By Andrei Stefan

Final product image

What You’ll Be Creating

In today’s tutorial we will get to create something really sweet—yes, you guessed it, ice cream! OK, so it’s not real ice cream, but we will be making some cool little icons that will leave your taste buds craving. We will focus on using the Rounded Rectangle Tool to create the shapes, in combination with different Blending Modes and Gradients in order to get that interesting glow effect.

Summer’s
here, and I know almost all of you love to sit back and relax once in a while
with a big old ice cream in your hand. I won’t lie, I do it almost every day, and
that’s why I decided to make a cool little tutorial on the subject.

Enough talking—let’s open Illustrator and start
playing with some recipes.

1. Setting Up
Our Document

Let’s start simple by creating a New Document (Control-N or File > New) and adjusting some of its properties.

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

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color Mode:
    RGB
  • Raster Effects:
    High (300 ppi)
  • Align New Objects to
    Pixel Grid
    : checked

setting up a new document

2. Setting Up
Our Layers

Once we have created a New Document it’s time to layer it so that we can create a nice,
tidy workspace which in the end will let us focus on each section of the
illustration one step at a time. So, open up the Layers panel, and create six layers, naming them as follows:

  • purple
  • orange
  • green
  • chocolate
  • double
  • biscuit
  • setting up the layers

    3. Adjusting the
    Grid

    If you’re new to
    the Grid, you should know that it’s a system of vertical and horizontal lines
    that allows you to compose and position your artwork carefully. For me its most
    important function is the accuracy that you get once you have it set up to the
    lowest values, which allows me to achieve a pixel perfect workflow.

    To adjust some of the settings that I’ve talked about,
    you must go to Edit > Preferences
    > Guides & Grid
    . From there, a little popup will appear, where you
    need to adjust the following:

    • Gridline every:
      1 px
    • Subdivisions: 1

    adjusting the grid settings

    Once you’ve
    adjusted the above settings, you need to activate the Snap to Grid function by going to View > Snap to Grid.

    Quick tip: You should know that the Snap to Grid option will transform into Snap to Pixel every time you enter Pixel Preview Mode, but that’s totally fine since the Grid is set
    up to the lowest values, making the two functions act the same.

    You can read more about the Grid and how it
    works by going over some of my other tutorials that cover the subject:

    • How to Create
      Pixel Perfect Artwork
    • Understanding
      Adobe Illustrator’s Grid System

    Also, if you like moving things around with the
    help of the keyboard’s directional arrow keys, you might want to change the Keyboard Increment to 1 px to get it as precise as possible.
    You can do this by going to Edit >
    Preferences > General > Keyboard Increment
    .

    adjusting the keyboard increment settings

    If your version of AI has the value set to pt (points), just go to Units and change the General and Stroke units to Pixels and
    you’re good to go.

    4. Creating the
    First Icon

    Step 1

    Position yourself on the purple layer, and
    using the Rounded Rectangle Tool create
    a 28 x 90 px shape with a 4 px Corner Radius. Next, color the
    shape using #B392AC and position it using the following coordinates in the Transform panel:

    • X:
      226 px
    • Y:
      211 px

    positioning the top base shape for the first icon

    Step 2

    Once you have the first shape in place, select
    it, and let’s give it a thick outline by going to Object > Path > Offset Path and entering 4 px in the Offset field.

    creating the outline of the first icon using the offset path effect

    Step 3

    You might have noticed that we now have the
    offset underneath our original shape, but we need to change its color so that
    the two won’t end up blending into a single shape. Simply select the shape
    and then change its color to something a little darker #735D78.

    changing the color for the first icons outline

    Step 4

    Next create a smaller 6 x 22 px rectangle with a Corner
    Radius
    of 1 px. Color the shape
    using #F7D1CD and then Horizontal Center
    Align
    it to the outline section of the ice cream, making sure to position
    it underneath.

    creating the stick for the first icon

    Quick tip: As you can see, the top section of the stick
    goes underneath the ice cream by about 4
    px
    , which is the exact value of the outline itself. You can achieve this
    level of precision by switching over to Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y
    or View > Pixel Preview), which
    allows you to see the actual pixels that lie underneath your artwork.

    example of using the pixel preview mode for positioning the stick to the first icon

    Step 5

    Give the stick an outline by using the same Offset Path trick, making sure to
    change its color to #735D78.

    first icon with basic shapes finished

    Step 6

    Once we have our base shapes, we can start
    adding some details. Since we last worked on the stick, let’s start from there.
    Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create
    a 6 x 4 px shape, which we will
    color black (#000000). Since this will act as a shadow, we will change its Blending Mode to Multiply and then lower its Opacity
    to 20%.

    adding a subtle shadow to the first icons stick

    Step 7

    Next, add the two diagonal lines by creating two 6 x 4 px rectangles (#735D78) which we
    will position 4 px from one
    another. We will then need to adjust the shapes by first selecting their right
    anchor points with the Direct Selection
    Tool (A)
    and then moving them up by 2
    px
    , either by using the upward pointing arrow key or by right clicking > Transform > Move and
    entering –2 px into the Vertical input field. Finally group the
    two (Control-G) and position them
    right next to the shadow that we created one step ago.

    adding details to the first icons stick

    Step 8

    Moving up, we
    can start adding a bunch of highlights to the ice cream. Let’s start with the
    outer one, by first creating a copy (Control-C
    > Control-F
    ) of the inner section (the lighter one) and then adding a
    smaller 24 x 86 px rectangle with a 2 px Corner Radius on top of it
    (illustrated with light red).

    With both of the objects selected, go to the Pathfinder panel and use the Minus Front option. This will create a
    cutout in the larger shape, which we can then use as the actual highlight.

    creating the cut out for the all-round highlight for the first icon

    Step 9

    Change the resulting shape’s color to white
    (#FFFFFF), its Blending Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity level to 40%.

    adjusting the blending mode for the all-round highlight of the first icon

    Step 10

    Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create two white
    (#FFFFFF) rectangles, one smaller (20 x
    4 px
    ) and one taller (20 x 10 px),
    and position them on the top section of the icon.

    Then, Horizontal
    Center Align
    them to the purple shape underneath, so that you have a gap of
    14 px between the outline and the
    bottom rectangle, and another 4 px one between the two white shapes.

    adding the diagonal highlights to the first icon

    Step 11

    Adjust the two highlights by selecting their
    right anchor points using the Direct
    Selection Tool (A)
    and then moving them upwards by 20 px (right click >
    Transform > Move
    and enter -20
    px
    into the Vertical input
    field).

    adjusting the diagonal highlights for the first icon

    Step 12

    Since the highlights need to be somewhat
    transparent, we will have to adjust ours by changing their Blending Modes to Soft Light
    and their Opacity to 60%.

    adjusting the blending modes for the diagonal highlights of the first icon

    Step 13

    Now I’m going to
    show you a little trick (in case you didn’t know it already). If you apply a Blending Mode to an object, and then
    group it to another one, you can apply a new Blending Mode on the group itself. Neat right?

    So let’s select
    the two highlights, group them (Control-C
    > Control-F
    ) and then from the Transparency
    panel select Overlay, leaving the
    Opacity as it is.

    The effect is immediately visible, as it gives
    the icon a more vibrant feel, making it pop.

    applying a second blending mode to the diagonal highlights of the first icon

    Step 14

    Next, we will
    start adding the final details to our first ice cream icon by adding the little
    colored sprinkles. Using the Rectangle
    Tool (M)
    , draw a bunch of shapes and rotate them at a 45° angle.

    Start decorating using the color values
    underneath to differentiate them from one another.

    • Dark purple: #735D78
    • Light pink: #F7D1CD
    • Pale orange: #F49AA1

    At this point you might have noticed that the
    sprinkles go over the highlights, which is something we don’t want. To fix this,
    simply select the diagonal and outer highlights, and right click > Arrange > Bring to Front.

    adding the sprinkles to the first icon

    Step 15

    Once you’re done adding the sprinkles, it’s time to create the little
    star-shaped highlights. First create a 12
    x 12 px
    circle using the Ellipse
    Tool (L)
    . Then, using the Direct
    Selection Tool (A)
    , select its top and left side anchor points, and remove
    them by pressing Delete.

    Once you’ve removed the anchors, position the remaining segment towards the
    top and create a duplicate of it (Control-C
    > Control-F
    ), reflecting it vertically
    (right click > Transform >
    Reflect > Vertical
    ). Separate the two segments by adding a 4 x 4 px circle between them, making
    sure that the segments are aligned to its middle anchors. Then create a
    copy of the circle and side segments, and reflect them horizontally, adding
    two more circles between the duplicates and the original shapes.

    Select the segments, and unite all their anchor
    points (select the anchors >
    Control-J
    ) so that you end up with a closed shape. Then simply select both
    it and the little circles and use Pathfinder’s
    Unite function.

    creating the star shaped highlights

    Step 16

    Create two more smaller star-shaped highlights and position them next to
    one another. With all three selected, go to the Transparency panel and change their Blending Modes to Overlay while
    lowering their Opacity levels to 80%.

    Once you’ve done that, group them together (Control-G), and position them onto the
    icon at about 18 px from the top
    section of the main outline, leaving a gap of just 2 px between them and the right side of the outline.

    positioning the star shaped highlights onto the first icon

    Step 17

    Finish off the icon by adding a nice gradient
    on top of it. First select the two outlines (the one for the ice cream and
    stick) and create a copy of each (Control-C
    > Control-F
    ). Then with the duplicates selected, unite them into a
    single shape, and apply a Linear
    Gradient
    with the following properties:

    • Left color:
      #00FF00
    • Right color:
      #D4145A
    • Angle: -90

    gradient settings for the first icon

    Step 18

    Since the
    gradient is way too hard, we need to adjust its Blending Mode by setting it on Lighten
    while lowering the Opacity to 50%. This will give us a nice, smooth
    glow effect.

    Lastly, don’t forget to select all the elements
    of the icon and group them together (Control-G)
    so they won’t get lost or misaligned if you happen to move the icon itself.

    first icon finished

    5. Creating the
    Second Icon

    Step 1

    Move on up to
    the orange layer and use the Rectangle
    Tool (M)
    to create a 52 x 90 px shape, coloring it using #F49AA1 (1).

    Since we need both the top and bottom sections
    to be round, we will use the Round
    Corners
    effect to do just that. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the bottom anchor points and apply
    a 6 px roundness to them by going to
    Effect > Stylize > Round Corners and
    entering the value in the Radius input field (2). Then select the top
    anchor points and repeat the same process, but this time give them a roundness
    of 26 px (3).

    creating the base shape for the second icon

    Step 2

    Once you have the base top shape created, it’s
    time to add an outline to it using an offset path of 4 px, making sure to change the resulting object’s color to #C96975.

    adding an outline to the second icon

    Step 3

    Add a little stick by creating a 12 x 28 px rectangle with a 6 px Corner Radius. Color the object
    using #F7D1CD and then create a 4 px outline
    (#C96975) using the Offset Path trick, making sure to send both the fill and outline to the back of the ice cream (right click > Arrange > Send to Back).
    Make sure the stick is properly positioned in the center of the icon, bottom
    aligning it with the previously created ice cream stick.

    adding the little ice cream stick to the second icon

    Step 4

    Add some details to the ice cream stick by
    creating a 12 x 4 px shadow
    (#000000, Blending Mode set to Multiply, Opacity lowered to 20%)
    and some small 1 x 4 px rounded
    rectangles with a Corner Radius of 0.5 px. Color the little line pieces
    using #C96975 and then scatter them around the inside of the ice cream stick, making sure that the shadow goes over them. Also you might want to select all
    the elements forming the stick and group them together (Control-G) so they don’t get lost.

    adding details to the second icon stick

    Step 5

    Move on up to the higher section of the icon and
    give the ice cream an all-round highlight by repeating the same cut out process
    and then setting the resulting shape’s Blending
    Mode
    to Soft Light while
    lowering its Opacity level to 30%.

    adjusting the blend settings for the all-round highlight of the second icon

    Step 6

    Add the diagonal highlights by creating two
    white (#FFFFFF) rectangles, one 44 x 10
    px
    and another 44 x 4 px one,
    which we will then position towards the center of the icon (1). Using the Move function, select their right
    anchor points with the Direct Selection
    Tool (A)
    and move them vertically by -44
    px
    (2).

    Change the Blending Modes of the objects to Soft Light and lower their Opacity levels to 50% (3). Since the shapes need to stay inside the ice cream,
    leaving a small gap of about 2 px on
    each side, we will need to mask the rectangles by creating a 44 x 82 px shape that has similar
    rounded corners to the larger pink shape underneath.

    Then with both the larger
    shape and the rectangles selected, right
    click > Make Clipping Mask
    (4). Once you’ve done that, the highlights
    should be ready to go (5).

    adding the diagonal highlights to the second icon

    Step 7

    Once we’ve added
    the diagonal highlights, we can start working on the little indentations on the ice
    cream’s surface. First grab the Rounded
    Rectangle Tool
    and create a 6 x 62
    px
    shape (#C96975) with a Corner
    Radius
    of 3 px (1).

    Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select and
    remove the bottom anchor point, and then press Control-J to give the shape a flat end (2).

    Next add a 2 x 58 px rectangle with a 1 px Corner Radius on top, and create a
    cutout using Pathfinder’s Minus Front option
    (3 and 4). Once you’ve created the cutout, add two 2 x 2 px circles to the bottom legs and unite them with the arch
    like shape (5).

    Create another 2 x 58 px shape identical to the previous one (6), and then cut out
    a 2 x 2 px circle from its bottom
    section (7 and 8). Add a small shadow towards the top inner section of the
    indentation, and then select all the elements and group them together using Control-G.

    creating the little fosses for the second icon

    Step 8

    Position the indentation over the ice cream icon, and
    then create three duplicates, spacing them out towards the right side at about 4 px from one another.

    positioning the fosses onto the second icon

    Step 9

    Once we’ve added the indentations, we can now grab a
    copy (Control-C) of the star-shaped
    highlights from the previous icon and paste (Control-F) them onto the one we are currently working on.

    adding the star shaped highlights to the second icon

    Step 10

    Finish off the icon by adding a linear gradient
    with the following properties:

    • Left color:
      #00FF00
    • Right color:
      #D4145A
    • Angle:
      -90
    • Blending Mode:
      Color Burn
    • Opacity:
      20%

    second icon finished

    6. Creating the
    Third Icon

    Step 1

    As always, make sure you’re on the right layer
    (the green one in this case) and create a copy of the first icon and paste it
    over here, so that you have a gap of 40
    px
    between the duplicate and the second icon.

    creating the third icon using the first one

    Step 2

    Ungroup all the elements of the icon (right
    click
    >
    Ungroup
    ) and then remove the
    gradient by selecting and then pressing Delete
    (1). While we’re deleting things, you can also get rid of the little
    sprinkles (2) and the diagonal lines from our little stick (3).

    Now let’s shake things up a little by changing
    the colors. Select both the larger outline and the stick outline, and color them using #386150.
    Use #58B09C for the ice cream’s filling and #CAF7E2 for the stick’s filling. At this
    point (4) our little icon should be looking more like something sweet from another
    planet, which is exactly what we want.

    adjusting the color scheme of the third icon

    Step 3

    Start adding
    details such as the diagonal stripes (#CAF7E2) (2), the little sprinkled
    dots (#CAF7E2) (3), and the two 12 x 4
    px
    diagonal lines (#386150) for the stick (4).

    Depending on how
    you’ve grouped the composing elements of the icon, you will need to bring the
    highlights to the front of everything else by selecting and then right clicking > Arrange > Bring to
    Front
    .

    Once you have everything positioned, don’t forget
    to regroup the elements by using Control-G.

    adding details to the third icon

    Step 4

    Finish off the icon by adding a smooth linear
    gradient with the following settings:

    • Left color:
      #00FFFF
    • Right color:
      #D4145A
    • Angle:
      -90
    • Blending Mode:
      Lighten
    • Opacity: 60%

    third icon finished

    7. Creating the
    Fourth Icon

    Step 1

    Move on upwards to the chocolate layer, and
    using the Rounded Rectangle Tool create
    a 28 x 18 px shape with a 2 px Corner Radius. Color it using #A07F7F
    and then position it about 40 px below the first icon.

    positioning the first element of the fourth icon

    Step 2

    With the newly
    created shape selected, go to Object >
    Path > Offset Path
    and give it an outline of 4 px so that we keep things balanced. Change the outline’s color to
    #785F5F and then create an inner all-around highlight (#FFFFFF) as we did with
    all our previous icons, with the Blending
    Mode
    set to Soft Light and the Opacity to 40%.

    Once you have both fill, outline and highlight, group the elements together using Control-G.

    creating the first ice cream segment for the fourth icon

    Step 3

    Create a
    duplicate of the section of the icon that we just created by dragging towards
    the bottom while holding down Alt (to
    create the duplicate) and Shift (to
    drag in a straight line).

    Since each segment will have an outline, you should
    try to overlay them so that you won’t end up with a huge gap between
    the fills. I recommend you turn on Pixel
    Preview Mode
    (Alt-Control-Y) so
    you can be as precise as possible.

    Once you’ve created the first copy, press Control-D (duplicate) twice to
    create the rest of the segments.

    creating the remaining segments for the fourth icon

    Step 4

    Adjust the second and fourth segment colors to
    something a little bit lighter by using #BA9494.

    adjusting the color scheme for the fourth icon

    Step 5

    Start working on the icon’s stick by creating a 6 x 28 px rectangle
    with a Corner Radius of 1 px. Color it using #F7D1CD and then
    position it underneath the last segment so that it overlaps the bottom section
    of the outline. Then, with the stick selected, give it an Offset Path of 4 px,
    changing the resulting shape’s color to #785F5F.

    adding the little ice cream stick to the fourth icon

    Step 6

    Add a subtle 6 x 4 px shadow (#000000, Multiply,
    20%) to the stick and then select
    all of its elements and group them together using Control-G.

    fourth icon with basic shapes finished

    Step 7

    Since at this
    point we’ve laid out our basic shapes, we can start working on adding details.
    Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create
    a bunch of different sized shapes, color them using #785F5F and then rotate
    them at a 45-degree angle by pressing R (for
    rotate) and then dragging with the mouse towards the top.

    Group the
    little decorative pieces together (Control-G)
    and position one set onto the first ice cream segment (2) and another on the
    third one (3).

    Once you’ve done that you can add the diagonal
    highlights (4) and select both them and the all-around ones and bring them in
    front of the sprinkles.

    adding details to the fourth icon

    Step 8

    Grab a copy of the star-shaped highlights from
    the first icon and position them towards the top section of our current one.

    adding the star shaped highlight to the fourth icon

    Step 9

    Finish off the icon by adding a warm linear
    gradient with the following attributes:

    • Left color:
      #FFFF00
    • Right color:
      #C1272D
    • Angle:
      -90
    • Blending Mode:
      Hard Light
    • Opacity:
      20%

    fourth icon finished

    8. Creating the
    Fifth Icon

    Step 1

    Position
    yourself onto the double layer, and using the Rectangle Tool (M) create a 26
    x 90 px
    shape which we will color using #9CD6F2.

    Using the Direct
    Selection Tool (A)
    , select its bottom anchor points and apply a Round Corner effect of 4 px (2). Then do the same for the
    top anchors, giving them a higher value of 13
    px
    (3) to get that all round feel to it.

    adjusting the fill shape for the fifth icon

    Step 2

    Once you’ve adjusted the shape, give it a 4 px outline (#6B94A8) and then align the
    two to the right side of the previously created icon, leaving a gap of 40 px between them.

    positioning the fifth icon

    Step 3

    Add the little
    stick underneath the ice cream by creating a 6 x 22 px rounded rectangle with a 3 px Corner Radius. Color the shape using #D9F0F9 (1), and then give
    it an outline of 4 px (#6B94A8) (2).

    Position the stick underneath the icon so that
    the fill section overlaps the bottom outline of the ice cream.

    positioning the ice cream stick for the fifth icon

    Step 4

    Add little details to the stick such as the dot-like
    sprinkles (#6B94A8), and the 6 x 4 px subtle
    shadow that we applied to all the other icons.

    adding details to the fifth icons stick

    Step 5

    Since this icon is a double-stick ice cream, we
    can now use the elements that we have created until this point and use them to
    create the second section.

    To do that, simply select all the elements, and then
    drag to the right while holding down Alt
    (to duplicate) and Shift (to
    drag in a straight line). Make sure that you have Pixel Preview turned on (Control-Alt-Y)
    so that you can make sure the main outlines of the two overlap.

    example of using pixel preview to correctly overlap the elements of the fifth icon

    Step 6

    Since we want the fill sections of the two ice
    cream segments to be glued together, we will have to send both the outlines and
    the sticks to the back by selecting them and then right click > Arrange > Send to Back.

    correctly adjusting the position of the two sections of the fifth icon

    Step 7

    Start adding all the little details such as the all-around
    highlights, the diagonal ones and finally the star-shaped ones.

    adding the star shaped highlight to the fifth icon

    Step 8

    Finally add a nice-looking linear gradient using
    the following values:

    • Left color:
      #00FF00
    • Right color:
      #D4145A
    • Angle:
      -90
    • Blending Mode:
      Multiply
    • Opacity:
      10%

    fifth icon finished

    9. Creating the
    Sixth and Last Icon

    Step 1

    Move on to the
    last layer, the biscuit one, and using the Rounded
    Rectangle Tool
    create a 52 x 112 px shape
    with a Corner Radius of 4 px.

    Color the object using #F4D5BD
    and then apply an Offset Path effect
    of 4 px to give it an outline (#806347).

    Once you have both elements created, position
    them towards the right side of the previously created icon, leaving a 28 px gap between them.

    positioning the basic shapes for the sixth icon

    Step 2

    Add the all-round highlight now, since we will
    have a bunch of elements that will end up overlapping this part of the icon.
    Use white (#FFFFFF) for the color, and set the Blending
    Mode
    to Soft Light while keeping
    the Opacity level at about 60%.

    adding the all-round highlight to the sixth icon

    Step 3

    Grab the Rounded Rectangle Tool and create a
    smaller 52 x 56 px object with a 4 px Corner Radius which we will color
    using #C4976E.

    Then, select the
    shape and apply an Offset Path effect
    of 4 px to it, and color the
    resulting outline using #806347.

    Horizontal Center
    Align
    the two to the larger outline that we created
    a few moments ago, making sure to position them towards its bottom.

    creating the bottom section for the sixth icon

    Step 4

    Start working your way through the details by
    creating a bunch of 4 x 4 px circles
    (#806347) (2), then adding the all-round highlight (3), then the diagonal one
    (4), the star-shaped one (5), and finally a subtle shadow (6).

    adding details to the sixth icon

    Step 5

    As you’ve probably got used to by now, we will
    finish off the icon by adding a sweet linear gradient on top of it. To get it
    right, use the following values:

    • Left color:
      #C7B299
    • Right color:
      #C1272D
    • Angle:
      -90
    • Blending Mode:
      Hard Light
    • Opacity:
      20%

    sixth icon finished

    That’s It!

    I hope you enjoyed this delicious treat and learned something new along the way.

    Feel free to leave your versions in the forum section, since I always look forward to seeing what you come up with. Thanks for your attention, and have a good one!

    all icons finished

    Read more here:: How to Create a Set of Ice Cream Icons in Adobe Illustrator