How To Create a Fun Vector Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

July 30, 2019 posted by

everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics
back with another video tutorial. Today I wanted to show you an example of how
super cool artwork can be created in Adobe Illustrator with just a handful of basic tools,
simple shapes and flat colours. Abstract vector illustrations like this can
be applied to anything, it could be printed on the back of a business card, applied as
a skateboard deck or even made into a vehicle wrap! That’s the power of vector graphics,
their infinite scalability and crisp lines makes them really versatile and ideal for
printing. In this video tutorial I’ll take you through
the process of creating this artwork that uses a limited colour palette and various
shapes to build up a fun composition. I’ll show you the techniques you need, then it’s
up to you to experiment and just keep adding elements to build up the design until you’re
happy with the result. So begin by opening up Adobe Illustrator.
I’m just creating a basic landscape A4 document. The beauty of vector artwork is if I decided
I wanted this applying to my office wall, I could quite easily scale it so it could
be printed onto wallpaper or plotted out of vinyl stickers. Unlike in Photoshop where
you have to make sure you get the size and resolution down in advance. Working with a limited colour palette helps
keep things simple while adding to the stylised look. I like to find cool palettes from,
like this one named Brr!!!gght. Take a screenshot and paste it into the artboard,
then draw a circle with the ellipse tool. Grab the selection tool then hold the ALT
and Shift keys while dragging the shape to create a duplicate. Press CMD+D, which is
the shortcut for Transform Again, 4 times to create a total of 5 circles. Select the Eyedropper tool, make sure the
fill icon is active in the toolbar, then Shift-Click the colours from the screenshot to apply them
to the circles. Quick Tip: You can toggle between the selection
tool and eyedropper by holding the CMD key, which helps you quickly select each circle
in turn. Go to View and turn on Smart Guides, then
select the Rectangle Tool. Hold CMD to temporarily switch to the Selection tool in order to click
the first circle, which loads its fill colour so it’s ready to use with the rectangle tool. Use the Smart Guides to snap to the corner
of the artboard, then drag out a large rectangle to cover the whole area. Press CMD+2, or go to Object>Lock>Selection
so you don’t accidentally move this element out of place. Grab the Line tool, then draw a short horizontal
path somewhere on the artboard. Select the Eyedropper tool, then activate
the Stroke icon from the toolbar. Shift+Click a colour from the circles, then increase the
stroke weight to 10pt. Switch back to the Selection tool, then hit
the Enter key, which is a shortcut to bring up the Object>Transform>Move window. In
the vertical option, enter 10 followed by P T for points. Illustrator will automatically
convert the units into whatever the document is set to. Press the Copy button to make a
duplicate of the stroke aligned perfectly with the original. Press the CMD+D shortcut twice to Transform
Again and create two more copies, then use the Eyedropper tool and change the stroke
colours. Remember to hold Shift while clicking, otherwise Illustrator will copy the exact
appearance and apply the colour as a fill. Since we’re using the darker colour as the
background, add the leftover colours to these paths. Draw a selection around the stripy paths then
click the New icon at the bottom of the Brushes panel. Select Art Brush, then hit OK on the
settings. Select the Pen tool then hold Shift while
clicking at either side of the artboard to create a diagonal line.
Click the new brush from the Brushes panel to apply the stripy effect. Hold CMD and click anywhere on the artboard
to deselect the current path, then draw a new path, this time with a corner somewhere
in the artboard. Remember to hold Shift the entire time to keep the angles restricted. Draw a third path, this time getting a little
more adventurous with two corners, then draw a fourth but leave an open end within the
artboard. You can always adjust the paths using the
Direct Selection tool. Click and drag the straight lines, or individual points to adjust
their shape. Keep holding the Shift key so they don’t go out of line. Draw a selection around all the stripy lines,
then go to Effect>Stylize>Round Corners. Turn on Preview and enter a figure like 30mm
that generates nice flowing bends. You can enlarge the stripes by changing the
stroke width. Up the weight to 2pt for all strokes, then select a couple of individual
lines and make them slightly smaller at 1.5pt. The stacking order of elements can be adjusted
by right clicking and heading under the Arrange menu. Take a moment to learn the shortcut
for these commands because they’ll really help you out later. Send the second line we drew to the top so
it sits above the other lines. Ideally this line would overlap the lower
line, but flow under the upper one. In order to do this the path needs splitting into two
pieces. Select the Scissors tool and click to snip the path. The second portion can now be adjusted with
the CMD+[ shortcut until it sits under the other objects. Send the last line to the bottom so the lines
weave under and over each other. Select the path that has an open end within
the artboard and go to Object>Expand Appearance. Zoom in then move each end point with the
Direct Selection tool to stagger their positions. Select the Ellipse tool and draw a circle
in some empty space. Do a quick test by scaling the circle to see if the stroke changes size.
If it does, you’ll need to turn off Scale Strokes and Effects in the preferences. Select and delete two of the four points that
make up the circle to leave a quarter circle. Rotate this path by 45 degrees and position
it on the end of the first extended stripe. Use the Eyedropper tool to match the colour
to the existing line. Switch back to the Selection tool then hold
ALT to drag out a copy. Position this shape on the end of the next line. Turning on Outline
mode can really help you snap these points together. Add bends to the other two lines and colour
match them with the Eyedropper tool. The position of these bends can be adjusted
by moving them with the Selection tool while holding shift, then use the Direct Selection
tool to snap the end point back again. You can also extend the line after the bend
with the Pen tool. Click the open end point to continue the path, then hold Shift and
click. CMD+click on the artboard to deselect the shape before making adjustments to the
next one, otherwise it will try and continue the current path. Draw a small circle in some empty space, followed
by a square that surrounds it. Clear out the fill of the square so it’s invisible, then
make sure they’re aligned centrally using the Align panel. Select both shapes then drag them into the
swatches panel. Change the fill of the circle then drag in a couple more swatches. Use the Pen tool to roughly trace around an
empty space in the composition. Keep the outline overlapped within the stripes, but make sure
you don’t click on any open points. Apply one of the circle swatches to add a cool dotty
pattern. Use the Arrange shortcuts to send the dot
pattern below the stripes to hide its outline. It’s quicker to send them to the back with
CMD+Shift+[, then step back up with CMD+] multiple times. Repeat the process in a couple of other empty
spaces to make use of those different coloured dotty patterns. Select the Rectangle tool and draw a long
thin rectangle in some empty space. Give it a fill using one of the colours from the palette. Hold the ALT and Shift keys and drag out a
copy, leaving a small gap between the original. Press and hold the CMD+D shortcut to create
a series of evenly spaced lines. Draw a selection over these lines then right
click and select Make Compound Path. Draw a circle over these rectangles, then
select all the objects and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Rotate the resulting shape by 45 degrees so
the lines flow diagonally, then scale and position it into the composition. You can
make copies of this shape, and rotate and change the colour to fill out other areas
of empty space. Alter the stacking order with the CMD+[ and
CMD+Shift+[ shortcuts. Cool effects can also be created by simply
building up areas of colour using basic circles. Hold Shift and draw multiple overlapping circles
near a stripe of the same colour. Select all the shapes and adjust the stacking order so
they sit underneath the stripe lines. Keep building up the composition by placing
circles of various colours from the palette across the design. The more elements you add,
the more detailed the artwork becomes. If you see an area that looks a little sparse,
just adding in a basic shape can quickly fill it. When your design is complete, draw a rectangle
across the entire artboard. Select everything again, then right click and select Make Clipping
Mask to hide the elements that extend beyond the edge. So that finishes off my tutorial on how to
create fun vector illustrations using basic shapes and colours. If you enjoyed it or learned
anything new a share with your friends would really help out. If you want to see more tutorials
from me be sure to hit the subscribe button on YouTube, or join my mailing list to receive
all my free design resources and tutorials straight to your inbox. So as always thank you very much for watching
and I’ll see you in the next one.


100 Replies to “How To Create a Fun Vector Illustration in Adobe Illustrator”

  1. Eoin O'Kelly says:

    love the accent!

  2. Bharani Dharan says:


  3. Sam V says:

    Great tutorial! You make it look so easy but your technique is actually advanced.

  4. cannedcatfood says:

    You are amazing!

  5. Nairuchizuri says:

    Great and thanks for taking the time to do this! Really appreciate it. But please, please, please can you slow down and do the demo similar to how Tasty Tuts does his!!



  7. SIERKOT says:

    I cant create a clipping mask at the end ! i finished !

  8. Glow0110 says:

    Such an epic video. Thanks so much for making this!

  9. Angelica Miller says:

    What an amazing video!

  10. Angelos Agapiou says:

    Amazing! 😀 thanks!

  11. StudioJ says:

    What does command square bracket mean?? "5:10"

  12. StudioJ says:

    how do i do the command?

  13. Dougie HawHaw says:

    Is it just me or does everyone who has adobe illustrator go way too fast, but here's a tip all you have to do is slow down your video by selecting the speed on the bottom right of the screen.

  14. mydezignillustrations says:

    So this is how it's done :/
    had my ass thinking this was way more complicated.

  15. Aristacatte Jones says:

    He sounds like he had too much to drink when you set the video to 0.5 speed…

  16. Wassim Boudja says:

    fantastic work and very good explanation , i like the way you explain ,thumb up.

  17. joebear80 says:

    1:36 Not ALT AND Shift, just ALT

  18. Scott Olson says:

    butts, butts everywhere

  19. Mohamed Tharique Tharique says:

    very much use full

  20. Mohamed Tharique Tharique says:

    very much use full

  21. Anton Athom says:

    WTF 0_0!? very cool lesson !!! thank you man !

  22. Mihir Bhudia says:

    Its not working for me!!! I cant select the stroke colour using eyedropper tool because it gets selected as the fill and not the stroke every time!!!

  23. Mihir Bhudia says:

    Then when manually do it it goes back to the original line

  24. Ravi Shirpali says:

    This video is amazing, I have learned soo much from it. thank you.

  25. SLC says:

    Having problems with art brush filling? Before saving the stroke, make sure your filling is empty without any color

  26. Mashable says:

    Love the video and love the accent 😀 LEARNED ALOT!

  27. Michelle Golightly says:

    This guy is awesome.

  28. jason cooper says:

    Wow amazing 😀 Thanks so much :DD

  29. Tim Jones says:

    Love your tuts

  30. SHINY DETHE says:


  31. R Munoz says:

    Iloveyou! that was great, illustrator is by far my fav Adobe software and I'm always learning new things from it!

  32. smash_lovely says:

    I love that this is super informative and is not 30 minutes long THANKS GOD!!! best tutorial ever

  33. Prateek Parihar says:

    One of the best tutorial briefly explained

  34. Karun Kumar says:

    just ultimate.. <3

  35. EuZ says:

    Illustrator? WIX

  36. Salty Wes says:

    Amazing tutorial but as not native english speaker it was a bit hard to keep track of what you are saying. so fast xD

  37. Vincent.Adinata says:

    awesome staff

  38. Jack McGregor says:

    Everything's great until I try making the brush stroke – when I use the pen tool to draw the lines it keeps autofilling between the point with black or white, despite there being no fill on any layer whatsoever and I can't seem to turn it off. Can one of you lovely maestros please help. I'm tewaring my hair out and Google isn't helping

  39. BluXi says:


  40. VoidLord says:

    1:30 and we screenshot and paste the video.

  41. ladycrow101 says:

    This is awesome! Thank you for this video!

  42. Soumil Patel says:

    Doesn't work

  43. TJ McButters says:

    Only issue I'm having is making my corners smooth. It seems that when I stylize for round corners, in only rounds outside corners, and not inside corners. What am I doing wrong?

  44. Frevell says:

    how in every project i do no matter what i do i cant make them touch each other correctly 6:18

  45. Leah says:


  46. Veselina Mandadzhieva says:

    omg this is the best tutorial, keep on making others like this one

  47. Gary Zimmerman III says:

    Thank you!
    This was an amazing tutorial!

  48. Chris Scott says:

    Spoon graphics. That name made me laugh

  49. Šarūnas says:

    When doing the "Round corners" action, the end of my lines also gets a round shape. Help!

  50. Scott Bennett says:

    That was intense. Great job.

  51. Benelyn Bruno says:

    AMAZIIIIING! learned a lot!!

  52. Unicorn Workhorse says:

    Thanks soooo much! Just basic patterns make a huge difference

  53. Aniket Sengar says:

    This was insane. But it'll take practice to even come up with the basic design you've shown here.

  54. Neceros says:

    It could just be me, but the short cuts might be better as text overlays. It was very overwhelming to hear everything all at once like that.

  55. Dakoda DaCosta says:

    Everytime is draw the angle stroke, it fills because its connected.Can you help?

  56. stephan s. says:

    whoa, slow down a bit! 😅

  57. Spun says:

    Bro you are ridiculous. Thank you

  58. Sasendra Krishna says:

    Good tutorial. A little fast but can always pause and rewind 😛 Thumbs up

  59. Sara Wang says:

    This is so much fun!! Thanks

  60. Cameron218 says:

    Too fast

  61. Chavvy says:

    Can't effing find the pathfinder panel.. driving me insane

  62. Mrityunjai Mishra says:

    grt tutorial bro

  63. Alfie Lynch says:

    I learned so many tricks and shortcuts from this video – thank you so much!

  64. SPRITEZER11 says:

    Way too quick man

  65. joeri housen says:

    Great tutorial!
    But as soon as I cut a line, it moves just a few milimeter to the side and I can't adjust it properly … Just why?

  66. Shiv Prakash says:

    Beautiful really helpful for me

  67. Jameice Hardy-McIntosh says:

    This is amazing but way to fast to keep up with, thanks!

  68. Mars Hamon says:

    i love your channel. keep it up

  69. Flynn Bulens says:

    Can I do this with cs5.1?

  70. Spoon Graphics says:

    Love this design? Get the tee!

  71. Md Masud says:


  72. Lucas RiedlShah says:

    This is really neat!

  73. new waves says: your work. Can i use this program for 80s prints and shapes to transfer to clothing? In other words is adobe illustrator suitable for that? thx

  74. Andrei Dante says:

    My lines doesn't snap to the point and I have "snap to point" activated 😐
    Those pen tool lines doesn't have end point

  75. hells surprise says:

    I don't understand the command he's referring to at 5:09, command square and brackets shortcut? I don't have a square symbol on my Windows 10 keyboard I'm presuming this is Mac lingo as he's using a Mac. Please can someone tell me in Windows 10 terms what command I need to do. THANKS

  76. osvald cads says:

    Why do I get fill between two lines while aplying stripy brush? 3.55min

  77. Silver Maine says:

    hey dude great tutorial as usual!

    i just have one problem though. The objects I've hid using the clipping mask appears as empty space after i've saved my document. How do i fix this?

  78. Brooke Taylor says:

    love the design…you have great talent! but, it would help if you would go a lot slower. it stresses me out so i just quit before i even get to the actual design.

  79. Cristian Canessa says:

    Great tut. I'll give it a try

  80. norshago says:

    advanced for me but cool

  81. Purvik Bhatt says:

    Thanks for this! You are an extremely helpful and talented designer, and I would love to someday posses these skills! 🙂

  82. Flight says:

    This is such an awesome graphic. My lovely wife is learning Adobe Illustrator and she came across this tutorial. She started it at 10:30 a.m. today. it is now 6:11 p.m. and she still has 2 minutes out of 9.5 to go……..

  83. Lucie says:

    It look stunning, you're so talented

  84. Noyumi Ao says:

    This design looks sickkkk

  85. Resinds .P says:

    3:54 how do you make the x appear ?

  86. Resinds .P says:

    5:54 how did the shape fit so perfect

  87. Resinds .P says:

    Trash vid

  88. Resinds .P says:

    7:13 ??????????????????????????

  89. AbuHamza Art Studio says:


  90. Quy Sy Van says:

    Can you tell me the music ???

  91. dika saputra says:

    segaaaannnn ama yang bikin , matur sembah nuwun

  92. Ashutosh Lohana says:

    Thank you! Had fun trying this out

  93. NakHee Sung says:

    wow so good. nice piece of creation there Spoon.

  94. zk22 says:

    this was the most time ive ever spent on a youtube video, like 4/5 hours. thank you very much, i made myself a phone screen using what i learnt in this video and have sparked my interest in the software

  95. Pooja Deokar says:

    not undstand

  96. AdobeCCIsAwesome says:

    One of best graphic design videos I have seen. Thank you

  97. Joe Giltrap says:

    my circle sizes when making pattern are way bigger how do i shrink them?

  98. Amanda Luu says:

    This was great, thanks for sharing!

  99. Carmilaaa says:

    Great video!! Just what I needed

  100. davidAll5 says:

    excellent, thank you

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