Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Since Valentine’s Day isn’t all that far away, I thought it would be
nice to give you a head start this year and teach you how to create a nice
little love-themed icon pack that you could use in any personal projects that
involve your loved ones. As always, we’re going to be using some of the basic
tools that you probably already work with on a daily basis, so that you can
follow each and every step.

So without wasting any more time, grab a
cup of that rose tea, and let’s get started.

Oh, and before I
forget, you can always expand the project by checking out GraphicRiver where you can find tons of love-themed icons.

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, we’ll want to set up a
nice little Grid so that we can have
full control over our shapes—that is if we’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
setting up a custom grid

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: heart balloons
  • layer 3: proposal ring
  • layer 4: cake
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 on 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 another 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 the reference grids onto the artboard

5. How to Create
the Heart Balloons

Let’s kick off
the project by creating our first icon of the bunch, which as you can see is a
mixture of three heart-shaped balloons meant to uplift the heart of your loved
one. 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

Start working on the
larger balloon by creating a 48 x 48 px
circle, which we will color using #ED664C and then align to the underlying
active drawing area’s top-left corner, at a distance of 4 px from its top edge and 14
px
from its left one.

Step 2

Create another 48 x 48 px circle, which we will color
using the same value (#ED664C), and then position on the right side of the underlying
active drawing area, maintaining the same distances (4 px from the top, 14 px from
the right).

Step 3

Create the main shape
for the lower section, using another 48 x 48 px circle (#ED664C) which we will center align to the
underlying active drawing area, positioning it at a distance of 36 px from its bottom edge.

Step 4

Select all the circles,
and then unite them into a single larger shape using Pathfinder’s Unite Shape
Mode
.

Step 5

Clean up the resulting
shape by removing the four middle anchor
points that were created once you united the circles, by simply left
clicking on them with the Delete Anchor
Point Tool (-)
.

Step 6

Adjust the new shape by
first turning on Pixel Preview mode
(Alt-Control-Y), and then selecting
its left anchor point’s bottom
handle and dragging it to the
bottom until you have a distance of 22
px
between its end point and origin.

Step 7

Do the same
thing for the heart’s bottom anchor
point by selecting its left handle and dragging it to the outside until
you have a distance of 16 px between
its end point and origin.

Once you’re done, you
can exit Pixel Preview mode using
the Alt-Control-Y keyboard shortcut.

Step 8

Once we’ve finished
making the adjustments to the left half of the heart, we will need to carry
them out on its right side as well. We will do so by first cutting it in
half, and then selecting and removing its right anchor
points and pressing Control-J immediately
afterwards to close the resulting path.

cutting the larger adjusted heart into half

Step 9

Create a copy of the
resulting shape (Control-C >
Control-F
) which we will vertically reflect (right click > Transform > Reflect > Vertical) and then
position on the right side of the original, making sure to select and unite
the two afterwards using Pathfinder’s
Unite Shape Mode.

Step 10

Give the
resulting shape an outline using the Stroke
method. Create a copy of it (Control-C)
which we will paste in front (Control-F)
and then adjust by setting its color to #252730. Then flip its Fill with its Stroke (Shift-X), making
sure to set its Weight to 8 px and its Corner to Round Join.

Once you’re done, select
both shapes and group them using the Control-G
keyboard shortcut.

Step 11

Create the balloon’s
tied section using a 20 x 12 px rectangle,
which we will color using #C15846 and then center align to the underlying
active drawing area, at a distance of 24
px
from its bottom edge.

Step 12

Adjust the rectangle
that we’ve just created by
individually selecting and pushing its top anchor
points to the inside by 4 px (right click > Transform > Move >
Horizontal > + / – 4 px
depending on which side you start with).

Step 13

Give the resulting shape
an 8 px thick outline (#252730)
using the Stroke method, making sure
to set its Corner to Round Join. Once you’re done, don’t
forget to select and group the two shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Step 14

Select the Pen Tool (P) and then draw in the piece
of string holding the balloon, using an 8
px
thick Stroke with the color
set to #252730

Start from the center of the tied section’s outline, and go all
the way to the active drawing area’s bottom edge, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all of the shapes that we
have so far afterwards.

drawing in the little string line to the bottom section of the larger balloon icon

Step 15

Grab a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the heart
that we’ve just finished working on, and use it to create one of the smaller ones,
by scaling it down using a 50% value
increment (right click > Transform
> Scale > Uniform > 50%
). 

Adjust the resulting shape’s outline by
setting the Weight of its Stroke to 8 px, and then align it to the left side of the underlying active
drawing area, positioning it at a distance of 24 px from its bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the smaller left-sided heart balloon

Step 16

Set the color of the
heart’s fill shape to a darker
red (#C15846), and then draw in the little string section using a 16 px tall 8 px thick Stroke (#252730),
grouping (Control-G) and positioning
them underneath the larger heart afterwards (right click > Arrange >
Send to Back
).

finishing off the left-sided heart balloon

Step 17

Create the right-sided heart balloon,
using a copy of the left one (Control-C
> Control-F
) which we will align to the opposite side of the active
drawing area, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from its bottom edge.

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

finishing off the heart balloons icon

6. How to Create the Proposal Ring Icon

Assuming you’ve already moved on up to the
next layer (that would be the third one), zoom in on the second reference grid
and let’s start working on the little proposal ring.

Step 1

Create the diamond’s
main shape using a 32 x 12 px rectangle,
which we will color using #52B9D1 and then center align to the underlying
active drawing area, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from its top edge.

Step 2

Adjust the shape that
we’ve just created by individually selecting and pushing its top anchor points to the inside by 6 px with the help of the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > + / – 6 px depending on
which side you start with).

Step 3

Using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), add a new anchor to the center of the shape’s
bottom edge, and then push it down by a distance of 14 px using the Move tool
(right click > Transform > Move
> Vertical > 14 px
).

Step 4

Give the resulting
shape an outline using an 8 px thick
Stroke (#252730) with the Corner set to Round Join.

Step 5

Using an 8 px thick Stroke (#252730) draw in the diamond’s horizontal divider line
connecting its middle anchor points,
selecting and grouping (Control-G)
all three shapes together afterwards.

Step 6

Start working on the
actual ring by creating an 86 x 86 px circle,
which we will color using #EAA74E and then center align to the underlying
active drawing area, at a distance of 4
px
from its bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the proposal rings body

Step 7

Create a smaller 54 x 54 px circle (highlighted with orange),
which we will center align to the previous one and then cut out using Pathfinder’s Minus Front Shape Mode.

cutting out the smaller section from the proposal rings body

Step 8

Finish off the icon by giving the resulting shape an 8 px thick
outline (#252730), selecting and grouping (Control-G)
the two together, and doing the same for all its composing sections afterwards.

adding the outline to the proposal rings body

7. How to Create the Cake Icon

We are now down to our third and last
icon, so assuming you’ve already positioned yourself onto the last layer, zoom
in on its reference grid and let’s finish this.

Step 1

Create the little
golden tray using a 112 x 12 px rectangle,
which we will color using #EAA74E and then center align to the underlying
active drawing area, at a distance of 4
px
from its bottom edge.

Step 2

Adjust the shape that
we’ve just created, by individually selecting and pushing its bottom anchor points to the inside by a
distance of 4 px using the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > + / – 4 px depending
on which side you start with).

Step 3

Give the resulting shape
an 8 px thick outline (#252730) with
a Round Join, and then select and
group both shapes together using the Control-G
keyboard shortcut.

Step 4

Create the cake’s
bottom section using an 84 x 28 px rectangle,
which we will color using #AD584D, and then center align to the golden tray’s
fill shape, at a distance of 0 px.

Step 5

Adjust the shape that
we’ve just created by selecting its top corners using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then setting their Radius to 8 px from within the Transform
panel.

Step 6

Add the white
chocolate section, using a copy (Control-C
> Control-F
) of the brown one, which we will adjust by setting its color
to #E2BFA1, and then selecting its bottom anchor points and pushing them to the top by 16
px
(right click > Transform >
Move > Vertical > – 16 px
).

Step 7

Give the cake’s bottom section an
outline using an 8 px thick Stroke which we will color using #252730.

Step 8

Finish off this section of the cake by
drawing in the horizontal divider line separating the white chocolate section
from the brown body, using the same 8 px
thick Stroke (#252730).

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

Step 9

Start working on the
cake’s center section by creating a 60
x 24 px
rectangle (#AD584D), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 8 px. Center align the resulting shape
to the cake’s base, vertically stacking them at a distance of 0 px.

Step 10

Add the white
chocolate section by creating a copy (Control-C
> Control-F
) of the shape from the previous step, which we will color using #E2BFA1 and then adjust
by selecting and pushing its bottom anchor points to the top by a distance of 12
px
(right click > Transform >
Move > Vertical > -12 px
).

Step 11

Finish off this
section of the cake by adding the 8 px thick
Stroke (#252730) followed by the
horizontal divider line. Once you’re done, don’t forget to select
and group (Control-G) all its
composing shapes together.

Step 12

Create the cake’s upper
section using a 36 x 20 px rectangle
(#AD584D), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 8
px
, positioning the resulting shape on top of the previously created one.

Step 13

Add a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the shape
that we’ve just created, and then start adjusting it by first changing its
color to #E2BFA1, and then selecting and pushing its bottom anchor points to the top by a distance
of 10 px (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > -10 px).

Step 14

As we did with all of
the cake’s sections, take your time and add the main outline and the little
horizontal divider line using an 8 px thick
Stroke (#252730), grouping (Control-G) all four shapes together
afterwards.

Step 15

Start working on the
little heart by creating a 16 x 16 px circle
(#ED664C) which we will position at a distance of 4 px from the active drawing area’s top edge, and 45 px from its left one.

Step 16

Create the heart’s
right section using another 16 x 16 px circle
(#ED664C), which we will position on the other side of the active drawing
area, at a distance of 45 px from
its right edge.

Step 17

Add the heart’s
bottom section using another 16 x 16 px circle,
which we will color using #ED664C and then center align to the underlying
active drawing area, vertically stacking it to the cake’s upper section.

Step 18

Select and unite all
three circles together using Pathfinder’s
Unite Shape Mode, and then adjust
the final shape until it looks like a heart by removing the extra anchor points and playing with its handles.

Step 19

Finish off the icon by
giving the heart an 8 px thick
outline (#252730), selecting and grouping (Control-G)
both the two shapes together, and doing the same for the entire icon’s composing shapes
afterwards.

Awesome Work, You’re Done!

There you have it: a nice little icon pack to spice things up, whether it’s meant for that
special someone or a future project. As always, I hope you had fun recreating
these little pieces, and most importantly learned something new and interesting
along the way.

finished project preview

Go to original Source
Author: Andrei Stefan

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