the Mesh Tool in Adobe Illustrator to create a winter vector Christmas background!
1. How to Create the Background
Let’s begin by using Mesh for a bit!
Start by drawing a rectangle and filling it with
#9DC3C5 color. Next, create a Mesh grid for this shape by manually placing nodes with the Mesh Tool (U)!
Once your Mesh grid is done, begin coloring it by selecting the whole lower right corner of nodes (the light-blue ones) and changing their color to
Continue with this step by coloring the node selected in the third part of the screenshot below with
Next, color the top and right edge nodes (the ones selected) with
#76A5AB and finish by coloring the two middle nodes on the left side with
Let’s draw a snow hill!
Fill a rectangle with
#F1F7EC and create a fairly dense Mesh Grid (using the Mesh Tool (U).
Next, drag different Mesh nodes to create a curved grid like the one shown below. Finally, color the selected nodes with
Create another snow hill in a similar fashion—this one should be even simpler!
Use these colors:
Now, simply overlay the two hills onto the background.
For this step, you can either try to draw your own pine tree using the Pen Tool (P), use any other clip art, or refer to the attachment of this tutorial of mine to grab a ready outline of the tree!
In any case, recolor the tree with
#C0CCCC and place several copies of it to create a background forest.
You can add some snow to these trees by drawing two series of snow outlines, which you would then overlay on top of each other—the bigger one,
#99AAAD, on the bottom and smaller one,
#FDFAEB, on the top.
If you chose to draw these trees, add them to the scenery.
Now place the trees onto our background!
2. How to Draw the Santa Hat
Draw the base of the Santa hat using Mesh, just as we did with the snow piles before.
#D52A45 for the base color,
#882231 for the shadows in part two, and
#B5263C for the wrinkles in the last part.
Draw the second part of the hat using these:
Put the two parts together and Group (Control-G) them.
Use the Wrinkle Tool (under the Width Tool in the Tools panel) with a rather small radius and 20% Intensity to roughen the edges of the hat a bit, making them fuzzy.
Draw the rim for the hat.
Use the Wrinkle Tool again.
Draw the pom-pom!
Finish the pom-pom with the Wrinkle Tool.
Add all the parts together!
3. How to Draw the Wooden Sign
To create the texture, you will need to refer to Section 3 of my autumn leaves tutorial.
Your result should look like the wood on the left. Rotate the planks and space them out a bit, making the brown background more visible.
You can use your own texture as well!
Change the color of the planks with Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors and:
- Red: 1%
- Green: 6%
- Blue: 13%
Draw a rectangle, applying a
#0E0B0D Radial Gradient to it.
Change the Transparency to Overlay.
Put the rectangle on top of the texture.
Draw a decorative sign shape, and then place it on top of the texture. Select all elements and after right-clicking, choose Make Clipping Mask.
Let’s create a shadow! Create two shapes, one filled with
#562B0B and another with
Change the smaller shape’s Opacity to 0%.
Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and set it to Specified Steps, 30.
Next select both shapes and choose Object > Blend > Make, creating a nice shadow for our sign.
“Cut” a frame out for the sign using a Clipping Mask.
Add all the elements together and set the blend shadow’s Transparency to Multiply.
Draw a plank for the sign with Mesh!
Draw a shadow for the hat by using Blend, as we did in Step 8.
The colors are
Add the shadow under the hat.
And add the hat to the sign!
Draw a highlight using a Transparency mask (like the one in the last section of this tutorial) and change its Opacity to 80% and Transparency to Overlay.
Add it on top of the sign.
Draw different variants of snow, as shown below.
Add snow to the sign!
Finally, place the sign on the winter background! If you want to add falling snow, feel free to refer to this tutorial of mine.
Awesome Work, You’re Now Done!
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and will be super happy to see any results in the comments below!
In this tutorial we’ll be making a set of flat-style portraits, depicting people of different professions and occupations. Such images can be used as avatars for social networks or as design elements for your website, depicting various categories. Or you can even draw yourself, using such flat-style portraits for your business card.
The basic shapes and tools of Adobe Illustrator are great for creating flat vector graphics, and we’ll go through the full process, discovering new tips and tricks, using the Pathfinder panel, Clipping Masks and some other features and functions of Adobe Illustrator. You can follow this tutorial with ease even if you don’t use a graphics tablet. Let’s begin!
If you want to go further and make a larger set of professions or you need some other types of portraits, feel free to find your inspiration directly at Envato Market by browsing flat design avatars or flat design portraits. You can purchase this set, plus additional avatar options in my Flat Professions Avatars Set on GraphicRiver.
1. Make a Construction Worker Avatar
We’ll start by making the head of our first character. Let’s take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a 65 x 80 px shape of a light-pink skin tone. Keeping our shape selected, go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. You will notice additional anchor points appear in the middle of each side of the rectangle.
Go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points again, adding two more points for each side. As a matter of fact, we don’t need all of the created anchor points, so let’s delete the unwanted ones. Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select three points on the left side of the rectangle and three on the right. Head to the control panel on top and click the Remove selected anchor points button.
Now let’s shape the face. Select two extreme anchor points in the bottom corners of the rectangle and click Enter to open the Move window. Set the Horizontal value to 0 px and Vertical to -25 px to move the anchor points 25 px up, shaping the chin. Click OK.
If you want to make the chin wider or narrower, select one of its anchor points and hit Enter again, opening the Move window and moving the point horizontally to the left or right. For example, move the right point to the left by setting the Horizontal value to -5 px and then move the left point to the right, setting the Horizontal value to 5 px. This way we’ve moved the points closer to each other.
Use the Live Corners feature to make the face a bit more smooth and rounded by selecting it with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and pulling any of the circle markers a bit closer to the center.
If you’re using older versions of Adobe Illustrator, which don’t have the Live Corners feature, that’s totally fine! You can get the same result if you go to Effect > Stylize > Round Corners. The only difference is that you can’t choose just one corner—it will make all the corners rounded. But you can always fix this with the Eraser Tool (Shift-E).
Let’s add the nose! Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a 9 x 20 px pink shape. Make the corners rounded or use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to create the entire shape.
Let’s make sure that the nose is perfectly aligned to the face. Select both the face and the nose with the Selection Tool (V), hold Alt and click the face. You will see a thick selection stroke around it, indicating that this is now the Key Object, which means that all other objects will be aligned to it. Now head to the Align panel and click Horizontal Align Center. Awesome! Now the nose is right in the center of the face.
Let’s add a moustache. Make a brown rectangle of 30 x 10 px size, click it with the right mouse button and Arrange > Send Backward (Control-[), placing it beneath the nose.
Select the upper left anchor point of the brown rectangle, hit Enter and set the Horizontal value to 10 px and the Vertical value to 0 px in order to move the point closer to the nose. Repeat the same for the opposite side of the moustache, this time setting the Horizontal value to -10 px. Make the bottom part of the moustache slightly rounded with the Live Corners feature.
Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to make a small shape for the lower lip, placing it beneath the moustache (Control-[). Align the lip horizontally to the face using the Align panel.
Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to make an 8 x 8 px white circle for the eyeball and place a smaller (6 x 6 px) brown circle on top for the iris. Add a tiny white circle for the highlight and move both eyes to the proper position.
Let’s render a helmet, which protects the worker’s head. Make a 65 x 19 px orange rectangle on top of the head. Select the upper anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and pull the Live Corners markers down, making the cap rounded.
Now let’s add the hair. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a narrow vertical stripe at the left side of the face for the sideburn. Select the bottom right anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and make the corner rounded.
Keeping the sideburn selected, double-click the Reflect Tool (O) and flip the shape over the Vertical Axis. Click the copy button and stick the second sideburn to the right side of the face.
Let’s modify the bottom side of the helmet, so that we’ll be able to add a peak. Find the spot where the sideburn crosses the bottom line of the helmet, and use the Pen Tool (P) to make a new anchor point. Do the same for the right sideburn. You can turn on the Smart Guides (View > Smart Guides), which will mark the intersection point.
Finally, select both newly created anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and press Enter to open the Move window. Set the Horizontal value to 0 px and Vertical value to -5 px, moving the anchor points up.
Now let’s add a peak to the helmet. Make a lighter-orange narrow rectangle and attach its upper anchor points to the helmet. Smart Guides (View > Smart Guides) can be really helpful at this step.
Select the bottom left anchor point and use the Move function to move it to the right by setting the Horizontal value to 10 px and Vertical value to 0 px. Repeat the same for the opposite bottom anchor point, but this time move it to the left. And finally, drag the bottom anchor points down a bit if you want to make the peak wider. Use the Live Corners feature to make the bottom corners slightly rounded.
Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool and make a narrow vertical shape of 7 x 30 px on top of the helmet. Align it to the helmet, using the helmet as the Key Object.
Add two shorter stripes on both sides of the first stripe, and let’s use the Align panel to make the gaps between the stripes even. Select the stripes and click Align to Selection in the Align panel. Then click Horizontal Distribute Center, and there you have it!
Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool, and this time let’s shape the ears. Make an 11 x 23 px pink shape at the left side of the head and Send it to Back (Shift-Control-[). Press Alt-Shift and drag the ear to the opposite side of the head, making a copy.
Make a 35 x 40 px rectangle for the neck, filling it with a slightly darker skin tone in order to separate it from the face. Make the bottom part of the neck a bit rounded.
And let’s start designing the clothes of the worker. Make a 90 x 70 px dark-blue rectangle for the shirt. Add two more anchor points at the spots where the neck crosses the shirt. Move the side anchor points of the rectangle down, holding Shift and pressing the down arrow key several times in order to form the shoulders.
Let’s move on to the worker’s uniform and place two narrow orange stripes above the shoulders. Group (Control-G) them and align the group to the dark-blue shirt, using the shirt as the Key Object. Add a rectangle above the chest and Unite all the orange parts in Pathfinder, merging them into a single shape.
Go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points, and then select the new point in the middle of the neck area of the uniform and drag it down, making a V shape.
Use the Live Corners feature to make the corners of the uniform slightly rounded. Now we need to get rid of those pieces outside the shirt in order to make both shapes fit each other. Select both the shirt and the uniform and take the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M). Hold down Alt and click the pieces outside the shirt which you need to delete. Add two lighter narrow stripes on both shoulders, depicting a reflective tape.
Let’s give our icon a trendy flat-style look by darkening one of its sides. Select all the elements of the character (Control-A), Copy them and Paste in Front (Control-C > Control-F). Click the Unite function in the Pathfinder panel to merge the parts into a single silhouette.
Take the Line Segment Tool (\), hold Shift and make a vertical line across the silhouette. Select both the line and the silhouette and align them horizontally in the Align panel, using the silhouette as the Key Object.
Keeping both shapes selected, use the Divide function of Pathfinder to split the silhouette into two equal halves.
Delete the left half and switch the remaining half to Multiply Blending Mode in the Transparency panel to make it semi-transparent. You can adjust the color of the shadow, making it lighter or darker in the Color panel, or by changing its Opacity in the Transparency panel.
Oops, looks as if we forgot the eyebrows. Let’s go back to the face. Make a circle around the eye and set the Stroke color to dark brown in the Color panel. Take the Scissors Tool (C) and click the side anchor points to split the circle apart. Delete the lower part.
Head to the Stroke panel and increase the thickness of the brow by setting the Weight value to 2 pt. Switch the Cap and Corner to middle positions, making the shape rounded.
Keeping the brow selected, take the Eraser Tool (Shift-E), hold Alt and drag the selection rectangle over the bottom part of the brow to erase the ends, making the arch a bit shorter.
Copy the shape, forming a second eyebrow.
Select the upper side anchor points of the dark-blue shirt and use Live Corners to make the shoulders a bit smoother.
The main element of our first avatar is ready, so now we need to give it a completed look by forming a background. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to make a 180 x 180 px circle. Fill it with bright turquoise color, copy it and Bring the copy to Front (Shift-Control-]).
Finally, select everything, click the right mouse button and Make Clipping Mask. Awesome! Now we have a tidy circle avatar!
You can still edit the image if you double-click it and enter Isolation Mode.
And the last stroke here will be a long, flat-style shadow! Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a large rectangle. Switch it to Multiply mode or lower the Opacity to make the shapes beneath it visible. Hold Shift and rotate the shape 45 degrees.
Now you need to make the rectangle fit the silhouette of our worker. Stick its anchor points to the edges of the character. Make additional anchor points with the Pen Tool (P) and move them with the Direct Selection Tool (A), hiding the unneeded parts of the rectangle inside the man’s figure.
When you’re happy with the result, place the shadow inside the Clipping Mask, hiding it beneath the worker (use the Layers panel to drag the shape inside the Mask).
Finally, apply a linear gradient from turquoise to white to the shadow and place it diagonally, using the Gradient Tool (G). Switch the shadow to Multiply mode, making it blend with the background.
And done! Our first profession avatar is ready! Let’s move to the next one!
2. Create a Surgeon Avatar
Our next avatar will be a portrait of a surgeon with dark skin tone. We’ll be using the avatar of the worker as a base for the second portrait, so let’s duplicate it, right click and Release Clipping Mask.
Delete the helmet, moustache and the orange worker’s uniform, and recolor the icon base and shadow to yellow colors. Proceed with recoloring the elements, changing the color of the clothes to turquoise and the skin tone to a darker chocolate color. Change the color of the hair and eyebrows to darker brown as well.
Let’s add a medical hat to our surgeon. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 40 x 24 px rectangle. Move the upper side anchor points a bit closer to each other, using the arrow keys of your keyboard and making the top of the hat a bit narrower. Use the Live Corners feature to make the upper corners rounded.
Let’s create a simple surgeon’s mask. Make a 33 x 20 px rectangle. Add a group of darker horizontal stripes above the mask, making it more detailed. And, finally, place a narrow string at the top of the mask and Send it to Back (Shift-Control-[).
Now place the mask above the surgeon’s face and let’s hide the unneeded pieces. Duplicate the base of the face and Bring it to Front (Shift-Control-]), placing it above the mask (you may need to drag the copy outside the face group if you’ve grouped the face previously). Select both the face copy and the mask, right click and Make Clipping Mask.
Great! Now it fits the face perfectly.
Let’s finish up with the surgeon’s avatar by adding a final detail to his uniform. Use the Polygon Tool to make a triangle and rotate it, turning the shape upside down. Fill the shape with light-grey color. Select both the turquoise shirt and the white triangle and use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) while holding Alt to delete the pieces outside the body, forming a nice V-shaped neck-band.
Darken the right part of the character with the help of a semi-transparent shape in Multiply mode, and hide all parts inside a round Clipping Mask.
We’re ready to move on!
3. Draw a Flight Attendant Avatar
Now it’s time to draw a flight attendant portrait! We won’t be making it from scratch, so let’s transform the first figure instead. Duplicate the worker’s icon and make the base for our future avatar by releasing the Clipping Mask and deleting all the unneeded elements. Recolor the circle icon base to a gentle red color.
The shape of the face seems to be too angled for our new character, so let’s make a new one. Make a 40 x 55 px rectangle and use the Live Corners feature to make the corners fully rounded.
Let’s make the nose shape thinner. Select the two side anchor points at the upper part of the nose and delete them using the Remove selected anchor points function in the upper control panel. This will make the upper part of the nose look more delicate.
Now let’s move on to the lips. Go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Select the new anchor point in the middle of the upper lip and drag it down using the Direct Selection Tool (A). Use the Live Corners feature to make the shape of the lips more flowing and smooth. And split the lips apart, using the Scissors Tool (C) by clicking the side anchor points.
Make the lips brighter, increasing the saturation of the pink color, and let’s make the shape slightly arched. Group (Control-G) both halves of the lips and go to Effect > Warp > Arch. Set the Horizontal Bend value to -30%. Click OK and Object > Expand Appearance to apply the effect, making the mouth smiling. You can also make the upper lip a bit darker in order to separate it from the lower lip, making the mouth more true to life.
We’re going to make our woman blonde, so let’s recolor her eyes and brows accordingly. We can also add a thin arched stroke for the eyelashes, making it the same way as we made the brows.
Now let’s form a neat hairdo. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and place two ellipses above the forehead, making them overlap. Unite the ellipses in the Pathfinder. Use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) to delete the unneeded piece above the head, making the hair slick and tidy.
In order to make the character look more subtle, let’s make the neck thinner and more rounded. And we can also modify the face a bit by making it thinner and adding a gentle round blush on the cheeks.
Now let’s render the uniform of our flight attendant! We’ll be using the dark-blue shirt base that we already have and just adding more distinctive details. Let’s turn the shirt into a stylish jacket.
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a 33 x 45 px stripe. Rotate it to about 45 degrees and let’s make a cutout notch closer to its top. Place a tiny triangle, overlapping the main shape. Use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) while holding down Alt to cut out the triangle.
Use the Reflect Tool (O) to make a mirrored copy of the created shape, forming a lapel. You can erase the unneeded pieces in the bottom part using the Eraser Tool (Shift-E) or the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) after you place it above the jacket.
Form a collar of the white shirt, combining three triangles and making one of the corners of each shape slightly rounded.
Now we need to render a small red tie, making a distinctive mark of the airlines. Start by making a small 8 x 7.5 px rectangle. Move its bottom anchor points closer to each other, using the arrow keys and making the bottom of the shape narrower. Make those bottom corners rounded, forming the knot of our tie.
Now take the Ellipse Tool (L), make a squashed shape and rotate it about 45 degrees. Select the bottom anchor point, head to the upper control panel and click the Convert selected anchor points to corner button, making the shape pointed. Flip the copy of the shape to the opposite side, making the tie look complete.
Let’s move to the next element of the flight attendant’s uniform: the cap. Make an 18 x 18 px square of the same dark-blue color as the jacket. Rotate it 45 degrees and squash it a bit, making a diamond shape. Make the corners rounded with the Live Corners feature.
Make a darker blue stripe with rounded corners and attach it to the left side of the first shape. Use the Reflect Tool (O) to flip the copy of the shape horizontally, forming the folding of the cap.
Shape a golden airlines emblem, depicting a winged medal from a 4 x 4 px circle, and a group of rounded rectangles for the feathers. Attach the emblem to the cap, aligning it to the center.
Finally, dress up our flight attendant and finish the icon by adding a gentle shadow and hiding everything with a round clipping mask.
4. Create a Police Officer
We’ll be using the base of our stewardess avatar, changing her skin tone to a nice chocolate color and the hair to dark brown. Let’s also switch the color of the icon base to bright green.
Let’s flip the hair horizontally to make it differ from the previous avatar. And let’s form a short haircut. Make a 45 x 53 px rectangle of a darker brown color and place it beneath the head. Select the upper side anchor points and make the top of the shape fully rounded.
Now let’s depict separate hair locks in the bottom. Form a few tiny triangles and place them at the bottom of the hairdo, making the shapes overlap. Use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M), holding down Alt to cut out the triangles.
Add a simple V-shaped collar for our shirt, forming it from two narrow rectangles.
Now let’s create the hat of our police officer. Use the Polygon Tool to make a 7-sided shape about 45 x 45 px size. Squash the shape and modify its bottom part by moving the anchor points farther from each other and making the corners a bit rounded. Move the bottom points of the shape up a bit, making the bottom side flat.
Add a narrow horizontal peak to the hat, using the Rectangle Tool (M) and making its bottom corners rounded.
Let’s make the peak glossy by adding a stylized highlight. Make two narrow stripes, rotate them 45 degrees and place them above the peak. Use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) to delete the unwanted pieces outside the peak.
Let’s make the most important element of every police officer: the badge! Make a 10 x 13 px rectangle of a bright-yellow color. Go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Select the bottom side anchor points and move them up, making the shape pointed and looking like a shield.
Use the Live Corners feature to make the sides of the shape smooth. We can also make the top of the shape slightly bend, using the Curvature Tool (Shift-‘).
Finish up with the badge by placing a star above it, using the Star Tool.
Dress up our friendly police officer, adding a dark-grey tie and some additional details to the uniform. You can go even further and create some additional accessories, for example, bright trendy glasses, formed from two ellipses with a blue stroke.
Congratulations! Our Set of Profession Avatars Is Ready!
Great job! We’ve successfully created four portraits of people of different occupations that can be used either as avatars or as icons or for any other design project.
If you want to create more professions or to inspect the original file of this tutorial and see how the separate elements were made, then go ahead and get the full set of Flat Professions Avatars with 12 different occupations, each in two skin tones.
I really hope that this tutorial was helpful and you’ve discovered some new tips and tricks that will speed up your work, making it more comfortable.
Have fun and stay tuned for more!