DIY a Christmas card with Adobe Illustrator

29Nov09

First of all i want to say that this tutorial is my official announcement to wish you all an amazing Christmas Time – Full of love into your family and friends.

In this new tutorial i´ll explain how to make in a few steps one cool and functional Christmas Post card that you can use to send over your partners, your business partners and possible to your future business partners.

Requirements and Final Preview

  • Adobe Illustrator – if you don´t have, just download it in free trial version at the Adobe Web page
  • Some textures to field the background – find them in my last post about 33 Christmas Resources.
  • This is what it looks the final artwork:

final

New document and Colours

I choose the same scheme colors that i´ve been using in my web site. I think the blue, red and white fits just great to make the post car it combines in my point of view with this season but you can also change a little bit to fix on yours brand company or personal portfolio. In this case i choose the main colors of my website.

1 – The post cards are almost sent by email or to watch in a screen i´ll follow the screen mode and you can start to open a New document and select the Type web – it can be printable as well when you finish the job you just need to change it in the Export Options – instance of RGB to select CMYK.

2 – Select the Rectangle from your Tools Panel and make it the same size as you´ve defined in your project. In this case i made it 500px by 500px.

3 – Go to your swatch´s window and create a New Color Group and add your scheme colour.

Help/More? – If you want learn more about Scheme colors you can read my previous post about Scheme Colors With Adobe Illustrator and go also to Kuler from adobe (there you can find a great tool to select your scheme color from one basic color).

scheme_colors

Start the Background

4 – With the rectangle selected, go to your Gradient Panel and make it as it shows in the image. With  your gradient tool make it vertical (because illustrator always put it that way). Just drag the colors you´ve in the scheme colors  to the gradient window.

Help/More? – (Note that if you don’t have all Tool Panels mentioned in this tutorial you can manage all of them at your top of the Adobe Illustrator in the Window section). About gradients you can learn fast and easy at this youtube tutorial.

creata_gradiente_backgound_r1_c1

Background Mask Opacity

5 – Go to you Transparency Panel and in the Other Options (just in the bottom at the close option) select Make Opacity Mask.

make_opacity_mask_r2_c1

Finish the opacity mask by selecting your background image

6 – With the black square from the opacity mask selected (as it shows in the image) go to file / place: select some image at my previous post about Christmas or if you had some other Christmas resources just grab them and place it.

Help/more? – Note that with the Opacity Mask technique the image that i´ll be place i´ll field the previous created gradient with the same scheme color with the environment you need (that can be usefull).

To make the effect you wish just try different Clip Option values and Opacity as well.

select_freebies_patterns_and_textures1_r2_c1

Try different environments using the same technique

Help/More? – You can learn more about Opacity Mask and all is potential with the Melon Animation in the youtube.

select_freebies_patterns_and_textures2_r2_c1

Snowman part#1 – the circles

7 – Make 2 circles from your Tool panel like it shows in the image and make them gradient (grab again the Gradient tool to make the right direction). Use the Grid to align them.

draw_2balls_for_the_snowman

The bottom

8 – Keep going  with the Circle Tool and make some at the bottom of your artwork. The Snowman needs fit in somewhere 😀

background_with_radom_balls

Snowman part#2 – snowman is made by kids hands

9 – With your Direction Tool grab the points of the ellipses and make them irregular.

Note/more? – You always need to keep it mind that the snowman are made with the work hands so make it very irregular like it shows in the image and the effect it ill be perfect.

snoow_balls_correction

Snowman part#3 – the cap

10 – To make the Cap just draw with your Pen Tool this 3 different objects.

Help/Note? – It takes time to get it perfect but just keep trying with the Direction Tool and the Pen Tool. Add points move directions. You can search at google images one beauty Cap and learn more about Pen and Direction Tool with this youtube video.

gorro

Snowman part#4 – go more deep into your work

11 – Duplicate that selected area and move it a little to bottom and left to simulate the same direction light as we are doing. Add Gaussian Blur at the bottom  shape  – to add Gaussian Blur just select the bottom shape and go to your main menu and click in Filter / Blur / Add Gaussian Blur. Add the values at the screen or keep trying to make it by your own taste.

Help/Note? – you can easily do that effect by Drop a simple shadow but i really think that this is the better way because you can have a separated shadow layer that will be more easy to edit/manipulate.

shadows_blur

Snowman part#5 – the eyes and the buttons

12 – Make the eyes and the buttons by the Ellipse Tool. Duplicate a second ellipse layer over the first and arrange them like it shows in the image. In the end make again another Gaussian Blur to give little more deep.

eyes

Snowman part#6 – Align the eyes and make the smile

13 – Give some direction to the snowman. He don’t need to stay look at yourself.

14 – Create another two ellipses and apply the Trim command by your Pathfinder. Rotate it to look at same eyes direction. Give it a Gradient style.

details_face

Snowman part#7  – Pattern the Buttons

15 – Make different patterns, size, colors and forms like it shows at the image and apply it at your buttons.

16 – Apply also the patterns at your Cap.

Help/Note? – The pattern must be a perfect square. The pattern swatches can be very powerful just be patient and you do very nice shapes with this technique. You can watch how to manage that at this youtube movie. Or simple visiting the Chris Sponner tutorials – there is where i find a lot of good techniques.

patterns_for_the_buttons

Pick one nice typography, add some love Christmas message and you ´re almost finishing.

Help/Note? – You can select some nice Christmas fonts at bestdesigntuts web site.

final

Conclusion

Hope i haven´t miss any important step. Keep in mind that the most important about tutorials are always because they´re a great font of inspiration. Do always your personal touch i´ll see that i´ll be more fun.

I know that are hundreds of  different ways to do this kind of Christmas Post car. I use this techniques. Feel free to share some others with us.

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2 Responses to “DIY a Christmas card with Adobe Illustrator”

  1. 1 Vuk aka ForestWolf

    Nice tut, thx for sharing it with us! Its very useful! Keep up!
    Cant wait for new ones to come!

  2. Thanks m8 😀 thanks for the input!


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