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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 two more Pattern Brushes, using the
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
Great! Now we have a nice, minimalistic wreath.
Let’s move on and add more details to make a festive, ornate wreath.
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
circle and apply our third brush. You can vary the size of each circle,
combining them with each other.
2. Create Floral & Berry Elements
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.
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.
(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!
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.
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.
Finally, decorate the center of the flower
with a group of white circles, varying their sizes and position.
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.
Add smaller strokes, attaching them to the
midrib, forming the veins of the leaf. Finally, group all the elements of the
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.
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.
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.
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.
3. Create Scatter Brushes From the Floral
Elements & Berries
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
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
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-