Traditionally, to create a handmade icon graphic you would need paints and brushes. We will only need a graphic tablet, Illustrator and the DrawScribe plugin. For quick recoloring of a completed icon, we’ll also make use of the Phantasm CS plugin.
This is the fourth and final instalment of the icon design mini series. Let’s get started to complete the learning process!
We will be creating an icon using the Dynamic Sketch Tool, which is one of the tools of the DrawScribe plugin. Let’s adjust the tool for convenience of working on this artwork. To open the Dynamic Sketch Preferences window, double-click on the tool’s toolbox icon or press Enter when already in the tool. Alternatively, select the appropriate item in the fly-out menu of the Dynamic Sketch panel (Window > DrawScribe > Dynamic Sketch panel).
My settings are slightly different from the default settings. Let’s see what I have changed…
You can read about why I prefer these settings in my article How to Combine the Dynamic Sketch Tool and Illustrator CS5′s Width Tool to Fine-tune your Vector Artwork. Open the Dynamic Sketch panel (Window > DrawScribe > Dynamic Sketch panel) and enable the “Edit or continue existing paths” button and set the degree of accuracy and smoothness.
To create a handmade icon, I will be using a graphic tablet. Take the stylus, choose orange color for the fill and with the help of the Dynamic Sketch Tool create the shape of the icon. It should look like a square.
Some of irregularity in the creation of this shape is welcome for a handmade style icon.
Set the relationship between the line width and the pressure on the graphics tablet stylus and the thickness values that will correspond to the minimum and maximum pressure.
Now select the “Round cap” in the Stroke panel in order for the lines to have rounded ends.
For the stroke pick a darker shade of orange compared to the shape of the icon, set the Multiply Blending mode and reduce the opacity to 10% in the Transparency panel.
Take the Dynamic Sketch Tool and create oblique strokes in a place where icon’s shadow fades out (“penumbra“).
Moving to the bottom right corner of the icon, strokes should be wider and denser, overlapping one another. Thus, we create a transition from penumbra to shadow.
The small value of Opacity (10%) gives us a sense of drawing with watercolors or gouache.
The method of creating an illuminated part of the icon is the same as for the shadow. Only in this case, set the Screen Blending mode in the Transparency panel. The color of the stroke can be the same as for the shape of the icon.
I decided to make the edges of the icon less accurate. To enable this, I created some additional paths around the edges, as shown in the picture below, and then placed them below all the objects.
Proceed to the creation of the shape of a mailing envelope. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle.
Now with the help of the Pen Tool (P) create a path, which consists of two straight-line segments.
Create another path in the bottom of the envelope.
Take the Scissors Tool (C) and cut the lower path at points A and B, then remove its upper portion.
Select all the paths and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.
Combine the resultant objects by clicking on Unite in the Pathfinder panel.
Select all the objects of the envelope and click on Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel.
Place the envelope icon on top of the shape; we will be using it as a template.
Take the Dynamic Sketch Tool and outline the shape of the template. For the fill pick a light orange color.
Now delete the template. Create light and shadow on the envelope with the help of the techniques that have been described above.
With the help of the Phantasm CS, you can quickly recolor the created icon. To do this, group the objects and go to Effect > Phantasm CS > Hue / Saturation… and by moving the sliders in the dialog window, you will get the desired color.
I hope you have enjoyed this series on icon design and learnt some new things!
For more information about the properties of Dynamic Sketch Tool and Phantasm CS click on the following links:
Download the handmade icon artwork
Click here for Illustrator CS3 and CS4
Click here for Illustrator CS5 and above (also PDF compatible)…
About the author
My name is Iaroslav Lazunov, I am a graphic designer from Zhytomyr, Ukraine. I am glad that I finally found the job in my life that I can share my knowledge and experiments with you in my tutorials.