How to create a geometric food ilustration in Adobe Illustrator

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In today’s tutorial, we’re going to learn how to create a nice geometric composition, using nothing more than some simple geometric shapes, that most of you probably deal with on a daily basis. That being said, fire up Illustrator and let’s get started.

1. How to Create a New Document

As with any new project, start by creating up a New Document (File > New or Control-N) which we will set up as follows:

  • Number of Artboards: 1
  • Width: 800 px
  • Height: 600 px
  • Units: Pixels

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color Mode: RGB
  • Raster Effects: Screen (72 ppi)
  • Align New Objects to Pixel Grid: checked

We’re going to be creating the shapes using a Pixel Perfect Workflow, so I recommend you take a moment and read this in depth tutorial on how to create Pixel Perfect Icons, which even though describes the process for creating icons, can be easily applied to illustrations as well.

1-setting-up-a-new-document

Quick tip: most of these settings can be triggered automatically by setting the Profile to Web, the only ones that won’t are the Width and Height of your document’s Artboard.

2. How to Organize Your Project

Next, we need to take a couple of moments and structure our project by separating each section of the illustration on its own layer, so that we can access and edit them faster without worrying about moving or adjusting another one by mistake.

To do this, simply open up the layers panel, and create seven new layers, which we will rename as follows:

  • layer 1 > background
  • layer 2 > bottle
  • layer 3 > cheese
  • layer 4 > milk box
  • layer 5 > salami
  • layer 6 > olive
  • layer 7 > tomato
  • layer 8 > egg

As you can see, I’ve given each layer a short descriptive name / label so that I can quickly locate my assets when I need to, by simply taking a look at their name. This is a common practice that I use all the time, and I really encourage you to try and apply it to any project that you might come across since it will save you a lot of time when dealing with complex compositions.

2-setting-up-the-layers

Now, the way we’re going to be using these layers in our workflow is pretty easy. We’re going to lock all layers except the one that we will be working on, so that we won’t move or misplace some of the shapes by accident.

3. How to Create the Background

As soon as we’ve finished organizing our new project, we can position ourselves onto the first layer, and start working on our little background.

Step 1

Select the Pen Tool (P) and draw a 28 px wide line segment, using a 8 px thick stroke with the color set to #2B2525 and the Cap to round, and then position at a distance of 106 px from the left side of the Artboard at exactly 122 px from its bottom edge.

3-creating-and-positioning-the-backgrounds-line-section

Step 2

With the first line segment in place, add another wider 518 px one (#2B2525) followed by a smaller 2 px one (#2B2525), distancing them at 16 px from one another using the Align panel, making sure to select and group (Control-G) all three of them afterwards.

4-adding-the-rest-of-the-line-segments-to-the-background

Step 3

With the first line segment in place, add a 456 x 456 px circle which we will color using #DBDBDB, and then position underneath (right click > Arrange > Send to Back) so that a small surface of its lower section gets overlapped by the line.

5-creating-and-positioning-the-circle-to-the-background

Step 4

Since we want the lower bottom section that overlaps the line segment to be hidden, we will use a 456 x 372 px rectangle (highlighted with orange) as a Clipping Mask, and then with both it and the underlying circle selected right click > Make Clipping Mask.

6-masking-the-upper-section-of-the-backgrounds-circle

Step 5

Once you’ve masked the circle, you can lock the current layer and move on to the next one, where we are going to see start working on the bottle.

7-locking-the-current-layer-and-moving-up-to-the-next-one

4. How to Create the Bottle

With the background finished, we can now start working on the first element of our composition, which is a regular kefir bottle. As you will see, we actually have a clear hierarchy set up by the layers, since we’re going to work our way from the back of the illustration to the front by adding each new asset in front of the previous one.

Step 1

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create the bottle’s main shape using a 124 x 312 rectangle, which we will color using #EFE0DC and then position onto the upper half of the line segment, at exactly 130 px from its left edge.

8-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-kefir-bottles-body

Step 2

With the shape selected, use the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) to add two pairs of side anchor points, one at 14 px from its top edge, and another one at 66 px.

9-adjusting-the-kefir-bottles-main-shape-by-adding-two-pairs-of-side-anchor-points

Step 3

Adjust the overall shape of the bottle, by individually selecting and pushing the top two side anchor points towards the inside by 24 px with the help of the Move Tool (right click > Transform > Move > + / – 24 px depending on which side the anchors reside on).

10-adjusting-the-kefir-bottles-main-shape-by-pushing-its-top-side-anchor-points-towards-the-inside

Step 4

Smoothen out the transition between the upper section of the bottle and its lower body, by individually selecting the center pairs of anchor points, and adjusting their handles until you get a nice organic line.

11-adjusting-the-kefir-bottles-main-shape-using-the-side-anchor-points-handles

Step 5

Add a 76 x 8 px rectangle to the upper edge of the bottle, which we will turn into a subtle shadow by setting its color to #999999.

12-adding-the-subtle-shadow-to-the-upper-section-of-the-kefir-bottle

Step 6

Give the bottle an outline by creating a copy after it (Control-C) and pasting it in place (Control-F) flipping (Control-X) its fill with an 8 px thick stroke (#2B2525) afterwards, making sure to set the Corner to Round.

Once you’re done, select all three shapes and group them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

13-adding-the-outline-to-the-kefir-bottles-main-body

Quick tip: we will be using the exact same method to add the outline to the rest of our shapes, so try and remember the steps, since they’re really easy to follow.

Step 7

Add an 84 x 36 px rectangle towards the top edge of the bottle’s fill shape, and color it using #AD6050 since it will act as the cap.

14-adding-the-main-shape-for-the-kefir-bottles-cap

Step 8

Give the cap an 8 px outline (#2B2525) and then use the Pen Tool (P) to add five vertical line segments distanced at 6 px from one another, which we will then group (Control-G) along with the rest of the cap’s composing shapes.

15-adding-details-to-the-kefir-bottles-cap

Step 9

Add an 88 px wide line segment (#2B2525) with an 8 px thick stroke and a Round Cap to the bottle’s neck section, positioning it right under the darker rectangle that we’ve created a few steps ago.

16-adding-the-neck-line-segment-to-the-kefir-bottle

Step 10

Add another smaller 24 px wide line segment (#2B2525) and position it to the center of the bottle, at 30 px from the larger one that we’ve just added in the previous step.

17-adding-the-small-line-segment-to-the-kefir-bottles-neck

Step 11

Using the Ellipse Tool (L) create an 84 x 102 px shape (#DD5F5F) which we will align to the center of the bottle, at a distance of 16 px from the line segment that we’ve just created.

18-adding-the-main-shape-for-the-kefir-bottles-label

Step 12

Give the label an 8 px thick outline (#473333) and two dummy text lines distanced at 8 px from one another, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all its composing shapes afterwards.

Do the same for the bottle’s composing sections, since we want them to stick together and act as a single object.

19-kefir-bottle-finished

5. How to Create the Cheese

Since we’ve finished creating the first element of our composition, we can lock its layer, and move on up to the third one and start working on the cheese.

Step 1

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 192 x 188 px shape (#EAB575) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its left corners to 44 px, and then position it a distance of 106 px from the left side of the background’s line segment.

20-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-cheese

Step 2

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by cutting out a 28 x 28 px circle (highlighted with orange) from its upper right side.

21-adjusting-the-cheeses-main-shape

Step 3

Give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#2B2525) grouping (Control-G) them together afterwards.

22-adding-the-outline-to-the-cheeses-main-shape

Step 4

Create the side section of the cheese, by grabbing a copy (Control-C > Control-B) of its front and positioning it at 52 px from its outline, setting the color of the fill shape to #CE8A41.

23-adding-the-side-section-to-the-cheese

Step 5

Using the Ellipse Tool (L) create a couple of holes which we will color using #CE8A41, giving them the same 8 px thick outline (#2B2525). Take your time, and make sure to individually group (Control-G) each hole’s fill shape to its outline.

24-adding-the-little-holes-to-the-cheeses-front-section

Since we’re pretty much done working on our little cheese element, we can select all its composing shapes and group them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, so that we can lock its layer and move on to the next one.

6. How to Create the Milk Box

Assuming you’ve already positioned yourself onto the fourth layer (that would be the “milk box”) move a few pixels towards the right side of your Artboard and let’s start working on the composition’s third element.

Step 1

Create the main shape of the milk box’s front by drawing a 132 x 140 px rectangle, which we will color using #EFEAEA and then position towards the right side of the background, at a distance of 122 px from the line segment’s right edge.

25-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-milk-boxs-front-section

Step 2

Give the shape that we’ve just created a nice 8 px thick outline (#2B2525) with a Round Joint, using the same duplicate method that we’ve used for the rest of our elements, selecting and grouping (Control-G) the two shapes afterwards.

26-adding-the-outline-to-the-milk-boxs-main-shape

Step 3

Create the upper pointy section of the box using a 132 x 48 px rectangle which we will color using #EFEAEA and then position above the front section that we’ve created a few steps ago.

27-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-upper-section-of-the-milk-boxs-front-section

Step 4

Adjust the shape by adding a new Anchor Point towards the center of its top edge by simply left clicking on it using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), and then removing its side ones using the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-).

28-adjusting-the-main-shape-for-the-upper-section-of-the-milk-boxs-front-section

Step 5

Give the shape that we’ve just adjusted an 8 px thick outline (#2B2525) and then select and group both shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

29-adding-the-outline-to-the-upper-section-of-the-milk-boxs-front-section

Step 6

Create the lower side section of the box by grabbing a copy of its front one (Control-C > Control-F) and then adjusting it by increasing its Width to 136 px , positioning it towards the left at a distance of 66 px from its right side.

30-creating-and-positioning-the-bottom-side-section-onto-the-milk-box

Step 7

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A) left click on the fill shape and change its color to something a little darker (#999999).

31-adjusting-the-milk-boxs-lower-side-section-fill-shapes-color

Step 8

Since we’ll want the side section that we’ve just created to go underneath the box’s front, we first have to select it and then instruct Illustrator to send it to the back by right clicking > Arrange > Send to Back.

32-positioning-the-bottom-side-section-of-the-milk-box-underneath-its-front-one

Step 9

Create the upper side section by grabbing a copy of the front one (Control-C > Control-F) and then aligning it to the left side of the section from underneath.

33-creating-and-positioning-the-milk-boxs-upper-side-section

Step 10

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select and change the color of the fill shape to something slightly darker #BFBFBF.

34-adjusting-the-color-of-the-milk-boxs-upper-fill-section

Step 11

Since we need the top side section to extend underneath the box’s front, we will have to add a new Anchor Point to both its fill and stroke shapes using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), and then adjust them by dragging the new anchors towards the tip of the front triangular shape.

35-adjusting-the-milk-boxs-upper-side-section

Step 12

Once we’ve adjusted the shape of the top side section, we can send it to the back by right clicking > Arrange > Send to Back.

36-positioning-the-milk-boxs-top-side-section-underneath

Step 13

Create the upper section of the packaging box using a 70 x 20 px rectangle, which we will color using #999999 and then position on top of the other shapes.

37-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-milk-boxs-top

Step 14

Select the shape that we’ve just created and give it an 8 px thick outline using #2B2525 as your Stroke color.

38-adding-the-outline-to-the-top-section-of-the-milk-box

Step 15

Use the Pen Tool (P) to create four 42 px tall segment lines, with an 8 px thick Stroke (#2B2525) which we will distance at 6 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and positioning them to the center of the shape that we’ve created in the previous steps.

39-adding-the-vertical-line-segments-to-the-milk-boxs-top-section

Step 16

Once you’re done, select all the top section’s composing elements and group (Control-G) those as well.

40-grouping-the-milk-boxs-top-section

Step 17

Start working on the box’s front label, by creating a 124 x 48 px rectangle which we will color using #DD5F5F, and then position towards the center of the bottom front section.

41-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-milk-boxs-front-label

Step 18

Select the Pen Tool (P) and add the label’s top and bottom outlines using an 8 px thick Stroke with the color set to #2B2525. Once you’re done, select and group the label’s composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

42-adding-the-top-and-bottom-outlines-to-the-milk-boxs-front-label

Step 19

Create the main shape for the box’s side label using a 62 x 48 px rectangle, which we will color using #BA4F4F, and then position to the center of the bottom side section.

43-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-milk-boxs-side-label

Step 20

Take a couple of moments and add the top and bottom outlines as we did with the front label, using the exact same Stroke and color values, and once you’re done select and group all three shapes together (Control-G).

44-adding-the-top-and-bottom-outlines-to-the-milk-boxs-side-label

Step 21

Finish off the side label and with it the milk box itself, by adding the two dummy text lines with an 8 px thick Stroke (#2B2525) stacked vertically at 8 px from one another which we will group using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to select and group (Control-G) the composing elements of the box as well so they won’t get separated by accident.

45-milk-box-finished

7. How to Create the Salami

Before we start don’t forget to lock the previous layer and move on up to the fifth one, where we’re going to create the salami.

Step 1

Create the front section of the salami, using a 68 x 68 px circle, which we will color using #E0A9A9 and then position onto the front section of the milk box, at a distance of 44 px from its right edge.

46-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-salamis-front-section

Step 2

Give the shape that we’ve just created an 8 px thick outline using the duplicate method, making sure to set the Stroke’s color to #2B2525, selecting and grouping (Control-G) the two shapes afterwards.

47-adding-the-outline-to-the-salamis-front-section

Step 3

Use the Pen Tool (P) to add the two diagonal line segments (one shorter and one longer) to the salami’s front to give it more detail. As before, make sure to set the Stroke’s Weight to 8 px and its color to #2B2525.

Once you’re done group (Control-G) the two to one another, and then to the underlying section as well.

48-adding-detail-lines-to-the-salamis-front-section

Step 4

Create the salami’s body using a 120 x 68 px rectangle, which we will color using #C66767 and then position underneath the front that we’ve just created, making sure it overlaps its right half.

49-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-salamis-body

Step 5

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created, by setting the Radius of its right corners to 34 px from within the Transform panel.

50-adjusting-the-right-corners-of-the-salamis-main-body

Step 6

Give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline, using #2B2525 as your Stroke’s color.

51-adding-the-outline-to-the-salamis-main-body

Step 7

Create the main shape for the salami’s label using a 56 x 16 px rounded rectangle with an 8 px Corner Radius, which we will color using #EFEAEA, and then position to the upper section of the body, making sure it ends up overlapping its outline.

52-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-salamis-label

Step 8

Give the label an 8 px thick outline (#2B2525) and then group the two shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

53-adding-the-outline-to-the-salamis-label

Step 9

Since we want the label to remain constrained to the surface of the salami’s body, we’ll use a copy of the underlying fill shape as a Clipping Mask (both shapes selected > right click > Make Clipping Mask) to hide any unwanted sections.

Once you’ve created the mask, you’ll want to select both it and the salami’s body and send them to the back (right click > Arrange > Send to Back) so that they won’t end up overlapping the outline.

At this point you can also select and group (Control-G) the body’s main composing elements.

54-masking-the-salamis-label-and-positioning-it-onto-its-body

Step 10

Add the main shape for the salami’s “tail” section by creating a 22 x 16 px ellipse which we will color using #A54646 and then position right next to the right side of its body.

55-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-salamis-tail-section

Step 11

Give the “tail” an 8 px thick outline (#2B2525) grouping the two (Control-G) and then the rest of the salami’s composing shapes so that they won’t get separated by accident.

56-salami-finished

8. How to Create the Olive

Even though it’s the smallest element from our composition, that little olive will add more to it. So, assuming you’ve poisoned yourself onto its layer, let’s quickly create it.

Step 1

Create the olive’s main shape using a 30 x 22 px ellipse, which we will color using #819B64 and then position towards the side section of the milk box.

57-creating-and-positioning-the-olives-main-body

Step 2

Give the olive an 8 px outline (#2B2525) and then select and group the two together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

58-olive-finished

9. How to Create the Tomato

We are now down to our composition’s sixth element, which is the little tomato. So assuming you’ve already moved on to the sixth layer, let’s get started.

Step 1

Create the main shape of the tomato using an 86 x 86 px circle, which we will color using #DD5F5F and position towards the center of the cheese, at about 92 px from its left side.

59-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-tomatos-body

Step 2

Select the shape that we’ve just created, and give it a nice 8 px thick outline (#2B2525) grouping (Control-G) the two together afterwards.

60-adding-the-outline-to-the-tomatos-main-body

Step 3

Add the main shape for the center leaf using a 12 x 16 px ellipse which we will color using #819B64 and then position onto the upper section of the tomato.

61-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-tomatos-front-leaf

Step 4

Give the leaf an 8 px thick outline (#2B2525) and then group the two shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

62-adding-the-outline-to-the-tomatos-front-leaf

Step 5

Create the left leaf by grabbing a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the one that we’ve just finished and rotating by right clicking > Transform > Rotate and entering ­-45 into the Angle value field.

Then, simply select the rotated shapes and position them towards the left side of the center leaf.

63-creating-and-positioning-the-left-leaf-onto-the-tomatos-body

Step 6

Create the right leaf, by grabbing a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the left one and positioning it onto the other side of the center leaf.

64-creating-and-positioning-the-right-leaf-onto-the-tomatos-body

Step 7

Finish off the tomato, by adding the main shape for its tail which we will create using a 14 x 14 px rectangle which we will color using a darker green (#647F52) and then position on top of its body.

65-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-tomatos-tail

Step 8

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by individually selecting and pushing its bottom Anchor Points towards the inside by 2 px.

Once you’re done, give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#2B2525) and then group (Control-G) the two and the tomato’s composing shapes together.

66-tomato-finished

10. How to Create the Egg

We are now down to our seventh and last compositional element, the egg, which as you will see is going to be really easy to create.

So, make sure you’re on the last layer, and let’s finish this.

Step 1

Create the main shape of the egg using a 56 x 56 px circle which we will color using #EFEAEA and then position onto the left side of the tomato.

67-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-the-eggs-body

Step 2

Adjust the circle by selecting its top Anchor Point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then pushing it towards the top using the Move Tool (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > – 16 px).

68-adjusting-the-eggs-main-shape

Step 3

Give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#2B2525) grouping the two shapes together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

69-adding-the-outline-to-the-eggs-main-shape

Step 4

Using the Ellipse Tool (L) add another smaller 24 x 24 px circle which we will color using #EAB575 and then position towards the center of the egg.

70-adding-the-main-shape-for-the-eggs-interior

Step 5

Finish off the egg and with it the composition itself, by adding an outline (#2B2525) to the yellow circle that we’ve just created, grouping (Control-G) the two afterwards.

71-egg-finished

It’s a Wrap!

There you have it guys a super easy way of creating a complex composition using some basic geometric shapes, with a few twists and tricks here and there.

I hope that you found the steps easy to follow and most importantly learned something new along the way.

72-illustration-finished

Now you can show the world what you have learned.

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