Illustrator is an amazing tool for building scalable vector art. With the sudden icon craze, it is ideal for creating these little doodads. Many of them are shiny, glossy, icons, but I must admit that I sometimes get tired of them. With a little help from a suggestion by Tarains in the Suggestion Box, I’ve decided to see what you can do for texture within Illustrator. The results of this experimentation are summed up in the tutorial below…
First, things, first, let’s have a look at what we’ll be creating.
Create a new document in Illustrator. Grab the rectangle tool and draw out a rectangle like the one below. If you are following along with the colors I will try to give you what I used. In this case the fill is: #191E28. It’s a pretty dark blue, but it will end up much lighter when we add the texture later on.
Using the direct selection tool (shortcut ‘A’ on the keyboard) skew the rectangle like below. To do so double click on the top left anchor point, then click and drag to the left, repeat, for the top right anchor point. To help you make a straight line along the x-axis, it is a good idea to have smart guides turned on. To do so, click View->Smart Guides.
Draw a small, black rectangle at the foot of the journal that stretches the full length, like what is pictured below. Use the smart guides to help you align the length.
Draw out another rectangle the same width, only a bit taller, this will be the paper. Leave the stroke empty and make the fill color #EEE6DC.
Now we are going to create the curved left and right side of the paper rectangle we just drew. Grab the ellipse tool and with the same fill color drag out an oval on the left side of the paper rectangle. This is another time where the Smart Guides are really handy. With their help, align the oval top and bottom with the height of the rectangle. Use the image below as a reference.
Open up the Pathfinder palette, if it’s not already open click Window->Pathfinder. Select both the oval and the rectangle, within the Pathfinder palette select “Add to shape area” to join the two shapes.
Draw the same size ellipse and place it on the right hand side of the paper rectangle. Just like the before, select both the rectangle and the new ellipse. This time within the Pathfinder palette select “Subtract from shape area. At this point, you should have the paper all in one shape. Send that shape to the back by clicking Object->Arrange->Send to Back. Then, move the paper into place.
With the paper selected open up the gradient panel. If it’s not visible, click Window->Gradient. Change the gradient so it goes from light gray, to off white, back to light gray. Make the type linear and the angle 90.
With your paper selected hit “ctrl + c” to copy it. Then hit “ctrl + f” to paste it in the front. The good part about doing it this way, is not only does it paste the copied object in the front, but it’s also in the exact same spot. This is perfect for our purposes. In this step, we are going to add the slight verticle shadows. In the gradient panel set up a linear gradient with 0 for the angle, like the one referenced below.
Open up the transparency palette by clicking Window->Transparency. Change the opacity of the top gradient to 25%.
Now we are going to make the page lines. Grab the line segment tool and draw out a line approximately the length of the paper (you can scale it later). Make sure to hold shift down while you make the line, in order to keep it straight. Change the stroke color to #9B9794 and keep the fill empty. Change the stroke width to .25px. Copy and paste another line below it. The two lines should be far enough apart to make up the top and the bottom lines (we will make 5 more lines in between them using a blend in the steps that follow). Select both the lines and click on the align palette located at the top of your window in the properties for the line tool. Choose “Horizontally Align Center”.
Select both the lines and click Object->Blend->Blend Options. For the spacing choose “Specified Steps” and for the amount make it 5. Click OK. Then click Object->Blend->Make. You guessed it, this will blend 5 more lines equally spaced and sized in between the two we started with.
With your blend of lines selected click Object->Flatten Transparency. Then click OK. This will give us the ability to handle the lines separately. Now grab the ellipse tool and draw an oval just like the ones we drew in the previous steps. Align it along the right side of the lines. With both the lines and the oval selected, bring up the Pathfinder palette again. This time select trim. Right click on the lines and choose “Ungroup” from the list of options, then select and delete the circle.
Using the pen tool draw a shape like the one reference below. The details of how to use the pen tool would go beyond the scope of this tutorial. If you need to brush up on those skills check out VectorTuts, Illustrator’s Pen Tool: The Comprehensive Guide. Once you have that shape made choose “Trim” again from the Pathfinder options, ungroup and delete the shape. Select your lines that are curved at each end and move them into place on the journal.
Copy and paste the foot of the journal rectangle you drew in step 3, move it into place at the very bottom. This will start to give our journal some dimensions. In this step, I also used the direct selection tool to bring in the edges of the paper on the right hand side that were extending past the book cover.
In this next step we will draw in the binding of the journal. Grab the pen tool and using the reference below draw the binding shape. This will be somewhat difficult without much pen tool experience. Again you can refer to the Comprehensive Guide I pointed out earlier for help. In this step it’s key to make the binding run into the top and bottom book cover seamlessly. Spend enough time on that to make it look good, as this is one of the biggest keys to making this illustration work. Fill the binding with a medium brown, I used #412412.
Just like the last step make the shape for the brown part of the cover. Fill it with the same color. Use the image below as a reference.
Using the same pen tool techniques draw out the strap of the journal. Fill it with the same brown color.
One last shape to draw before we start getting into texturing the journal. Make the simple cloth bookmark like the one below. I also gave it a nice linear gradient using #701426 for the lighter red and #35131A for the darker red.
OK, shaping that out became a bit tedious… but now we can move onto adding some interest using textures. First off, select the blue cover and copy it using “ctrl + c” then paste it in front by pressing “ctrl + f”. Then apply a light blue linear gradient like the one below. The angle is set to 43 degrees, but it may be slightly different for yours depending on the angle of your journal. The colors are: #5F7397 and #404E6B.
You’ll need a nice fabric texture for the journal cover. You can choose whichever you’d like, but I would suggest making it black and white and bringing up the contrast a bunch in Photoshop, because we are going to be using it as a mask. I found the one I’m using in this tutorial at texturez.com. It is referenced below:
Open up your transparency panel, if it’s not visible click Window->Transparency. We are going to add an opacity mask for our floral texture. Click on the small arrow in the transparency palette and select “Make Opacity Mask” from the dropdown menu that appears. Alternatively, you could do the same thing by double clicking the white next to the image thumbnail in the same palette. You will notice right away that your journal cover is now the original blue of the shape directly below. This is because the mask is completely black by default. The Illustrator mask works the same as the Photoshop mask and right now we are revealing shape directly below. If you want to reveal some of the lighter blue gradient, all you’d have to do is paint some white or varying shades of gray on the mask. However, we are going to use that floral texture to help us add interest. So click File->Place and drop in the texture you saved. You can see the effect it creates right away. Experiment changing the size and rotate it, till you find the look you want. When you are finished editing the mask, make sure to click back on the image thumbnail within the transparency palette. This will tell Illustrator to get you out of the mask and you will be back to the normal mode.
Next up, I decided on a simple leather texture for the binding and strap. You can use the one in the image below:
Select the brown cover overlap. Copy and paste it above the original, using “ctrl + c” and “ctrl + f”. Then create the linear gradient shown below. The colors are #683F24 (light brown), #412412 (medium brown), and #281911. It’s important to setup the gradient stoppers similar to what is shown, because this will give the illusion of the indentation where the book binds.
Using the same technique as step 22, drop in the leather opacity mask as your texture for this part of the journal. Size and rotate till you get it just right.
Grab the binding, copy and paste in front, and make the following gradient. Also give it the same leather texture as you did in the previous step.
In this step, we are going to create depth for the strap of the journal. Copy and paste the strap. Move it slightly above the original. Grab the original and change it’s fill to black. Then click Effect->Blur->Gaussian Blur. Choose 2 for the amount.
Repeat the texturing technique for the strap. Here’s what my illustration looks like thus far.
Grab the trusty pen tool once again and draw out a simple black stroke shape for the stitching of the strap. Then open up the stroke palette (Window->Stroke). Change the weight to .75, check the dashed line box, change the dash to 1 and the gap to 2.
All we have left are a couple of shadows. Make a trapezoid shape similar to that of the journal. Fill it with black and send it to the back (ctrl + shift + [). Place it where you think the shadow would be and add a gaussian blur of 20. Then I dropped the opacity of the object to 60%.
Follow the same steps to add a shadow for the bookmark. And Your done!
That’s it! As always I’d love to hear your thoughts on this tutorial. And if you come step through it to create your own design, please consider sharing it at MyInkBlog Flickr group.