Friday, November 20th, 2015

Create Long Shadow Icons in Illustrator

Flat design is all the rage and here’s how to make your own icons with long shadows in Illustrator

Flat design is very popular and it looks great. It’s a design style that has little or no dimension so it is simple and very neat and clean. If there is any dimension it is typically illustrated by adding shadows – lovely long shadows that look best coming off the bottom right of the subject in the same way they would fall if the sun actually were casting the shadow off a real life 3D surface.

In this video I will show you two ways of creating long shadows for flat icon design. The first is simple and pretty fast and will work for personal projects. What worries me about it is that it isn’t very neat when you are selling vector stock. If you want to make it easier for a person who buys your images to be able to edit them then you need to provide a tidier resulting image. Hence my version #2 of the long shadow designs. In my second version everything is neatened up so it will be easier for a purchaser to understand what is going on in the image objects and to recolor the art if they need to do so.

So, here is the video that shows how to use blends and clipping masks and some other Illustrator tools to make wonderful long shadows for your icons. Fittingly I’ll be making my design using the Ai Illustrator logo as my example but it will work with any graphic or text element.

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Illustrator – Make a Vintage design from one shape with multiple strokes and fills

Create a Multidimensional Shape from a Simple 20 Point Star

Learn to create this multidimensional shape in Illustrator from a simple 20 point star. You will learn how to make the points round, how to fill the shape with a color and a pattern then how to create the outside and inside strokes.

The entire effect (minus the background and text) is one single resizable fully adjustable vector shape.

By the end of the video you will understand how to use the Appearance panel and how to add multiple strokes and multiple fills to a shape and how to offset strokes  from each other. You will learn how to add a pattern fill to a shape and blend it in with the underlying fill color and how to vary the pattern transparency.  These skills will make your work with vector shapes in Illustrator easier to do.

Helen Bradley


Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Falling in love with Rome

I have been surprised at how easy Rome is to walk. On the map it looks so much bigger than it really is. You need to walk it too or you miss so much of the tiny details that, together, go to make the city.

As you look at these photos, insert backing sounds of church bells ringing, traffic and the sirens of the local carbineri and politzia as they whizz around this wonderful city.

Here are some images from the themes I’ve been shooting. One is roof tops and the wonderful chimney pots and layers in the roofs of the city:

Close ups from statues, churches and fountains is another of my themes. The first is detail from the Trevi fountain and the second is from one of the three fountains in the Piazza Navona:

OMG, there’s a pigeon on my nose!

From a church in Orvieto:

Same church, here are the colours of Italy in the door detail:

Another theme is windows, here is one through which you can see to the building behind. It is from the Forum area in Rome:

This window harbours a reflection of a nearby building:

Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

I find that domes are much more interesting in the context of their surrounds, like this one:

Another of my themes this trip is light fittings. I have a huge collection of wonderful street lights and shop lights. This is a set from near the Colosseo in Rome:

As luck would have it, United Colors of Beneton is right opposite the Trevi Fountain. So, with your back to the fountain you can see it reflected in the shop window. Here’s the result:

Another morning, I found a map and paper shop with a street light in front. This photo is more reminiscent of a multi shot taken using film and has a collage feel to it – gotta love reflections:

Everywhere throughout Italy you can find religious icons above houses and at nearly every street corner. I have a grab bag of photos of them, this is one of the more elaborate I’ve found:

Finally, who can resist a market such as the one at the Campo de Fiori, and the wonderful variety of fruit on display:

Or this streetside tie display:

And what is a day without some wonderful graffiti?

Helen Bradley