This is the final image that we are aiming for, and after this tutorial you will have something similar to this.
Create a new document with size A4 and set orientation to vertical. If you want to make this any other size feel free. I do this specific size so I can print this poster later and mount it on the wall.
I won’t bother you too much with colors. Feel free to choose the ones that work best for you. I am going to go with the default swatch colors. Those colors will be, lime green, beige, pink, orange.
With the rectangle tool (shortcut M) we will create a rectangle with size 100px by 100px. To get this box all you have to do is select the tool and double click on the canvas. It doesn’t matter where will you position the object on the screen. Set the fill color to beige, and stroke to none.
Make sure you have the rectangle selected and go to the effects tab. Effect -> 3D -> Extrude & Bevel. The 3D options menu appears which allows you to make a 3D object out of 2D objects.
Inside the options, make sure you check the preview option (bottom left corner). It is easier to see what is happening and edit the object quicker, though performance issues might appear if you have on-board graphic card. Click on the drop down menu that says position and select Isometric Left. Also, set the extrude depth to 100pt. After you are done with this hit OK and you have your first 3D object made in Illustrator. This will be the box that the cactus is coming out of.
Let’s add some detail so we can make the box look more appropriate. First, select the object with the selection tool (V), then go to Object and select Expand Appearance.
NOTE: This will turn the 3D object into 2D object. If you want to change the color with one click you won’t be able to do this anymore and retain shading.
We can now use the object lines to create the package extensions that will snap to the object. Select the line segment tool (\) and double click anywhere on the working area. Set the length to 20px and angle to 30 degrees. You’ll need two lines set just like I have on the picture below. You can either copy and paste the line that you initially created or follow the steps to create another one similar to this one.
When you have the two lines positioned select the Pen Tool (P), and use it to connect the two lines together on both sides. Set the fill color to Gradient and add a gradient colors like on the picture below.
Put the gradient angle to -120 degrees.
To make the right side of the cardboard box, repeat step 7 and 8. However, instead of using angle to 30 degrees, set the angle to 330 degrees. And the gradient angle to -60 degrees.
Take the Selection Tool (V) and while holding down shift (to select multiple objects), select the two parts of the cardboard box. Once you have them selected, take the Reflect Tool (O), and click on the anchor point marked on the screen shot.
After that you are free to start reflecting. However, in order to make a copy out of the reflection you must hold down ALT and SHIFT on your keyboard. ALT will make it copy, and SHIFT will make it go in certain angles only.
When you are finished the result should look like this. You can see that the angles of the object have been set automatically.
We will now start on making the cactus. Have the lime green color selected, and then select the Rectangle Tool (M) and double click on the working area. Like in Step 3 we are going to create a rectangle with dimension 50px width and 200px height
With this new rectangle selected, go to Effect -> 3D -> Extrude & Bevel. And just like in Step 5 select tick the preview box, and from the drop down menu select Isometric Left. Make sure that the Extrude Depth is set to 50pt. And align the object to your liking.
Make an L shaped object with the Pen Tool (P). It doesn’t have to be big. To do this quicker, enable the grids by pressing CTRL + ‘ ; Start making the L shaped object. After you finish it, you can take off the grid visibility.
Copy the L shape object and rotate it 180 degrees. To rotate in straight angles, hold down Shift on your keyboard.
Select one of the L shaped objecet and repeat Step 5 however, for Extrude Depth use 18pt.
Afterwards, select the other L shape and this time hit SHIFT + CTRL + E on your keyboard, to reapply the same effect to the object.
After extruding the objects use the Selection Tool (V) to position the “hands” on the body of the cactus.
With the Pen Tool (P), make the spikes of the cactus. Use lime green color for fill, and no stroke. Final outcome should be like the screen shot below.
Next on our list is a flower on top of the cactus. To make it we will take an ellipse and copy it couple of times to make it a flower. Take the Ellipse Tool (L), and make one ellipse. While the ellipse is still selected, take the Rotation Tool (R) and select the lowest anchor.
After that, you are ready to rotate. Click and drag and throw in SHIFT + ALT to make the first copy of the ellipse. That first copy will be under an angle of either 45 or -45 degrees. Do not click anywhere and have the ellipse selected. While the ellipse is still selected hit CTRL + D on your keyboard and do that 5 more times. You should end up with something like the screen shot below.
With the Selection Tool (V), select all the ellipses that you created.
Go to Window -> Pathfinder and from the toolbox that appears select the first one. That’s the Unite option which will unite all of the ellipses into one object.
Now, with the flower still selected, go to Effect -> 3D -> Extrude & Bevel. Don’t forget to enable preview. In position select Isometric Top. Set the Extrude depth to 10pt, and in Bevel select Classic. When you have these options done click OK and reposition the flower with the Selection tool on top of the cactus.
NOTE: Feel free to play with Bevel as it will give you different results. Also, if you don’t want it to change during scaling down just expand it through Object -> Expand Appearance.
Use the rectangle tool to create the eyes for our little cactus as well as the mouth. I am using two rectangles, one with black fill and another one with white fill.
Position the mouth and the eyes on the cactus. While having the eyes and mouth selected, right click on them and select Transform -> Shear. Set the shear angle to 30 degrees, and Vertical axis. After that just click OK.
We now need the final element which is a talk bubble. We are going to use the Pen Tool (P) to create it. Select the Pen Tool (P) and create an object that looks like on the screen below.
Once you have the bubble created, go to Effect -> 3D -> Extrude & Bevel and select Isometric left for position. Set the Extrude Depth to 15 pt and then click OK. After that just reposition the bubble above the cactus.
You are more then welcome to add some text into the bubble to make it more appealing. I will add the text “Hey! Have a nice day!”. Fill color will be set to white for the text. Position the text into the bubble and use the settings for Shear that we did in Step 2
We are close to getting done. All we need is to add some shadows. There are two ways to pull this thing off easy. One way is to create an object that is at 60 degrees angle. The second way is to have the bottom left open part of the box copied and set in the position like the screen shot below.
After you have the base for our shadow complete, add a gradient to the object. For this to look good, set both colors on the gradient to black, and have one of the markers set to 0 opacity. This way you will create a natural looking shadow. Also, go into the transparency panel (Window -> Transparency) and reduce the opacity of the entire object to 70% (or to your liking).
Redo this step so you can add the shadow at the bottom of the box.
We are at our final step. We will add a background color to make this poster complete. For the final step we need to create a rectangle that spans through the entire artboard. Add a gradient to this rectangle, with any colors you want, and set the angle to -120 degrees.
This is the final step to our tutorial. Select the rectangle with the gradient, right click on it, go to Arrange -> Send to Back. This will send your background to the back revealing everything we’ve done in this tutorial. After this you can export this, and have it printed and hanged on the wall.
I really do hope that you enjoyed this simple tutorial. Thank you for reading this post and going through it, if i can be of any help feel free to contact through comments or contact page. See you in the next post!