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Tutorial: Christmas candy and a greeting card

15 December 2010no comments all, design, tutorials

So season’s up! And you are trying so hard to find a nice greeting card for Christmas arent you?
Why not make your own?
Today we’re going to make a nice Christmas candy greeting card!

First of all everything comes up to knowledge…
• The size of a greeting card will be B5 (but on 200 grams paper).
• We’ll be using some nice colors that match up with the season.
• It should be really, really nice..

Let brain up something (I did this to get the candy idea).

Well that said. Let’s work something out with this candy…
Yeah that’s nice.
Let’s work the candy out first. (click the pictures to enlarge them)

Create a new B5 sized document in Illustrator

First of all let’s delete all colors that are currently in the color palette.
Click on the first red color and while keeping [shift] pressed click on the last color release [shift].
Then click the small Bin under the colors.

First of all let’s make a rounded Rectangle
Go to the “tools palette” on the left side of illustrator and keep the “make rectangle or circle button pressed until you see a hidden drop down menu. In this drop down menu you need to click the rounded rectangle.

Make a long shape.
Keep in mind that while you create it you can press the up and down arrows on your keyboard to alter the “roundness”. Make it nice and black like the picture above.

Now we need to look for some nice colors.
Go to and pick a nice palette.
I choose this one:
download the palette as AI from the download bar on the right.
you can download it directly from here. All honor goes to Nicotinneskinny for creating this one.

In illustrator go to the palette section (where you deleted all the colors) and click on the small button top right. In the dropdown menu select load library -> other library and browse to the file you downloaded.

Now drag all the palettes into your static palette library, in this way they will be saved once you close the file. And not lost when deleting the palette file.

Now let’s give our candy the strokes…

Go to the line tool [\] and while keeping [shift] pressed make a nice 45 degrees line over the rounded rectangle you just made. Change the size and thickness to something like I did.

Drag the line down until it just goes past the end of the black shape and keep it there.

Now we need to expand our nice object, to do this go to object (menu) and click expand.
Expand both fill and line (default)

While keeping [alt] and [shift] pressed drag the shape up, and repeat this until you have something like this. (with the highest one just over the top again.
Don’t worry when the distance between the shape is not exactly the same.

That said, the shapes aren’t actually not that well aligned… but there’s a build in solution to this one.
Select 1 of the red objects, and go to the top-menu “select -> the same -> Fill”. Now all your red objects are selected

When you select more than one object, you will notice some nice icons in the top of your screen. (if not press [shift]+[F7]) in this case we are interested in 2 ones.
the first one you’re going to click will align all the red objects in one vertical line (in case you accidently got one object to the right or left side while dragging)
then you click the second one as shown above to align all objects with the same distance between each other.

There is still this annoying end hanging outside the black shape. Let’s cut it off.
First of all we need the computer to think that all the red objects are actually 1 object with a lot of holes surrounding it… this is actually kind of easy. Select all the red objects again and go to:
Object -> complexed path -> create.
You can also make a shortcut by hitting [ctrl]+[8] ([cmnd]+[8] on a Mac).

Nothing changed… no not in your view but when you go to the “layers panel” you notice that the objects came together as one object with the name .

Now select the baseform (the black rounded rectangle) and hit [ctrl]+[c] on your keyboard.
When you would paste the object using [ctrl]+[v] it would go somewhere else (middle of the screen).
We want the object to be pasted on the exactly same spot we copied it from. You can paste something in front of it’s source by hitting [ctrl]+[F] in Illustrator. Do this (on a Mac [ctrl] would be [cmnd]) and notice that your path has been duplicated in the layers palette.

Behind the object you just pasted there’s a circle and a blue rectangle. The circle is a button you use to select the object and the blue rectangle means that something in that layer, group, complex or path has been selected.

Press [shift] and click the circles behind the names of the duplicated base-object and the red boxes in the layer menu. This will select both.

Now open up the Pathfinder box. You can do this by going to window -> pathfinder or by hitting [shift]+[ctrl]+[F9] (same but [ctrl] as [cmnd] on a Mac).
In the pathfinder click the third option of the “shape-mods”.
The duplicate of the base-shape will be consumed in this process, so that’s why we duplicated it.

Time to give our black base some nice color. The reason why we didn’t do that till so far was to keep the contrast between stuff. Making more visible what was there, got modified and changed.
Make it something like above, there’s a nice broken white in the color book you just imported.

In Photoshop you have this option to make transparent stuff filled by blocks to show that it is actually transparent.
In illustrator you can do exactly the same, just hit [ctrl]+[shift]+[D] on your keyboard (cmnd on a Mac again). To reveal the transparent background. To show the white background again hit the same keystroke again.

Now we have a nice straight shape, but these nice candies have a rounding on top of them.
There are many techniques to bend this object, but the best one (and most funny) would be to make a brush of your shape.

Select the whole shape and drag it to your brushes. Illustrator will ask you what brush you would like to make. Make it an “Art Brush”. In the menu make sure the blue indication arrow goes the same way as the longest side of your candy bar.
Click okay.
Now there is a nice new brush in your brushes box (this way you can create all kinds of brushes, from roads, splatters to leaves, etc.).

Make a straigt line (2/3’d of the previous object, or close to 2/3’d) and give it a black line-color of 1pt.

Make a circle with the middle going from the end of the line and the top at the end of the old shape ([L] to select the tool and keep [shift] pressed to make a perfect circle).
After you made the circle, drag circle to get the “left anchor point” exactly on the upper anchor point of the line. Cs4 and Cs5 have smart guidelines activated by default, if not go to View -> smart guidelines or press [ctrl]+[U] on your keyboard (cmnd on a Mac).

Use the direct selection tool [A] to select the lowest anchor point of the circle and hit delete. This will result in a half circle.

Now we are going to connect the left anchor point of our half circle with the line.
Select the whole object sing the regular selection tool [V]. and while keeping shift pressed drag it up a little bit.

Now select the left anchor point from the half circle and the highest anchorpoint of the line (press [a] and draw a box around both) and go to object -> path -> join (or unite) or [ctrl]+[J] (cmnd on a Mac again).
Both paths will be connected and become 1 object.

To finish the shape hit the brush you just made in the brushes box
Wow it’s a finished candy! But… no not really it’s just a flat shape.

Try to get as many expanded objects as possible when you make your end result.
Now the line we made is just a regular line containing information that it has a brush attached. And on your computer with your version of Illustrator it will look the same when you open it up the next time. But on other (newer or after export older) versions the computer will recalculate the looks of your object in a whole other way. The line should really be expanded.
To do this select it and go to object -> expand Design

We are going to make some light-effects in the object

Double-click the object using the regular selection tool [V] to expand the group temporary.
You can see if you are “in” the group when everything around the object gets a look-trough glow and the top of the screen tells something like the picture above.

Now select the white base object, and duplicate it to front ([ctrl]+[C] then [ctrl]+[F]).
The duplicated object must be placed on top of all objects. To do this hit ctrl+shift+] on your keyboard (yes the ] sign above enter).

Move the white object a little bit and make it a little bit bigger to make it look something like the picture.

Give the object a fill of CMYK: 0-0-0-30, go to the transparency box ([shift+[ctrl]+[F10]) and give it 50% with Overflow.

There is still some object “hanging out”.
Duplicate the base object (the white one not the transparent 30% black one) and use the 3’d shape mod in Pathfinder to cut the rest out.
Press [esc] to “leave” the group.

Move the object you used to create outside the page. Don’t delete it. You might wanna change your brush later.

Make the candy a little bit smaller and add some text to your liking.

Customize your work, add some nice stuff and create something cool.
afterwards safe your work as .ai and also as a PDF file.
in this way you can easily print it everywhere.

good luck and have fun.
Merry Christmas and a Happy new year,

About the Author

My name is Peter van der Meulen, I'm 21 years old, love computing, drawing, surfing (reallife), And i'm completely blown away by people who make good design (including me :p) I study Graphic Design @ ROC Friese Poort Drachten, and as a freelancer I create all kinds of stuff for my customers.

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