How to Create a Set of Winter Icons


How to Set Up a New Document

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

  • 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)

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 that will get you up to speed in no time.

How to Set Up the Layers

Once we’ve set up our new document, it would be a good idea to separate our icons using a couple of different layers, since this way we can streamline our workflow by focusing on one item at a time, which allows us to keep track of each and every shape at all time.

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

  • Layer 1 > reference grids
  • Layer 2 > winter hat
  • Layer 3 > ice skate
  • Layer 4 > cabin
  • Layer 5 > snowman
  • Layer 6 > thermos
  • Layer 7 > snow sled

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 consistency and size.

Step 1

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 64x64 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 56x56 px square ( #FFFFFF), which will act as the active drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4 px padding. Group the two squares ( Control + G) and then create two side copies ( Control + C > Control + F two times), distancing them at 28 px from the original.

Step 3

Create a second row of grids, maintaining the same 28 px space gap, grouping ( Control - G) and then center aligning them to the underlying Artboard as seen in the reference image.

Once you’re done creating and positioning the reference grids, you can lock their layer, and then move on to the next step.

How to Create the Winter Hat Icon

Assuming you’ve successfully managed to create and position the reference grids, let’s start working on our first icon, by making sure we’re on the right layer (that would be the second one) and then zooming in on the first active drawing area.

Step 1

Start working on the hat’s lower section by creating a 52x14 px rectangle, which we will color using #F7DAB7, and then center align to the underlying active drawing area, positioning it at a distance of 2 px from its bottom edge.

Step 2

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 #2B3249 and then flipping its Fill with its Stroke ( Shift + X). Set the resulting shape’s Weight to 4 px and its Corner to Round Join, making sure to select and group the two together afterward using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

Step 3

Add the vertical detail lines using six 14 px tall 4 px thick Stroke segments, which we will distance at 8 px from one another ( 4 px if you measure the distance between the edges of each segment), grouping ( Control + G) and then center aligning them to the hat’s lower section.

Step 4

Add the front-facing label using a 16x6 px rectangle, which we will color using #2B3249, and then center align the larger section. Once you’re done, select and group ( Control + G) all of the shapes together, before moving on to the next step.

Step 5

Start working on the hat’s upper section by creating a 44x32 px rectangle ( #ABD8C3), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 22 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties. Once you’re done, position the resulting shape on top of the previous section, making sure to horizontally align the two.

Step 6

Take a couple of moments, and draw the zigzagged lines using two 4 px thick Strokes with a Round Cap and Join, which we will distance at 2 px from one another, and 8 px from the current section’s top edge.

Step 7

Select and group the two lines that we’ve just created using the Control + G keyboard shortcut, masking them afterward using a copy ( Control + C) of the hat’s upper section, which we will paste in front ( Control + F). Once you have the copy in place simply select both it and the lines and then right click > Make Clipping Mask.

Step 8

Give the current section a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249) using the Stroke method, selecting and grouping all its composing shapes together using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

Step 9

Finish off the icon, by adding the hat’s puffy section using a 16x16 px circle, which we will color using #2B3249, and then center align to the active drawing area’s top edge, making sure to position it underneath all the other shapes ( right click > Arrange > Send to Back). Once you’re done, select and group ( Control + G) all of the hat’s composing sections, before moving on to the next icon.

How to Create the Ice Skate Icon

Assuming you’ve finished working on the first icon, lock its layer and then move on up to the next one (that would be the third one), where we’re going to create our second item.

Step 1

Create the main shape for the skate’s blade, using a 52x8 px rectangle with a 4 px thick Stroke ( #2B3249), which we will center align to the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

Step 2

Start adjusting the shape that we’ve just created, by setting the Radius of its bottom-left corner to 8 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

Step 3

Select the resulting shape’s top-right anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then removing it by pressing Delete, making sure to set its Stroke’s Cap to Round afterward.

Step 4

Add the two stanchion sections using a 28x8 px rectangle with a 4 px thick Stroke ( #2B3249), which we will position onto the blade, at distance of 8 px from its right edge.

Step 5

Start working on the actual boot, by creating its sole section using a 44x6 px rectangle ( #F7DAB7) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 4 px. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249), grouping ( Control + G) and then positioning the two as seen in the reference image.

Step 6

Start working on the boot’s main body, by creating a 44x10 px rectangle ( #EA9053), which we will position on top of the sole. Then, add another 20x22 px one ( #EA9053), which we will stack on top of it, making sure to align it to its right edge.

Step 7

Unite the two rectangles into a single larger shape using Pathfinder’sUnite Shape Mode, making sure to remove the resulting extra anchor point (highlighted in the reference image) using the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-).

Step 8

Adjust the resulting shape by setting the Radius of its front section’s corner to 8 px, the inner facing one to 12 px, and its two upper ones to 4 px using the Live Corners input box.

Quick tip:if you’re using the new Illustrator CC 2018 update, you might have noticed that the top toolbar is now hidden by default. You can change this by going to Window and enabling the Control option. This should bring back all the tools and panels that the software would normally come with.

Step 9

Create the tongue section of the boot using an 18x22 px rectangle ( #BDC3DB), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom-right corner to 14 px. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249), positioning the two as seen in the reference image.

Step 10

Add the little lace segment using an 18 px wide 4 px thick Stroke line ( #2B3249), which we will center align to the tongue, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from its top edge. Once you’re done, select and group all three shapes together using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

Step 11

Take a couple of moments, and mask the tongue section that we’ve just finished working on, giving the boot a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249) afterward.

Step 12

Add the ankle support, using a 12x12 px rectangle ( #2B3249), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top-left corner to 12 px, positioning the resulting shape onto the bottom-right corner of the boot. Once you’re done, select and group ( Control + G) all of the upper section’s composing shapes before moving on to the next step.

Step 13

Create the main shape for the liner’s back strap using a 6x6 px rectangle with a 4 px thick Stroke ( #2B3249), which we will align to the active drawing area’s top-right corner.

Step 14

Finish off the icon, by setting the Radius of back strap’s top-left corner to 4 px, and then selecting and removing its bottom-right one. Set the resulting shape’s Cap to Round, selecting and grouping all of the ice skate’s composing sections together afterward using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

How to Create the Cabin Icon

Next off our list is the little wooden cabin, so make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the fourth one) and then zoom in on the third reference grid so that we can get started.

Step 1

Start working on the cabin’s main body by creating a 44x8 px rectangle ( #EAA871) with a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249) with a Round Join, which we will group ( Control + G) and then center align to the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

Step 2

Create the smaller circular sections using two 8x8 px circles ( #C68355) with a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249), which we will individually group ( Control + G) and then position onto the outer edges of the larger rectangle as seen in the reference image. Once you have the shapes in place, select and group ( Control + G) them and the larger rectangular section together, before moving on to the next step.

Step 3

Create three copies ( Control + C > Control + F three times) of the sections that we’ve just grouped, and then position them on top of the original as seen in the reference image.

Step 4

Add the door using a 16x24 px rectangle, which we will color using ( #2B3249) and then center align to the lower rectangle’s bottom edge. Once you’re done, select and group all the shapes that we have so far using the Control - G keyboard shortcut.

Step 5

Start working on the chimney by creating an 8x16 px rectangle ( #F7DAB7) with a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249), which we will position onto the cabin’s upper-right corner as seen in the reference image.

Step 6

Add the chimney’s crown using a 12 px wide 4 px thick Stroke line ( #2B3249), making sure to select and group all three shapes together afterward using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

Step 7

Start working on the roof, by creating a 52x20 px rectangle, which we will color using #C68355, and then position onto the cabin’s main body.

Step 8

Adjust the shape of the rectangle that we’ve just created, by adding a new anchor point to the center of its top edge using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), and then immediately removing its top corner ones using the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-).

Step 9

Finish off the icon, by adding the 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249) with a Round Join to the cabin’s roof, selecting and grouping ( Control + G) the two together, doing the same for the entire structure afterward.

How to Create the Snowman Icon

Assuming you’ve finished working on the wooden cabin, make your way to the next layer (that would be the fifth one), and let’s take a look behind the process of creating a digital snowman.

Step 1

Start by creating the foreground line using a 52 px wide 4 px thick Stroke ( #2B3249) with a Round Cap, which we will align to the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

Step 2

Start working on the snowman’s body by creating a 28x28 px circle ( #EDF2F9) with a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249), which we will group ( Control + G) and then center align to the wider foreground.

Step 3

Add the little buttons using two 4x4 px circles ( #2B3249), which we will vertically stack at 2 px from one another, grouping ( Control + G) and then positioning them at a distance of 4 px from the body’s bottom edge.

Step 4

Take a couple of moments and draw the little neck warmer using #2B3249 as your main Fill color, selecting and grouping ( Control + G) all of the current section’s composing shapes together before moving on to the next step.

Step 5

Start working on the snowman’s head, by creating a 16x16 px circle ( #EDF2F9) with a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249), which we will position on top of the larger body.

Step 6

Add the nose using a 4x4 px circle, which we will color using #2B3249, and then position at a distance of just 2 px from the head’s bottom edge, selecting and grouping ( Control + G) all three shapes together afterward.

Step 7

Once you’ve finished working on the head, move a few pixels upwards and create the main shapes for his hat using a 10x8 px rectangle ( #EA9053) with a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249) with a Round Join, which we will position right on top of it.

Step 8

Add the hat’s lower section using a 20 px wide 4 px thick Stroke line ( #2B3249) with a Round Cap, selecting and grouping all three shapes together afterward using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

Step 9

Take a couple of moments and draw the snowman’s left arm, using two 4 px thick Stroke lines ( #2B3249) with a Round Cap, which we will group ( Control + G) and then position on the larger body as seen in the reference image.

Step 10

Create the right arm, using a copy ( Control + C > Control + F) of the one left one, which we will vertically reflect ( right click > Transform > Reflect > Vertical) and then position onto the opposite side of the larger body.

Step 11

Create the broomstick’s main body using a 38 px tall 4 px thick Stroke line ( #2B3249) with a Round Cap, which we will position onto the right arm as seen in the reference image.

Step 12

Finish off the broomstick and with it the icon itself, by creating its head section using an 8x10 px rectangle ( #EAA871), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 4 px. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249) with a Round Join, selecting and grouping ( Control - G) all three shapes together afterwards. Once you’re done, select and group ( Control + G) all of the icon’s composing sections, before moving on to the next one.

How to Create the Thermos Icon

Next off our list is the winter themed thermos and coffee mug, so make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the sixth one), and then zoom in on the next reference grid so that we can jump straight into it.

Step 1

Start working on the lower section of the thermos’ body, by creating a 24x28 px rectangle ( #BDC3DB) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 4 px. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249), grouping ( Control + G), and then aligning the two to the active drawing area’s bottom edge, positioning them at a distance of 8 px from its right one.

Step 2

Take a couple of moments and draw the little snowflake using three 4 px thick Stroke lines ( #2B3249) with a Round Cap, which we will group ( Control + G) and then position to the center of the thermos’ lower section.

Step 3

Add the center section using a 24x8 px rectangle ( #9BA2BA) with a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249), which we will group ( Control + G) and then position on top of the previous shapes.

Step 4

Start working on the thermos’ upper section, by creating a 24x12 px rectangle ( #EA9053) with a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249) with a Round Join, which we will group ( Control + G) and then stack on top of the previous section.

Step 5

Add the horizontal detail line using a 16 px wide 4 px thick Stroke ( #2B3249) with a Round Cap, which we will center align to the current section’s right edge.

Step 6

Create a 20x6 px rectangle ( #2B3249), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 2 px, positioning the resulting shape on top of the previous section making sure to select and group them together afterward using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

Step 7

Finish off the thermos, by adding its side handle using an 8x16 px rectangle with a 4 px thick Stroke ( #2B3249), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its right corners to 4 px. Position the resulting shape on the right side of the thermos, making sure to select and group ( Control + G) all its composing shapes together afterward.

Step 8

Create the little side mug using a 20x16 px rectangle ( #EAA871) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 8 px. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249) with a Round Join, grouping ( Control + G) and then positioning the two onto the opposite side of the active drawing area, as seen in the reference image.

Step 8

Create the little side mug using a 20x16 px rectangle ( #EAA871) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 8 px. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline ( #2B3249) with a Round Join, grouping ( Control + G) and then positioning the two onto the opposite side of the active drawing area, as seen in the reference image.

How to Create the Snow Sled Icon

We are now down to our sixth and last icon, so assuming you’ve already positioned yourself onto the remaining empty reference grid, zoom in on it and let’s wrap things up.

Step 1

Create the sled’s lower section using a copy ( Control + C) of the ice skate’s blade, stanchions and sole, which we will paste ( Control + F) onto the current layer, making sure to group ( Control + G) and then center align them to the empty active drawing area.

Step 2

Add the side rail using a 16x12 px rectangle with a 4 px thick Stroke ( #2B3249) and a Round Join, which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top-right corner to 8 px. Position the resulting shape onto the slay’s wooden section, at a distance of 8 px from the active drawing area’s right edge.

Step 3

Start working on the little flag, by creating the flag pole using a 38 px tall 4 px thick Stroke line ( #2B3249) with a Round Cap, which we will position onto the right side of the rail.

Step 4

Finish off the icon and with it the project itself, by adding the actual flag using a 10x8 px rectangle ( #2B3249), which we will position onto the right side of the pole, at a distance of 4 px from the active drawing area’s top edge. Once you have the shape in place, select and group ( Control + G) the two together, doing the same for the entire icon afterward before hitting that save button.

Great Work!

There you have it folks, a nice an easy exercise on how to create your very own winter-themed icon pack, using nothing more than some basic geometric shapes and stroke lines. As always, I hope you’ve managed to follow each and every step and most importantly learned something new and useful along the way!


That being said, we're looking forward to seeing your final result and if you have any questions feel free to post them within the comments sections and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!

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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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