Create a Valentine’s card in Illustrator
2010 at 11.25 am posted by Veerle Pieters
A few days back I created a simple Valentine card for a client’s project. I thought it would be ideal for an Illustrator tutorial as it is created using simple shapes and involved only a tiny bit of Pen tool drawing. In this tutorial it’s all about finding the right composition.
For this tutorial I'm using a document of 600 by 400 px. You might also wonder why I use pink instead of red. Well, here is the thing. Have you ever tried to use red with an opacity of 25% ? You get this weird shade that isn't really appealing to work with and so I with pink on the other hand you start with a way more interesting shade. Overlaying transparent pink shapes gives you this nice vibrant color effect. I know some of you might now like pink, but this is for Valentine.
Select the Rectangle tool and draw a square (hold down the Shift key). Select the Rotate tool and rotate the square 45° by holding down the Shift key while rotating. You can also just click the canvas after you have selected the Rotate tool, and enter the value of 45° in the popup window that appears and click OK. Resize the diamond shape using the Selection tool and by grabbing and dragging one of the shape's handlers. You need to hold down the Shift key (to keep the proportion) until top and bottom corner aligns nicely to the borders of your document.
Give the square a pinkish Linear gradient(RGB values used: R255, G219, B232 and R255, G0, B114)
Go to the Transparency palette and give the diamond an opacity of 25%.
Duplicate the diamond by selecting the shape using the Selection tool (black arrow). Start dragging the shape to the right, now hold down the hold down the Option/Alt key, and right after also hold down the Shift key while you drag the duplicated shape perfectly horizontally towards the border of the document. You should have a nice overlapping diamond shape in the middle.
Group, duplicate and resize to 50%
Group both diamonds: go to Object > Group or hit Cmd/Ctrl + G. These 2 squares will be our 'object' we'll be working with now. Duplicate this object by pasting it in front: go to Edit > Paste in Front or hit Cmd/Ctrl + F. Now select the Transform tool and click in the center point of the object. In the popup window that appears, enter the value of 50% and click OK.
Select the Reflect tool, click again in the center point of the object, select Horizontal Axis in the popup window and click OK.
Now play around with this object a bit more by duplicating it, scaling it etc. Try building up a balanced composition.
Arrange your objects to your liking. Turn on Smart Guides (View > Smart Guides) so you can precisely align your different diamond objects. Try to create nice overlapping effects. Make sure everything stays well balanced. Even try to break the symmetric feeling of this object a little bit by moving some of them up, and then others down a bit. This needs a bit of experimenting. You could try using different colors if what you are making is not for valentine and add in other basic geometric shapes.
Create a heart shape
We need to create a heart shape that fits perfectly with our composition. Extra curviness would break the beauty of these straight geometric forms. So that's why we'll create the most basic heart shape using perfect 45° straight lines for the pointy bottom part.
- Start by selecting the Ellipse tool and draw a circle (holding down the Shift key).
- Make sure Rulers are on (View > Show Rulers or hit Cmd/Ctrl + R) and drag a vertical guide to the right point of the circle. With Smart Guides enabled (View > Smart Guides or hit Cmd/Ctrl + U) the guide should snap to the point.
- Select the Line Segment tool from the Toolbox, hold down the Shift key while you draw a perfect 45° diagonal line. Select the line and move it so it aligns along the bottom left of the circle.
- Go to View > Guides > Make Guides or hit Cmd/Ctrl + 5
- Select the Pen tool from the toolbox and draw the bottom (point/triangular shape) part of 1/2 of the heart shape as shown in the image above. Use the guides you've just drawn and draw straight lines by just clicking. Make sure your path is closed.
- Select both the circle and the triangle you've just drawn using the Selection tool (black arrow). Select the Reflect tool from the toolbox and click exactly on the vertical guide.
- Select vertical axis and click the Copy button to duplicate the shape to the right.
- Go to the Pathfinder palette and choose the Unite option. Circles and triangles should now be united as 1 path.
Add heart shapes
Play around with the heart shape by placing it on spots that makes an interesting composition. Use transparency to create overlapping effects.
Add background and text
Last but not least, add a subtle background. I've added a linear gradient background going from pink at the top to white at the bottom. I created a new layer below my composition to do this. Just draw a rectangle that matches the size of your document.
Want to learn more?
A good and not expensive source to learn more about Illustrator, Photoshop, or web design is by joining the Tuts+ sites. You get access to the source files for just $9 a month. So your ONE membership gives you access to members-only content for ALL the Plus sites. I've written a tutorial for the Vector Tuts section.