Blog Archives

Gradual Change

With the events after the art show, I had ran out of things to work on. With day after day, I decided to help some students with tutorials they follow such as mine or others. Luck would have it, no one has worked on an iParent poster and that the competition for Got Plans was still open. With those two in mind, I decided to put some effort in these last days of high school.

This is the final efforts on my Got Plans? poster. I will have an exuberant amount of time for the iParent poster, which is what my current focus is as of now.

I will make a tutorial on how to create a cork-board effect in Illustrator.


Engraving Tutorial

First of all, I’m finally glad people are asking me to make a specific tutorial so they can put to use/know for their work.

In this tutorial, I’ll guide you into making highlights and shadows for any types of objects simple (square) and otherwise ( irregular). This will achieve an engrave effect.

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Illustrator
  • Pathfinder/ShapeBuilder
  • Gaussian Blur
  • Slight experience w/ Illustrator


1. A. Make a background with a vibrant color. Then draw any object that you want to make highlights/shadows for. B. Alt+Drag or Opt-Drag the objects(s) to make a copy of them.

2. A. Change the color of the “bottom” copy into a light color than the background (I chose a nice light blue color). B. Then add a Gaussian Blur of 20 to the copy.

3. A. Move the copy over the original. B. Right click the object and select Arrange>Send Backward ( Ctrl+[ or Cmd+[ ). C. Now you have the highlight portion of your object.

4. A. Copy-drag your original object (not the highlight). B. Copy-drag that new copy as well and give it a different color (I made mine orange). Make sure the space between these copies is similar to the space between the highlight and your original object.

5. Make lines through “gaps” if your object is irregular (like my 2). You’ll see why we add the lines.

6. A. Select your 2 copies with the lines. Now click the shortcut Shift+M (or use pathfinder but this will save time) to bring the ShapeBuilder tool. You will now see a plus shape for the cursor, holding option or alt will give you a negative shape cursor. Use the ShapeBuilder tool to add the “shadow” pieces together and then hold option/alt to cut away pieces you don’t need or that won’t be the shadow portion. That’s why we had the lines so we cut the shapes we needed. B. Keep cutting/adding till you have the shapes that will form the shadow. See pictures for reference and help.

7. Make sure to group your shadow pieces if there is a lot of pieces.

8. Give our original shapes a color darker than the highlight or background but lighter than the shadow. I chose a simple dark-blue color. But you could also use a gradient if you want.

9. Let’s give our shadow(s) a Gaussian Blur of 20.

10. Copy-drag our original object so that the top portion of the shadow(s) meets with the top portion of the original object. Also make sure the copy is in front of the shadow. See picture for help.

11. A. Select the copy and the shadow and right-click and choose Create Clipping Mask. B. The clipping mask helped to crop away the blurred pixels that would ruin the shadow effect as you will see.

12. The final step is to moved our clipped shadow over to the original shape. This gave us the shadow portion that we needed. With the shadow, original, and highlights shape, you have achieved the engrave effect.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that it will beneficial to you in some way.

Vector Orb Tutorial Part 1

It’s time again for another tutorial but this one will be another long tutorial so I will break it up into two. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.

You’ve probably seen these types of orbs around the web and now you have the chance to make your own stylish vector orb.

Prerequisites: Illustrator CS4/5          Some experience with Illustrator

About: In this tutorial,  I’ll help you create a stylish vectored orb with highlights, shadows, blurs, and masks.


1. A. Draw a perfect circle using the ellipse tool and holding shift to constrain its proportions and give it a radial gradient where the inside is white and the outside is black/gray. B. Give this circle an opacity of 50 %.

2. A. Add an inner glow effect by going to Effect>Stylize>Inner Glow. B. A window should pop up; choose white for the fill, choose screen for the mode, make the opacity 75 %,  make the blur .007, and choose the edge option. C. Add another glow effect using the same process and you won’t need to enter the values again since the settings will be saved until you change them.

3. A. Copy a circle of the same size as our orb and make another circle slightly bigger than it, also making sure that it is behind it and that they each have different colors. B. Use the Shape Builder tool (Shift+M, hold option to subtract parts) or use pathfinder to cut out the inner circle. C. Now with this shape, give it nice linear gradient that goes from black to white upward (90°). D. Move this object back onto our orb.

4. A. Use the type tool to create some text. I wrote M in respect to the Mac Lab logo but feel free to write some short text (initials maybe). B. Apply an Outer Glow by going to Effect>Stylize>Outer Glow. C. A window will show up; set the fill to black, set the mode to  multiply, set the opacity to 75%, and the blur to .08.

5. A. Draw a white oval near the top of our orb. B. Apply a gradient where it fades to white downwards.

6. A. Draw another white oval near the bigger one  so it’s adjacent to it. B. Set the small oval’s opacity to 50%.

7. A. Draw a short arc segment with a .565 stroke or any stroke that is about the same width of the small oval and make it have a round cap. B. Use the Width Tool (Shift+W) to shorten one end to a point by dragging the endpoint’s width anchors inward. C. Move this curve onto the orb and give a white stroke. D. Give this curve a 50% stroke.

Note: If lacking the Width Tool, just draw the shape as best as you can.

This is the end of Part 1. Part 2 will finish off by giving it shadows and reflections. Click here for Part 2.

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