Illustrator Tutorial: Pencil Illustration

This video tutorial gives a helpful overview of Adobe Illustrator tools before demonstrating how to create a pencil illustration. You may stop following the tutorial at 17:00 with a single pencil on your artboard. Written instructions are below the video.

1. Create a blank artboard from File > New. Choose the standard “Web” profile.

2. You may turn on your grid view or rulers (View > Rulers > Show Rulers) as instructed in the video if you like. To create a blue guide line, drag from the ruler at the edge of your screen onto your artboard.

3. Use the Rectangle tool to draw a long rectangle for the body of the pencil.

4. With the Polygon tool, click on your artboard and type in “3” for the number of sides. Rotate the triangle while holding shift so the flat side matches up with your rectangle.


5. With the Polygon tool, click on the artboard and type in “5” for the numbers of sides. Use the Delete Anchor Point tool to delete the top point so the shape becomes flat on top. Move the shape between the rectangle and the triangle.

6. Use the Selection tool (black arrow) to draw the shape’s edges so it matches the rectangle width. Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) to make the shape narrower or wider on both sides at the same time.

7. Create a second rectangle above the main rectangle for the metal part of the pencil. Create a third rectangle at the top for the eraser. You should now have the basic shape of your pencil.

5. Select fill colors for the different shapes using the Swatches palette or the Appearance pane: black for the point, tan for the wood piece, yellow-orange for the rectangle, medium gray for the metal and pink for the eraser.

pencil-tutorial26. Add gradients to the flat colors, beginning with a yellow-orange gradient. Drag colors from your Swatches palette into your gradient pane. (You may need to move your Swatches palette around so you can see both at the same time.) When you have a gradient you like, drag the gradient swatch onto your shape. Remove the black stroke on the shapes.

7. Repeat the gradient process for the other shapes. For the black pencil tip, use a subtle gray-black gradient and change the angle in the gradient pane to 135 degrees. For the gray metal shape, choose a Radial Gradient (rather than Linear) from the gradient pane. For the pink eraser, set the angle to -150 degrees.

8. Using the Type tool, create a text box and type “ALWAYS BE CREATING” in black. The tutorial uses the font AvantGarde, but you may choose any font you like as long as it’s not the default.

9. Convert the text to outlines so they act like shapes. Right-click on the shape and choose “Create Outlines,” or select the text box and go to Type > Create Outlines. Rotate the text while holding shift to make it vertical, and place it on the yellow-orange rectangle.

10. Use the Line tool to create a vertical line on the pencil. Set the stroke to black and 3 points.

pencil-tutorial311. Select your entire pencil illustration and rotate it while holding shift. Your tutorial is now complete! Continue watching the rest of the video tutorial for additional techniques.

12. Save your file into a folder you’ve created for Illustrator tutorials.