How to Create a Summer Vacation Illustration in Adobe Illustrator
In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a summer vacation illustration in Adobe Illustrator. To be more exact, we will create an image of a woman sitting on a bunch of suitcases. We will use basic shapes, warp effects, and the Scissors Tool to create our illustration. This tutorial is broken down into clear, simple steps, making it suitable for beginners.
If you love vacation and travel and want to find tons of amazing images online, then go to GraphicRiver. They have an amazing selection of images there, including some vacation ones.
So, let’s get started!
1. How to Create the Woman’s Head and Hat
After opening your Adobe Illustrator, let’s start to create the woman, beginning with her head. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw an ellipse that is almost a circle. Delete the stroke color if you have one, and set the fill color shown below.
Then we want to give her a smiley mouth, so draw an ellipse again and set a white fill color. Add a new ellipse overlapping this one—it should cover just the top part of the previous ellipse. In the image below, you can see how the shapes need to overlap each other. They’re marked with a black stroke, which you don’t actually need in your illustration.
Select the two white ellipses, go to the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder), and click on the Minus Front button. You’ll end up with a crescent shape, which is the smiley mouth!
Sunglasses are a mandatory attribute of summer vacations, and we will start to create them by using the Rounded Rectangle Tool. Set a dark grey fill color and no stroke.
While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. A new dialogue window will pop up, where you want to enter the options presented below. Then press OK. The first lens of the sunglasses is ready.
Now we want to create another lens for the sunglasses. Select the first one and, while holding the Shift and Alt keys on your keyboard, move this shape to the right. Holding these two keys will help you to create a copy (Alt), which will be perfectly aligned horizontally (by the Shift button).
Now we want to create the bridge of the sunglasses. Press the Swap Fill and Stroke button on the Tools panel (Shift-X), and the fill color you had will transform into the stroke color. That’s exactly what we need. Hit the Arc Tool and draw a curve between the two glasses. Now the sunglasses are ready!
Give them to the woman, who looks more like an alien now!
We will create the woman’s hair from a few parts. First, draw an ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L). Be sure you delete the stroke color and set the necessary fill color.
While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Arc and in the new dialogue window enter the options shown below. Then, press OK.
Finally, expand this shape (Object > Expand Appearance). As we will rotate this shape later on, we must expand it first in order not to deform it.
After this, place this shape on the woman’s head. Notice that it has to stay behind the glasses. After you’ve placed the left part of the hair on the woman’s face, select the glasses, cut (Control-X), and place them over the hair (Control-F).
So now we have the left part of the hair, and we want to create the right part. Select the left part and hit the Reflect Tool (O). Then, while keeping the Alt key pressed, click on the woman’s forehead. A new dialogue window will pop up, where you need to enter Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and then press Copy. You’ve just created a vertical copy of the left part to get the right part.
Finally, we want to create the hair at the back. Draw a darker ellipse behind the head using the Ellipse Tool (L). Remember, to place something behind everything, you need to cut it (Control-X), and then place it behind (Control-B).
The last effect we must apply to the back hair is the Inflate effect. While keeping the back hair selected, go to Effect > Warp > Inflate, and then enter the options shown in the image below.
After that, we are going to create the hat. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw a red ellipse on the woman’s forehead. Warp it (Effect > Warp > Arc), and enter the options shown below.
Finally, add a big red ellipse behind everything. The hat is done!
2. How to Create the Woman’s Body
Let’s start to create the body from a circle. It doesn’t have to be an even circle. While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Inflate, and enter the necessary options. You don’t need to expand this shape, but you can if you want to (Object > Expand Appearance). If you do not want to expand, it means you can edit the options later in the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance).
Finally, add the neck using the Rectangle Tool (M), by creating a small rectangle under the head. You don’t actually need the stroke that is shown below.
To create the dress, we need a white fill color and the Rectangle Tool (M). The black stroke you see below is presented just for better visibility, and you don’t actually need it in your final illustration. So draw a rectangle and then apply the Bulge effect to this shape (Effect > Warp > Bulge).
Place the upper part of the dress on the woman’s body.
To add the first strap, draw a small rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M) with white fill color and no stroke. Place the strap on the left shoulder and rotate it a little bit to the left.
Select the left strap and hit the Reflect Tool (O). Then, while keeping the Alt key pressed, click just under the woman’s neck. A new dialogue window will pop up, where you need to enter Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and then press Copy. Remember that the stroke is there only for better visibility. Now she has two dress straps.
Add a tiny ellipse where the hand should be. Then take the Direct Selection Tool (A), and select the top and bottom anchor points on the ellipse. Pressing the Up Arrow on your keyboard, move these anchor points up just a little. Remember, you don’t need the black stroke.
Now we want to create another hand. Hold down the Shift and Alt buttons together and move the hand to the right using the Selection Tool (V). You just created the hands!
After that, we are going to create the bottom part of the woman. Draw an ellipse which should overlap the upper part of the dress.
Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select its left and right anchor points and move them down using the Down Arrow on your keyboard.
Select all of the dress parts (the two straps, as well as the upper and bottom parts) together (you should hold the Shift button to select two or more objects). Go to the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and press the Unite button. Now you should have one shape instead of four.
Let’s create the left leg. Draw an ellipse, place it where the leg starts, and then rotate it to the right.
Add a rectangle as shown in the image below. While keeping this rectangle selected, go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper and enter the options shown below.
To finish off the leg, add four tiny ellipses as toes. And as before, make sure that you do not have the black stroke.
Select the whole leg and group it (right-click > Group) so you can move it later on.
Then create a vertical copy of the left leg to get the right one. By using the Reflect Tool (O), you can do this. Now the woman is ready!
3. How to Create the Suitcases
Let’s create the first suitcase. First, draw a light blue rectangle.
Create a copy of it in front and shrink it down from the top and bottom until you get a very thin rectangle. Set the fill color shown for the new thin rectangle.
Hit the Rounded Rectangle Tool and draw a tiny yellow rounded rectangle on the left side of the thin rectangle. Add one more rounded rectangle over it, which should be darker.
Select the two yellow rounded rectangles and, while holding the Shift and Alt buttons, move the rounded rectangles to the right.
Then, add two blue circles as shown in the image below. If you want to have an even circle, hold down the Shift key while creating it.
Now we are going to create the handle of the suitcase. Delete the fill color and set the stroke color shown below. Draw a rounded rectangle.
Grab the Scissors Tool (C) and click on the marked places. You just cut off the upper part of the rounded rectangle. Delete the upper part because you don’t need it. This will be the handle.
Place the handle on the suitcase. Feel free to adjust the size of the handle.
Place the woman on the first suitcase.
Create another blue rectangle for the second suitcase. It has to be bigger than the first one.
Now you need to switch on the Smart Guides (View > Smart Guides). Set the yellow fill color shown below and hit the Ellipse Tool (L). After that, while holding down the Alt key, start to create a circle exactly on the corner of the rectangle. The Alt key will help you to draw it from the center of this circle, and the Smart Guides will help you to draw the circle exactly on the corner of the rectangle.
After you’ve created one circle, using the Selection Tool (L) and while holding down the Shift and Alt keys, move this circle to the right, on the right corner of the rectangle. Then, move them to the two bottom corners of the rectangle.
Now we will use the rectangle to cut off the unnecessary parts, which are the ones not touching the rectangle. So create a new copy of the rectangle in front (Control-C, Control-F). You now have two rectangles in front of each other, but we want the second rectangle to be in front of the circles. While keeping the second rectangle selected, cut it (Control-X), and place it in front of everything (Control-F). Select it with all four circles. While keeping the five shapes (rectangle and four circles) selected, press the Intersect button on the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder).
Using the same technique as for the handle of the first suitcase, create another handle for the second one using the Scissors Tool (C). Note the color and shape difference.
Make a thin, dark rectangle in front of the second suitcase as you did for the first one. Add two small yellow circles as shown below.
Delete the fill color and set a white stroke color. Take the Line Segment Tool (/) and draw two lines as shown in the image below.
Finally, place the handle you created for the second suitcase on it.
Add the second suitcase to the image.
Before we start to create the third suitcase, let’s create one little detail: a keyhole. Start with a yellow rectangle. You can use the Eyedropper Tool (I) to take the yellow color you used before in this tutorial.
Add another rectangle at the bottom of the first one. Select the two of them and press the Unite button on the Pathfinder panel. You’ve got one shape from two.
After that, take the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and delete the anchor points marked in the image below. You’ve got a trapeze shape.
Add a circle on top of the previous shape. And the keyhole is done!
Let’s start to create the third suitcase. Create two rectangles: one dark blue, and a second thin one in an even darker blue shade.
Add a rounded rectangle.
Add the keyhole on the rounded rectangle.
While holding down the Shift and Alt buttons, move the rounded rectangle and the keyhole to the right. Add two tiny circles for even more detail.
Create a copy of the previous handle and place it on the third suitcase. You do not need to change the color of this one. It’s done!
Place the third suitcase under the second one.
4. How to Create the Anchors and Background
We are going to create the anchor. Delete the fill color and set the stroke color shown below. Draw a circle.
Add a vertical line using the Line Segment Tool (/). Add a small horizontal line to give your anchor more detail.
Make a copy of one of the previous suitcase handles and change its stroke color. Place it as shown below.
Draw a square. Just as you used the Shift button to create an even circle, you need to use it while creating a square too.
Rotate it 45 degrees. While the square is selected, hit the Selection Tool (V) and, while holding down the Shift button, start to rotate. The Shift helps you to rotate it exactly 45 degrees.
Using the Scissors Tool (C), cut off the upper part of the square to get a v-shape.
Place the v-shape on the bottom of the previously created shapes to get the anchor.
Make one more copy of the v-shape and place it as shown. Create another copy of the v-shape and place it on the other end, forming the anchor.
Create a copy of the anchor and change its color to red.
Place the anchors on the suitcases.
For the background, create a blue square with 850 px Width and Height, by using the Rectangle Tool (M). First, take the tool, and then click on your artboard and enter the necessary options.
Place the background behind (Control-X, Control-B) everything you created before, creating a summer-themed image.
To make this image even more appealing and summery, you can add some tropical leaves, which you can learn how to create in one of my previous tutorials.
Congratulations on finishing this tutorial and creating an image. And again, for more inspiration, art, ideas, and much more, check out GraphicRiver. They really have a river of images! I’m sure yours is ready to be presented to all the people!
Hopefully you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new. As you can see, it is very easy to create images in Adobe Illustrator.