By Andrei Stefan

Final product image

What You’ll Be Creating

In today’s
tutorial, we’re going to get down and funky and create our very own Boombox using
some of Illustrator’s most basic tools and shapes.

So if you’re a
true player, put on your party hat since things are about to get jamming.

Also, if you
decide you want to expand the project, you can always find inspiration by taking
a quick look over at Envato Market, where you can find the dopest
illustrations ready for the taking.

That being said, let’s open up Illustrator, and get the party started.

1. Set Up a New
Document

As always, the
first thing that we’re going to do is create a new custom document (File > New or Control-N), which we will set up using the following settings:

  • Number of Artboards: 1
  • Width: 800
    px
  • Height: 600
    px
  • Units: Pixels

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color Mode: RGB
  • Raster Effects: Screen
    (72 ppi)
  • Align New Objects to
    Pixel Grid:
    checked

setting up a new document

Quick tip: most of the indicated settings can be triggered
by setting the document’s Profile to
Web; the only one that won’t be
automatically set is the Size, which
you will have to manually select.

2. Set Up the
Layers

Once we’ve created
our document, we can now prep our project by creating a set of individual
layers in order to separate the different sections of our illustration.

So, assuming you
know how to use the Layers panel,
bring it up and create three layers, naming them as follows:

  • background
  • boombox
  • note pattern
  • setting up the layers

    3. Set Up a Custom
    Grid

    Since Illustrator
    lets us take advantage of its Grid system, we will set up a custom one using
    the lowest possible values, and use the Snap
    to Grid
    option whenever we’re not in Pixel
    Preview
    mode, in order to ensure that all our shapes are perfectly snapped
    to the Pixel Grid.

    The settings that
    we’re interested in can be found under the Edit
    > Preferences > Guides & Grid
    preferences submenu, and should be
    adjusted as follows:

    • Gridline every: 1
      px
    • Subdivisions: 1

    setting up a custom grid

    Quick tip: now,
    I won’t go too much into details, since I’ve already written two separate pieces that explain how the Grid system works and how you can use various
    settings to adhere to a pixel-perfect workflow.

    What I’m going to do is encourage you to read those, since they’ll
    probably answer all your questions and widen your technical skills when it
    comes to some of Illustrator’s more
    ambiguous tools and options.

    4. Create the
    Background

    The first thing
    that we’re going to be creating is the funky background, which, as you will
    see, will be a fairly easy task.

    Step 1

    Make sure you’re on the first layer, and then using the Rounded Rectangle Tool create a smaller
    42 x 10 px shape (#3e4249) with a 5 px Corner Radius and another significantly
    larger 386 x 10 px (#3e4249) one
    using the same value for the corners. Vertically align the two, making sure to
    leave an empty gap of 8 px between
    them.

    creating the base lines for the background

    Quick tip: when dealing with precise positioning, I always
    recommend you turn on the Pixel Preview mode
    (View > Pixel Preview) so that you can have full control over
    your shapes by using the underlying pixel grid that becomes visible once you
    turn it on.

    example of using the pixel preview mode

    Step 2

    Group the two lines that we created just a moment ago (Control-G), and then horizontal align
    them to the center of the Artboard, making
    sure to leave a gap of 168 px towards its bottom side.

    positioning the backgrounds base lines

    Step 3

    Using the Ellipse Tool (L) create
    a 324 x 324 px circle, which we will
    color using #acd18c, and then horizontal center align it to the Artboard, positioning it over the two
    lines, a few pixels towards the bottom.

    creating the main circle for the background

    Step 4

    Draw another set of three circles, one 284 x 284 px one, a smaller 244
    x 244 px
    one, and an even smaller 204
    x 204 px
    one, which we will color using black (#000000) and overlay onto
    the larger circle that we’ve created in the previous step by lowering their
    opacity levels to just 10%.

    adding the rest of the circles to the background

    Step 5

    Since we want to hide the lower sections of the circles that go
    beyond the two lines, we will create a 328
    x 256 px
    rectangle, which we will position just above the lines, and then
    use as a Clipping Mask by selecting
    both it and the circles, and then right
    clicking > Make Clipping Mask
    .

    using a clipping mask to hide the lower section of the circles

    Step 6

    Once you’ve masked the circles, select both them and the two lines and
    group them using the Control-G keyboard
    shortcut, so that if you need to move or reposition the background in the
    future, you can do so without worrying that some shapes were left behind.

    grouping the backgrounds elements

    Since we’re now
    done with the background, we can lock its layer, and move on to the next one, where we’re going to start working on the little boombox itself.

    5. Create the
    Boombox Base

    So far we’ve
    quickly created the background. Now it’s time to get our flow on and create the
    center piece. Yup I’m talking about the boombox yo! Let’s start with the base.

    Step 1

    Position yourself
    onto the second layer, and using the Rectangle
    Tool (M)
    create a 216 x 6 px shape
    which we will color using #a0a5a8 and then give a thick 8 px outline (#3e4249) by applying an Offset Path to it (select
    > Object > Path > Offset Path)
    .

    Then simply select both the fill shape and its outline and position the
    two just above the background lines, making sure to horizontal center align
    them to the Artboard.

    creating the base for the boombox illustration

    Quick tip: if
    you’ve never used Offset Paths
    before, you should definitely check out this tutorial on how to create line
    icons using offsets, which explains the process that can be applied to any
    project, not just icons.

    Step 2

    Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create
    another 216 x 2 px shape, which we
    will color using #3e4249 since it will act as a subtle shadow, and then overlay
    onto the top section of the dark grey piece that we’ve just created by lowering
    its Opacity to 40%.

    adding the top shadow to the boomboxs bottom

    Step 3

    Add a 216 x 2 px horizontal
    divider to the boombox’s base, which we will color using #3e4249 and position
    over the grey rectangle, aligning it towards its center.

    adding the horizontal divider to the bottom section of the boombox

    Step 4

    Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and
    create a small 2 x 2 px and larger 4 x 2 px shape positioned 2 px from one another. Color the shapes
    using white (#FFFFFF) and then make them act as a pair of highlights by setting
    their Blending Modes to Overlay and lowering their Opacity levels to 40%.

    Once you’re done, position the highlights
    towards the right section of the base, and group the two (Control-G) so that they won’t get separated by accident.

    adding a pair of highlights to the bottom section of the boombox

    Step 5

    Create a pair of three 12 x 2 px rounded
    rectangles with a 1 px Corner Radius,
    which we will color using #3e4249, group (Control-G)
    and then position onto each side of the boombox’s base, making sure to align
    them to the top section of the horizontal divider line and most importantly
    that the inner sections fully overlap the 8
    px
    thickness of the outline.

    adding the side sections to the bottom of the boombox

    Since we’re pretty
    much done working on the base of the boombox, we can select all its composing
    shapes and group them together using the Control-G
    keyboard shortcut so that we won’t move them by accident.

    6. Create the Boombox’s Body

    Step 1

    Create the boombox’s main body by drawing a 232 x 120 px rectangle which we will color using a light grey (#eaeaea),
    and then give it a nice outline using an 8
    px
    offset. Once you have both shapes, position them towards the upper
    section of the base that we’ve just created, making sure that the two outlines
    overlap.

    adding the main shape of the boombox

    Step 2

    Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create
    the upper section of the boombox by drawing a 232 x 12 px shape (#a0a5a8), which we will align towards the top
    section of the grey body, separating it using a 232 x 8 px rectangle (#3e4249) just underneath it as a divider line.

    adding the top section to the boombox

    Step 3

    Add some subtle highlights to the upper section of the boombox, by
    creating two 232 x 4 px rectangles,
    which we will color using white (#FFFFFF) and then adjust by setting their Blending Modes to Overlay and lowering the Opacity
    level for the top most one to 40% and
    setting it to 90% for the second
    one.

    adding highlights to the upper section of the boombox

    Step 4

    Start laying down details by creating a 212 x 4 px rounded rectangle with a 2 px Corner Radius, which we will color using #3e4249 and then
    position onto the darker grey section of the boombox, making sure to align it
    to its center.

    adding the center detail line to the upper section of the boombox

    Step 5

    Add two more detail lines by creating two narrower 14 x 4 px rounded rectangles (#3e4249) using the same 2 px Corner Radius, and align one to
    each side of the boombox’s outline.

    adding the secondary detail lines to the upper section of the boombox

    Step 6

    Finish off the
    upper section of the boombox, by creating a pair of vertical highlights, using
    white (#FFFFFF) as the fill color, Overlay
    for the Blending Mode and 40% for the Opacity.

    Group (Control-G) and
    position the two highlights towards the right section of the main piece, making
    sure to align them to the other pair that we’ve created for the base section.

    adding the secondary vertical highlights to the upper section of the boombox

    Step 7

    Create two 4
    x 100 px
    rectangles (#3e4249) and position one on each side of the lower
    light grey section of the boombox, making sure to leave a 2 px gap between them and the thicker outline.

    adding the two vertical dividers to the middle section of the boombox

    Step 8

    Using the Rectangle
    Tool (M)
    create two 2 x 96 px shapes
    (#a0a5a8), which we will position between the boombox’s outline and the two vertical dividers that we’ve just created in
    order to darken those areas.

    adding the two darker sections to the boomboxs sides

    Step 9

    Next, add four 4 x 4 px circles to each corner of the
    center section of the boombox, which we will color using #3e4249 since they’ll
    act as little screws.

    Position each circle so that you have a 2 px gap between them and the surrounding divider and outline.

    adding the four little screws to the side sections of the boombox

    Step 10

    Using the Rectangle Tool (M), draw
    a couple of line segments (#3e4249) on each side of the middle dividers, and add subtle highlights (color: white; Blending Mode: Overlay; Opacity: 60%) under each one of them.

    adding the little line segments to the sides of the boombox

    Step 11

    Draw two 96 px tall vertical highlights, using
    white (#FFFFFF) for the fill color, Overlay
    for the Blending Mode, and 90% for the Opacity, and position them onto the center section of the boombox,
    a few pixels towards the right.

    Oh, and don’t forget to select them both and group them using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

    adding the tall vertical highlights to the main section of the boombox

    7. Create the Speakers

    Step 1

    Start working on
    the left speaker unit, by creating a 60
    x 60 px
    circle (#c7c8c9) and giving it an 8 px thick outline (#3e4249) using the offset path method.

    Position the two towards shapes the boombox’s left side, leaving an 8 px empty space gap towards the left
    and bottom side of the speaker’s outline.

    positioning the main shapes for the left speaker

    Quick tip: don’t
    forget to use the Pixel Preview mode
    (View > Pixel Preview) so that
    you can get that precise positioning and crispness that we want.

    Step 2

    Next, create the actual cone by drawing a smaller 44 x 44 px circle (#6e787c) and another even smaller 20 x 20 px one (#3e4249) and positioning them over the previous shapes, making sure to align them to their center.

    adding the secondary circle pair to the left speaker

    Step 3

    Create the little inner ring, by drawing a 32 x 32 px circle (#3e4249) and then another smaller 28 x 28 px one (#3e4249), which we will
    then use to create a cutout from the larger one using Pathfinder’s Minus Front option.

    adding the inner ring to the left speaker

    Step 4

    Start adding details to the speaker unit by creating a 6 x 6 px circle (#FFFFFFF) which we
    will overlay onto the center piece of the cone by setting its Blending Mode to Overlay and lowering its Opacity
    to 40%, positioning it a few
    pixels towards the right upper corner.

    adding the small reflection onto the cones nose

    Step 5

    Next, add an inner ring-like shadow onto the cone, by creating a copy
    of it, and then adding a smaller 36 x
    36 px
    circle, which we will then use to create the cutout. Change the color
    of the resulting shape to #3e4249, and then lower its Opacity to just 20% to
    make it look an actual shadow.

    adding the inner shadow to the speakers cone

    Step 6

    Create another 36 x 36 px circle (#FFFFFF) which we
    will then adjust by removing its top anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and setting
    its Blending Mode to Overlay while lowering its Opacity to just 30%.

    Once we have our adjusted shape, make sure to position it underneath the
    cone’s ring and nose, so that it won’t overlap them.

    adding the half cone highlight to the left speaker

    Step 7

    Give the speaker some dimension by adding a top ring shadow and a bottom
    highlight. To do this, first create a 60
    x 60 px
    circle (#FFFFFF) from which we will cut out a smaller 56 x 56 px one. Then, using a
    rectangle, cut out the bottom half section, and create a copy of the resulting
    shape which we will reflect horizontally (right
    click > Transform > Reflect > Horizontal
    ) and position underneath
    the original.

    adding the main shape for the speakers highlight and shadow

    Step 8

    Adjust the top half ring by setting its color to #3e4249 and lowering
    its Opacity to 20%.

    adjusting the top half shadow for the left speaker

    Step 9

    Then, select the bottom half highlight and change its Blending Mode to Overlay while lowering its Opacity
    to 30%.

    adjusting the bottom half highlight of the left speaker

    Step 10

    Finish off the
    left speaker unit by adding four 4 x 4
    px
    circles (#3e4249) onto the corners of the surface surrounding the cone.

    Then, select all its composing elements and group them together using
    the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

    left speaker finished

    Step 11

    Since we now have our left speaker unit, we need to add the little tweeter
    cone. To do this, first grab the Ellipse
    Tool (L)
    and create a 6 x 6 px circle
    (#6d6f70). Give the shape a 4 px outline
    (#3e4249) and a small reflection (color: white;
    Blending Mode: Overlay; Opacity: 30%) and then position the two
    towards the left upper corner of the speaker.

    positioning the left twitter cone

    Step 12

    Select and group both the tweeter and speaker (Control-G) and create a copy of them (Control-C > Control-F) which we will then reflect vertically (right click > Transform > Reflect
    > Vertical
    ) and position onto the right side of the boombox.

    creating the right side speaker

    Quick tip: you
    can create a duplicate of any shape by selecting it and then dragging in a
    direction while holding down the Alt key
    (which creates the copy) and the Shift key
    (which lets you drag in a straight line).

    8. Add the Buttons and Dials

    Step 1

    At this point, we can start working on the front of the boombox by
    adding the little function buttons. First, select the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 42 x 12 px shape (#3e4249) which we will position onto the center
    section of the unit, about 4 px from
    its bottom outline.

    adding the main outline for the boomboxs buttons

    Step 2

    Zoom in on the shape that we’ve just created, and using the Rectangle Tool (M) create six 4 x 4 px squares (#a0a5a8), which we
    will position 2 px from one
    another and then center onto the larger underlying rectangle.

    creating the main front buttons

    Step 3

    Color the first, third, and fifth squares using #7a7f82, and then give
    each button a 4 x 2 px highlight (color: white; Blending Mode: Overlay; Opacity:
    40%). When you’re done, select all the composing elements and group them
    using the Control-G keyboard
    shortcut.

    adding details to the boomboxs front buttons

    Step 4

    Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool create
    a 50 x 2 px shape (#3e4249) with a 1 px Corner Radius and position it just
    above the buttons, leaving a 2 px gap
    between them.

    adding the little divider to the front buttons

    Step 5

    Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and
    create a 34 x 20 px shape (#9e8dce),
    give it a 4 px outline (#3e4249) and
    then position the two above the line that we’ve just created, leaving the same 2 px gap between them.

    adding the main shapes for the cassette slot

    Step 6

    Add a 34 x 2 px highlight (color: white; Blending Mode: Overlay; Opacity:
    40%) towards the top side of the purple rectangle, and another 34 x 2 px shadow (color: #3e4249; Opacity: 40%)
    towards its bottom.

    adding details to the cassette slot

    Step 7

    Draw two diagonal highlights (color:
    white; Blending Mode: Overlay; Opacity: 40%) using the Pen Tool (P), one thinner and one
    thicker, and position them towards
    the center of the purple rectangle.

    adding the diagonal highlights to the cassette slot

    Quick tip: you
    can get perfect 45 while drawing with the Pen
    Tool (P)
    if you hold down the Shift key.

    Step 8

    Using the Rectangle Tool (M) draw
    two 2 x 20 px vertical dividers (#3e4249),
    which you will position on each side of the purple rectangle, leaving a 2 px gap between them and the thicker
    outline. Then add another 26 x 2 px shape
    (#3e4249) towards the bottom side, leaving that same 2 px empty gap.

    adding the divider lines to the cassette slot

    Step 9

    Finish off the
    cassette holder by adding the two wheels that spin the band and a 6 x 4 px rounded rectangle with a 1 px Corner Radius (#3e4249) to give it
    more detail.

    Once you’re done, don’t forget to select and group all its composing
    elements together using the Control-G keyboard
    shortcut.

    adding finishing touches to the cassette slot

    Step 10

    Move a few pixels towards the top, and using the Rectangle Tool (M) create an 84
    x 16 px
    shape (#3e4249) which we will position above the cassette holder, about 8 px from its top side.
    Since the shape now overlaps the speakers, we will have to select them and
    bring them to the front by right clicking
    > Arrange > Bring To Front
    .

    adding the main outline for the eq indicator

    Step 11

    Add a 42 x 8 px rectangle (#e87979)
    on top of the shape that we’ve previously created, making sure to position it
    towards its center.

    adding the inner fill shape for the eq

    Step 12

    Since this red section will act as a radio tuner, add a couple of
    highlights using the same values that we’ve used for the cassette holder.

    adding highlights to the eq

    Step 13

    Add a couple of 2 px thick lines (ten more exactly)
    with two variable heights (five with 4
    px
    , and the others with 2 px),
    which you will have to position 2 px from
    one another and color using the same value used for the outlines (#3e4249).

    Also, don’t forget to group all of the tuner’s components so they won’t
    get misplaced (Control-G).

    eq finished

    Step 14

    For this next
    step, I’m going to let you get creative and create the rest of the boombox’s
    details on your own, since they’re pretty easy to create.

    Take your time, and depending on whether you want the exact same look or
    something unique, use the reference image to make your way and get it done.

    adding finishing touches to the boomboxs front section

    Step 15

    Assuming you’ve
    aced the previous step, let’s move on up to the top section of the boombox, and
    start working on the little buttons.

    First, create a 4 x 6 px rectangle (#eaeaea) and give
    it a 4 px thick outline (#3e4249).
    We will use these two shapes to create two more copies (buttons) towards their
    right side positioned 2 px from
    one another. For the fourth button, we will just create a 12 x 12 px square (#3e4249) which will make it look as if it has been
    pressed. For the fifth and last button we’ll want to create a wider 18 x 6 px rectangle (#e5d37a) which
    will use the same 4 px thick
    outline.

    Once you have all five buttons, positions them towards the center of the
    boombox, making sure to send them to the back (right click > Arrange > Send to Back).

    adding the top buttons to the boombox

    Step 16

    Give the buttons a little depth, by adding a small shadow to all but the
    fourth one.

    At this point, I would also recommend that you individually
    group (Control-G) each button and
    then select and group them all as a whole.

    adding shadows to the top side buttons

    Step 17

    Move towards the left side of the boombox, and
    using the Rectangle Tool (M) create
    a 4 x 18 px shape, which we will
    color using #e5d37a, give an 8 px outline
    (#3e4249) and then position towards the top left side, leaving a gap of 38 px between it and the larger
    outline.

    adding the main shapes for the left dial

    Step 18

    Add a 2 x 12 px rectangle (#3e4249)
    towards the left side of the yellow dial’s
    outline, a 2 x 18 px shadow (color: #3e4249; Opacity: 40%) where it meets the outline of the boombox, and a 4 x 4 px square (#3e4249) towards its
    top, which will act as gain indicator.

    Once you’re done, group all the dial’s elements together (Control-G) and create a copy for the
    right side of the boombox.

    adding the right side dial to the boombox

    Step 19

    Finish off the boombox by adding the top handle, and then group all of
    its elements together using the Control-G
    keyboard shortcut.

    boombox finished

    Since at this
    point we’ve finished working on the main sections of our illustration, we can
    now move on to the final part, where we’re going to be adding the little musical
    note pattern.

    9. Create the Musical
    Note Pattern

    Now, what would a
    boombox be without a little sound to make it pop? In the following moments we’re
    going to wrap things up by creating a nice little pattern that will bring our
    illustration to life.

    Step 1

    Move on to the third and last layer, and using the Ellipse Tool (L) create a 10
    x 8 px
    shape (#3e4249) which will act as the note head (1), to which we’re
    going to add a 2 x 14 px rectangle (#3e4249)
    towards its right side (the note stem) (2). Add another small diagonal rectangle
    (#3e4249) to its top (the flag) (3) and then group all three shapes together (Control-G).

    creating the simple musical note

    Step 2

    Using the same note head and stem, create a double note.

    creating a double musical note

    Step 3

    Grab the musical
    notes that we’ve just created and start adding them around the boombox. Take
    your time, and play around with them until you get an interesting pattern that
    you can use.

    Color the notes
    that go outside the green background using a light grey (#e5e5e5) to give
    the composition a little twist.

    Once you’re done, select and group them (Control-G) so they’ll stick together.

    illustration finished

    It’s a Wrap!

    There you have it: a good old boombox that you can use in any new
    project to make your work stand out. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and
    managed to learn something new and useful along the way.

    illustration preview

    Read more here:: How to Create a Boombox Illustration in Adobe Illustrator