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Create a Set of Bicycle Icons

How to Set Up a New Document

As we do with all of our projects, we’ll start by setting up a New Document (File > New or Control + N) which we will adjust using the following settings:

  • Width: 800 px
  • Height: 600 px
  • Units: Pixels

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color Mode: RGB
  • Raster Effects: Screen (72 ppi)

We’re going to be creating the icons using a Pixel Perfect Workflow, so I highly recommend you take a moment and read this in depth tutorial (http://www.freepik.com/blog/how-to-create-pixel-perfect-icons/) that will get you up to speed in no time.

How to Set Up the Layers

Once I have my new document, I like to separate my assets using a couple of different layers, since this way I can streamline my workflow by focusing on one item at a time, which allows me to keep track of each and every shape at all time.

So, open up the Layers panel, and let’s create a total of four layers which we will name as follows:

  • Layer 1 > reference grids
  • Layer 2 > road bike
  • Layer 3 > bmx bike
  • Layer 4 > city bike

The way we’re going to be using these layers within our workflow is pretty easy. We’ll want to lock all except the one that we will be working on, so that we won’t move or misplace some of the shapes by accident. Then, once we’re done with the current icon, we can then lock its layer and move on up to the next one.

How to Create the Reference Grids

As soon as we’ve layered our project file, we can start creating the reference grids, which will help us create our icons by focusing on size and consistency.

Step 1

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 128x128 px square, which we will color using #F15A24, and then position it to the center of the Artboard using the Align panel’s Horizontal and Vertical Align Center options.

Step 2

Create another smaller 120x120 px square, which will act as the active drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4 px padding. Color the shape using white (#FFFFFF) and then group the squares (Control + G), and use them to create the remaining grids by making two side copies (Control + C > Control + F two times), which we will distance at 40 px from the original.

Once you’re done creating and positioning the reference grids, you can lock their layer, and then move on up to the next one, where we’ll start working on our first icon.

How to Create the Road Bike Icon

Assuming you’ve positioned yourself onto the next layer (that would be the second one), let’s kick off the project by creating the first icon.

Step 1

Start working on the foreground line, by creating the left segment using a 20 px wide 4 px thick Stroke (#3F3330), with a Round Cap, which we will position at a distance of 2 px from the active drawing area’s left edge, and 26 px from its bottom one.

Step 2

Add the smaller segment using a 4 px wide 4 px thick Stroke line (#3F3330), which we will position at a distance of 36 px from the previously created path.

Step 3

Finish off the foreground, by adding the third line segment which we will create using a 40 px wide 4 px thick Stroke (#3F3330), which we will position onto the right side of the active drawing area, at a distance of just 4 px from outer edge. Once you’re done, select and group all three segments together using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

Step 4

Start working on the rear wheel, by creating its tire section using a 44x44 px circle with a 4 px thick Stroke (#3F3330), which we will position on top of the foreground, aligning it to the active drawing area’s left edge.

Step 5

Add the rim section using a smaller 34x34 px circle with a 2 px thick Stroke (#3F3330), which we will center align to the previously created shape.

Step 6

Create the hub section using a 12x12 px circle, which we will color using #F9BB5A, and then center align to the previously created shapes. Once you’re done, select and group (Control + G) all three composing shapes together, before moving on to the next step.

Step 7

Create the front wheel using a copy (Control + C > Control + F) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will position onto the other side of the active drawing area, making sure to align it to its outer edge as seen in the reference image.

Step 8

Start working on the bike’s frame, by creating a 36x32 px rectangle with a 4 px thick Stroke (#3F3330) and a Round Join, which we will position by aligning its bottom-left anchor point to the center of the rear wheel’s hub.

Step 9

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created, by selecting its top anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then pushing them tot the right side by a distance of 20 px using the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > 20 px).

Step 10

Create the seat and head tubes using a 36x40 px rectangle with a 4 px thick Stroke (#3F3330), which we will adjust by selecting and pushing its bottom anchor points to the right side by a distance of 20 px (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > 20 px). Once you’re done, position the resulting shape by aligning its bottom-right anchor point to the front wheel’s hub, so that they overlap the frame as seen in the reference image.

Step 11

Open up the path of the shape that we’ve just created, by adding a new anchor point to the center of its top and bottom edge using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and then immediately selecting and removing them by pressing Delete.

Step 12

Take a couple of moments and draw the stem and handlebar segments, by extending the head tube’s path as seen in the reference image, making sure to set the Stroke’s Cap and Jointo Round.

Step 13

Round up the the handlebar by selecting its right anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then setting their Radius to 4 px from within the Live Corners input box.

Step 14

Select the seat tube’s path, and then adjust its shape by setting its Cap to Round from withing the Stroke panel.

Step 15

Start working on the seat, by creating an 8x8 px circle, which we will color using #F9BB5A, and then position at a distance of 32 px from the active drawing area’s left edge, and 26 px from its top one.

Step 16

Start adjusting the shape that we’ve just created by selecting its right anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then pushing it to the right side by a distance of 12 px using the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > 12 px).

Step 17

Continue adjusting the resulting shape by selecting and repositioning its anchor points’ handles until you get a shape similar to the one from the reference image.

Step 18

Start working on the pedal gear, by creating its main body using a 12x12 px circle, which we will color using #F9BB5A, and then position onto the lower section of the frame as seen in the reference image.

Step 19

Give the shape that we’ve just created an outline using the Stroke method, by creating a copy of it (Control + C) which we will paste in front (Control + F), and then adjust by first changing its color to #3F3330 and then flipping its Fill with its Stroke (Shift + X). Set the resulting shape’s Weight to 4 px, making sure to select and group the two together afterwards using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

Step 20

Start working on the right pedal, by creating its crank arm using a 13 px tall, 2 px thick Stroke (#3F3330) with a Round Cap, which we will position so that its top anchor point is aligned to the center of the gear’s fill shape.

Step 21

Add the pedal using a 6x2 px rounded rectangle (#3F3330) with a 1 pxCorner Radius, which we will position to the center of the crank arm’s bottom anchor point. Once you’re done, select and group (Control + G) the two together before moving on to the next step.


Step 22

Finish off the bicycle and with it the icon itself, by adding the left pedal assembly using a copy (Control + C > Control + F) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will horizontally reflect (right click > Transform > Reflect > Horizontal), and then position onto the upper side of the gear. Position the copy underneath the gear (right click > Arrange > Send to Back) selecting and grouping (Control + G) all its composing shapes together, doing the same for the bike and the entire icon afterwards.

How to Create the BMX Bike Icon

Assuming you’ve successfully finished working on the first icon, lock its layer and then move on to the next one (that would be the third one), where we will focus on creating our second bicycle.

Step 1

Start by creating the foreground using a copy (Control + C > Control + F) of the one from the previous icon, which we will paste onto the current layer, aligning it to empty active drawing area.

Step 2

Create the rear wheel using a smaller 40x40 px circle with a 4 px thick Stroke (#3F3330) for its tire, a 30x30 px,2 px thick circle (#3F3330) for the rim and a 12x12 px circle (#F9BB5A) for the hub. Once you have all three shapes, group (Control + G) and then position them onto the foreground, aligning them to the active drawing area’s left edge as seen in the reference image.

Step 3

Add the bike’s front wheel using a copy (Control + C > Control + F) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will position onto the opposite side of the active drawing area.

Step 4

Start working on the frame by creating a 32x20 px rectangle with a 4 px thick Stroke (#3F3330), which we will position by aligning its bottom-left anchor point to the center of the rear wheel’s hub.

Step 5

Start adjusing the geometry of the frame that we’ve just created by selecting its top-right anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then pushing it to the right by a distance of 34 px and to the top by a smaller 8 px (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > 34 px > Vertical > -8 px).

Step 6

Continue adjusting the shape, by selecting and pushing its top-left anchor point to the right side by a distance of 24 px (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > 24 px).

Step 7

Draw the seat tube using a 30 px tall diagonal Stroke line (#3F3330) with a Round Cap, making sure to connect the lower-right section of the frame to the upper-left one as seen in the reference image.

Step 8

Take a couple of moments and draw the bike’s fork and handlebar assembly using a 4 px thick Stroke line (#3F3330) with a Round Cap, starting from the center of the front wheel’s hub, going all the way up as seen in the reference image. Take your time, and once you’re done move on up to the next step.

Step 9

Create the seat using a copy (Control + C) of the one from the previous bike, which we will paste onto the current layer (Control + F), and then position at a distance of 34 px from the active drawing area’s left edge, and 40 px from its top one.

Step 10

Adjust the seat’s shape, by selecting and pushing its right anchor point to the top by a distance of 4 px (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > -4 px), repositioning its handles until you get a result similar to that from the reference image.

Step 11

Finish off the bike and with it the icon itself, by adding the pedaling assembly using a copy (Control + C) of the one from the previous icon, which we will paste (Control + F) onto the current layer, positioning it to the center of the frame’s bottom-right anchor point. Once you’re done, select and group (Control + G) all of the bike’s composing sections, doing the same for the entire icon afterwards.

How to Create the City Bike Icon

Assuming you’ve finished working on the second icon, move on up to the next layer (that would be the fourth one) where we’ll start working on our third and last one.

Step 1

Since the city bike is pretty similar to the road one, we’re going to make a copy (Control + C) of the later, which we will paste (Control + F) onto the current layer, positioning it onto the third active drawing area.

Step 2

Ungroup (right click > Ungroup twice) the duplicate that we’ve just created, and then start adjusting the bike’s geometry by selecting and removing its frame’s upper-right anchor point as seen in the reference image.

Step 3

Grab the Pen Tool (P) and connect the frame to the head tube by drawing a curved path, following the shape of the wheel’s tire. Take your time, and once you’re done move on to the next step.

Step 4

Start working on the handlebar, by selecting and removing the current one’s right facing anchor points, and then drawing a new one oriented towards the inside of the bike’s frame.

Step 5

Add the little decorative string segment using a 9 px tall 2 px thick Strokeline (#F9BB5A) with a Round Cap, which we will position underneath the handlebar (right click > Arrange > Send to Back), at a distance of just 2 px from its left edge. Take your time, and once you’re done select and group (Control + G) the two together before moving on to the next step.

Step 6

Start working on the bike’s carrier rack, by drawing its main shape using a 2 px thick Stroke (#3F3330) with a Round Cap and Join. Use the reference image as your main guide, making sure to draw the diagonal lines paralel with the seat tube.

Step 7

Finish off the rack and with it the icon itself by adding its upper section using a 20x3 px rectangle with a 2 px thick Stroke (#3F3330) with a Round Join, which we will position on top of the shape that we’ve just drawn. Once you have the shape in place, select and group (Control + G) the two together, doing the same for all of the bike’s composing sections and the entire icon afterwards.

Time to Pedal!

Congrats on an awesome job! As always, I hope you’ve managed to keep up with each and every step, and most importantly learned something new and useful during the process.

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Andrei Stefan
Andrei Stefan
Andrei StefanTeacher

Just another young gun coffee fanatic from Europe, designing colorful worlds one pixel at a time. When I'm not “making stuff” you can usually find me at my place, flipping news and catching up on all the crazy things happening in both the tech and design realms.

To learn more, visit http://www.andrewrosek.com

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