Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Believe it or not,
Christmas is once again almost here, which means that as with every year, Santa
is hard at work making preparations for one of the busiest nights of his life. That
being the case, I thought I could lend him a hand and give you a nice little
treat in the form of a Christmas-themed icon pack, which I’m sure
you’ll love.

As always we’re going to be using the most basic of tools, so without
wasting any more time, grab a bite out of that little cookie and let’s get
started.

Oh, and don’t
forget you can always expand the pack by checking out GraphicRiver, where
you’ll find tons of Christmas-themed icons at the press of a button.

1. How to Set Up a New Document

Since I’m sure that you already
have Illustrator up and running in the background, bring it up and let’s set up
a New Document (File > New or Control-N)
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 (72ppi)
  • Preview Mode: Default
setting up a new document

Quick
tip:
some of you might have noticed that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid option
is missing. That’s because I’m running the new CC 2017 version of the
software, where great changes have been made to the way Illustrator handles the way shapes snap to the underlying Pixel Grid.

2. How to Set Up a Custom Grid

Since we’re going to be creating the icons
using a pixel-perfect workflow, you’ll want to set up a nice little Grid so that you can have full control
over our shapes—that is if you’re running the older version of the software.

Step 1

Go to the Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid submenu, and adjust
the following settings:

  • Gridline
    every:
    1 px
  • Subdivisions: 1

Quick
tip:
you can learn more about grids by reading this
in-depth piece on how Illustrator’s Grid System works.

Step 2

Once we’ve set up our custom grid, all we
need to do in order to make sure our shapes look crisp is enable the Snap to Grid option found under the View menu, which will transform into Snap to Pixel each time you enter Pixel Preview mode.

Now, if you’re new to
the whole “pixel-perfect workflow”, I strongly recommend you go through my how
to create pixel-perfect artwork
tutorial, which will help you widen your
technical skills in no time.

3. How to Set Up the Layers

With the new document created, it would be
a good idea to structure our project using a couple of layers, since this way
we can maintain a steady workflow by focusing on one icon at a time.

That being said, bring up the Layers panel and create a total of
four layers, which we will rename as follows:

  • layer 1: reference grids
  • layer 2: treats
  • layer 3: presents
  • layer 4: decorations
setting up the layers

4. How to Create the Reference Grids

The
reference grids (or base grids)
are a set of precisely delimited reference surfaces, which allow us to build
our icons by focusing on size and consistency.

Usually, the size of the grids determines
the size of the actual icons, and they should always be the first decision you
make when you start a new project, since you’ll always want to start from the
smallest possible size and build on that.

Now, in our case, we’re going to be
creating the icon pack using just one size, more exactly 128 x 128 px, which is a fairly large one.

Step 1

Start by locking all
but the reference grid layer, and then grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 128 x 128 px orange (#F15A24) square, which will help define the
overall size of our icons.

creating the main shape for the reference grid

Step 2

Add a smaller 120 x 120 px one (#FFFFFF), which will
act as our active drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4 px padding.

creating the main shape for the active drawing area

Step 3

Group the two squares composing the
reference grid using the Control-G keyboard
shortcut, and then create two copies at a distance of 40 px from one another, making sure to align them to the center of
the Artboard.

Once you’re done,
lock the current layer and move on to the next one, where we’ll start working on
our first icon.

creating and positioning all three reference grids

5. How to Create
the Treats Icon

We’re going to
kick off the project by creating the milk and cookie treats that we would
normally give Santa to help him during one of the hardest working nights of his
life. That being said, make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the
second one) and then zoom in on the first reference grid so that we can get
started.

Step 1

Select the Pen Tool (P) and
use it to create a 102 px wide line
segment with a 4 px thick Stroke and a Round Cap, which we will color using #332828 and then position onto
the first active drawing area, aligning it to its bottom-left corner.

creating and positioning the first line segment for the treats icons background

Step 2

With the first
segment in place, create the smaller one using a 6 px wide line and the same Stroke values, which we will align to the bottom-right corner of
the underlying active drawing area.

With both lines in place, select and group (Control-G) them so that they won’t get separated by accident.

creating and positioning the second line segment for the treats icons background

Step 3

Create the main shape for the glass using a 52 x 116 px rectangle, which we will color using #83DBEA and then
position at a distance of 18 px from
the active drawing area’s left edge and 2
px
from its top one.

Step 4 

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by
setting the Radius of its bottom
corners to 12 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

Step 5

Add the milk section, by creating a smaller 52 x 88 px rectangle (#EFEFEF) which we
will adjust by setting the Radius of
its bottom corners to 12 px and
then position onto the blue shape, center aligning it to its bottom edge.

creating and positioning the milk section onto the glasss body

Step 6

Add the glass’s main outline using the Stroke method, by creating a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of its main
body (the blue shape) which we will color using #332828 and then adjust by
flipping (Shift-X) its Fill with its Stroke, setting its Weight to
4 px.

Step 7

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw the
horizontal outline separating the glass’s contents, by following the top edge
of the milk’s white section, using a 4
px
thick Stroke with the color
set to #332828.

Once you’re done, select and group all of the glass’s
composing shapes using the Control-G
keyboard shortcut.

Step 8

Move a few pixels towards the right, and create
the cookie’s main body using a 74 x 74
px
circle, which we will color using #C6866F and then align to the
bottom-right corner of the underlying active drawing area, leaving a 2 px gap around it for the outline.

Step 9

Add the cookie’s outline using the same
process we used for the glass’s main body, setting the Stroke’s Weight to 4 px and its color to #332828.

Step 10

Start adding details to the cookie’s body by drawing in some little
hazelnut crumbs with the help of the Pen
Tool (P)
, which we will color using #F7D6B5, giving them the same 4 px thick outline (#332828) with a Round Join.

Individually group (Control-G) each fill shape with its outline, and then group (Control-G) all three crumbs together as
well.

Step 11

Finish off the cookie by adding the little chocolate chips using a couple
of different-sized circles (#332828), which we will want to group
together using the Control-G keyboard
shortcut.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to select all the
cookie’s composing shapes and group (Control-G)
those as well.

Step 12

Start working on the little thank-you note by
creating its main body using a 40 x 30
px
rectangle (#E0694C). Give the shape a 4 px thick outline (#332828) and then group (Control-G) and position the two onto the left side of the cookie,
at a distance of 32 px from the
active drawing area’s left edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the treats icons thank you note

Step 13

Create the inner detail line insertion using a 30 x 20 px rectangle (#332828), which we will
adjust by flipping (Shift-X) its Fill with a 2 px thick Stroke center, aligning it to the underlying red shape afterwards.

adding the inner detail line insertion to the treats icons thank you card

Step 14

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw in
the two dummy text lines using a 4 px thick
Stroke with the color set to #332828.
Position the two lines 2 px from
one another, and then group (Control-G)
and center align them to the note’s
main body, grouping (Control-G) all
its composing shapes as well afterwards.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to do the same for the entire icon, since
you wouldn’t want to deal with “disappearing” elements.

treats icon finished

6. How to Create
the Presents Icon

Assuming you’ve
managed to finish the first icon, move on up to the next layer (that would be
the third one), and let’s start working on the project’s second composing
element.

Step 1

Before you lock the previous layer, quickly create a copy (Control-C) of the icon’s bottom line
segment and paste it (Control-F)
over onto the second reference grid.

creating and positioning the line background segment onto the second reference grid

Step 2

Create the main shape for the round present box using a 92 x 92 px circle, which we will color
using #33AFBC and then position onto the top-right corner of the underlying
active drawing area, leaving a 2 px gap
around it for the outline.

Step 3

Add the little horizontal color stripes using 22 vertically stacked 92 x 2 px rectangles (#179AA0) positioned 2 px from one
another, which we will group (Control-G)
and then center align to the shape that we created in the
previous step.

adding the horizontal color stripes to the circular present box

Step 4

Now, since we want the stripes to remain constrained within the surface
of the circle, we’ll want to create a copy of the latter (Control-C), paste it (Control-F)
in front of them, and use that as a
Clipping Mask
(right click > Make
Clipping Mask
).

Step 5

Create the main shape for the golden wrap using an 18 x 92 px rectangle which we will color using #E5BA5A and then
vertically center align to the underlying circle, at a distance of 16 px from the active drawing area’s
right edge.

Step 6

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), add
a couple of different-sized circles (#D1A246) to the surface of the
golden wrap, grouping (Control-G)
and then masking them (right click >
Make Clipping Mask
) using a copy of the underlying rectangle if you need to.

Step 7

Give the golden rectangle a 4 px thick
outline (#332828) and then group (Control-G)
and mask all its composing shapes using the underlying circle as a Clipping Mask (right click > Make Clipping Mask).

masking the golden wrap to the surface of the circular present boxs body

Step 8

Create a small 8 x 8 px circle
(#E5BA5A) with a 4 px outline (#332828),
which we will group (Control-G) and
center align to the larger underlying circle.

adding the center handle to the circular presents boxs body

Step 9

Finish off the circular present box by giving it a 4 px thick outline (#332828), selecting and grouping (Control-G) all its composing shapes
together afterwards.

adding the outline to the circular present box

Step 10

Create the main shape for the rectangular present box’s body, using a 64 x 48 px rectangle (#E0694C) with a 4 px thick outline (#332828), which we
will group (Control-G) and then align
to the bottom of the active drawing area, at a distance of 8 px from its left edge.

Step 11

Add the front body wrap using a 12
x 48 px
rectangle (#71B769) with a 4
px
thick outline (#332828) which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the underlying red rectangle.

creating and positioning the front wrap onto the rectangular present boxs body

Step 12

Create the little name label using an 8 x 12 px rectangle (#E5BA5A) with a 4 px thick outline (#332828), which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the
present box’s right half, at a distance of 12
px
from its outline.

Step 13

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw in the little string
holding the label, using a 4 px thick
Stroke with the color set to #332828,
grouping (Control-G) the two
together afterwards.

Once you’re done, group all the rectangular present box’s shapes that
we’ve created so far using the Control-G
keyboard shortcut.

Step 14 

Create the lid of the present box using a 72 x 12 px rectangle (#E0694C) with a 4 px thick outline (#332828), which we will group (Control-G) together and then position
on top of its lower body, center aligning the two.

Step 15

Add the lid’s wrapping tape using a 16
x 12 px
rectangle (#71B769) with a 4
px
outline (#332828), which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the shape that we just
created in the previous step.

Step 16

Create the center section of the ribbon using a 16 x 10 px rectangle (#59934E), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 4 px. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#332828) and then
group (Control-G) and position the
two onto the lid, center aligning them to it.

Step 17

Create the left half of the ribbon’s bow using a 14 x 8 px rectangle (#59934E), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top-left corner to 4 px and then playing with its
curvature. Give the resulting shape a 4
px
outline (#332828) and then group (Control-G)
and position the two onto the left side of the shape from the previous step.

Step 18

Create the
ribbon’s right half using a copy (Control-C
> Control-F
) of the left one, which we will vertically flip (right click > Transform > Reflect
> Vertical
) and then position onto the opposite side of the center
section.

Once you’re done, group all of the ribbon’s composing shapes together
using the Control-G keyboard
shortcut, and then do the same for the lid and the entire box.

Step 19

Create the main shape for the smaller present box using a 20 x 16 px rectangle, which we will
color using #59934E, giving it a 4 px outline
(#332828). Align the two shapes to the bottom edge of the underlying active
drawing area, positioning them onto the right side of the rectangular present
box.

Step 20

Using the Pen Tool (P), add
four 2 px thick diagonal detail
lines (#332828), grouping (Control-G)
and then center aligning them to the green rectangle created in the previous
step. Once you’re done, select all of the smaller present’s composing shapes and
group (Control-G) those together as
well.

adding the diagonal detail lines to the smaller present boxs main body

Step 21

Finish off the
smaller present box, and with it the icon itself, by adding the lid. We’ll create it using a 24 x 8 px rectangle
(#D1553D) with a 4 px outline (#332828), which we will group (Control-G) and
then position over its main body, aligning them to its left side.

Once you’re done, group (Control-G)
all its composing shapes, doing the same for the entire icon afterwards.

creating and positioning the lid onto the smaller present boxs body

7. How to Create
the Decorations Icon

We are now down to
our third and last icon, so assuming you already know the drill, zoom in on its
reference grid so that we can get started.

Step 1

As we did with the presents icon, we’ll want to grab a copy (Control-C) of the bottom line segment
and paste (Control-F) it over before
you actually commit to locking the third layer.

creating and positioning the line segment background onto the third reference grid

Step 2

Start working on the candle’s plate by creating a 48 x 6 px rectangle, which we will color using #D1553D and then
position over the bottom line segment, at a distance of 26 px from the active drawing area’s right edge.

Step 3

Adjust the rectangle by individually selecting and pushing its bottom anchor points to the center by 2 px using the Move Tool (right click >
Transform > Move > Horizontal > +/-2 px
depending on which
anchor you start with). Once you’re done, give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#332828) and then
group them together (Control-G).

Step 4

Create the plate’s upper section using a 60 x 6 px rectangle (#E0694C) with a 4 px thick outline (#332828), which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the
base, grouping (Control-G) the two
sections together afterwards.

Step 5

Create the candle’s bottom metal section using a 48 x 12 px rectangle (#A3A8AA) with a 4 px thick outline (#332828), on top of which we will add a group
of five 4 x 4 px circles (#332828)
positioned 4 px from one another.
Group (Control-G) all the current
section’s shapes together and then center align them over the plate that we
created in the previous steps.

Step 6

Create the actual
candlestick using a 40 x 80 px rectangle
(#F2D2B1) with a 4 px thick outline
(#332828), on top of which we will add a couple of diagonal 4 px thick lines (#332828).

Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G)
all its composing shapes, positioning them over the metal stand that we
created in the previous step.

creating and positioning the candle stick onto the metal stand

Step 7

Finish off the candle by creating the little string piece using a 6 x 12 px rectangle (#6D5858) with a 4 px thick outline (#332828) which we
will group and then center align to its top. Once you’re done, don’t
forget to select and group all of the candle’s composing shapes together using
the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the string section onto the candle sticks body

Step 8

Start working on the little Christmas globe by creating a 62 x 62 px circle, which we will color
using #83DBEA and then position onto the left side of the underlying active
drawing area, at a distance of 2 px from
its left edge and 14 px from its
bottom one.

Step 9

Create the snow section of the globe using a 62 x 20 px rectangle (#EFEFEF), which we will adjust by arching down
its top edge by adding a new anchor
point to its center and playing with its handles. Give the resulting shape
a 4 px thick outline (#332828) with
a Round Join, and then group (Control-G) and bottom-center align the
two to the underlying circle.

adding the snow section to the christmas globes body

Step 10

Mask the snow section using a copy (Control-C)
of the blue circle, which we will paste in front of it (Control-F), and then with both shapes selected, right click and select Make
Clipping Mask
.

Step 11

Using another copy of the blue circle (Control-C > Control-F), create the globe’s outline using a 4 px thick Stroke with the color set to #332828.

adding the outline to the christmas globes main body

Step 12

Start working on the Christmas tree’s trunk by creating a 6 x 8 px rectangle (#8E5C57) with a 4 px outline (#332828), which we will
group (Control-G) and then center
align to the globe, positioning them so that they end up overlapping the outline of the snow.

Step 13

Create the lower section of the tree using a 22 x 10 px rectangle (#59934E), which we will adjust by
individually selecting and pushing its top anchor
points to the center by 6 px (right click > Transform > Move >
Horizontal > +/-2 px
depending on which anchor you start with). Give
the resulting shape a 4 px thick
outline (#332828) with a Round Join,
and then group (Control-G) and
position the two on top of the trunk, center aligning them to it.

Step 14

Create the upper section of the tree using an 18 x 16 px rectangle (#71B769), which we will turn into a triangle
by adding a new anchor point to the
center of its top edge using the Add
Anchor Point Tool (+)
, and then removing the side ones using the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-). Give the
resulting shape a 4 px thick outline
(#332828) and then group (Control-G)
and center align them to the lower body of the tree, grouping (Control-G) all its composing shapes as
well.

Step 15

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), add
in the little snowflakes using a couple of 2 x 2 px circles (#EFEFEF), which we will group using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Once you’re done, select all
of the globe’s composing shapes and group (Control-G)
those as well.

adding the snow flakes to the christmas globes main body

Step 16

Start working on the globe’s base by creating its upper section using a 46 x 8 px rounded rectangle (#93524C)
with a 4 px thick outline (#332828), which we will group (Control-G) and
then position on top of the globe, center aligning them to its lower section.

Step 17

Create the base’s lower section using a 54 x 12 px rounded rectangle (#AF655B) with a 6 px Corner Radius and a 4
px
thick outline (#332828), and then center align the two to the section
from the previous step.

Step 18

Add some details
to the globe’s base by adding a 12 px wide
detail line (#332828) with Round Caps to
its center, and a 4 x 4 px circle (#332828)
at a distance of 2 px from each of
its sides.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to select all the base’s composing shapes
and group (Control-G) them together,
doing the same for the globe and the entire icon afterwards.

Ho Ho Ho, It’s a
Wrap!

I hope you’ve had as much fun as I did creating this little icon pack,
and as always learned something new during the process. That being said, I wish
you all a warm Christmas in the company of all your loved ones.

finished project preview

Go to original Source
Author: Andrei Stefan

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