Simple and Stylish Monument Graphic Using Adobe Illustrator | Michelle Tabares | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Simple and Stylish Monument Graphic Using Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar Michelle Tabares, Cartoonist, Designer and Illustrator

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

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Sketching the Monument


    • 3.

      Setting Up Your Document


    • 4.

      Creating the Shapes


    • 5.

      Selecting Colors


    • 6.

      Applying Color


    • 7.

      Finishing Touches


    • 8.



    • 9.

      Closing Thoughts


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this lesson, I'm going to walk you through creating a clean and modern adaptation of a historical or national monument. This lesson will teach you how to take any intricately detailed building and stripping it down to it's base shapes - which can make an intimidating drawing subject much easier to render.

Since we will be creating this monument using Adobe Illustrator, you'll be able to scale your monument to whatever size you want thanks to the magic of vectors. Your monument will be both print and web ready and will look great both large and small.

This is also a great way to commemorate special trips or destinations that you hope to visit one day!

All music in this lesson is by DJ Quads:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Michelle Tabares

Cartoonist, Designer and Illustrator

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Michelle. [inaudible]. I'm an illustrator, cartoonist and Traveler based here in sunny Florida. Sometimes I think it can be a little bit intimidating to draw buildings, especially buildings with lots of detail. But what I've found is that with the power of Illustrator and using vector shapes, it can actually be pretty simple. So in this lesson, I want to demonstrate how you can make your own vector monument. If you're anything like me, you can sometimes be intimidated and daunted by massive buildings. It can be hard to draw in a way that is convincing. But in this lesson, I'm going to show you one easy method to create buildings using the power of vector shapes through Adobe Illustrator. This method is really simple and for the most part you're going to be working with very basic shapes like circles, squares, and triangles. The objective of this lesson is to demystify architecture drawing by breaking down a building to its key components, shapes. The truth is, is that once you've mastered this, you can apply this principle to pretty much anything. Since most things can be broken down to a series of triangles, squares or circles. I think that this is especially true when it comes to historical landmarks and monuments, because these buildings in particular stay with us. They are ingrained into to our memories since they often times are so massive and memorable. So in this video, I'm going to show you how you can articulate your favorite monument or historical landmark by breaking it down to its key shapes and components. You'll be amazed by how simple the process really is, and I'm so excited to show you how to do it. So whenever you're ready, let's head on over to the next video so we can begin working on our monument. 2. Sketching the Monument: Welcome back. In this video, we're going to begin penciling our chosen monument so that we can scan it in and later digitize it through illustrator. At the time of this recording, I've just come back from Germany. I was particularly inspired to do a German monument, so I chose the Reichstag. But for your own rendering, feel free to pick whatever monument inspires you. This sketch is not meant to be precise. I'm pretty roughly placing shapes where they should go without too much concern about precision. That's because this sketch is mainly meant to give us an idea of where things should go and how things look. We'll do more refinement later in illustrator. The key here is to just keep blocking in shapes. You're going to start out with your largest shapes first, and then as you start to get those in, you can move on to your medium-sized shapes and then towards the end of the drawing, or you'll move on to the smaller, somewhat more detailed shapes. Remember that it's okay to erase from time to time. Keep in mind that this sketch is meant to be rough and not perfect. There's no need to worry too much about erasing. Because this particular monument is symmetrical in design. I find that the easiest way to make sure that both sides look the same is by switching back and forth from side to side. For example, whenever I make a change on the left-hand side of the monument, I move right away to the right hand side of the monument and make the same change. This is to ensure that the shapes that I've just placed looks similar to one another and maintain symmetry. Off camera, I have a reference image of the Reichstag pulled up on my computer, and I'm checking it periodically throughout this recording to make sure that my sketch maintains a similar shape and integrity to the original. I highly recommend that you do the same. Since working with reference often yields much better results than working from memory. It's also okay to leave in minor mistakes. In this particular sketch. I only drew five columns at the center point of the Reichstag when really there should be six. That's okay. I've made a mental note of it and I'm going to fix that once were on illustrator. As long as you can keep track of the small things that you need to change, its all right If there's a couple of mistakes in the sketch. Now here is my finished sketch of the Reichstag. You can see here, it's pretty rough and it's even slightly lopsided. But once again, I'm not too worried about this because my main goal was to make my sketch looked like the Reichstag. I think that this sketch achieves just that. Now that I've completed my sketch, I'm going to go ahead and scan this into my computer and then open it up on illustrator. In the next video, we're going to be firing up illustrator and we're going to begin placing the shapes onto our penciled line work. I will see you there. 3. Setting Up Your Document: In this video, we're going to set up our Illustrator document. After you've scanned your pencils into your computer, you're going to open up Illustrator and create a new document. I'm going to go ahead and begin by naming this new document. We're going to name this document Reichstag, since that is the name of the monument that I've chosen. Next, let us head over to the orientation. I'm going to pick a landscape orientation since my particular monument is more wide than it is tall. But if you are say, doing Big Ben, or Tokyo Tower, or any other type of monument that is more tall than wide, you will pick portrait. In terms of the width and height of your document, you can pick really whatever you are most comfortable with. Since our finished monument will be scalable, you'll be able to make it as large or as small as you want. For me, I think I'm going to go ahead and make my document six inches by 4.25, which is a standard postcard size. In the event that you are going to print out your monument once it's completed, it is helpful to set up some rulers, and I would recommend giving yourself at least a half inch margin. That way if you do print out your document, there will be no clipping. Let's go ahead and drag our guidelines down from the rulers, and let's go ahead and drag down that final guideline. Another thing that you can do with the help of the ruler tool in the guides, is to help place down some lines. For example, if I wanted to please a horizon line on my document that will go right here, say I wanted to make sure that my lines on the outer side of my Reichstag were straight, I could just go ahead and pull those there, like so. Although I'm not going to be doing that in this particular tutorial, if you're feeling a little hesitant about your lines, and you want to make sure that everything is symmetrical, it looks right, this is a good way to do so. Since I don't plan on using these particular guidelines, I'm going to go ahead and get rid of them. Your document is set up and it's ready for its vector shapes now. Without further ado, let's head on over to the next video, so we can begin placing the shapes for our monument. I'll see you there. 4. Creating the Shapes: Welcome back. In this video, we're going to begin placing the shapes, over our pencil of line-art. Let's start off by creating a separate layer, and I'm going to go ahead and call this layer shapes. Layer one will contain our pencil sketch, and I'm going to lock it so that it doesn't move, and it stays in place while I put all of the shapes on top. I'm going to reduce the opacity to my shapes, and make them semi-transparent. This way, as I add more and more shapes, I'll still be able to see the pencils underneath. Another thing I recommend is, especially if you're working with a building that has a lot of symmetry in it, you're going to want to copy and paste a lot. That way, you can ensure that whatever shapes are on your left-hand side are symmetrical to the shapes on your right-hand side as well. As you can see, I'm continuing to place mostly rectangles, and I think that's one of the really great things about this exercise. A lot of times we can be really daunted and intimidated by these massive and intricately detailed buildings and architecture. But really when you break any building down to its key components and its main shapes, you'll find that pretty much anything can be broken down to a series of squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles. When you approach drawing buildings that way it becomes much less intimidating. In some cases though, I will be drawing in custom shapes using the pen tool, and as you can see right now, I'm going ahead and doing that with the stairs. But even still, this is a pretty basic trapezoid shape. Not too difficult or scary at all. To make sure that your lines are straight when using the pen tool, be sure to hold down shift. Once again, instead of drawing another triangle and guessing on the shape, I'm just copy pasting it, reflecting the shape, and then placing it where it belongs. Doing that also will save you a lot of time. As we turn off the pencil layer to get a sense of the shapes, we can already see that in just a couple of minutes, this building is beginning to flesh out and it's starting to take the form of the Reichstag. Now I'm going to go ahead and also create another shape which will show a sense of depth for this top left-hand square. Once again, I'm just copy pasting it, reflecting it, and then adding it to the corresponding square on the right-hand side. Now we're going to focus on the pillars of this building. As you can see, I've copy pasted some squares to create the base of the pillars, I'm putting them in the right spots. Now we're basically just going in and copy pasting the columns for the pillars. It's okay, if the spacing is not totally 100 percent perfect, since we will be doing some further refinements later on. This stage is more just making sure that you have all of the shapes necessary. Don't worry about getting everything precisely in place yet. Again, we're just continuing to copy and paste shapes in. Hopefully you can see that the process itself is actually fairly simple. I'm not very pleased with the circle shape that I have put in as a placeholder for the dome of the Reichstag, so I'm going in with my pen tool and just creating a half circle shape that not only visually looks better, but will also be easier to edit and work with later. Again, remember that the pen tool is your friend and it's definitely helpful when it comes to creating slightly more complicated shapes. Now we're creating the triangle that will go in the very center of the building, and to create an inset look, I'm copy pasting the same triangle, making it slightly smaller and putting it inside the first triangle. I'm making this particular triangle yellow, so that I can see it a little easier since some of these shapes are a bit too dark to make out. Keep in mind, we're going to change all of these colors later on. This is just to get a feel of roughly where things should be placed. It doesn't have to be perfect or even very pretty at this point. I've gone ahead and made a cut in the video and I've added a few extra details off camera. Now that we've got our base shapes in place, we're just going back and putting in some final shapes to go in and add extra detail, such as the railing that I'm adding along these staircases. To make sure once again that this triangle and the line is symmetrical, I'm just going ahead and copy pasting it to ensure that they're the same on both sides. There's two statues on either side of the dome of the Reichstag. Since I want this to be a very simple and minimalistic graphic, I don't want to get too detailed with statues, so instead, I'm just going to roughly suggest the statues by creating shapes to go on either side of the dome. Now I'm just going ahead and adding some trim for these top towers that are on the right and left-hand side of the building. Now I'm adding the flag posts for the top of each tower, and I'm going to be adding the flag later on, since I haven't quite decided how I want to execute the flags yet. Finally, we're just going to go ahead and place the steps for the staircase. To ensure a sense of depth, I'm making the steps that are further away, thinner in width, and closer together. Here's the shapes of our Reichstag completed. Why don't we head on over to the next video where we will be working on selecting a color palette for our building. I'll see you there. 5. Selecting Colors: Welcome back. In this video, we're going to determine a color palette for our monument. My monument is still at a reduced opacity, but I've changed its base color to a bright neon green. In this video, I'm going to show you how to create a color palette that revolves around one color, in this case, that color is going to be this bright neon green. Now, I could go with a more traditional color palette, but I want to make this monument look more funky and modern. That's why I've decided to center my color palette around this bright citrus neon color. As you can see below my monument, I have some blank squares here, which will eventually be the other colors in the palette. Since I've already determined that I want this bright neon green to be one of the colors in my palette, I need to make sure that the five other colors will complement this bright neon green. Let's start off with the first square and the abbreviation stands for neutral light. I don't want this palette to be overly saturated with bright colors, so I'm going to make sure that there are three neutral colors to tone down the bright neon. Neutrals tend to be desaturated colors that tend to go well with almost any other color. I've decided already that I want my neutrals to be shades of gray. More specifically, blue, cool toned gray, which will complement the neon green. I've gone ahead and picked my lightest neutral shade, and since it's a little bit too blue for my liking, I'm going to go ahead and e-saturate it a little bit more so that it's more gray than blue. Once I'm happy with that shade, I'm going to copy and then paste that square onto my neutral midtone section. The reason why I'm doing that is so that it allows me to better compare the new midtone shade to the previous light shade. As you can see on the color picker, it will show you your previous shade, which is the lighter color on the bottom, and the new shade that you're trying to create on the top. This allows me to see how these two work together, how similar they are. If I need to make any changes. Once I'm happy with that new shade, I'm just going to repeat the process, copy and paste, and begin with my neutral dark shade. These shades of gray not only work really well with the neon that I've already chosen, but they also give me room to add another bit of color. For the last two colors, abbreviated them to mean, old light and old dark. These colors are meant to be, not quite as bright as my neon, but still brighter than my neutral tones. I'm quite decided what I want to go for in my bold colors. I have quite a few options for my final two colors that would work well with the neon and the neutrals. I could go with more of a yellow color, perhaps more of a red, or even a pink or purple. I like how this green looks, but I worry that it would be too similar to the neon. After some careful consideration, I eventually decide to go with a dark teal, which is a good midpoint between the neutral blue-gray and then neon green. Now that I've settled on this dark teal color, the last color will be a lighter, brighter teal, which is probably a little bit more similar to the original neon that we selected. I do apologize, it does seem as though the two last colors are mislabeled. The fifth color should be bold dark, and the last color should be bold light. But the main point is to show you how this is a pretty easy method of creating an entire color palette that is cohesive and looks good based on just one originally chosen color. If you are interested in learning more about color theory, how color harmonizes with one another and if you want to learn another method of creating a color palette, I have an entire class devoted to the subject called exploring color, color theory and application which I highly recommend if you are at all interested in learning more about choosing colors and determining which colors go well with one another and why. Now that we've determined our color palette, let's go ahead and move on to the next video, where we will be incorporating this new color palette into our shapes and creating a funky modern Reichstag. Whenever you're ready, let's head on to the next video. 6. Applying Color: Welcome back. In this video, we are going to implement our newly chosen color palette into our monument. Let's start off by selecting the entire monument. Then we're going to go ahead and take the color picker tool and make the entire monument the neutral midtone gray that we've previously selected. I'm also going to keep the shapes semi-transparent just because some shapes are sitting on top of others and I want to be able to see them clearly before for increasing the opacity. The reason why I'm making all of these shapes the neutral midtone gray color, is because that's the main color that we're going to be working with here. I'm using the most. Now I'm going to go ahead and shift click to select all of the Windows in the monument. I'm going to make them the darker teal color. By shift clicking and selecting multiple shapes, you can color more than one shape at a time which makes the coloring process much faster and more efficient. I'm also trying to create a balance between the various tones of gray, so that there is more of a contrast, and so that you get more of a sense of depth. Since I want the center to be the focal point, I'm placing in that bright teal behind the pillars so that it pops and brings your eye straight in. While I like the teal as a focal point, I really do want to incorporate that neon instead since even more eye-catching. Instead of the teal that we originally used, I'm going to go ahead and put the neon instead to create the focal point for the centerpiece of the Reichstag. Now I'm going to go ahead and shift select, all of the shapes that I want to be the darkest gray neutral color. Once again, shift selecting is going to save you tons of time. I highly recommend that you utilize that feature. That's really what this coloring process entails. Dropping in colors, seeing what works, and making changes if necessary. To create more of a sense of depth, I've made the right and the left side of the buildings much darker so that the center of the Reichstag looks as though it is closer. As it turns out, this actually was in keeping with the reference image that I was looking at where the center is where the building is at its lightest. Now I'm going ahead and adding some additional shapes just to create a little more depth and intrigue and pushing it further back so that this particular line looks as though it is casting a shadow. I'm pulling the pullers forward. After double-checking with my reference, I've noticed that these particular shapes should be a little darker. I'm going ahead and darkening those and sending them further back into the image plane. Finally, we're going to go ahead and finish up the stairs. The trick to that is just picking one large pyramid shape and then laying some darker lines which gives the illusion of steps that are going upwards. You also want to make the lines further back thinner to make it look as though they are further away from you. Now our monument has been colored. I'm pretty pleased with the color choices. In the next video, we're going to further refine our monuments so that everything is clean and symmetrical. I will see you there in the next video. 7. Finishing Touches: Hello and welcome back. In this video, we're going to go over some final finishing touches to really complete our monument and make it look its best. Let's start off by adding the flags. Since the colors of the German flag are not in my color palette, I've decided to go with a more artistic interpretation of the flags. Rather than going for realism here, I'm just going to convey the flags as simple rectangles that are neon green. Of course, this is just my personal interpretation of the flags and feel free to make them more accurate if that's what you prefer. Now you may have noticed that there is one color in our palate that we haven't used yet, which is the very last one, the teal. My plan is to have a teal outline that will go around the entire Reichstag which will add, again a sense of depth and also an extra pop of color. I'm going to do that by going ahead and selecting the entire monument. Copy and pasting it, sending it backwards so that it is behind the monument, and then making sure that this new selection is entirely teal. This new outline that we've created and has to be bigger than the original Reichstag. Otherwise, it will just fall directly behind the building and it will be hard to see. You could leave the outline like this if you wanted to, but I want the width of the outline to be consistent. In order to do that, I'm going to go ahead and reduce the areas where the outline is too thick. Go ahead and take some time, make the outline larger in the places where it is too thin. Now I've just cut the camera away so that we can get a closer look. As you can see, I've done some work and right now our outline is looking a lot more consistent throughout. Now I'm going to spend a little bit of time really zooming in and making sure everything looks more or less correct and just making little changes here and there. Here we have a tiny bit of our outline peeking through. I'm just going to go ahead and cover that up, since I want this building to look as solid as possible. So far I'm pretty happy with it. It looks like the building is complete. I'm just going to go ahead and delete the pallet now that we don't need it anymore. Remember that this monument is scalable. You can make it as small, or as large as you want for your needs, whether it's print or web and it will look good and consistent no matter what. You can also create a background if you like, either using a color that exists in your palate or maybe even a new color that compliments the colors that are already in your palate. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome so far and it looks like we're done here. Thank you so much for joining me on this video. Why don't we head on over to the next video where we're going to wrap up with some closing thoughts. 8. Assignment: Welcome to your assignment video. Now that I have demonstrated for you how to create a digitized minimalistic monument graphic from scratch, I want you to go ahead and start working on your own. I want you to start taking some time to really think about different historical landmarks and monuments that peak your interest. There are so many that are great. Here's a couple of suggestions, but feel free to do your own research and figure out which monuments speaks to you the most. Big Ben, the Parthenon, the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower, Angkor Wat, and the Statue of Liberty. Keep in mind that all of the monuments that I've just mentioned, even though they come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, they can all be broken down to the same process that we used today. You can build all of these monuments by using a combination of mostly circles, squares, and triangles. If you get stuck along the way or if you have any questions whatsoever, please don't hesitate to reach out because I'm here to help you. Remember that this monument graphic is meant to be a simplified version, so don't get too hung up on very intricate details. Also don't forget to pick a color palette using the exercise that we learned today, by picking one base color and then selecting three neutrals, a light, medium and dark. Then two bold colors that compliment your chosen color. I can't wait to see all of your monuments. I'm sure they're going to be fantastic. Thanks so much for tuning into the assignment video. Whenever you're ready, let's move on to the next. 9. Closing Thoughts: Thank you so much for joining me on this lesson and creating a monument together with me. I hope that this class was beneficial and fun for you. I also hope that through this process you've seen that even very large daunting, menacing-looking buildings can be simplified and broken down to their key components so that anyone can articulate them in a way that is meaningful and unique to them. Particularly, how you can break down pretty much any massive building or any drawing subject to its base key components. I think this is an important takeaway because this enforces the idea that anyone can do this. I hope this process was simple and straightforward for you. Once again, don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or comments whatsoever. I really appreciate you taking the time to watch this video, and I really enjoyed making this class for you. I hope to see you again soon. Take care and please have fun articulating your monuments on Illustrator. Bye bye.