Create a Simple Calendar Icon

Preview In the following tutorial, you will learn how to create a simple calendar icon in Adobe Illustrator. For starters, you will learn how to setup a simple grid, how to take full advantage of the Appearance panel and how to create a subtle texture. Next, you can learn how to use the basic Pathfinder options, how to easily align your shapes, how to cleverly use the Roughen effect and how to create a simple pattern. Finally, you will learn some basic masking techniques and how to wisely use the Transform effect.

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS5
  • Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate
  • Topics Covered: Basic Tools and Effects, Transform & Masking techniques and the Appearance panel
  • Estimated Completion Time: 45 minutes

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Final Image

Step 1

Hit Command + N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width and height boxes then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK. Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters you will need a grid every 5px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

Step 1

Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke, then select the fill and set its color at R=196 G=154 B=108. Move to your Artboard and simply create a 125 by 80px rectangle–the Snap to Grid should ease your work.

Step 2

Step 3

Make sure that your brown rectangle is selected and make a copy in front (CTRL + C > CTRL + F). Select this copy, open the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient) and simply click on the gradient thumbnail to add the default black to white linear gradient. Keep focusing on your Gradient panel, make sure that the Type is set at Linear, set the Angle at 0 degrees then move to the gradient bar. Add another four gradient sliders simply by clicking on that gradient bar and placing them as shown in the following image. The white numbers from the Gradient image stand Location percentage. In the end you should have six sliders. Select these slider one by one, and replace the existing colors with the ones pointed in the following image. Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), then go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1px. Reselect the shape made in this step, move it 3px down using the down arrow key from your keyboard then send it to back (Shift + CTRL + [ ).

Step 3

Step 4

Reselect the front, brown shape, focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Select this new fill, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Sketch > Graphic Pen. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and return to the Appearance panel. Add a new fill for your shape, set the color at white and drag it below the existing fills. Make sure that this third fill is selected, change its Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Focus on the Move section, drag the Vertical slider at 1px and click OK.

Step 4

Step 5

Make sure that your front shape is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a white stroke. Select it, set the weight at 2pt, align it to inside, lower its Opacity to 40% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Return to the Appearance panel, and add a second stroke for your shape using the Add New Stroke button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Select this new stroke, make it 1pt wide, align it to inside and set the color at R=159 G=114 B=70. Return to the Appearance panel, select the entire path (you can easily do it by clicking on the “Path” piece of text from the top of the Appearance panel) and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 6px radius and click OK. In the end, things should look like in the following image.

Step 5

Step 6

Let’s move to the other brown shape. Select it, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Return to the Appearance panel, make sure that your shape is still selected, add a third fill and drag it below the existing fills. Select this third fill, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 25% and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and get back to the Appearance panel. Select the entire path and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 6px radius and click OK. In the end, things should look like in the following image. Select both shapes made so far and Group them (CTRL + G). Move to the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and click on that little arrow icon to open your only layer. Here you should find the group made a few moments ago. Double click on it and simply name it “woodenSupport“.

Step 6

Step 7

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 115 x 55px shape, set the fill color at R=254 G=250 B=243, place it as shown in the first image and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape, make a copy in front (CTRL + C > CTRL + F) and disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Select this copy and move it 1px up using the up arrow from your keyboard. Reselect this moved copy along with the original shape, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Minus Front button. Fill the resulting shape with white.

Step 7

Step 8

Reselect the 115 x 55px rectangle, focus on the Appearance panel and add a 1pt stroke. Select it, set the color at R=234 G=230 B=223 and align it to inside. Return to the Appearance panel, make sure that your rectangle is still selected and add a second fill. Drag it above the stroke and add the linear gradient shown in the following image. (Remember that the white number from the Gradient image stands for Location percentage while the yellow zeros stand for Opacity percentage.) Reselect the rectangle edited in this step along with the thin, white path made in the previous step and Group them (CTRL + G). Move to the Layers panel and simply name this new group “paperOne“.

Step 8

Step 9

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For this step, you will need a grid every 1px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 113 x 6px shape, set the fill color at R=234 G=230 B=223 and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new rectangle is selected and make two copies in front (CTRL + C > CTRL + F > CTRL + F). Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), select the top copy and move it 2px up. Reselect both copies and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black and lower its Opacity to 15%.

Step 9

Step 10

Reselect your 113 x 6px rectangle, focus on the Appearance panel and add a black stroke. Select it, set the size at 1pt, align it to inside and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Get back to the Appearance panel, make sure that your rectangle is still selected and add a second fill. Drag it above the stroke, add the linear gradient shown in the following image and change its Blending Mode to Soft Light. (Remember that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.) Reselect the rectangle edited in this step along with the black path made in the previous step and Group them (CTRL + G). Move to the Layers panel, name this new group “paperTwo” and drag it below your “paperOne” group.

Step 10

Step 11

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 111 x 6px shape, set the fill color at R=214 G=210 B=203 and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new rectangle is selected and make two copies in front (CTRL + C > CTRL + F > CTRL + F). Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), select the top copy and move it 2px up. Reselect both copies and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black and lower its Opacity to 15%.

Step 11

Step 12

Reselect your 111 x 6px rectangle, focus on the Appearance panel and add a black stroke. Select it, set the size at 1pt, align it to inside and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Get back to the Appearance panel, make sure that your rectangle is still selected and add a second fill. Drag it above the stroke, add the linear gradient shown in the following image and change its Blending Mode to Soft Light. Reselect the rectangle edited in this step along with the black path made in the previous step and Group them (CTRL + G). Move to the Layers pane, name this new group “paperThree” and drag it below your “paperTwo” group.

Step 12

Step 13

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and simply click on your Artboard to open the Rectangle window. Enter 1 in the Width box and 53 in the Height box then click OK. This should create a 1 x 53px rectangle. Fill it with black and open the Align panel (Window > Align). Select this thin, black shape along with your “paperOne” group, click on the border of the group (it should get emphasized) then hit the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons from the Align panel. This should move your black rectangle right in the middle of the “paperOne” group. Reselect that black path and simply replace the black with R=213 G=231 B=246.

Step 13

Step 14

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 39 x 1px rectangle, fill it with R=213 G=231B =246 and place it as shown in the first image. Select this subtle, blue rectangle along with the one made in the previous step and Group them (CTRL + G). Move to the Layers panel and name this new group “blueDividers“.

Step 14

Step 15

Next, you’ll need to reset your settings to “gridline every 5px “, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 115 x 5px shape and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new rectangle has no color set for the fill, but add a 1pt stroke and set its color at R=237 G=28 B=36. Focus on this red outline, grab the Scissors Tool (C) and simply click on the two bottom anchor points (highlighted in the first image). This should divide your red rectangle in two separate path, a simple horizontal path that represents the bottom side and a second path that represents the other three sides. Select only the horizontal path and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Step 15

Step 16

Focus on the left side of your red paths, grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply click on the anchor point highlighted in the first image to remove it. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the two anchor points highlighted in the second image and hit CTRL + J (or go to Object > Path > Join) to connect these two points. Move to the right side of your red paths, select both anchor points highlighted in the fourth image and connect them using the same technique (CTRL + J or Object > Path > Join). In the end, the two red paths should turn into a simple closed path. Select it, remove that red from the stroke and fill it with the linear gradient shown in the following image.

Step 16

Step 17

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the wrinkled shape made in the previous step and make two copies in front (CTRL + C > CTRL + F > CTRL + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Then, go to the Appearance Panel and fill the resulting shape with white and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Step 17

Step 18

Select that wrinkled shape and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the left window (in the following image), click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the middle window, click OK and go once again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the right window and click OK. Reselect your wrinkled shape along with the thin, white path made in the previous step and Group them (CTRL + G). Move to the Layers panel and name this new group “tornPaper“.

Step 18

Step 19

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 115 x 20px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Next, you’ll need the Round Any Corner script. You can find it in this useful Illustrator scripts pack. Save it to your hard drive, return to Illustrator and grab the Direct Selection Tool (A). Focus on the top side of your blue rectangle, select both anchor points (highlighted in the first image) and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter a 5px Radius and click OK. In the end, your shape should look like in the second image.

Step 19

Step 20

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the blue shape made in the previous step and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (CTRL + C > CTRL + F). Select this copy and move it 1px down using the down arrow from your keyboard. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white, lower its Opacity to 70% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

Step 20

Step 21

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Switch to “gridline every 1px“, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 2 x 1 px shape and fill it with R=237 G=28 B=36. Continue with the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 1px square, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the second image. Reselect that red rectangle and remove the color from the fill. Select both shapes made in this step and simply drag them inside the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) to save them as a pattern. Once you can see your new pattern inside the Swatches panel, return to your Artoaboard and simply remove the tiny rectangles made in this step.

Step 21

Step 22

Reselect your blue shape, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select it, add your saved pattern, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and lower its Opacity to 15%.

Step 22

Step 23

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 115 x 2px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new rectangle is selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the left window (in the following image), click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the right window and click OK.

Step 23

Step 24

Reselect the rectangle made in the previous step along with the blue, patterned shape and the thin, white path and Group them (CTRL + G). Move to the Layers panel and simply name this new group “blue“. Focus on the Layers panel, select your “paperOne“, “paperTwo“, “paperThree” and “blue” groups and duplicate them (CTRL + C > CTRL + F). Select these group copies and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape and hit the D button from your keyboard to replace the existing Appearance attributes with the default ones (white fill and black stroke). Make sure that this new shape is still selected, remove that black stroke and replace the white with a flat black.

Step 24

Step 25

Make sure that your black shape is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select this new fill, make sure that the color is set at black, lower its Opacity to 15% and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset, click OK and return to the Appearance panel. Select the other black fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. Move to the Layers panel and open your “woodenSupport” group. Select the top, brown shape and duplicate it (CTRL + C > CTRL + F). Select this copy, drag it outside the group and move it in the top of the Layers panel. Make sure that the copy stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove the existing fills and strokes, keep the Rounded Corners effect then add a simple, white fill.

Step 25

Step 26

Open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency). Select both the black and the white shapes, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. In the end, things should look like in the second image. Move to the Layers panel and drag this masked shape below your “paperThree” group.

Step 26

Step 27

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 7px square, set the fill color at black, lower the Opacity to 20% and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 7px circle, set the fill color at R=169 G=124 B=80 and place it as shown in the second image. Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), make sure that your brown circle is selected and make two copies in front (CTRL + C > CTRL + F > CTRL + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Step 27

Step 28

Reselect the brown circle and make another two copies in front (CTRL + C > CTRL + F > CTRL + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px down. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=91 G=147 B=192. Get back to your brown circle, select it and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Step 28

Step 29

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 5 x 15px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the following image. Make sure that this new rectangle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a black stroke. Select it, set the size at 1pt, align it to inside, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, select your entire path and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 2.5px radius and click OK. Continue with the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 1 x 11px shape, se the fill color at black, place it as shown in the second image and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 0.5px radius and click OK.

Step 29

Step 30

Reselect both shapes made in the previous step, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. Also, uncheck the the Clip box.

Step 30

Step 31

Select all the shapes that make up the ring and Group them (CTRL + G). Make sure that this new group is selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Step 31

Step 32

Using the Type Tool (T) add the name of the month, the name of the day and the number of the day. Use the attributes pointed in the following image then place your pieces of text as shown below. Once you’re done, select all your text and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK.

Step 32

And We’re Done!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

Final Image

Andrei Marius

Author:Andrei Marius

Andrei Marius is a self taught vector artist who is trying to make a living doing something that he likes. He spends most of his time working in Adobe Illustrator, trying to avoid the Pen Tool. You can find most of his vector experiments at this little website dedicate to Illustrator VforVectors.

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