What You’ll Be Creating
Summer is a great season to uncover your
bike and go cycling down the road! There is still a whole summer month ahead,
so let’s take a ride through the exciting process of creating of a
flat-style children’s bicycle in Adobe Illustrator, using simple shapes, options from the Stroke panel, and various Pathfinder operations. Let’s start!
1. Render the Wheel of the Bicycle
We’ll start from the essential part of the
bike: the wheel. And firstly we’ll form a tire. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to make a 150 x 150
px circle. Switch the Fill color
to None and the Stroke color to dark-violet in the Colors panel. Head to the Stroke panel and set the Weight to 8 pt.
Let’s convert our circle to curves and add
a gentle shadow to it, making the tire more three-dimensional. Go to Object > Expand > Stroke. Now we
have a ring-shaped Compound Path.
Copy the shape and Paste it in Front twice (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top shape and
move it to the right a bit using the right
arrow key (I’ve switched the top shape to outlines, so that it’s clearly
visible in the screenshot below).
And here’s a trick. Select the shape that
we’ve moved and the one beneath it. Use the Minus Front function of Pathfinder
to cut the shapes, so that we have only two pieces left. Switch the Blending Mode to Multiply in the Transparency
panel and adjust the color, turning the shapes into a subtle shadow. We’ll be using this method further on, adding semi-transparent shadows to other parts of our
bicycle as well.
Copy the shape that we’ve created and place
the duplicate inside the first shape, making it smaller. Change the color of
the inner shape to light beige, creating the rim.
Now we need to add some spokes. Make a
vertical line with the Line Segment Tool
(), holding down the Shift key.
Set the Stroke Weight to 3 pt and the color to the same beige as
we have on the rim. Keeping the line selected, double-click the Rotate Tool (R) icon in the Tools panel. In the pop-up Rotate Options window, set the Rotate Angle value to 90 degrees
to place our line horizontally. Click the Copy
button to make two crossing lines.
Let’s multiply the spokes. Select the
crossing lines and open the Rotate
Options window again. Set the Angle
value to 360/20. This way Adobe
Illustrator will automatically calculate the proper angle degree for 20 copies. Click the Copy button and then repeat our last action by pressing Control-D several times, making
more copies of the spokes.
Let’s add a wheel fender. Make a circle of
the same size as our wheel and put it on top, covering the wheel. Swap Fill and Stroke (Shift-X) colors and set the Stroke Weight to 8 pt, making a thick outline.
Now take the Scissors Tool (С) and click on the left and right anchor points.
This way we’re splitting the shape into two equal halves. Delete the lower
half. As for the upper half, set the Weight
to 8 pt, and the Cap and Corner to middle positions in the Stroke panel.
> Expand the fender, fill it with a girlish pink
color and add the shadow in the say way as we did previously, using the Minus Front function of Pathfinder. Place a small 25 x 25 px circle inside the wheel, using
the Align panel to Align it to Key Object, placing it right in the center of the wheel.
2. Add More Parts to Our Bicycle
Let’s depict a panel that covers the
chainstay. Take the Rectangle Tool (M), make a narrow turquoise rectangle and place it horizontally.
Select the upper right anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move it up a bit by pressing the up arrow key multiple times or by
holding down the Shift key and
pressing the up arrow key to move it to a larger distance. Repeat the same for the lower right anchor point.
Use the Live Corners feature of Adobe Illustrator CC to make the corners
rounded: select the shape and as you see the tiny circle indicators next to
each corner, pull any of them to its maximum. If you’re using earlier versions
of the program, feel free to apply Effect
> Stylize > Round Corners.
Select the pink circle on the wheel, hold
down both Alt and Shift and drag the circle to the right to create a copy. Make the
copy circle a bit larger and add another one on top. You can also make the
corners in the right part of the turquoise shape more rounded by selecting all the anchor points
of the right side and using the
Live Corners function again to increase the
Use the Line Segment Tool () or the Pen
Tool (P) to draw a small diagonal stroke with 5 pt Stroke Weight for the crank arm. Add a pedal on top of it with
the Rectangle Tool (M) or Rounded Rectangle Tool.
Draw a thick line with 10 pt Stroke Weight for the seat tube. And add another thinner line, almost perpendicular to the seat tube, forming a triangle. Form a pink seat on top with the help of the Rounded Rectangle Tool.
Now select the wheel, hold down Alt and Shift and drag to create a copy, making the front wheel. Let’s rotate
the fender of the front wheel a bit. Select the fender, take the Rotate Tool (R), place the pivot point in the center of the front wheel (Alt-click
in the center) and release the mouse key to open the Rotate Options window. Set the Angle
value to 20 degrees.
Add the head tube in the front of our
bicycle by holding Alt-Shift
and copying the seat tube, so that the lines are parallel.
Now it’s time to add a stem and a handlebar
to our bicycle! Draw a polyline with sharp corner with the help of the Pen Tool (P). Select the anchor point
at the corner and Convert it to Smooth from the control bar on top.
Duplicate the created stem and change the color of the copy to pink. Keeping
the shape selected, use the Eraser Tool
(Shift-E) to delete most of the copy, leaving only a small piece
for the handle.
Add two more tubes connecting both parts of
the bicycle. Bend the top tube with the Curvature Tool (Shift-`), forming a
Let’s add some minor details to give our
image a finished look! Select the chainstay covering and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Set the Offset value to -5 px, thus creating a new shape inside
the selected one. Make the shape darker and add some more elements to the
bicycle to your liking.
To make a simple and clean composition, put
a light-beige rectangle in the bottom of the Layers panel for the background and add a few darker spots on the
ground around the wheels.
Finally, let’s form the clouds that we can
place in the top area of our image. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to make a row of white circles, overlapping each
other. Keeping the circles selected, take the Eraser Tool (Shift-E), hold down the Alt key, and drag the Eraser
Tool above the bottom part of the cloud, making a white rectangle. When you
release the mouse button, all the unwanted parts are gone. Our fluffy cloud is
Let’s Go Cycling!
Great job, guys! We’ve finished making a flat children’s bicycle, using simple yet effective techniques. I hope
you’ve enjoyed this quick tutorial and will come back for more. Stay tuned and
keep creating beautiful things!
Read more here:: How to Create a Children’s Colorful Bicycle in Adobe Illustrator