How to create a fun summer illustration in Adobe Illustrator

By Ivan Petrusevski 3 years ago

It’s summer time – one of the most inspiring seasons. We can combine the warm sunny colors with cool sea shades and create a perfect summer themed illustration which we can use on many mediums and occasions. In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a symmetrical illustrated banner.

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS6
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Topics Covered: Character Building, Pathfinder abilities
  • Estimated Completion Time: 50 Minutes

1. Draw a sketch

Step 1

Create a new document. Set the width to 1000 pixels and the height to 300 pixels.


Step 2

We will use only one half of the artboard, do the design on it and then mirror it on the other half. Using the guides, try to divide it in order to understand what portion of the artboard you will need.


Step 3

You can sketch directly on the art board, or import a scanned sketch.

At the center of the art board, draw a smiled circle, which will later be transformed into a sun.

We will need few smaller drawings on the left side of the sun. Try to keep the composition flow as if the sun radiates the drawings. I did few objects – a popsicle, a sun shade, a slice of lemon, a sea shell, an inflatable ball, flip flops, sunglasses, a slice of watermelon and few starfishes.


2. Draw the objects

To build our illustrated elements, we will use mostly the basic shape tools such as the Rectangle Tool, the Rounded Rectangle Tool, the Ellipse Tool and the Star Tool. We can keep the color palette pastel and summerish.

Step 1 – Sun

Let’s start with the sun. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw a pale yellow circle. Then, do another slightly bigger orange one, behind it. Add the eyes and the mouth and add another pale yellow circle behind it.


Step 2

Let’s make one winked eye. Draw a slightly bigger circle then the eye itself, and cover the lower part of the eye. Using the Pathfinder Panel , select them both and use the Minus Front command. You have one winked eye sun now.


Step 3 – Popsicle

Let’s construct the popsicle.
Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, do one blue vertical rounded rectangle. Using the Pathfinder Panel, remove the bottom of the rectangle. Then add another yellow rectangle in the middle and another red rounded rectangle at the top. Finally, add the popsicles stick – just do one thin rounded rectangle, color it orange and arrange it to the back of the drawing. Add eyes and mouth at the bottom blue layer of the popsicle.


Step 4 – Lemon

Let’s draw a slice of lemon.
Draw two concentric circles, a yellow and an orange one. Using the Rectangle Tool, draw three thin rectangles and arrange them in a snowflake shape. Place them over the yellow circle, copy the circle and paste it in front (Control + F). Select them both and use the Intersect command from the Pathfinder’s panel. You will get a perfect slice of a vector lemon.


Step 5 – Sun glasses

Construct the sunglasses. Do two identical ellipses. Cut the top part and add one small rectangle between them. Do another smaller pair of half ellipses inside them and color them dark blue.


Step 6

Create few vertical rectangles and rotate them a bit to the right. Position them over the dark blue half ellipses. Merge the rectangles (Control + 8). Copy the dark blue parts and paste them in front (Control + F). Select the rectangles and the dark blue half ellipses and use the Intersect command from the Pathfinder Panel.


Step 7 – Flip Flops

Now let’s do the flip flops. We will just do one, and duplicate it once we are done.

Draw a beige rounded rectangle. Duplicate it, color it red and arrange it behind the beige one.

Draw three thin rectangles and arrange them in a star manner. Use the Unite command from the Pathfinder’s panel to merge the. Then, move them over the beige rounded rectangle. Select them both and use the Pathfinder’s Intersect command. You now have one flip flop. Duplicate it and position it next to the original one.


Step 8 – Inflatable ball

We can start constructing the inflatable ball. Draw a vertical rectangle. Go to Effects>Warp>Bulge. Enter 19 as a Bend value and click OK. The rectangle will look bloated. Select it and go to Object>Expand Appearance.


Step 9

Draw a red circle. Add a blue half circle on top of it. Then do an orange circle in front of the red one and cut in half. Add the beige shape we did in the previous step and position it in front of the orange half circle. Use the pathfinder to adjust it to the round shape.


Step 10 – Beach Umbrella

Drawing the beach umbrella can be easier than you think. Draw two rectangles, one light and one dark blue. Duplicate them a couple of times and arrange them one next to the another. Group them (Control + G).


Step 11

Select the group of blue rectangles and go to Effect>Warp>Arc. At the dialog box, select Vertical orientation and enter 100 as the value of the vertical distortion. Click OK. Now you have the top part of the sun shade.


Step 12

Make yellow and red half circles and arrange them at the bottom of blue part. Add one vertical rectangle as the umbrellas pole.


Step 13 – Watermelon

Moving on to the watermelon part. Draw one beige circle, cut it in half. Do another slightly smaller one, color it red and place it inside the first circle. Use the Ellipse Tool to draw tiny dark grey ellipses and arrange them over the red part, to look like they are the watermelon seeds.


Step 14 – Starfish

To create the starfish, we will use the Star Tool. Select the star Tool and click anywhere at the artboard. A dialog box will appear. In it, enter 25 pixels as Radius 1 value, 100 pixels as the Radius 2 value, and 5 as the Points value.


Step 15

Select the star shape and go to Object>Path>Offset Path. Enter 10 pixels as the Offset value and select Round Joins. Click OK. You will get a nice star with rounded edges.


Step 16

Create around 20 tiny pink circles and randomly arrange them at the top of the star.


Step 17 – Seashell

In order to create our final element – the sea shell, we will need to combine five ellipses.

Draw five ellipses and rotate them in different, gradual positions where the central one will be vertical. Push them towards the central one and group them. Draw four simple shapes to add detail to the shell.


Step 17 – Drops

We will need few simple shapes so we can fill some gaps in the design later. Let’s do three different types of drops, combining a circle and rectangle or bent triangle. Once you are done, group (Control + G) each drop.


Now we have all of the elements we need to compose this summer illustration. Let’s start arranging them on the left side of the artboard!


3. Compose the illustration

Step 1

Arrange few of the objects on the left half of the art board. Let’s say, the watermelon, the inflatable ball, the popsicle, the lemon slice, the beach umbrella and the sea shell. Arrange them as if the sun exploded and they came out of it, in a radial manner.


Step 2

Add the rest of the objects. Arrange them between the first batch of objects we did in the previous step.


Step 3

We can easily fill the gaps by adding the drops shapes we did. Arrange them around the popsicle, as if it’s melting.


Step 4

Finally, fill the rest of the gaps by adding simple circle shapes. They can vary in size and color. Place them on the empty spots between the objects, so they will fill the gaps and the design will look compact and nice.


Step 5

Once you are done with the left half, group it (Control + G). Then duplicate the group and move it to the other half of the artboard. Right click on it and go to Transform > Reflect. From the dialog box, choose the Vertical Axis. Click OK.


Step 6

After you flip the group, position it same as the other half, only mirrored.



Congrats, you are done! We managed to make this fun summer illustration by working hard on half of the artboard and then we just used it and mirrored it on the other half.

You can find many uses of this design. You can print it out as header banner for your own stationary, print it out on a mug, a t-shirt design…you name it!
Here is a great example of it as a header on a stationary.


You can download the mockup at Freepik.


Reply to Mediana Graphic

Mediana Graphic
Mediana Graphic

3 years ago

it's very usefull :)