Fun With Shapes: Draw Vector Food Icons in Adobe Illustrator | Andrea Pereira | Skillshare

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Fun With Shapes: Draw Vector Food Icons in Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar Andrea Pereira, Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Gathering Ideas

    • 4. Thumbnails

    • 5. Setting Up Your File

    • 6. Blocking In Shapes

    • 7. Adding Color

    • 8. Finishing Details

    • 9. Bonus! Prints, Stickers, Wallpapers

    • 10. You did it!

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About This Class


Learn simple vector illustration techniques using the shape tools in Adobe Illustrator! In this class you will learn how to draw your own food themed icons. We will go over the basics of Illustrator as well as walk through my illustration process including:

  • Ideas and Research
  • Drawing Thumbnails
  • How to Choose Colors
  • Blocking In Shapes
  • Adding finishing details

This class is for anyone wanting to learn a new way of drawing in Illustrator. This class has a little something for everyone!

  • Beginners! I will guide you through the entire illustration process from setting up your file to printing your work. 
  • More Advanced? I'll share my favorite shortcuts and effects for a faster workflow.

All you need to take this class is a computer with Adobe Illustrator. 

The possibilities for what you can use your finished illustrations for is endless. They stand alone as food icons, but can be combined for prints, made into stickers, or turned into a pattern.

I will provide templates and color palettes, but feel free to make your own as well!


Meet Your Teacher

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Andrea Pereira



Hi there!

I’m Andrea, a professional illustrator living in San Francisco. I’ve loved to draw all my life and I feel lucky it’s what I do for a living. My work uses bold color and simple shapes to create visuals that delight and empower. Over the last ten years, I have created work for games, editorial pieces, murals, and animations. I'm excited to share my techniques with you and create some fun work together!

You can find more of my work on my portfolio and instagram

See full profile

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1. Welcome!: Hi. I'm Andrea Pereira, an illustrator from San Francisco. I have created art for games, infographics, editorial pieces, murals, and animations. I started my career in educational games, creating simple vector illustrations for a language learning app. One thing I learned from that experience was how to simplify everything down to basic shapes. In this class, I will show you that it can be quick and simple to create fun vector illustrations from circles, squares, and triangles. You will learn my favorite shortcuts in Adobe Illustrator for a faster workflow, as well as tips and tricks you can apply to your next illustration. The techniques I'll show you can be used as building blocks for more complex illustrations. You'll be amazed at what you can make when you make the most of shapes. Let's dive in. I can't wait to see what you create. 2. Class Project: Your project is to create your own food-themed illustrations using the shape tools in Illustrator. We will go over the basics of Illustrator as well as walk through my Illustration process. We'll start with ideas and research, then move onto thumbnails, how to choose colors, block and shapes, and finally, add some finishing touches. I will provide templates and color palettes, but feel free to make your own as well. Along the way, you can post your progress in the project gallery for feedback. By the end of this class, you will have four vector food illustrations that can be used in a variety of ways. Let's begin by gathering our ideas. See you in the next lesson. 3. Gathering Ideas: The first step to any project is an idea. For this project, I want to familiarize you with the shape tools in Illustrator. It's best to utilize these tools. I thought it would be fun to draw circular foods. You're welcome to do square or triangular-shaped foods as well using the same techniques. First, I list as many circular foods as I can think of them at top of my head. Don't worry if you can't think of too many. Just do as many as you can. Then I go into Google and search circular foods, see if there are any obvious one I didn't think of. With my list compiled, I go through and choose the four I'm most excited to draw and put a little star next to them. Now it's your turn. Make a list of as many circular, square or triangular foods as you can. Star your top four in preparation for the next step, thumbnailing. 4. Thumbnails: With your favorite ideas gathered, it's time to start them nailing. First, I gather some reference images for what I'm drawing. When looking for reference, find images that help you understand the shape of something from different angles or specific details like sprinkles on a doughnut. One cool resource is Pexels, which has free, high-quality stock images. Once you have all your reference, take a look at it and try to understand the different shapes that make up each food. Start sketching your foods inside circles. You can use my circle template or create your own. One important aspect of thumbnails is defining the silhouette. This step will make the illustration process much easier. We are already working with a clear outer silhouette; the circle, but keep shape in mind even for the details, like the seeds of the watermelon. Try to come up with a variety of ways to depict each food in the circle. Don't be afraid of wacky ideas. When you finish your sketches, draw a star next to the thumbnail that you like best for each food. Send that image to your computer. Where there would be a photo from your phone or a PNG from your iPad, get it onto your desktop. We will use these sketches as a base for the next step, locking it in. 5. Setting Up Your File: Now that you have your favorite thumbnails picked out, it's time to start creating in Illustrator. When I open the program, I'm going to make a new document. If you take a look at the preset details, I've given this document name, Skillshare_Food Illustrations. For this project, I'm making the height and width 2000 pixels and creating four art boards, I'm going to keep the rest of the settings as they are and then hit ''Create". I've created a template Illustrator file for you to use. By now you can see that it's simple to create your own. The first thing that I'm going to do is drop in my sketches. I'm going to resize them to fit in the art board the way I'd like, and then I'll embed them and mask them so I have only the sketch that I need. Since I created these off the same template, if I resize them altogether, they'll all end up the same size. To mask, make a square the size you need and make sure it's above the sketch. For this, I made it the same size as the art board, 2000 x 2000 pixels. Select both the square and the sketch and hit "Command 7" to make the mask. I'll do this for each of my sketches and then place them in the art boards. Just approximately is fine. We can move them later. I'm going to name this layer "Sketches" and lock it for now, and then I'll make a new layer for each food. Naming your layers makes things much easier later on. 6. Blocking In Shapes: Now I will walk you through how I block things in. I've set my sketch layer to 50 percent and locked it. We will begin by using the circle tool. The hotkey is L. If you click, you can input specific numbers. Let's do 1,500 by 1,500. That looks pretty good. But I'll show you another way to do it. Click and drag to draw a circle. Holding down shift will create a perfect circle. Space-bar allows you to move the circle around. Option hold it in place. This is true for the rectangles for hotkey M as well. Center the circle in the art board, you can use the alignment tools on the side panel. Since I want this to be a set, I'm going to copy and paste this circle in all my art boards. You can paste in place using command, shift and V. Next, I notice that all my foods have a similar inner circle, so I copy and paste that in each art board. It might look strange for the donor, but if I go to effect and choose to store and transform, and then zigzag, I'll get this popup. I'm going to choose smooth and then play around with the size and number of ridges. Next, I'll use the circle tool for the doughnut hole, center of the great fruit and the sushi. You'll notice that it doesn't match my sketch exactly. But I'm seeing what looks best as I go. I'm just using my sketch as an idea of the shape. To make a half circle for the watermelon, flip the top point of the inner circle and hit delete, then I use the pen tool to close the gap. I'll use the same technique for the sushi. For the inside of the grapefruit, I'm going to make another smaller circle and then go again to effect, distort and transform, but this time use Pucker and Bloat. You can make the star shape if you go this way, or the pedal shape if you go the other way. Now, I'll duplicate it and rotate it. There you have it, you're all blocked in. You can turn off your sketch layer to see what you've created. In the next lesson, we'll be covering it in. 7. Adding Color: With your shapes blocked in, its time add some color. I will show you two different ways to color in your shapes. First, let's expand the doughnut glaze and the grapefruit segments by going to Expand Appearance. The next thing I'm going to do, is select all my food and copy them into a new layer. I will call this layer Color Option 1. Hide the original layers for now, since we don't want those to be edited. Group all the shapes together by pressing "Command and G", and then press "K" for the Live Paint Bucket Tool. Click anywhere inside the group, to turn it into a live paint object. For my colors I'm going to use Adobe Color Themes, which you can access here. I'm going to go to the Explore section and try out different colors. When choosing colors, I try to think about which colors could be used for multiple shapes in my piece so that I can have a minimal color palette. For example, the pink works for the donor glaze, the grapefruit, the inside of the watermelon, and a segment of the sushi. Other colors that work well for this piece are green and yellow. This tool makes it easy to try out different colors. Another place I look for color inspiration is the website Coolors. If you hit "Spacebar", you can shuffle the colors until you find something that you like. Back to my piece. I'm going to remove the black outline by selecting all my shapes and pressing the slash key. Be sure you have the stroke selected. I like these colors, but if I wanted to test more I can duplicate the layer and change the colors. Now, for why I had you duplicate those shapes. Live pink groups have limitations. For instance, if I move this circle, you will see that it's massed. This is fine if you're a coloring in a final image, but I still want to add more details. Instead, I'm going to use the original shape layers. First, I will make swatches of the colors that I liked. To do that, select everything and then go to Window, Swatches, and hit the Folder button. I'm going to name the color group, Color Option 1. Then I will hide the color layer and select each shape from the original layers to color them in. When I'm done, you will notice that I need to cut out the doughnut hole. For this, I will use my favorite tool, the Shape Builder. I'm when to select all the doughnut shapes and press "Shift and M". If you hold down "Option", you can delete the shape. All done. Now that you have your shapes colored in, the next step is to add some finishing details. 8. Finishing Details: Now it's time to add some details. The reference photos we collected earlier are a great place to look for inspiration. To decorate my donut, I'm going to make some fun sprinkles using a few different shape tools. First, I'll use the rectangle tool by pressing "M" to make a small rectangle. To round the corners, select the shape, press "A" and then pull in the small circles, an easy sprinkle. Next, I'll use the circle tool by pressing "L". Last, I'll use the Star Tool. This one can be found in the side panel. The up and down arrows change the number of points in the star. I'm going to round the corners of the points and then use the eyedropper tool to change the color of my sprinkles. For the sushi, I will use the same rectangle as the sprinkle to add some stripes to my fish. I'll duplicate them and place them where I want and then I can clip them with the shape builder tool using Shift and M. I think I'll make this other section look more like an avocado by duplicating and resizing this half circle. Let's see how the same width rectangle looks for the grapefruit sections. I can rotate it with R and then make a copy by pressing "Option" while dragging. I'm going to add another circle and then merge all these shapes together. I'll round these corners to make the segments. For the watermelon, I'll use the zigzag tool to add some stripes to the outside. I'll duplicate the circle and resize it, and then add the zigzag effect. Then I'll add another one and resize that. I'll add a half screen circle here and maybe I'll round out the shape by adding a point and smoothing it out. Then I can go to "Object", "Path", "Offset Path" to make the same shape inset for the rind and the inside. I think this helps it read better as a watermelon. For the seeds, I'll use a square and round out these two points. Then I'll rotate and duplicate them. To finish, I will add a background color by making a square the size of the art board for each food. I think that looks great. Now we have four finished food illustrations. In the next video, I will show you fun ways to use these food illustrations. 9. Bonus! Prints, Stickers, Wallpapers: Now that we have all these food illustrations, we can turn them into fun things like stickers, prints, and wallpapers. To make a phone wallpaper, find the resolution of your phone and make a new document with that as the art board size. Copy the food you want to use from your original file and paste it into the new art board you made. I'll use the donut. You can center it and add a background color. I'm going to add a few sprinkles here and there. Okay, that looks pretty good. For another background, I can turn the donut into a pattern by going to Object, Pattern, Make. I'll change the options until I'm pretty happy with it. Then, I can make a rectangle the same size as my background and choose my pattern as the fill. There. Now we have two fun phone backgrounds. You can use the same technique to make wallpaper is for all your devices. For the print, decide what size you want it to be. A standard size you can print at home is eight inches by eight inches. I will set up a new file in CMYK and make the dimensions eight inches by eight inches. Then I will copy the foods one by one, and group them with their background and resize each one to four inches. If I align each one to the outer edges, I have this for a panel print. You can also make a smaller print if you want to frame it like this. Stickers can be made with sticker sheets at home or you can order die cut stickers and sticker packs online. For die cut stickers, I like to use Sticker App. Export the foods from your original file as PNGs with transparent backgrounds. When you upload them to the website, you can choose different materials like holographic or glitter. For sticker packs, I like to use MOO. MOO provides a template you can use to ensure that your sticker is print-ready. I'll use their template to make my sticker file. Make sure you fill your background with a solid color for the bleed. You don't want any accidental whitespace. Now you can stick your designs on anything. These are some fun ways to use your new illustrations. I hope you found this class helpful and I can't wait to see what you made. 10. You did it!: Congrats, you made it. We've covered everything from gathering our ideas to finishing an illustration. If there's one thing I hope you take away from this class, it's that shapes can be a powerful tool that can be used as building blocks for your work. Upload your project to the Projects Gallery on the class page so we can all take a look at your masterpiece. If you found this class helpful, I would appreciate your review and please follow my profile for upcoming classes. See you next time. Happy creating.