How to create an inspiring nature quote in Adobe Illustrator

Step 1

Open a new file, in this case the size doesn’t matter  because the shape is a vector and will be easily adjustable either way. So a normal A4 as the Artboard size is more than enough.

Step 2

Firstly take this picture of an eagle and place it onto your document by going to File > Place. To create a vector shape we need to use the Pen Tool which you can find in the sidebar or you can use Shortcut P. Make sure the fill colour is transparent and the stroke is black, by selecting fill colour in the sidebar and clicking on the white square with the red line. 

Step 3

Using the Pen Tool can be a bit tricky at the beginning. By placing anchor points you’re creating a path that's easily adjustable. Start by placing the first anchor point, the best thing is to place them on the “extremes” like further inwards/outwards. Move the handlebars to adjust the curves and/or click on the anchor point to create an angle instead of a ‘flowing’ curve. Close the shape by clicking on the first anchor point.

Step 4

Change the fill colour to black and the stroke to transparent by clicking on Swap Fill and Stroke in the sidebar. 

Step 5

Take a random picture of a mountain from the internet and repeat the same step. Use the Pen Tool to outline the mountain roughly, this shape can exist out of multiple elements to create the different shadows.  

Step 6

Type out the text by choosing Type tool in the left bar or use Shortcut T. In this case I’ve gone for: "The mountains are calling and I must go". Type out mountains in a separate box and change the font to Master of Break (Download it from the attachment section). For the rest of the text the font Cadernio Modern is used (Download it in the attachment section).

Step 7

Click on the mountain and you’ll notice that the mountain is made out of loose shapes. To make all the elements work as one, we have to group everything. Select all the elements and press Cmd+G or click on Object>Group. 

Step 8

Try to make a composition by placing the word ‘mountains’ underneath the mountain, tweak and scale the eagle and the mountain and place them underneath the text. Change the font size to 52 pt. 

Step 9

In this case I don’t like the big swirl of the M on the left side. To work on the lettering, we first have to expand the shape by Selecting the text>Object>Expand>OK. From now on the text will work as a vector shape. 

Step 10

Select the letter M with the Direct Selection Tool in the sidebar or use Shortcut A. Select the swirl and press Delete.

Step 11

As you can see, the vector shape is ‘open’; to close, you have to select the Pen tool in the sidebar or press Shortcut P. Click on the right anchor point, then go to the left anchor point, click and hold while pressing Shift and drag the handlebar out until you’re pleased with the curve.

Step 12

The right anchor point still feels a bit ‘flat’ so we’re going to select the Convert Anchor Point Tool under the Pen tool or shortcut Shift+C. When you select the right anchor point, you’ll notice that the shape shifts. Hold Shift and drag the handlebar down so that you’re recreating the original shape. 

Step 13

Use the Direct Selection Tool (Shortcut A) to adjust the handlebars to create the right curves. Click on the handlebars on the right top or left top and drag while holding Shift to adjust the curve.  

Step 14

Place a circle on top of the design by using the Ellipse Tool or Shortcut L. Make sure the filling and outline are transparent. 

Step 15

To place text on the edges of the circle you need to use Type on Path Tool which you can find in the drop down menu under the Type Tool, double click on the edge of the circle, type the text, select the Direct Selection Tool and try to click on the stroke/bracket and gently drag it downwards. Scale any of the objects if necessary.

Step 16

Change the font by double clicking on the text and choose Cadernio Modern, in this case I’ve used 21 pt. Scale the pieces and tweak where needed, but try to keep everything in balance by placing it in the circle. In this piece, I’ve dragged the right bottom down a bit, so that it points towards the N. 

Step 17

It still seems a bit empty so we’re going to add some extra lines to draw your eyes to the center of the piece. Draw a circle on top (same size as the circle below) change the fill colour to transparent and add a light stroke of 0,75. Choose the Line Segment Tool or Shortcut \ and click and drag to draw the lines. Select the lines and make sure the stroke has a rounded cap and corner. To create the discontinuous strokes, select the Eraser Tool or Shift+E, and click on the stroke/place where you would like to have the gap.

Step 18

Delete the circle on top and add some stars, you can find the Star Tool in the drop down menu underneath the Rectangle Tool. Click and drag to create small stars and give them a black fill colour.

Step 19

Select all the objects and group them Object>Group (Cmd+G). Then go to Object>Expand, do this twice, this changes the shapes into workable paths.

Step 20

Open the grain texture (Go to the attachment section) and change the background colour to white. Copy the texture and go back to the work file and click on the Transparency panel; if you haven’t got it in the sidebar you can find in under Window>Transparency. Click on Make Mask, select the black box and place the grain texture, scale the texture to your liking and deselect Invert Mask. 

Step 21

Open Photoshop and place the picture you would like to use as a background. This picture is from the Freepik website and you can find it in the attachment section. Copy the image from Illustrator and place it on top of the picture in Photoshop. Right click on the Vector Smart Layer and select Rasterize layer.

Step 22

The last step is to invert the image by going to Image>Adjustments>Invert or Cmd+I. And lighten it by going to Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast>150 Brightness>100 Contrast and press OK.  

What’s your opinion of this tutorial?

Kimberly Kembie
Kimberly Kembie
Kimberly KembieTeacher

Kimberly Kembie is a graphic designer and illustrator who´s always trying to find a way inbetween working manually and digitallly. Colorful, fun and vibrant are a couple of words that decribe her artwork.

To learn more, visit


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