Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Since the New Year is right around the corner, I thought it would be nice if we spent some quality time together creating a little celebration-themed icon pack using some of the most basic shapes and tools that Illustrator has to offer.

That being said, grab a batch of 2016’s coffee and let’s get started!

Oh, and don’t
forget you can always expand the pack by heading over to GraphicRiver where
you’ll found tons of party-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: fireworks
  • layer 3: champagne
  • layer 4: party
    hat
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 Repeating Background

As you’ve probably
already noticed, all three icons use the same background, which is
going to be the first thing that we will want to create in order to streamline
our workflow. So position yourself onto the second layer, and let’s
get started.

Step 1

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw
a small 4 px wide line segment (#302222)
using an 8 px thick Stroke with a Round Cap, which we will
position by aligning it to the bottom-left corner of the underlying active
drawing area.

Step 2

Create the second
line segment using a 96 px wide
path, with the same 8 px thick Stroke (#302222), which we will align to
the bottom-right corner of the active drawing area, making sure to set its Cap to Round.

Once you’re done, select and group the two together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Step 3

Select the Ellipse Tool (L) and
use it to create a 96 x 96 px circle,
which we will color using #D8D8D8 and then center align to bottom of the
reference grid’s orange surface.

Step 4

Give the shape an outline using the Stroke
method, by creating a copy of it (Control-C)
which we will paste in front (Control-F)
and then adjust by flipping its Fill with
its Stroke (Shift-X), setting its Weight
to 8 px and its color to #302222.

Once you’re done, group both
shapes together (Control-G), making
sure to send them to the back of the line segment (right click > Transform > Arrange > Send to Back).

Step 5

Since we’ll want the background to remain contained
within the surface of our active drawing area, we’ll first need to select and
group (Control-G) all its composing
elements, and then create and position a 120
x 120 px
square (highlighted with white) on top of them, which we will use
as a Clipping Mask (right click > Make Clipping Mask).

masking the universal background using a rectangular clipping mask

Step 6

Finally, adjust the background’s Transparency by lowering its Opacity to 20%, creating and positioning a copy for each of the remaining icons.

6. How to Create the Fireworks Icon

With the background in place, we can now start working on our first icon,
so make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the second one) and zoom
in on the first reference grid so that we can kick things off.

Step 1

Create the larger firework’s body using a 24 x 40 px rectangle, which we will
color using #706464 and then position in the center of the active drawing
area, at a distance of 38 px from
its left edge and 42 px from its
bottom one.

Step 2

Select the Pen
Tool (P)
, and draw in the diagonal decorative line segments (#302222) using a 4 px thick Stroke, while holding down the Shift key to get a perfect 45-degree angle.
Vertically stack the four lines at -14
px
from one another, making sure to group (Control-G) and center align them to the underlying shape afterwards.

Step 3 

Create a copy (Control-C) of
the firework’s body (highlighted with orange) and paste it in front (Control-F) and use it to mask the
detail lines, by selecting them and then right
clicking > Make Clipping Mask
.

Step 4

Give the firework’s body an outline, by creating a copy of it (Control-C) which we will paste in front
(Control-F) and then adjust by
flipping its Fill (Shift-X) with an 8 px thick Stroke (#302222), selecting and
grouping (Control-G) all its
composing elements together afterwards.

Step 5

Using an 8 px thick Stroke with the color set to #302222,
draw in the firework’s tail, starting from the center of its outline’s bottom section,
and going all the way down to the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

Step 6

Create the firework’s head section using a 40 x 22 px rectangle (#EF6135), 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 corner ones with the help of the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-). Once you’re done, horizontally center
align the shape to the larger body, positioning it so that it overlaps the
upper half of the outline’s thickness.

Step 7

Give the shape that we’ve just positioned an outline by creating a copy
of it (Control-C) which we will
paste in front (Control-F) and then
adjust by flipping its Fill (Shift-X) with an 8 px thick Stroke (#302222), with the Corner set to Round Join. Once you’re done, group (Control-G) the two shapes together, and
then do the same for the firework’s composing sections.

Step 8

Create the main shape for the smaller firework using a 14 x 32 px rectangle, which we will
color using #F4C253 and then position on the right side of the larger one,
at a distance of 30 px from the
active drawing area’s right edge, and 26
px
from its bottom one.

Step 9

Add the firework’s upper red section by creating a 14 x 12 px rectangle, which we will color using #EF6135 and then center align to its top edge
using the Align panel.

Step 10

Add the firework’s main outline using a copy (Control-C) of its body which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by flipping
its Fill (Shift-X) with an 8 px thick
Stroke (#302222).

Step 11

Select the Pen Tool (P) and
draw in the horizontal line divider separating the firework’s two sections,
using an 8 px thick Stroke with the color set to #302222.
Once you’re done, select all its composing shapes and group them together using
the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the horizontal divider line to the body of the smaller firework

Step 12

Draw the firework’s tail, using an 8
px
thick Stroke with the color
set to #302222, and once you’re done select and group all its composing
sections together using the Control-G keyboard
shortcut.

Step 13

Next, we’re going to get a
little bit creative, and start adding the little confetti elements, using a
couple of different sized 8 px thick
circles (#302222), which we will position around the icon’s main elements.

Step 14

Finish off the
icon by adding the little rectangular shapes (#302222), which we will create
using a couple of 6 x 8 px rectangles and some smaller 4 x 4 px squares (#302222),
which we will adjust by selecting and pushing their top anchor points to the outside by 4 px for the larger ones and 2
px
for the smaller ones.

Once you’re done, group all the confetti elements together (Control-G), doing the same for the icon’s
composing sections afterwards.

fireworks icon finished

7. How to Create
the Champagne 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 our second icon.

Step 1

Create the bottle’s main shape using a 38 x 100 px rectangle, which we will color using #789E43 and then
position on the left side of the active drawing area, at a distance of 4 px from its bottom edge and 26 px from its left one.

Step 2

Turn on Pixel Preview Mode (Alt-Control-Y)
and use the Add Anchor Point Tool
(+)
to add a pair of two side anchor
points at a distance of 24 px from
the shape’s top edge.

Step 3

Add a second pair
of anchors to the bottom section of
the bottle, at a distance of 30 px from
its bottom edge.

Once you’re done, you can turn off Pixel Preview mode by using the Alt-Control-Y keyboard shortcut again.

Step 4

Adjust the bottle’s shape by individually selecting and pushing each of
the top side anchor points to the
inside by 12 px using the Move Tool (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > +/- 12 px depending
on which side you start with).

Step 5

Adjust the curvature transition of the bottle’s neck section, by
smoothening out its Anchor Points with
the help of the Convert selected anchor
points to smooth
tool, and then playing with their handles.

Step 6

Finally adjust the bottle’s bottom section, by setting the Radius of its corners to 6 px from within the Live Corner input field.

Step 7

Start adding details to the bottle’s neck by creating a 14 x 40 px rectangle, which we will
color using #564E4E and then center align to its top edge.

Step 8

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by adding a new anchor point to the center of its
bottom edge, and then selecting and pushing it to the bottom by 6 px using the Move Tool (right click >
Transform > Move > Vertical > 6 px
).

Step 9

Create the cork using a 14 x 12
px
rectangle, which we will color using #EFAF30 and then center align to
the neck’s top edge.

Step 10

Add the neck wrapping’s main outline, using a copy (Control-C) of the grey shape which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by flipping
its Fill (Shift-X) with an 8 px thick
Stroke (#302222), making sure to set
its Corner to Round Join.

Step 11

Add a small 4 x 10 px decorative ellipse (#302222),
which we will center align to the neck’s wrapping, at a distance of 8 px from the bottle’s cork.

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

Step 12

Create the bottle’s main label using a 38 x 20 px rectangle, which we will color using #F4C253 and then
center align to the underlying green shape, at a distance of 12 px from its bottom edge.

Step 13

Adjust the shape
that we’ve just created by adding a new anchor
point to the center of its top edge, and two side ones at a distance of 6 px from its outer margins.

Then, select the center anchor
and push it to the outside by 6 px using
the Move Tool (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > – 6 px).

Step 14

Adjust the label’s curvature, by smoothening the three new anchor points using the Convert selected anchor points to smooth
tool, and then playing with their handles.

Step 15

Give the label a nice 8 px thick
outline (#302222) using the Stroke
method, making sure to set its Corner to
Round Join.

Step 16

Draw in the little
dummy-text line using two 4 px thick
Stroke lines with the color set to
#302222, which we will position 2 px from
one another, grouping (Control-G) and
center aligning them to the larger underlying shape afterwards.

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

Step 17

Select and group (Control-G) the champagne bottle’s neck wrapping and
its front-facing label, and then create a copy (Control-C) of its main shape and paste it in front (Control-F) so that we can use it as a Clipping Mask (right click > Make Clipping Mask).

Step 18

Finish off the bottle by adding its main outline using an 8 px thick Stroke with the color set to #302222, and the little horizontal
divider line (color: #302222, Cap: Round Cap) separating the cork
from its neck, and then select and group all its composing elements together
using the Control-G keyboard
shortcut.

Step 19

Create the
champagne flute’s main body, using a 16
x 30 px
rectangle (#F4C253) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 8 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

Position the resulting shape onto the right side of the bottle, at a
distance of 26 px from the active
drawing area’s right edge, and 28 px from
its bottom one.

Step 20

Create a smaller 16 x 10 px rectangle,
which we will color using #F2DFC2 and then center align to the top edge of the
flute’s body.

Step 21

Add the flute’s main outline, using a copy (Control-C) of its body which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by flipping
its Fill (Shift-X) with an 8 px thick
Stroke (#302222).

Step 22

Select the Pen Tool (P) and
draw in the horizontal divider line separating the flute’s darker and lighter
sections, using an 8 px thick Stroke with the color set to #302222.
Once you’re done, select and group all of its composing shapes together using
the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Step 23

Draw in the flute’s stem using the same 8 px thick Stroke (#302222)
value, starting from the center of its outline and positioning the ending anchor point at a distance of 4 px from the underlying active drawing
area’s bottom edge.

Step 24

Draw the base using a 12
px
wide line segment, with an 8 px thick
Stroke (#302222) which we will
center align to the previously created shape, making sure to set its Cap to Round.

Step 25

Using the Pen Tool (P), adjust
the bottom curvature of the flute’s stem by drawing a new shape which we will
color using #302222. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the stem’s composing shapes together, doing the
same for the entire flute afterwards.

Step 26

Finish off the icon by adding the little confetti elements as we did
for the first one, selecting and grouping (Control-G)
all its composing sections together afterwards.

champagne icon finished

8. How to Create
the Party Hat 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 hat’s main body using a 54
x 84 px
rectangle, which we will color using #EF6135 and then position
onto the left side of the underlying active drawing area, at a distance of 14 px from its left edge and 20 px from its bottom one.

Step 2

Turn the rectangle 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
its side ones using the Delete Anchor
Point Tool (-)
.

Step 3

Create the hat’s center decorative section using a 54 x 28 px rectangle, which we will color using #F2DFC2 and then
center align to the triangle, at a distance of 14 px from its bottom edge.

Step 4

Adjust the rectangle by selecting its right side anchor points and then pushing them to the top by 16 px using the Move Tool (right click >
Transform > Move > Vertical > -16 px
).

Step 5

Give the resulting shape an 8 px thick
outline (#302222), grouping (Control-G)
and then masking the two using a copy (Control-C
> Control-F
) of the hat’s main shape (right click > Make Clipping Mask).

Step 6

Give the hat its main outline, using an 8 px thick Stroke (#302222)
with the Corner set to Round Join, and then select and group (Control-G) all its composing shapes together.

Step 7

Add the hat’s
string using a 42 x 32 px ellipse
with an 8 px thick Stroke (#302222), which we will center
align to the larger triangle, positioning it next to the active drawing area’s
bottom edge, making sure to send it to the back of the hat (right click > Arrange > Send Backward).

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

Step 8

Create the party horn’s main body using a 16 x 42 px rectangle, which we will color using #F4C253 and then
position onto the right side of the hat, at a distance of 22 px from the active drawing area’s right edge and 4 px from its bottom one.

Step 9

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by adding a pair of side anchor points at a distance of 16 px from its bottom edge, and then
individually selecting and pushing its bottom ones to the inside by 2 px using the Move Tool (right click >
Transform > Move > Horizontal > +/- 2 px
depending on which side
you start with).

Step 10

Create the horn’s darker upper section, using a 16 x 26 px rectangle, which we will color using #C1411F and then
center align to the top edge of its main body.

Step 11

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw the
two 4 px thick diagonal Stroke lines (#302222), vertically
stacking them -6 px from one
another, grouping (Control-G) and then
center aligning them to the underlying darker section.

Step 12

Create the horn’s main outline using an 8 px thick Stroke (#302222),
and then draw the small horizontal divider line separating its two sections.

Step 13

Finish off this section of the horn by adding the little 4 x 4 px insertion (#302222) to the bottom edge
of the yellow shape, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all its composing shapes together afterwards.

Step 14

Create the horn’s rolled section using a 32 x 12 px rounded rectangle with a 2 px Corner Radius, which we will color using #EF6135 and then
center align to its body, positioning it over the upper half of the outline’s
top edge.

Step 15

Give the shape that we’ve just created an outline using an 8 px thick Stroke (#302222), and then group the two (Control-G), selecting and doing the same for the horn’s composing
elements.

Step 16

Finish off the icon by adding the little confetti elements, and then
once you’re done select and group all of its composing sections together using
the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

party hat icon finished

It’s a Wrap!

It might have
taken us a while, but we’re finally finished. I hope that you’ve managed to keep
up with each and every step, and most importantly learned a new trick or two
along the way.

That being said, I wish you all a Happy New Year, and I guess I’ll see
you next year.

finished project preview

Go to original Source
Author: Andrei Stefan

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