Christmas time is coming soon so why not to make it more special by drawing your own festive card in Adobe Illustrator CS4. You can then print it and give it to your loved ones, friends or anybody you want. To draw it you don’t need high vector skills. In this tutorial I will show you few simple tricks to make an effective looking Christmas tree card in a short time.
Drawing the Christmas tree
Draw a triangle with Pen Tool (N) and skew it while drawing. Then select it with Selection Tool (V) copy (ctrl + C) and paste (ctrl + V) twice. Now arrange and resize the triangles to form a tree shape like mine.
Now select all three shapes with Selection Tool (V) use the Pathfinder menu (Window > Pathfinder) and Unite all of them.
Now that you have the basic tree shape select, copy and paste it twice. Put the copies above the original shape so that they don’t cover it perfectly and play with their opacity (Window > Transparency) and color (Window > Color) until you obtain a result similar to mine.
In the same way draw the trunk and snow. I rearranged the shapes slightly so that the Trunk is between the tree and snow shape. To draw snow use Paintbrush Tool (B). Draw a cloudy shape and don’t forget to connect the ends to close the path. To do this use Pen Tool (N). Click on the first node of the path and then on the second one connecting them together.
It is time to decorate our tree. I started with a star on the top. Use a shape already designed by Adobe. The star of course was drawn in the same manner as the whole tree. This time I not only changed the position of the star but also changed it’s angle a little bit.
Next ornaments added were candles. They are very easy to draw, just a skewed rectangle, a dark stripe for a wick and a flame. It may be hard to spot but I put everything three times in the picture. While drawing the flame I used three different sizes, opacities and colors. To make the candles more convincing I’ve drawn a simple halo below the flame. It’s made from three white circles with different opacity.
To put more candles on a tree select with Selection Tool (V) the one you drew and right click on it. From the menu choose Group. Now copy and paste the group as many times as you want to decorate your tree.
If you want to make more decorations why not draw some ribbons. Use Paintbrush Tool (B) and draw a ribbon and now having it selected use Object > Expand function to get a shape out of a drawn path.
Place the ribbons under each candle or separately. I’ve put mine together but it’s your drawing feel free to change its colors and composition. This will be the end of decorations for me.
Why not to make a whole picture even more festive? Let’s draw some simple presents beneath the tree. Like previous elements every element is triple with various opacity. Everything starts with a box drawn with Pen Tool (P), than add a bow. Draw a simple bow-like shape and the holes in it.
Select them and use Window> Pathfinder> Minus Front option. Now draw the ribbons and merge them together with bow Window> Pathfinder> Unite. Adjust the colors and the present is done! Draw a second present using the same technique.
Now play with the snow shape to cover them partially like you’ve done with the trunk.
The last step will be drawing a background. Create a new layer and put it under the one with the tree. Make the tree layer invisible by clicking the eye icon next to the layer’s name.
Draw a big, red rectangle using Rectangle Tool (M). It has to cover your drawing area.
Now go to the View > Appearance menu and having the rectangle selected add a New Fill. Use one of the patterns from Swatches (red circle shows where you can find it). Mine is Swatch Libraries menu > Patterns > Decorative > Decorative_Orament > Chinese Tiles Color. Last step is to change the Opacity settings. Use Overlay function from the menu.
Everything’s ready. Just make the tree layer visible and type greetings below the tree. Don’t forget to save your file. Use the File > Export… function to save it as .jpg or .png file. Then you can open it in Photoshop to add final touches, for example to add the texture.
Here you have the final picture. You can send it as an e-card or print it out and send to any one you want. Have a great holiday and Merry Christmas to everyone!