Intuitive Tools for Digital Artists

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Important product change information

Since this article was originally published, DrawScribe has been separated into two individual plug-ins:

DynamicSketch: sketch naturally in vector
InkScribe: draw precisely and accurately in vector

Existing customers of DrawScribe can find full details of how this affects their licenses by reading this article.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

In this tutorial we will learn how to create a greeting card using very simple, and therefore accessible methods for everyone. If you are taking the first steps in learning Adobe Illustrator, then this tutorial is for you, dear friends. Happy Holidays to all of you!

Step 1

Begin our tutorial with a letter “X”. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle, as shown in the following picture.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Keeping the rectangle selected, go to Object > Transform > Shear …, then set Shear Angel in the dialog box.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Step 2

Now go to Object > Transform > Reflect …, then select the Vertical Axis and click on Copy in the dialog box.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Select both of the created objects and click on the Unite in the Pathfinder panel.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Letter “X” shape is ready.

Step 3

Proceed to the creation of the shape of the Christmas tree. I think it is better to use the InkScribe Tool (part of the DrawScribe plugin) for these purposes. Take this tool and open its panel (Window > DrawScribe > InkScribe Panel). Choose “Draw a straight segment” and “Corner point” in the InkScribe panel. Create half of the Christmas tree shape, which only consists of straight line segments.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Step 4

As you can see, the straight-line segments contain inactive handles, they are called Ghost handles. In order to convert a straight-line segment into a curved one, just pull it to the side or move one of the ghost handles with the InkScribe Tool.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Bend four segments, as it is shown in the following picture.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

I am sure that this type of shape can be more quickly created with the InkScribe Tool, rather than using the Pen Tool (P).

Step 5

Take the Reflect Tool (O) and set the center at point A, while holding Opt / Alt key. Click on Copy in the open dialog box.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Select both halves of the Christmas tree, then click on Unite in the Pathfinder panel.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Step 6

Create a square at the Christmas tree top rotated at an angle of 45°. When using the Dynamic Shapes Tool (part of the VectorScribe plugin), you will be able to create it immediately turned at the desired angle.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Now go to Effect > Transform & Distort > Pucker & Bloat … and move the slider to the left in the dialog box.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Go to Object > Expand Appearance, then combine the star and the Christmas tree in a single shape with the help of the Pathfinder panel.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Step 7

Place the tree shape at the bottom part of the letter “X” and resize it so that it completely covers the triangular space.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Select both objects, then click on the Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

This is how we changed the shape of the negative space. This technique is often used in visual arts.

Step 8

Fill the shape of the letter with a linear gradient, which contains two shades of red color.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Go to Object > Path > Offset path and set the offset value.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Fill the resultant shape with a linear gradient consisting of three shades of yellow color.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Step 9

Select the upper letter of the red color, then go to Object > Path > Offset path and set the offset value a few pixels less than the first time.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Fill the new shape with a linear gradient, which is placed at an angle, and contains three shades of yellow color. The goal of this work is to get to color distinction on the edges of the letter. Regular linear gradients are used to reproduce the shine of golden surfaces.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Step 10

Once again, select the shape of the red letter, then go to Object > Path > Offset path and set the offset value equal to a few pixels.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Fill this shape with horizontal linear gradient. You can use the colors that you have already applied to the previous shapes.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Step 11

Using the InkScribe Tool or Pen Tool (P) create a shape shown in the following picture.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Select the shape and letter of red color, then remove the top of the shape using the shape Builder Tool, holding down the Opt / Alt key.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Fill the resultant shape with the vertical linear gradient, which consists of two shades of dark gray color, then apply the Screen blending mode to it in the Transparency panel.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

This is how we got the highlight on the letter.

Step 12

Now proceed to the creation of the background. With the help of the Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle and fill it with a radial gradient, which consists of two shades of green color. Red and green are traditional colors of Christmas cards.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Step 13

With the help of the Dynamic Shapes or Ellipse Tools create a circle. Fill it with a radial gradient from green to white, then apply the Multiply blending mode.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Transform the circle into an ellipse with the help of the Selection Tool (V)

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Thus, we have created a drop shadow under the right side of the letter “X”. Duplicate the ellipse and place it under the left part of the letter.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Step 14

Create highlights on the golden parts of the letter. Draw a circle filled with a radial gradient from yellow to black color, and then apply the Screen blending mode.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Create a few more of these circles of different sizes.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Step 15

Highlights will be more vivid if you fill the circles with black and white radial gradient.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Create some more of these circles and place them over the golden part of the letter.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Step 16

Create an ellipse, and squash it using the Select Tool. Fill the ellipse with a radial gradient from white to black and apply the Screen blending mode.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Duplicate the ellipse and rotate the copy at 90° (Object > Transform > Rotate …)

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Group up both ellipses.

Step 17

Duplicate the group, then reduce the size of the new group with the help of the Selection Tool (V) and rotate by a certain angle.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Create a circle filled with black and white radial gradient, and apply the Screen blending mode to it.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Thus, we have created a highlight in the shape of a star. Group up all of its objects, and place the copies of the group over the gold part of the letter.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Step 18

With the help of the Type Tool (T) create the inscription “MAS”, then go to Type > Create Outlines and fill the letters with linear gradients, which contain the same shades of yellow color as the letter “X”.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

Create drop shadows on the letters using the technique described in step 13.

How to Create a Christmas Greeting Card in Illustrator

The tutorial is over, Happy Marry Christmas to everybody!

Download the christmas greeting card artwork

Click here for Illustrator CS3 and CS4

Click here for Illustrator CS5 and above (also PDF compatible)…

Written by Iaroslav

Iaroslav

Iaroslav Lazunov is a graphic designer from Zhytomyr, Ukraine who has found the job that allows him to share his extensive knowledge and experiments with Adobe Illustrator and plug-ins from Astute Graphics. Iaroslav was also a key author over at Vector Tuts+ as well as his own website Vectorboom

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