How to Create a Magic Cauldron for Halloween in Adobe Illustrator

magic cauldronOur favourite spooky holiday is coming this month and we’re all very excited while preparing and waiting for Halloween! Let’s get inspired and create a cartoony Halloween icon of a witch’s magic cauldron using simple shapes and the most handy functions of Adobe Illustrator! Get ready and let’s brew this vector potion!

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS6 – CC
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Topics Covered: Pencil Tool, Stroke Panel, Pathfinder panel, Shape Builder Tool
  • Estimated Completion Time: 20 minutes

Final Image: Magic Cauldron

magic cauldron

Step 1

Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and let’s start from the top of our magic cauldron. Create a 270 x 60 px oval with dark-purple stroke and no fill.

We can adjust the Stroke Weight from a Stroke panel (Window > Stroke). Let’s make it thicker by setting the Weight to 12 pt.

Then Copy (Control-C) the ellipse and Paste in Back (Control-B). Set the stroke of the new oval to none and fill it with a darker purple color.

magic cauldron shape

Step 2

Now let’s create the body of the cauldron. Make a large ellipse of 340 x 280 px. Press Shift-Control-[ to Send to Back, placing it beneath the first two shapes and move it into place. You might need to use the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the top and bottom anchor points to squash the ellipse a bit more, making it fit.

magic cauldron shape

Step 3

Let’s add some shadows to our magic cauldron. Select the body shape and Copy it twice (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy, hold down Shift and move it to the left a bit. Fill the copy beneath it with darker color, this will be the shadow shape.

Now select the two copies and use the Minus Front function of the Pathfinder to delete the unneeded piece, so that we have only a crescent-shaped shadow left.

magic cauldron depth

Step 4

Now we’ll add another shadow to the top part of the cauldron. Create a large dark-purple ellipse, overlapping the top of the cauldron.

Select both the dark ellipse and the body shape of the cauldron.

magic cauldron shadow

Step 5

Keeping both shapes selected, grab the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M), hold Alt and click on the piece that you want to delete.

There we have it! Some nice shadow make the magic cauldron look a lot more interesting.

magic cauldron shadow

Step 6

Now that we have shadows let’s also add some highlights!

Duplicate the body shape of the cauldron twice (Control-C > Control-F >Control-F) and move one of the copies to the right a bit.

Select two copies and use the Minus Front function of the Pathfinder as we did previously to delete the unneeded pieces so that we have a crescent-shaped highlight along the left edge of the cauldron.

magic cauldron

Step 7

Grab the Eraser Tool (Shift-E) and let’s erase some parts of the highlight to make it more stylised and cartoony. We can adjust the Eraser settings by double-clicking on the Eraser Tool icon in the Tools panel.

Group (Control-G) the pieces of the highlight and make them a bit smaller so that they don’t stick to the edge of the cauldron.

magic cauldron highlight

Step 8

Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and add two small rectangles in the bottom of the cauldron for the legs. Press Shift-Control-[ to Send to Back, placing them beneath the cauldron body shape.

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) and drag the circle markers of the Live Corners to make those legs rounded.

magic cauldron legs

Step 9

Let’s fill our magic cauldron with a gooey brew!

Duplicate the dark-purple oval that we have on top of the cauldron and make it smaller. Change the Fill color to green, depicting a witch’s potion.

Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create a round bubble. Select its bottom anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and delete it, so that we have only half of the circle.

Place the bubble on top of the brew and copy it multiple times, changing the size and the position of each bubble.

magic cauldron potion

Step 10

Now we’ll make our gooey brew even spookier! Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw a simple eye made of circles of different size. Place the eye into the brew and use the Ellipse Tool (Shift-E) to delete its bottom half. Hold down Alt while using the Eraser Tool if you want to use a rectangular selection.

magic cauldron eyeball

Step 11

Take the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a bone sticking out of the brew. Fill it with yellowish-grey color, the same as we have for the eyeball.

Add some green bubbles floating above the cauldron.

magic cauldron bones

Step 12

Now we can Group (Control-G) all the elements of the cauldron and use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a purple rectangle for the background.

Add an elliptical shadow under the cauldron using the Ellipse Tool (L).

Use a Type Tool (T) and a free Peralta font to add a message in the bottom of the card.

magic cauldron shadow

Step 13

Let’s customise the text a bit. First of all, let’s Object > Expand Appearance of the text to turn it into curves.

Now we have every letter as a separate object and we need to double-click the text group to be able to move or edit those letters. Use the Selection Tool (V) to move and rotate the letters, making the text look more diverse and playful.

You can also add spooky elements to some of the letters. For example, I’ve added a couple of squashed ellipses inside of the letter «O» to make it look like a demon’s eye.

magic cauldron happy halloween

Step 14

This is how I’ve ended up with the text. Feel free to add more fun decorations to the text and to the cauldron, you can even turn in into a Halloween postcard and send it to your friends! 🙂

magic cauldron

Boo! Our Spooky Halloween Cauldron is Ready!

Great job, guys! Thank you so much for following this tutorial, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and discovered some new magic tips and tricks that will be useful for your future designs and illustrations.

Get yourself ready for Halloween and have a very scary good time!

magic cauldron

Author: Yulia Sokolova

2D/3D artist and tutorial instructor, focusing on character creation, icons, lettering design, and illustrations.

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