Illustrate a snow globe

1. Create a new document

Step 1

Create a new document. Set the width to 1000pixels and the height to 1000pixels. Many times it’s easier to work when the artboard has a rectangular shape because later you can crop the important part of your work and adjust it to your idea.

2. Create a sketch

For this task, we'll need a sketch of a snow globe with a house and a tree inside. This sketch is just an idea of what the illustration should look like. It’s always convenient to have a sketch so we don’t get distracted from the original idea.

3. Create a color palette

We'll use bright colors against a darker background. The bright and vivid colors will shine bright and stand out against the darker background.

For this task I chose red (#D26859), a few shades of beige (#DFA856, #E7BF83, #F3F2D7), brown (#815F44) and a few shades of blue (#32242E, #51454D, #BED3D1).


4. Create the objects

For this illustration, we'll mainly use the basic shape tools.

Step 1

Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, create an object which is 700pixels wide and 1200pixels high. Enter 400pixels for the corner radius value. Color it dark blue (#32242E).

Step 2

Select the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select and delete the lowest anchor point of the object. Then pull up the remaining anchor points in order to get the snow globe shape.

Step 3

Now we need to create the base for the snow globe. Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, create an object which is 840 pixels wide and 108 pixels high. Enter 23 pixels for the corner radius value. Color it dark beige (#DFA856).

Step 4

Position the snow globe and the base one above the other.


Step 5

Duplicate them and make the copies slightly larger. Position the copies behind the original shapes. Also, color the snow globe copy in a lighter shade of blue (#BED3D1) and the base copy in red (#D26859).

Step 6

Now let’s create the fir tree which according to the sketch is positioned on the right side of the snow globe. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create 2 circles. The first circle is smaller and its radius is 227 pixels, while the second circle is bigger and its radius is 479 pixels. Position the bigger circle above the smaller one, just like in the example and use the Minus Front command from the Pathfinder’s panel. You'll get a crescent shape. This is one branch of the fir tree.

Step 7

Multiply the crescent shape 4 times in a vertical direction. Then, merge the shapes together in a way where their left sides overlap. Group them (Control+G)

Step 8

Duplicate the group and reflect it vertically. By merging these 2 groups you'll get the outline of a fir tree. Add a brown (#815F44) rectangular shape as a tree trunk. We're done with the tree object for now.

Step 9

It's time to create the house we had in our sketch. Using the Rectangle Tool, create a rectangle which will be 340 pixels wide and 450 pixels high. Color it beige (#E7BF83).

Step 10

Using the Pen Tool (P) create an anchor point at the top middle side of the rectangle. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select the upper corners of the rectangle. Once you select, pull them down in order to get a house-like shape.

Step 11

We'll need to create a horizontal pattern over the house. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a rectangle which will be 446 pixels wide and 8 pixels high. Color it light beige (#F3F2D7) and multiply it 25-30 times in a vertical direction.

Step 12

Position the lines you just created, over the house shape. Then, copy the house shape and paste it in front (Control+F). Select both the pasted shape and the group of lines and do a right click. From the drop-down menu, select Make Clipping Mask. This way you will mask the lines in the shape of the house.

Step 13

Use the Pen Tool (P) to create a pointy shape with a thick outline of 40 pt. This will be the roof of the house. Color it red (#D26859). Position it over the house shape.

Step 14

We should add some windows and a door. Create two rectangles and one circle and position them as windows and doors. Color them red (#D26859) and brown (#815F44).

Step 15

To create the door, take the brown rectangle and duplicate it. Resize the copy to make it a bit bigger and color it red. Position it behind the brown rectangle. Then, add one thin horizontal and one vertical rectangle and position them in a cross over the other rectangles. Group all the objects.

Step 16

Next up is the square window. Duplicate the brown rectangle and make the copy bit smaller. Color it turquoise (#689994). Add two thin brown rectangles and position them in a cross. Group all the objects.

Step 17

The round window is made out of 3 concentrically arranged circles in red, brown and turquoise.

To make the light reflection, create two parallel rectangles and rotate them 45°. Then copy and paste the turquoise shape and cover the rectangles with it. Select them and go to Object>Clipping Mask>Make. You'll get a round window with some light reflection on it.

Step 18

Now position the windows and the door over the house. Looks great so far!

Step 19

Use two rectangles to create a chimney. Color them in a lighter and a darker shade of red and position them on the left side of the rooftop.

Take a moment to observe the whole composition. Everything seems well balanced so far. That means that we are ready to add some details.

Step 20

A snow globe makes no sense without snow! Create the snow by scattering lots of tiny light blue (#BED3D1) circles around the house and the tree.

Step 21

We might also need a blanket of snow on the ground. Using the Rectangle Tool, create a rectangle 770 pixels wide and 200 pixels high. Use the same light blue color we used for the snow.

Step 22

Select the rectangle and go to Effects>Warp>Arc Upper and use 7% as a Bend value. Click OK. You'll notice how the rectangle changed shape. Go to Object>Expand Appearance.

Step 23

Position the bent rectangle in the snow globe, behind the house and the tree.

Step 24

We're almost done but we might need few more details to finish this illustration. Let’s add some light reflection to the snow globe. To make the light reflection, create 3 parallel rectangles and rotate them 45°. Select them and go to Object>Compound Path>Make. This action will merge the rectangles into one shape. Then copy and paste the dark blue shape of the snow globe and cover the rectangles with it. Select the group of rectangles group and the dark blue shape and use the Intersect command from the Pathfinder’s panel.

Step 25

Select the light reflection shapes and color them white. Drop the opacity to 10%, so they become transparent.

Step 26

Add a simple text message on the snow globe’s base. I wrote Winter Wonderland, but you can write whatever message you would like to use. Use the same color as the snow globe’s glass.

Step 27

Let’s add a simple texture to the pine tree. Select the tree’s surface, go to the Swatches Panel and open the drop-down menu. From there go to Open Swatch Library>Patterns>Basic Graphics> Basic Graphics_Dots. From the Basic Graphics_Dots panel, choose the one labeled as 6 dpi 40% (2).

Step 28

Drop the opacity of the pattern to 30%. This was the last detail we added to the illustration.

Step 29

And finally, add a background. Using the Rectangle Tool, create a rectangle which will be the same size as the artboard - 1000 pixels wide and 1000 pixels high. Color it dark blue (#32242E) and position it behind all of the objects (Shift+Control+[).

Conclusion

Well done! You created a cute winter themed illustration. In this tutorial, we covered many options which Adobe Illustrator has to offer such as the clipping mask and the Pathfinder panel. You can use this illustration as a desktop wallpaper for your devices or make a nice print out of it. 

What's your opinion of this tutorial?

Ivan Petrusevski
Ivan Petrusevski
Ivan PetrusevskiTeacher

Ivan Petrusevski (Flim) is a graphic designer and illustrator from Skopje, Macedonia. His work is focused on character design mostly for online gaming, band's merchandise and children's books.

To learn more, visit http://www.flim.mk/

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