How to make a Carnival background in Adobe Illustrator


1.Prepare the document

The first step is to create a new document: File>New with the following values:

  • Dimensions: 1200x700px
  • Color mode: RGB
  • Resolution: 72ppp

Activate the option “Align new objects to pixel grid”

2.Create the background

Step 1

Make a green Rectangle that covers the whole artboard. Make sure that it’s centered with the artboard on the Align panel.

Step 2

Select the Mesh Tool and a color a tone lighter than the one used for the background. Place an anchor point in the lower part, centered with the artboard. By making this we will add depth to our background so it’s not completely flat.

Step 3

Make an explosion effect with the Pen tool. We'll fill it with white and lower its opacity to 20%.

3.Choosing the color palette

Select the colors you want for your design. Once you have them, create a New Color Group. Go to Swatch>New Color group and there you will have them all together.

4.Create the garlands

Step 1

Make the shapes with the Pen Tool, and then join them together with Combine in the Pathfinder. Now, with the Pen Tool we'll make a line with a variable width.

Step 2

Duplicate the little flag (Ctrl+C &Ctrl+F) and change the color until we get a flag of each color in our color group, including the white.

Step 3

Keep duplicating flags until we have enough. Then we'll tie them all together with a “rope” made with the Pen Tool. You'll have to make sure that they are all the same height with the Align Tool.

Step 4

Apply the effect Warp>Arc, to get the desired shape.

5.Create the yellow mask

Step 1

Start with the basic mask shape. To do this, make a yellow ellipse, and modify two of the anchor points. Then we'll duplicate the same shape on top (Ctrl+C & Ctrl+F), modify the color, the size and go to Pathfinder>Divide.

Step 2

Now remove the inside, duplicate and flip horizontally and finally Combine with the Pathfinder.

Step 3

Apply Effect>Warp>Arc

Step 4

Let’s make a couple of feathers to decorate our masks. To do this we'll use the same tools: Ellipse, Pen Tool, Pathfinder>Combine.

Step 5

Let's make more feathers but in different colors, and attach them to our mask.

Step 6

Add the final touches: A stick to hold the mask (rectangle tool), decorative elements (ellipse tool). Always using the colors from our color palette. 

6.Create the white mask

Step 1

Use the base we created for our previous mask. Duplicate it and Combine it with the Pathfinder.

Step 2

Let’s make a decorative hat. Use the Pen and the Ellipse Tool. Combine with the Pathfinder. Duplicate on top (Ctrl+C & Ctrl+F) and change the color to Magenta. Now with the Erase tool we'll make some dots. And to finish with the hat, we are going to top it with a little star.

Step 3

Join the mask with the hat and we can add some decorative elements with the Ellipse and Rectangle Tool.

7.Create the rockets

Step 1

Make the structure using basic shapes, Rectangle, Pen and Ellipse tool. To finish, Combine and rotate.

8.Final effect

Step 1

Once we have all our elements ready we'll group everything: Object>Group and expand: Object>Expand.


Step 2

We'll place them as we like all over the artboard and apply the effect Stylize>Drop Shadow.

And we're done! So here you have an awesome design to use for this fun holiday! I really hope you like the result!

Until the next one!

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María Vázquez Reina
María Vázquez Reina
María Vázquez ReinaTeacher

Freelance Illustrator and designer working for Freepik

To learn more, visit https://www.behance.net/mariquita_

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