Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Since summer is already upon us, I thought it would be nice to treat you
to a little icon tutorial using some of the most common accessories that you
would normally bring with you on vacation. As always, we’ll be creating each
and every asset using basic geometric shapes and tools, so if you’re new to Adobe Illustrator, this will be a really good exercise.

Oh, and before I forget, you can always expand the pack by heading over
to GraphicRiver, where you’ll find a great selection of summer-themed icons.

That being said, grab a cup of that mint
iced tea, and let’s jump into it.

1. How to Set Up a New Project File

Since I’m hoping 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

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.

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 and Snap to Pixel options found under the View menu.

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 five
layers, which we will rename as follows:

  • layer
    1:
    reference grids
  • layer
    2:
    sunglasses
  • layer
    3:
    sun cream
  • layer
    4:
    inflatable ring
  • layer 5: shell
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 once 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 grids” 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 and positioning the main shape for the reference grid

Step 2

Add a smaller 120 x 120 px one (#FFFFFF) which we
will position on top of the previous shape, since it will act as our active
drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4
px
padding to work with.

creating and positioning the main shape for the active drawing area

Step 3

Select and group the
two squares together using the Control-G
keyboard shortcut, center aligning them to the underlying Artboard
afterwards. Create the remaining grids using three copies (Control-C > Control-F three times) at a horizontal distance of 40 px from the
original, locking the current layer before moving on to the next section.

adding the remaining reference grids

5. How to Create the Sunglasses Icon

Assuming you’ve finished creating the
little reference grids, move on up to the next layer (that would be the second
one) and let’s kick off the project by creating our first icon.

Step 1

Start working on the
glasses left section by creating the lens using a 48 x 44 px ellipse, which we will color using #FF8C69, and then
position at a distance of 6 px from
the active drawing area’s left edge and 8
px
from its top one.

Step 2

Adjust the shape of
the rectangle by setting the Radius
of all but its top-right corner to 22
px
from within the Transform panel’s
Rectangle Properties.

Step 3

Give the resulting
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 first changing its color to #3D2F2C. Flip the copy’s Fill with its Stroke (Shift-X), making
sure to set its Weight to 4 px. Once you’re done, select and
group both shapes together using the Control-G
keyboard shortcut before moving on to the next step.

Step 4

Start working on the left end piece, by creating a 12 x 4 px rounded rectangle (#3D2F2C) with a 2 px Corner Radius, which we will align to the active drawing
area’s left edge, positioning it at a distance of 16 px from its top edge.

Step 5

Create another smaller 8 x 4 px rectangle
(#3D2F2C), which we will align to the previous shape’s right edge, positioning
so that it ends up overlapping its top half. Once you’re done, select and group
(Control-G) the two together before
moving on to the next step.

Step 6

Select the shapes that we’ve just grouped and then position them
underneath the larger lens by right
clicking > Arrange > Send to Back
.

Step 7

Finish off the left lens, by adding a 20 x 4 px rectangle (#3D2F2C) on top of its larger outline,
positioning it at a distance of 4 px from
its right edge. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the current section’s shapes together before
moving on to the next step.

Step 8

Create the right lens using a copy of the one
that we’ve just finished working on, which we will
vertically reflect (right click >
Transform > Reflect > Vertical
) and then position onto the opposite
side of the underlying active drawing area.

Step 9

Link the two lenses using a 40 x
4 px
rectangle (#3D2F2C), which we will center align to the active drawing
area’s top edge.

Step 10

Create the smaller bridge sections using two 12 px wide 4 px thick Stroke lines (#3D2F2C), which we will
vertically stack at a distance of 2 px from
one another, grouping (Control-G)
and then aligning them to the lenses’ top edge.

Step 11

Create the nose section using a 12 x 12 px circle with a 4 px thick Stroke (#3D2F2C), which we will position below the smaller bridges,
at a distance of just 2 px.

Step 12

Adjust the shape of the circle that we’ve just
created, by selecting its bottom anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then removing it by pressing Delete. Since we’re pretty much done
working on the actual glasses, select all their composing sections and group (Control-G) them together before moving
on to the next step.

Step 13

Add the left string section using a 12 x 88 px rectangle with a 4 px thick Stroke (#3D2F2C), which we will align to the active drawing area’s
bottom edge, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from its left one.

adding the left string section to the glasses

Step 14

Adjust the string’s bottom section by
setting the Radius of its bottom
corners to 6 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties. Once you’re done, don’t forget to position
the resulting shape underneath the glasses (right click > Arrange > Send to Back) before moving on to the
next step.

Step 15

Create the right
string section using a copy (Control-C
> Control-F
) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we
will position onto the opposite side of the glasses, maintaining the same 4 px gap between it and the active
drawing area’s right edge.

adding the right string section to the glasses

Step 16

Finish off the icon by adding the center string section using a 12 px wide 4 px thick Stroke line
(#3D2F2C), which we will position below the nose
section, at a distance of 8 px from
its upper arch. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the icon’s composing sections together, before
moving on to the next one.

finishing off the glasses icon

6. How to Create the Sun Cream Icon

Assuming you’ve finished working on the
first icon, lock its layer and then move on up to the next one (that would be
the third one) where we’ll start working on our second summer item.

Step 1

Create the sun
cream’s cap using a 40 x 14 px rectangle
(#89DBCC) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 4 px from within the Transform
panel’s Rectangle Properties. Give
the resulting shape a 4 px thick
outline (#3D2F2C), grouping (Control-G)
and then center aligning the two to the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

Step 2

Add the little insertion using a 12
x 6 px
rectangle (#3D2F2C), which we will center align to the cap’s top
edge, making sure to select and group them together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Step 3

Create the neck section using a 40
x 8 px
rectangle (#FF8C69) with a 4
px
thick outline (#3D2F2C), which we will group (Control-G) and then position on top of the previously grouped
shapes.

Step 4

Start working on the bottle’s main body by creating a 40 x 8 px rectangle (#C5EFE7), which we
will position on top of the neck section. Add a slightly wider 56 x 8 px one (#C5EFE7), which we will
position at a distance of 8 px from
the active drawing area’s top edge.

Step 5

Open up the two rectangles’ paths by adding an anchor point to the
center of their inner facing edges using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), and then removing them by selecting them
using the Direct Selection Tool (A)
and immediately pressing Delete.

Step 6

Unite the two paths into a single larger shape by selecting them and
then pressing the Control-J keyboard
shortcut twice.

Step 7

Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick
outline (#3D2F2C), selecting and grouping the two together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Step 8

Start adding details to the bottle by creating the two dummy text lines
using a 16 x 4 px rectangle (#3D2F2C)
vertically stacked at a distance of 4 px
from a slightly wider 20 x 4 px one
(#3D2F2C). Group (Control-G) the
two, and then center align them to current section’s bottom edge, positioning
them 10 px above it.

Step 9

Create the little sun using a 16
x 16 px
circle (#FFCF6E) with a 4 px
thick outline (#3D2F2C), which we will group (Control-G) and then position above the two text lines, at a
distance of 18 px.

Step 10

Take your time, and draw in the little sunrays using eight 4 px thick Stroke lines (#3D2F2C) with a Round
Cap
, which we will position at a distance of 2 px from the sun’s outline. Once you’re done, select both the rays
and the sun and group (Control-G)
them together before moving on to the next step.

adding the sunrays to the sun cream bottles main body

Quick tip:
for this step, I strongly recommend you switch over to Pixel Preview mode
(Alt-Control-Y)
in order to have full control over the positioning of your
anchor points.

Step 11

Add the horizontal detail line using a 56 px wide 4 px thick Stroke (#3D2F2C), which we will
position at a distance of 4 px from
the bottle’s top edge.

adding the horizontal detail line to the sun cream bottles upper section

Step 12

Create the vertical insertions using six 4 x 4 px squares (#3D2F2C) vertically stacked at 4 px from one another, which we will
group (Control-G) and then center
align to the bottle’s top edge. Once you’re done, select and group all of the
current section’s composing shapes together before moving on to the next step.

adding the vertical insertions to the sun cream bottles upper section

Step 13

Finish off the bottle, and with it the icon
itself, by adding a 56 x 6 px rectangle
(#FFCF6E) with a 4 px thick outline
(#3D2F2C), which we will group (Control-G)
and then center align to the active drawing area’s top edge. Once
you’re done, select and group (Control-G)
all of the icon’s composing sections together, before moving on to the next
one.

finishing off the sun cream icon

7. How to Create the Inflatable Ring Icon

Make sure you’re on the right layer
(that would be the fourth one) and then zoom in on our third reference grid so
that we can start working on our next icon.

Step 1

Create the float’s bottom section using a 104 x 104 px rounded rectangle (#89DBCC) with a 16 px Corner Radius, which we will
position to the center of the underlying active drawing area.

Step 2

Create the circular cutout using a 40
x 40 px
circle (highlighted with red), which we will position in the center
of the larger shape and then remove using Pathfinder’s
Minus Front Shape Mode.

Step 3

Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick
outline (#3D2F2C), selecting and grouping (Control-G)
the two together before moving on to the next step.

Step 4

Create the float’s front section
using a 116 x 116 px circle which we
will color using #9D93E5, and then center align to the previously grouped
shapes.

Step 5

Add the circular cutout using a 52
x 52 px
circle (highlighted with red) which we will remove from its larger
body using Pathfinder’s Minus Front Shape Mode.

Step 6

Start working on the top trapezoid by creating a 32 x 40 px rectangle (#FFCF6E), which we position in the center of
the reference grid’s top edge, and then adjust by individually selecting and
pushing its bottom anchor points to the inside by a distance of 10 px using the Move Tool (right click >
Transform > Move > Horizontal > + / – 10 px
depending on which
side you start with).

Step 7

Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick
outline (#3D2F2C), selecting and then grouping the two together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Step 8

Create the bottom trapezoid using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the one
that we’ve just finished working on, which we will
horizontally reflect (right click >
Transform > Reflect > Horizontal
) and then align to the bottom edge
of the underlying reference grid.

Step 9

Add the left and right trapezoids by creating a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the ones
that we already have, which we will rotate 90º using the Rotate tool
(right click > Transform > Rotate
> 90º
).

Step 10

Take a couple of moments and add the little cheetah black spots (#3D2F2C)
to each of the trapezoids. Once you’re done, individually select and group (Control-G) each of the four sections
together, doing the same for all four of them afterwards.

Step 11

Mask the trapezoid, using a copy (Control-C)
of the float’s front section, which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then turn into a Clipping Mask by selecting it and the
shapes that we want to mask and then right
click > Make Clipping Mask
.

Step 12

Give the front section a 4 px thick
outline (#3D2F2C) using the Stroke
method, making sure to select and group all its composing shapes together
afterwards using the Control-G keyboard
shortcut.

Step 13

Finish off the float by creating the little air valve using an 8 x 8 px circle (#89DBCC) with a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), to the
center of which we’ll add a smaller 2 x
2 px
one (#3D2F2C). Group (Control-G)
and position all three shapes onto the inner section’s bottom-right corner,
selecting and grouping (Control-G)
all of the icon’s composing sections together before moving on to the last one.

finishing off the inflatable ring icon

8. How to Create the Clam Shell Icon

We are now down to our fourth and last icon, so assuming you’ve already
positioned yourself onto the right layer (that would be the fifth one), zoom in
on its reference grid and let’s finish this.

Step 1

Start
working on the shell’s upper section by creating a 24 x 6 px rectangle (#3D2F2C), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 6 px, center aligning the resulting
shape to the active drawing area’s top edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the upper section of the shell icon

Step 2

Create the umbo section using a 36 x 16 px ellipse (#6CBAAB), which we
will adjust by pushing its bottom anchor point downwards by a distance of 8 px using the Move tool (right click >
Transform > Move > Vertical > 8 px
). Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), grouping
(Control-G) and then positioning the
two on top of the previous shape as seen in the reference image.

Step 3

Create another smaller 12 x 8 px ellipse (#3D2F2C), which we will center align to the
previous section’s top edge. Once you’re done, select and group
(Control-G) all the shapes that we
have so far before moving on to the next step.

Step 4

Start working on the shell’s main body by creating a 92 x 72 px ellipse (#89DBCC), which we
will position at a distance of 2 px from
the center of the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

Step 5

Adjust the shape by selecting its top anchor
point using the Direct Selection Tool
(A)
and then pushing it upwards by a distance of 28 px using the Move tool
(right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > -28
px
).

Step 6

Create the shell’s inner section using an 96 x 56 px ellipse (#C5EFE7), which we
will position at a distance of 12 px from
the larger body’s bottom edge.

Step 7

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by
selecting and pushing its top anchor point upwards by a distance of 32 px using the Move tool (right click >
Transform > Move > Vertical > -32 px
).

Step 8

Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3D2F2C), selecting and grouping (Control-G) the two together afterwards.

Step 9

Create the vertical ring using a 58 x 164 px ellipse with a 4 px thick Stroke (#3D2F2C), which we will adjust by removing its bottom half
by selecting and deleting (Delete)
its lower anchor point. Once you’re done, position the resulting shape in the
center of the inner section’s top edge.

Step 10

Add the vertical detail line using an 88 px tall 4 px thick Stroke line
(#3D2F2C), which we will position in the center of the inner section’s bottom
edge.

Step 11

Select and group (Control-G) all of the inner section’s composing shapes together,
masking them afterwards using a copy (Control-C)
of the shell’s larger body which we will paste in front (Control-F), and then use as a Clipping
Mask
(right click > Make Clipping
Mask
).

Step 12

Finish off the icon, and with it the whole project, by adding the 4 px thick
outline (#3D2F2C) to the shell’s main body, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all its composing shapes
together afterwards. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the icon’s
sections together before using that Control-S
keyboard shortcut.

finishing off the shell icon

It’s a Wrap!

There you have it, fellow icon designers, a nice
and easy exercise on how to create your very own summer-themed icon pack using
the most basic of shapes and tools. I hope you’ve managed to keep up with each
and every step, and most importantly learned some new and useful things along
the way.

finished project preview

Go to original Source
Author: Andrei Stefan

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