Illustrator tutorial: An umbrella

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By: Bao Nguyen

In this short tutorial I’ll be showing you how I created an umbrella in Adobe Illustrator with just basic simple tools. Some of the skills you will learn will include creating basic 2D shapes, manipulating anchor points, and using the Pathfinder panel. I hope you enjoy the process and learn something new along the way. Let’s start!

Create a New document

  1. Launch Illustrator and then press (Ctrl + N) to create a New document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 930 in the width box and 850 in the height box then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Create the Umbrella

2. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 592 by 517px red ellipse. Show the Rulers (View > View Rulers > Show Ruler) or (Ctrl +R). Next drag a horizontal guide to the position as shown in the second image (if the guides locked, go to the View > Guides > Lock Guides) or (Ctrl +Alt + ;). Now pick the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and click on the points highlighted with blue. This will add two new anchor points for the red ellipse. Next select the two newly added anchor points and click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” icon from the Properties bar. This make the red ellipse becomes two curved paths. Select and remove the lower path. Finally press (Ctrl + ;) to hide the guide.

3. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create a blue curved path like you see in the first and the second images. Once your path is drawn, reselect the red curved path created in the step 2 and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Keep the copy selected, hold down the Shift and click on the blue path created in this step. Right click on the artboard and then select the Join section from the drop-down menu. Next right click on the artboard again, then select the Join The resulting object should look like the last image below.

4. Select the blue object and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it, then replace the existing stroke color of the copy with magenta. With the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A) and the Shift, select the two anchor points highlighted with blue and then remove them. The resulting object should look like the second image below. Now pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), click on the left handle of the left anchor point of the magenta object, then hold mouse and drag it to the right. Keep working with the Direct Selection Tool (A), click on the right handle of the right anchor point, then hold mouse and drag it to the left.

5. Select the magenta object and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it, then replace the existing stroke color of the copy with green. Focus on the first image, select the two anchor points highlighted with black and then remove them. The resulting object should look like the second image below. Next pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) along with the Shift, shorten the handles of the top anchor point of the green object. Keep working with the Direct Selection Tool (A), click on the left handle of the left anchor point of the green object, then hold mouse and drag it to the right. Continue with the Direct Selection Tool (A), click on the right handle of the right anchor point, then hold mouse and drag it to the left. 6. Select the magenta object and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Still having the copy selected, hold down the Shift and click on the blue object. Open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Minus Front button, then press (Ctrl +Shift +G) to ungroup the resulting group. Next select the green object and make a copy of it. Keep the copy selected, hold down the Shift and click on the magenta object. Finally click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel and then press (Ctrl +Shift +G) to ungroup the resulting group.

7. Before you continue, select the red curved path created in the step 2 and bring it to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Next pick the Pen Tool (P) and create a black curved path like you see in the second and the third images. Once your black path is drawn, reselect it and the red curved path, then press (Ctrl +J) twice times to connect them. The resulting object should look like the last image below.

8. Select the black object and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it, then replace the existing stroke color of the copy with red. With the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A) and the Shift, select the two anchor points highlighted with black and then remove them. The resulting object should look like the second image below. Now pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the left handle of the left anchor point of the red object, then drag it to the right and up. Keep working with the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the right handle of the right anchor point, then drag it to the left and up.

9. Select the red object and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it, then replace the existing stroke color of the copy with turquoise. Focus on the first image, select the two anchor points highlighted with red and then remove them. The resulting object should look like the second image below. Next pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) along with the Shift, shorten the handles of the top anchor point of the turquoise object. Keep working with the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the left handle of the left anchor point of the turquoise object, then drag it to the right and up. Continue with the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the right handle of the right anchor point, then drag it to the left and up.

10. Select the red object and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Still having the copy selected, hold down the Shift and click on the black object. Open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Minus Front button, then press (Ctrl +Shift +G) to ungroup the resulting group. Next select the turquoise object and make a copy of it. Keep the copy selected, hold down the Shift and click on the red object. Finally click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel and then press (Ctrl +Shift +G) to ungroup the resulting group.

11. At this point your objects should look like in the next image:

12. Before you continue, select objects like you see in the first image and press (Ctrl +3) to hide them. Next select the green object, remove its stroke and fill this object with the radial gradient as shown in the third image. Likewise, repeat the same process for the four remaining objects to apply the radial gradients as shown in the images below.

13. It’s time to draw the umbrella ribs. Select the two shapes as shown in the first image and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of them. Keep the copies selected, remove the fill colors of them and then add a 1px green stroke for these objects. Focus on the third image, select anchor points of the two green objects and click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” icon from the Properties This make the two green objects become six curved paths. Select and remove the two curved green paths as shown in the fourth image. Now focus on the fifth image, select the left green path and replace the existing stroke color with the linear gradient across stroke. Keep the resulting path selected and go to the Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow… Follow the data like you see in the next to last image and click OK. Now select the remaining three green paths, then pick the Eyedropper Tool (I) and click on the path with outer glow effect applied in this step. This will copy all existing appearances from the path with outer glow effect applied in this step onto the green paths.

14. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show all objects hidden in the step 12, then press (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket) to bring these objects to front. Select the turquoise object, remove its stroke and then fill this object with the radial gradient as shown in the second image. Having the resulting shape selected and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Focus on the third image, pick the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and click on the two points highlighted with green to add two new anchor points for the newly created shape. Next select the two anchor points highlighted with blue and remove them. The resulting shape should look like the fourth image below. Now focus on the next to last image, pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) along with the Shift, shorten the handles of the top anchor point of the resulting shape. With the help of the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift +C), select the left handle of the left anchor point of the resulting shape and then drag it up. Continue with the Convert Anchor Point Tool, select the right handle of the right anchor point and drag it up. Finally reselect the shape you just edited and then replace the existing fill color of it with the new radial gradient as shown in the last image.

15. Select the right red object and remove its stroke, then fill this object with the radial gradient like you see in the first image. Next, follow the sequence of images and fill the remaining three objects similar to the ones from below.

16. Select the two shapes as shown in the first image and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of them. Keep the copies selected and remove the fill colors of them. Then add a 2.5px green stroke for the left object and 2.5px yellow stroke for the right object. Focus on the second image, select anchor points of the two newly created objects and click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” icon from the Properties bar. This make these two objects become six curved paths. Select and remove the two curved paths as shown in the third image. Now focus on the fourth image, select the right green and the left yellow paths, then replace the existing stroke colors with dark red (# 78241b). Keep the resulting paths selected and apply the Width Profile 3 for these paths, then change the Blending Mode to Screen. Next select the remaining two curved paths and replace the existing stroke colors with moderate red (# d23c4c). Still having the resulting paths selected and apply the Width Profile 3 for them, then change the Blending Mode to Screen. 17. Select five shapes of the front of the umbrella and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of them. Still having the copies selected, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Unite Then bring the resulting shape to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Keep the newly created shape selected, swap the fill and stroke colors by clicking the bent double-headed arrow next to the Fill and Stroke color swatches in the Toolbox. Having the resulting object selected, change the stroke weight to 3px and replace the existing stroke color with very soft red (# f3a1b2). Then apply the Width Profile 3 for the resulting object and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Now focus on the next to last image, select the two anchor points highlighted with blue and click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” icon from the Properties bar. This make the very soft red object becomes two curved paths. Select and remove the upper path.

18. Using the Line Segment Tool (\) create some lines, with a blue stroke and no fill. Focus on the second image, select a newly created line, change the stroke weight to 5px and replace the existing stroke color with the linear gradient across stroke. Then apply the Width Profile 5 for the resulting line. Now reselect the remaining blue lines, then pick the Eyedropper Tool (I) and click on the line you just filled with dark grayish blue gradient colors. At this point your umbrella should looks like in the last image.

19. Select the five shapes of the back of the umbrella and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of them. Keep the copies selected, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Unite Then bring the resulting shape to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Still having the newly created shape selected, remove the fill color of it and then add a blue stroke. Focus on the third image, with the Direct Selection Tool (A), select anchor points highlighted with yellow and then move them up. The resulting object should look like the fourth image below. After you are done adjusting the shape of the blue object, remove the stroke of it and then fill this object with the radial gradient as shown in the next to last image. Apply 6px Gaussian Blur effect, then change the Blending Mode to Overlay and reduce its Opacity to 60%. Finally hide the resulting shape behind the front of the umbrella.

20. To add some details, first draw some slightly curved paths with the Pencil Tool (N). Focus on the second image, select a newly created path, change the stroke weight to 5px and replace the existing stroke color with the linear gradient across stroke. Then apply the Width Profile 5 and a 1px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting path. Now reselect the remaining blue paths, then pick the Eyedropper Tool (I) and click on the path with blur effect applied in this step. At this point your umbrella should looks like in the last image.

Create the Umbrella stick

21. We are going to create the umbrella stick. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 7 by 464px blue rectangle, then place it to the position as shown in the first image. Focus on the second image, pick the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift +C), click on the top-left anchor point of the blue rectangle, then hold mouse and drag it up while holding Shift. Keep working with the Convert Anchor Point Tool, click on the top-right anchor point, then hold mouse and drag it down while holding Shift. After you are done adjusting the shape of the blue object, remove its stroke and then fill this object with the linear gradient as shown in the third image. Keep the resulting shape selected and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Replace the existing fill color of the copy with new linear gradient as shown in the last image. Then change the Blending Mode of the newly created shape to Multiply.

22. With the help of the Pen Tool (P) and the Gradient Tool (G), create a shape like you see in the first and the second images. Next select the two shapes created in the step 21 and hide them behind the front of the umbrella.

Create the Handle

23. Next comes the handle. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create two curved paths like you see in the first image. Focus on the second and the third images, pick the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift +C), click on the bottom anchor point of the blue path, then hold mouse and drag it to the right. Don’t forget to hold the Shift key on the keyboard for straight dragging. Keep working with the Convert Anchor Point Tool, click on the anchor point highlighted with red, then hold mouse and drag it down while holding the Shift. Continue click on the anchor point highlighted with magenta, then hold mouse and drag it up while holding the Shift.

24. Make sure that the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift +C) is still active, click on the bottom anchor point of the black path, then hold mouse and drag it to the left. Don’t forget to hold the Shift key on the keyboard for straight dragging. Keep working with the Convert Anchor Point Tool, click on the anchor point highlighted with red, then hold mouse and drag it up while holding the Shift. Continue click on the anchor point highlighted with magenta, then hold mouse and drag it down while holding the Shift. 25. Select the two curved paths created in the previous steps. Right click on the artboard and then select the Join section from the drop-down menu. Next right click on the artboard again, then select the Join Focus on the second image, pick the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift +C), click on the top-right anchor point of the newly created object, then hold mouse and drag it up. Don’t forget to hold the Shift key on the keyboard for straight dragging. Keep working with the Convert Anchor Point Tool, click on the top-left anchor point, then hold mouse and drag it down while holding the Shift. Now focus on the last two images, with the Convert Anchor Point Tool, click on the left anchor point highlighted with red, then hold mouse and drag it down while holding the Shift. Continue click on the right anchor point highlighted with red, then hold mouse and drag it up while holding the Shift.

26. Select the black object created in the previous steps and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it, then replace the existing stroke color of the copy with red. With the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A), adjust the shape of the red object like you see in the second image. Now reselect the black object, remove its stroke and then fill this object with the linear gradient as shown in the third image. Next select the red object, remove its stroke and fill this object with soft orange (# e09d57). Finally apply a 2px Feather effect for the resulting shape.

27. We are going to start making highlights and shadows on the handle to give it more of a 3D look. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create a strong orange shape (# c25f2a) like you see in the first image. Then apply a 1px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting shape. Next, follow the sequence of images and draw some shapes similar to the ones from below. 28. Continue to draw more shapes until you have something like this. Also you can see them all in the final image.

29. Select and group (Ctrl +G) all shapes created from beginning step 27 to this step. Now select the first shape created in the step 26 and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it, then bring the copy to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Keep the copy selected, hold down the Shift and click on the group created in this step. Right-click on the artboard and then select the Make Clipping Mask section from the drop-down menu.

30. Select the first shape created in the step 26 again and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it, then bring the copy to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Next with the Rectangle Tool (M), create a red rectangle like you see in the second image. Now reselect the two objects created in this step, then open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Minus Front The resulting shape should look like the fourth image below. Make sure that the newly created shape is still selected and replace the existing fill color with new linear gradient as shown in the next to last image. Finally using the Line Segment Tool (\) create a horizontal line as shown in the last image, with a 1px dark grayish violet stroke (# 414042) and no fill.

31. With the help of the Rectangle Tool (M) and the Gradient Tool (G), create a 5 by 5px rectangle as shown in the first and the second images. Now double-click on the Rounded Rectangle Tool from the Toolbox. Enter the data like you see in the third image and click OK. Next place the newly created rectangle to the position like you see in the third image. Keep this rectangle selected, remove the stroke of it and then fill this object with the linear gradient as shown in the last image.

32. The umbrella is ready and looks like this:

Create the Background

33. With the help of the Rectangle Tool (M) and the Gradient Tool (G), create a 928 by 847px soft cyan rectangle. Make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of the newly created rectangle and then replace the existing fill color with new radial gradient as shown in the second image. Keep the resulting rectangle selected and go to the Effect > Artistic > Smudge Stick… Follow the data like you see in the third image and click OK. The resulting shape should look like the last image below.

34. Place the umbrella into the newly created background. Next select five shapes of the front of the umbrella and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of them. Still having these copies selected, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Unite button, then press (Ctrl +3) to hide the resulting shape. Now select the rectangle with smudge stick effect and make a copy of it, then bring the copy to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shape hidden in this step and bring it to front. Make a copy of this shape and then hide the copy. Reselect the original shape and the rectangle with smudge stick effect created in this step. Right-click on the artboard and then select the Make Clipping Mask section from the drop-down menu. Keep the clipping set selected, change the Blending Mode to Luminosity and reduce its Opacity to 30%.

35. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shape hidden in the step 34. Keep this shape selected, swap the fill and stroke colors by clicking the bent double-headed arrow next to the Fill and Stroke color swatches in the Toolbox. Still having the resulting object selected, replace the existing stroke color with very soft blue (# 91c7e8) and change the stroke weight to 2px. Then open the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke) and check the Dashed Line Enter 1px in the dash box and 6px in the gap box. Keep the resulting object selected, change the Blending Mode to Screen and reduce its Opacity to 50%. Focus on the next to last image, select two anchor points highlighted with yellow and click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” icon from the Properties bar. This make the very soft blue object becomes two curved paths. Select and remove the lower path.

36. Select the curved path created in the step 35 and go to the Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen… Follow the data like you see in the first image and click OK. Keep the resulting path selected and apply a 1px Gaussian Blur effect for it, then hide this path behind the umbrella. Still having this path selected and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Keep the copy selected and open the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance), then click on the Roughen In the Roughen dialog box, follow the data like you see in the last image and click OK.

Here is what the completed design looks like.

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