By Yulia Sokolova

Final product image

What You’ll Be Creating

In this tutorial we’ll create a festive postcard with floral wreath to celebrate a lovely Bahá’í spring holiday—Naw-Rúz! We’ll be using basic shapes and functions in Adobe Illustrator to create floral elements for our own elegant brushes, forming a gentle ornamental composition.

Naw-Rúz is celebrated in March, on the
vernal equinox. It is the first day of the Bahá’í calendar year and one of nine
holy days for adherents of the Bahá’í faith. It is usually a festive event
observed with meetings for prayer, music and dancing.

Our floral composition
will help us to create a simple yet festive postcard, giving us a sense of the spring mood and the holiday
atmosphere. What is more, the techniques we’ll be using here are very
versatile, so it’s possible to use such a style of cards not only for celebrating Naw-Rúz, but also for wedding invitations, elegant birthday cards,
and all kinds of spring and summer templates.

Let’s try it out!

1. Create the Leaves & Branches for the
Pattern Brushes

Step 1

Let’s start by creating a small flexible
stem. Take the Line Segment
Tool ()
and hold down Shift to make a vertical line of 150 px height. Head to the control
panel on top, set the Stroke Weight
to 4 pt, and change the Variable Width Profile to one of the
default profiles, which makes the line bulgy in the middle and thin at the ends.

make a stem with stroke

Step 2

Now let’s shape a leaf. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and make a 5 x 20 px oval. Select the bottom anchor
point with the Direct Selection Tool (A).
Find the Convert menu on the top
control panel and click Convert selected
anchor points to corner
, making the leaf pointed. Do the same for
the top anchor point of the shape.

form a leaf from the ellipse

Step 3

Select the stem that we’ve made and Object > Expand it, turning the stroke
into a shape. Squash the stem a bit, making it somewhat thinner. Take the leaf
that we’ve created, make it much smaller, and place it on top of the stem.

expand the stroke

Step 4

Hold Alt-Shift and drag the leaf down to make a
copy. Place it on the left side of the stem. Keeping the
leaf selected, double-click the Reflect
Tool (O)
and flip the shape over the Vertical
Axis
. Click Copy to add another
leaf on the right side of the stem.

Now we can group (Control-G) these two leaves and make more copies, varying
the size and the spacing between the leaves’ groups.

attach leaves to the stem

Copy the stem and make a variation: take
away the leaf on the top and change the color of the elements to lighter blue.

create two branches

Step 5

Create a second stem, and let’s form some
new leaves of another shape. Use the Ellipse
Tool (L)
to make a 2 x 10 px oval
with 1 pt Stroke and no Fill. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to extend the handles of the upper anchor
point to make the top of the leaf wider.

create stroke leaf

Step 6

Start attaching the leaves to the stem and varying their sizes, making the central leaves a bit larger than those at the
tips of the stem.

attach leaves to the stem

Step 7

Now that we have three branches, let’s create
our brushes! Rotate the branches 90 degrees, putting them horizontally. Select the first
stem, and drag and drop it to the Brushes
panel. In the pop-up New Brush menu, select Pattern
Brush
, and let’s take a look at the variety of the Pattern Brush Options.

Set the Scale to 100% Fixed and
the Spacing to 0%. Further, let’s set the Outer
and Inner Corners Tile to Auto-Overlap. Leave the Side Tile as Original by default. Set the Fit
option to Stretch to Fit. As for Colorization Method, you can leave it as None by default if you
don’t want to change the color of the brush stroke. Otherwise, you can set it to Tints and Shades if you want to
alternate the color from the Color
panel. In any case, we will be working with the colors later, so you don’t need
to worry about the colors at this stage.

create a pattern brush

Create two more Pattern Brushes, using the
remaining stems.

Step 8

Now let’s see our brushes in action! Take
the Ellipse Tool (L) and hold Shift to make a 370 x 370 px circle. Select our brush from
the Brushes panel, applying it to
the circle.

Great! Now we have a nice, minimalistic wreath.
Let’s move on and add more details to make a festive, ornate wreath.

apply the brush to the circle

Step 9

Make a smaller circle on top of the first
one, and let’s apply our second brush with dark-blue leaves. And we can still
change all the settings in the Pattern
Brush Options
window if we double-click
our brush in the Brushes panel.

Let’s increase the Scale of our dark-blue brush to about 160%
and set the Spacing to 30%. This way we can make the elements
larger and leave some more distance between them, adding more air to our
wreath.

create and apply another pattern brush

Step 10

Make another
circle and apply our third brush. You can vary the size of each circle,
combining them with each other.

create a pattern brush 3

2. Create Floral & Berry Elements

Step 1

Let’s add bright floral elements to our
wreath, creating a spring holiday mood.

Start by forming a petal from a 10 x 30 px pink ellipse. Double-click the
Rotate Tool (R) to open the pop-up
options window, and set the Angle
value to 10 degrees. Use the Reflect Tool (O) to create a mirrored
copy of the rotated petal. Align the bottom parts of the petals, making them
overlap and creating a stylized heart shape.

make a petal from ellipse 1

Step 2

Group the two petals that we’ve created and
use the Reflect Tool (O) again, but
this time flip the shape over the Horizontal
Axis
and click Copy to make an
upside-down heart-shaped petal.

Group
(Control-G)
both elements, Copy them and Paste in Front
(Control-C > Control-F). Rotate
the copy 45 degrees by using the Selection Tool (V) and holding Shift. Use the Reflect Tool to create a mirrored copy.

Voila! Now we have a flower. Let’s add a central element!

make a petal from ellipse 2

Step 3

Take the Polygon Tool and create an octagon of 15 x 15 px size. Fill it with yellow color.

Place the shape in the center of the flower
and go to Effect > Distort &
Transform > Pucker & Bloat.
Move the slider to 60%, making our octagon look like a cute flower. Click OK and Object > Expand Appearance of the shape to apply the effect.

add a center to the flower

Step 4

Let’s make another flower, using the
similar technique. Create a 10 x 30 px
ellipse of a gentle cream-beige color. Hold Alt-Shift and drag the ellipse down, making a copy. Group (Control-G) both petals and
duplicate them, placing the copy horizontally. Create two more copies of the
petals, rotating them 45 degrees and thus forming a flower.

make a petal from ellipse for creme flower 1

Step 5

Finally, decorate the center of the flower
with a group of white circles, varying their sizes and position.

add circles to the middle

Step 6

Now that we have a couple of flowers, let’s
also create a couple of leaves. Start by making a 30 x 70 px oval of a rich green color. Select its top and bottom
anchor points with the Direct Selection
Tool (A)
and use the Convert
function to Convert selected anchor
points to corner
, making the tips of the leaf pointed.

Use the Line Segment Tool () to form a vertical midrib across the leaf.

make a leaf from oval shape

Step 7

Add smaller strokes, attaching them to the
midrib, forming the veins of the leaf. Finally, group all the elements of the
leaf together.

Make a copy of the leaf base (without its
elements), filling it with lighter-green color. This will be the second
variation of our leaf.

add strokes to the leaf

Step 8

Now let’s render some minor elements and
particles. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L)
and make a 15 x 15 px circle for the berry.

make a circle for the berry

Step 9

Let’s add details to the top of the berry.
Make a 5 x 2 px oval of a
bright-orange color and rotate it 45
degrees.
Use the Reflect Tool (O)
to make a mirrored copy, forming a cross. Place the cross on top of the berry.

add details to the berry

Step 10

Finally, use the base of the cream flower
to make a tiny green particle. And use one of the branches with leaves from the
previous part to make a small yellow branch with larger leaves at the bottom
and smaller leaves on top.

Great! Now we have a set of generic
elements that will help us to decorate our wreath, making it look festive.

floral elements

3. Create Scatter Brushes From the Floral
Elements & Berries

Step 1

Drag and drop the pink flower to the
Brushes panel and this time create a Scatter
Brush.
From here, in the Options
window, let’s try setting the following parameters:

  • Size: Random from 50% to 100%
  • Spacing: Random from 350% to 160%
  • Scatter: Fixed to -20%
  • Rotation: Random from -70 degrees to 40 degrees

Create a new circle above our wreath and
apply the new flower scatter brush to see how it looks.

You can always double-click the brush in the Brushes panel to open the Options window and play with the
settings, changing the parameters to you liking. Your wreath may differ from mine at this
stage, as we’ve set some parameters to Random
values. Move the sliders until you get the look you want, making the wreath look
balanced.

make a scatter brush and apply it 1

Step 2

Now let’s add the leaves to the wreath.
Create a Scatter Brush with the following settings:

  • Size: Random from 40% to 100%
  • Spacing: Random from 340% to 100%
  • Scatter: Random from -40% to 30%
  • Rotation: Random from 45 degrees to -10 degrees

Set the
Rotation relative to Path,
selecting it from the small drop-down menu
beneath the parameters.

Apply the leaves brushes to a new circle on
the wreath, and move it back to one position by pressing Control-

[ and placing it beneath the flowers circle.

make a scatter brush and apply it 2

Step 3

Move on and create another Scatter Brush with the lighter green
leaves. Play with the parameters, setting them either to your liking or using my
settings from the screenshot below.

make a scatter brush and apply it 3

Step 4

Now let’s add those yellow branches with
leaves. Here I’ve decided to make a Pattern
Brush
, because the shape of the elements is very similar to the blue
branches that we made previously. In the Options window I’ve decided to increase the Scale to 200% and set
the Spacing to 80%, leaving enough space between the elements.

make a pattern brush and apply it 1

Step 5

Now it’s time to add those creamy flowers. Make
a new Scatter Brush. Speckle the
flowers evenly along the circle, setting the appropriate parameters.

make a scatter brush and apply it 4

Step 6

Add the rest of the elements (a berry and a
tiny green flower) to the Brushes
panel as well, making Scatter Brushes.
As a result, all in all we have four
Pattern Brushes
with branches and six
Scatter Brushes
with floral elements.

During the process of forming the wreath, I
sometimes go back to some of the brushes that we’ve made and adjust their
settings, making the elements larger or smaller, changing the spacing between
them or varying the scatter value. This technique is very flexible, and it makes
every wreath look unique.

adjust the brush

Step 7

Add the tiny flowers and berries to the
wreath. Great! Our wreath already looks balanced and completed at this stage.
Let’s move on and see what else can we do with it to make a bit more balanced.

make a scatter brush and apply it 5

4. Create the Naw-Rúz Cards

Step 1

Now that we’ve formed our wreath, it still
consists of brush strokes. Group
(Control-G)
all the circles of the wreath together and duplicate (Control-C > Control-V) it, keeping
the copy on a separate locked layer in case you’d like to change some of the brushes’ options later.

Select the second wreath and Object > Expand Appearance, turning
our brush strokes into several groups of objects: a group of flowers, a group
of leaves, and so on.

In some of the latest versions of Adobe
Illustrator, you may notice a transparent frame with no Fill and no Stroke
around each element. In order to get rid of those unneeded frames, select
everything and go to Object > Path
> Clean Up.

expand the brush strokes

Step 2

Now we can select each group of elements,
double-click to isolate it, and edit the objects inside the group.

Here, for
example, I adjust the position of the leaves, rotating them and placing them
under the flower blossoms. Then I also edit the position of the yellow
branches, changing their direction, to make the wreath bushier.

move the elements

Step 3

I like placing the light-green leaves right
under the dark-green ones, creating a certain combination, like in a flower
bouquet. I also make the pink flowers larger, making them the main elements of
the wreath, which attract the viewers’ attention. As for the cream flowers, I
use them as secondary elements, placing them next to the pink flowers to emphasize
and supplement them.

Now we can start forming an elegant
minimalistic postcard, symbolizing the joyful spring atmosphere of the Naw-Rúz
celebration! Let’s make a purple square of about 600 x 600 px size and place it right under the wreath, Sending it to Back (Shift-Control-[).

add a dark background

Step 4

In order to make the wreath harmonize with the
background, let’s make the colors blend nicely with each other. We’ll be using the Magic Wand Tool (Y) to recolor the same elements quickly and easily.

First of all, open the Magic Wand options panel (Window
> Magic Wand)
and set the Fill
Color Tolerance
to 0. This way,
the tool will select the elements of only one and the same color, without
variations.

Take the Magic Wand Tool (Y) and select the yellow branches. Switch the
color to darker orange, reducing the contrast between the elements.

Then select one of the bottom branches. Take the Eyedropper Tool (I) and pick the purple color from the background.
Head to the Color panel and make the
purple tint slightly lighter, making the elements visible. Move to the next
branches and change their color from blue to purple as well, making them
brighter than the previous branch.

Change the color of the berries from yellow
to pink to make them fit the background color.

Play with other colors to your liking,
making the overall palette look harmonious and gentle.

recolor the elements with magic wand tool

Step 5

To make our card look complete, let’s
place a congratulation message or some warm wishes in the center of our card,
so that we could send it to our friends or family members.

I use Sophia Free Font,
which is made from brush hand-lettering. It adds a handmade touch to our card, making it
look cozy and sincere.

add hand letter text to our card

Step 6

Let’s copy our card and try some other
color combinations. Fill the background with a subtle pink color and switch
some of the branches to white, making the card look light and bright.
Change the color of the letters to white as well.

change the colors

Step 7

I like to make the postcards more detailed by adding textures, which give a certain retro look.

Let’s Copy
the background rectangle and Place it in
Front (Control-C > Control-F).
Head to the Swatches panel, click the Swatch
Libraries menu
icon to open the drop-down menu, and find Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic
Graphics_dots.
From here, click the 6
dpi 20%
pattern to apply a nice polka-dot pattern to the copy of the
background.

apply polka dot pattern

Step 8

And let’s change the color of the pattern
to make it fit our gentle palette. Double-click
the applied pattern in the Swatches
panel to isolate it in Pattern Mode.
Now we can edit the separate elements of the pattern. Select the black dots and
change their color to light pink (slightly lighter than the background).

Looks tender!

recolor polka dot pattern

Step 9

Here are some other color variations that
I’ve made, using the abovementioned techniques. I hope they will inspire you to
try some other palettes, combining the colors and making them match.

try other color schemes

Happy Naw-Rúz, Everyone! Our Gentle Floral
Postcard Is Ready!

Wonderful job, my friends! We’ve learned
to work with simple shapes and basic operations in Adobe Illustrator,
which helped us to create these floral brushes. They are handy not only for Naw-Rúz holiday cards, but for any kind of spring floral invitations and decorations.

I hope
you enjoyed creating this simple yet elegant card as much as I did. Be inspired and enjoy the spring!

Naw Ruz floral postcard

Read more here:: How to Design a Naw-Rúz Floral Card in Adobe Illustrator