Even though I consider myself a newby with Adobe Illustrator, I’ve been learning it for a few months now, and I find it very intriguing! I was inspired to design this kooky little pencil, that some would say works for icon design. So I thought I would write a tutorial on how to achieve the design of this sleek pencil using Adobe Illustrator CS3.
Note: Since Illustrator changes very little over the versions, it shouldn’t matter too much if you’re using an older version.
First thing’s first, set up your canvas. Just go to File > New, and use whatever settings you like. I’ve never been a big fan of using custom sizes and all that in Illustrator, unless designing a business card or something like that, so just change the color mode to RGB and leave the rest.
Enable the grid (View > Show Grid) and Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid).
Let’s create the base of our shape. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), draw out a rectangle on your canvas, keeping it aligned with the grid. Looking at the subdivisions of your grid, make sure that the base of our pencil is an even number of boxes tall, umm, see the screenshot:
Width isn’t important at this time. You can easily change it later if it looks out of whack with the rest of the pencil.
Now we should make the rest of the separate shapes. You’ll need to use various different tools for this one, such as: the Pen Tool and the Rounded Rectangle Tool. See the below screenshot to get the idea of it.
So, using the Pen Tool, you should create the pointed end(s). Start by creating the wood part of it, then afterward create the sharper point (the lead).
Now let’s give the pencil some life! Start with coloring each shape the color you would like it to have.
Now, using these colors as a guide, add gradients to each of your shapes (some might not require it, though).
Now, as you can see we’ve added gradients to each of the shapes. All of these are simple two-color gradients except for one, the metal piece next to the eraser. All of the colors used in this gradient were: #f2f2f2, #b3b3b3, #ffffff and #e6e6e6.
You should understand that it isn’t important that you comply exactly with what you see above, the shiny metal effect is very random, so you should just add a few extra points, change the colors of them, etc.
Get creative, be messy with the settings.
Let’s finish off by adding a nice little highlight effect to the top of our pencil. Start by getting out the Pen Tool, then draw a simple two-point path along the top like this:
When you’re done with the path, add a fairly-thick rounded-corner stroke to it, using whatever color you like. In the “Transparency” tab (Window > Transparency), change the mode to Screen and lower the opacity to around 50%.
Hopefully by now you have something like this:
OK, looks like we’re pretty much done! My apologies if the tutorial was a little lean on instructions, but this was my first Illustrator tutorial! If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment or contact me!
You can download the .ai (Illustrator) source file from here: Download Icon Tutorial Source File.
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