Tutorial: How to create a Christmas Tree
Learn how to create a Christmas Tree in Illustrator in this tutorial.
- Author: Freepik
- Program: Adobe Illustrator (CS6)
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Topics Covered: Creating a brush, Combining paths
- Estimated Completion Time: approx. 30mins – 1hr
Start by opening up a New Document in Illustrator. I have set the dimensions of the canvas to 800x800px along
with the usual default settings seen in the screen capture above.
we focus first on creating a bare Christmas tree by creating one single leaf very similar to a pine tree’s.
Grab the Paintbrush tool and select the 5pt. Round.
Double-click on our selected brush (5pt Round) in the Brush panel to open up the ‘Calligraphic Brush Options’
Set the Size to ‘Pressure’ in the dropdown options and change the Variation to ‘5pt’ and click ‘OK’
Draw a vertical line using your tablet it doesn’t need to be a perfectly straight line. Just keep the line
similar to the one in the screencapture above. Adjust the nodes and curves if needed. Set the color of the Stroke swatch to a Brown shade (#774419).
Now draw some long thin leaves sprouting from the branch. Make sure the shape of your leaf looks similar
the the screencapture above. The lines do not have to be perfect. Set the color of the Stroke swatch to a Deep Green shade (#204415).
Grab your lasso tool and select by encircling all the green leaves. Go to the Brushes panel and select ‘Basic’ brush style while leaves are selected. Go to Stroke panel and change the Size
to around 6pt. Change the Profile to Width Profile 4 (shaped like a thin triangle)
While Selection is still activated, grabe your Warp Tool and further manipulate the shape of the leaf by tugging and pulling on the
Now bring into front the branch to cover the gaps between the leaves by selecting it with the Direct selection tool by
going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front.Fix the end of some leaves by hiding them under the branch. Using the Direct Selection tool click on the node and drag them
under the branch. Zoom in and fix any ends. Also feel free to grab the Smooth tool to adjust any mangled leaf.
Now when the you’re happy with your leaf let’s add some depth to it. Select all strokes on the canvas and go
to Object > Expand Appearance. All strokes are now converted to shapes with fills. Repeat Step 7 wherein you will be selecting all the leaves.
Then go to Object > Path > Offset Path… In the Offset Path dialog box that will appear type in -1.5px for the
‘Offset’ option and hit ‘OK’
Now you will see the smaller inner shapes formed and selected. While those shapes are selected, change their color
to a lighter green (#45872D).
Select the branch then go to Object > Path > Offset Path… In the Offset Path dialog box that will appear type in -1.5px for the
‘Offset’ option and hit ‘OK’ Change the color to a lighter brown (#AA5821)
Grab your Selection Tool and select all paths on your canvas. Go to Object > Group. While selection is still activated, duplicate the leaf by going to Edit > Copy and then Edit > Paste. You
will now have two leaves.
Go in Isolation Mode for the duplicated leaf by double clicking the group with your Selection Tool. Select the path with a darker green fill and go to Object > Select > Same Fill Color.
Now change color of the selected paths to an even more lighter green color (#3E8426)Do the same for the path in inner leaf. Color used was (#76BA5A) Now we have two leaf in two different shades. we will be using them to shape our tree.
Create a horizontal thin oval shape using the Ellipse Tool. Set the color to Black (#000000)
Grab your Paintbrush tool and set the brush style to any you’d like. I have used the 5pt Round again.
Now create a sort of ‘fur’ texture by creating lines around the oval shape.
Select all of your strokes with the Direct selection Tool.Go the Brush panel and select the Basic style. Go to Strokes panel and change the size to 7pt and the Profile to
width Profile 4 (the thin triangle one).
Select all the paths and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Now while the paths are selected, select the oval shape as well and go to the Pathfinder panel. Click on the ‘Unite’ icon.
Open up the Brush panel and drag your new shape into the brush list to create a new brush. This dialog box
will appear and choose the Art Brush option.
In the Art Brush Options, Set the Width to ‘Pressure’ and change the Minimum to 1% and the Maximum to 100%.
In the Colorization, in the dropdown box change the Method to Hue Shift. Then click ‘OK’. In the Brush panel you can now see the new brush we have created to be used in forming the Christmas Tree.
Now that we have all the needed elements to create a bare Christmas Tree let’s start creating the tree itself.
Grab your Paintbrush tool and use the brush we have recently created and start forming a silhoutte of a Christmas Tree.
It should look similar to the one in the screencapture.
Next select all strokes and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Go to the Pathfinder panel and select ‘Unite’. Change the color to a very dark green (#162D0C). Now grab one of the leaves we have created previously and multiply it into several copies. Rotate, move and resize each leaf onto the silhouette of
a Christmas tree. You can select a leaf with the Selection Tool and use the Roate tool. The end result should be similar
to the second screencapture.
Now grab the second leaf and repeat the previous step. Layer it on. To make it look like it has some depth we should be overlapping the lighter and darker leaves to each other. we can do this by adding both the dark and light leaves
at the same time and arrange them accordingly.
We should change the brown branch to a green color so everything can look more cohesive. We can do this by selecting a single brown branch with the Direct
selection tool and go to Select > Same > Fill color. Change the brown to a dark green (#216311). Repeat 7 for the offset path of the branch and change the color to a shade of green (#3E8426)
Our bare Christmas tree is done and we can finally move onto creating the ornaments to decorate our tree.