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How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator

How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator


What You’ll Be Creating

In
this new tutorial you will learn how to draw a colorful salad on a
plate, but let’s choose a different angle because that means more fun.
At the beginning, we will create a simple plate, and after that it’s
time to get creative in arranging the ingredients of this salad:
rocket leaves, pieces of red and yellow peppers, onion rings, tasty
slices of tomatoes, radishes, and black olives. At the end, it’s all
about the shadows in order to give it a more realistic look. Let’s
start the fun!

If
you are hungry for more food icons or vector icons in general, then
run over to GraphicRiver and you’ll surely find what are you looking
for there. 

1. How
to Create a New Document 

Launch
Illustrator
and
go to
File
> New
to
open a blank document. Type a name for your file, set up the
dimensions, and then select
Pixels
as
Units
and
RGB
as
Color
Mode
.
Make sure that
Align
New Objects to Pixel Grid
is
not checked.

Next,
go to
Edit
> Preferences > General
and
set the
Keyboard
Increment
to
1
px
and
while there, go to
Units
to
make sure they are set as in the following image. I usually work with
these settings, and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

how to open a new illustrator document  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 1 min

2. How
to Draw a Simple Plate

Step
1

Let’s
start with an ellipse about 610 x 75 px Filled with the Linear Gradient shown (1). Next, draw another ellipse slightly bigger only
at the bottom and send it behind the first (2).

how to draw the plate shape  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 2 min

Step
2

To
create the center of the plate, draw a new ellipse about 480 x 58 px
(1). Now, select the first ellipse and Copy and Paste in Place
(Shift-Control-V)
in order to make a copy of it (2). While this copy
(the black ellipse) and the red ellipse stay selected, press
Intersect in the Pathfinder panel. Fill the new shape with the Linear Gradient shown (3).

how to create the inside of the plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 3 min

Step
3

Grab
the Pen Tool (P) and draw a shape like the one below. The important part is
the curve at the bottom which is a bit lower than the rest of the
ellipses and creates the thin border. Use the Gradient shown and then
send this shape behind everything. 

how to create a thin edge on plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 4 min

Step
4

Next,
draw the bottom of the plate like in the following image. Use the Gradient shown and then send this shape behind everything. 

how to draw the depth of the plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 5 min

Step
5

Draw
another shape like earlier, where the bottom curve is a bit lower than
the rest of the plate, in order to create a darker thin border

(1).

Continue
with the last ellipse at the bottom of the plate about 280 x 58 px Filled with the Linear Gradient shown, and then send it behind
everything (2). 

how to draw the bottom of the plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 6 min

Step
6

To
add a highlight on the bottom of the plate, draw a very thin shape
with the Pen Tool (P) following the bottom edge, and Fill it with the Linear Gradient shown.

add highlight on the bottom of the plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 7 min

Step
7

Now,
follow the outer edge of the plate and draw two new thin shapes as
shown. After that, the plate is ready, and you can see the final result
in the image below (3).

add details on the edges of the plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 8 min

3. How to Draw the Rocket Leaf (Arugula)

It’s
time to draw the components of this tasty salad, and the first
ingredient is rocket, also known as arugula. Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a leaf shape similar to the one below. Once you are happy with the shape, Fill it with the Linear Gradient shown (1).

Next,
draw a thin shape through the middle of the leaf and Fill it with the Gradient
shown (2).

That’s
it! The leaf is ready. Group (Control-G) the two shapes and name the
group “rocket”.

how to draw vector rocket arugula  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 9 min

4. How
to Draw the Onion Ring

Step
1

Use
the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw two shapes and arrange them as shown in the
next image (1). The size is not important because you will scale all of the ingredients later anyway. While the two ellipses stay
selected, go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8) and Fill the resulting shape with a pale purple (2).

Select
the ring and then Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) to make a copy
of it. Move this copy 2-3 px downwards with the help of the Down
Arrow
key on your keyboard (3). 

Select the original ring again and
then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make another copy
of it. Having this new copy of the ring selected along with the black
ring, press Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. Send the resulting
two shapes in the back (4) and Fill them with the two shades of
purple shown (5).

how to draw a vector onion ring  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 10 min

Step
2

The
onion ring is ready. You can create another version, but this is
optional. Just make a Copy of the onion ring and then use only two out of the
three shades of purple. 

Group (Control-G) the shapes and name the groups “onion ring 1” and “onion ring 2”.

how to create a second onion ring   How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 11 min

5. How
to Draw the Piece of Red Pepper

Step
1

Next
on the list of ingredients is the red pepper. Draw a shape similar to
the one below with the help of the Pen Tool (P) and
use red as the Fill color (1). While this shape stays selected, go to
Object > Transform > Scale, type 105% in the Scale field, and
then hit Copy. As a result, you will get a slightly bigger shape. Use
a darker shade of red to Fill it and send it behind the first (2).

Grab
the Pen Tool (P) again and draw a new shape in front of the two Filled with a lighter shade of red (3). Fix the ends of the pepper if
necessary and align the points with the Direct Selection Tool (A).
The piece of red pepper is ready now (4).

how to draw a piece of red pepper  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 12 min

Step
2

This
step is optional, but if you want more color in your salad, you can
create a piece of yellow pepper. Simply make a Copy of the red
pepper and replace the Fill colors.

Group
(Control-G)
the shapes and name the groups “red pepper” and
yellow pepper”.

how to create a piece of yellow pepper  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 13 min

6. How
to Draw the Slice of Tomato

Step
1

Use
the Pen Tool (P) to draw the tomato slice and Fill it with a dark
shade of red. While the shape stays selected, add a New Fill in the
Appearance panel above the first and use an orangey-red color. Select this
Fill attribute, go to Effect > Distort & Transform >
Transform
and apply the settings shown. As a result, you will get the
darker edge at the bottom of the slice.

how to draw the slice of tomato  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 14 min

Step
2

Next,
draw a similar but smaller shape on top and Fill it with red. Add a
New Fill below the first and use a darker shade of orange. With this
Fill
attribute selected in the Appearance panel, go to Effect >
Distort & Transform > Transform
and apply a 1 px Vertical
Move
.

how to draw the pulp of the tomato slice  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 15 min

Step
3

Take
the Pen Tool (P) again and draw a shape like the one in the next image, Filled
with dark orange (1). Continue with a similar shape but slightly
smaller, filled with white. Set the Blending Mode to Soft Light (2).
You can see the result in the image below (3).

how to draw the center of the tomato slice  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 16 min

Step
4

For
the seed of the tomato, you need two tear-drop shapes. Fill the
bigger one with dark orange and the smaller one with yellow. Group
(Control-G)
the two shapes and Multiply to obtain more seeds; then Rotate and arrange them on the tomato slice.

how to draw the seeds of tomato  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 17 min

Step
5

Now,
draw a curved path next to the bottom edge of the slice (1). Give it
a 5 pt red Stroke; then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and
apply a Radius of 2 px. Reduce the Opacity to 70% (2).

Select
the slice shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) in
order to make a copy of it in front of everything. Set this copy to
stroke-none and fill-none. Now, select the curved path along with the
copy of the slice and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make
(Control-7)
. Name the resulting group “tomato slice” and you are
done (3). You can see the final result in the image below (4).

add detail on the pulp of tomato  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 18 min

7. How
to Draw the Slice of Radish

Use
the Pen Tool (P) to draw the slice shape, and after that, draw a
similar shape but bigger only at the bottom in the back (2).

Select
the blue shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to
make a copy of it in front of everything. Having this copy selected
along with the orange shape, press Minus Front in the Pathfinder
panel. As a result, you will get the shape at the bottom as the skin
of the radish (3). Fill the two shapes with the Radial Gradients
shown, Group (Control-G) them, and the slice of radish is ready (4). 

how to draw the slice of radish  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 19 min

8. How
to Draw the Black Olive

The
olive is pretty easy, and you only need two shapes: a 50 x 38 px
ellipse (1) and the highlight shape on the upper left side (2). Fill
them with the Radial Gradients shown; then Group (Control-G) them, and
you can see the final result in the image below (3).

how to draw a vector black olive  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 20 min

9. How
to Compose the Salad

Step
1

First,
select the “plate” group and Rotate it as shown in the following
image to make things more interesting. And now, it’s finally time to
compose the delicious salad. Grab the “rocket” group and make a
few copies. Arrange them as shown below, or you can put your
creativity to the test.

There
are plenty of shadows in this salad, and you can choose to add them at
the end once you see the final picture, but that might be a bit
overwhelming because there are so many components involved. In order
to make things easier to understand, I will show you the settings
for the Drop Shadow effect as we go along. The settings are slightly
different from step to step because they depend on the position of
each ingredient.

Some
of the ingredients don’t even need a shadow. From the three rocket
leaves in the image below, only one has the Drop Shadow effect
applied because the other two will be covered with the rest of the
ingredients by the end so it’s not really necessary. 

arrange the first rocket leaves on plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 21 min

Step
2

Next,
grab the “red pepper” group and move it on the plate. Apply the
Drop Shadow effect to create a shadow. The same thing goes for the
yellow pepper” group.

It
looks weird for the moment, but at the end we’ll use a Mask to hide
the ingredients that go over the edge of the plate.

arrange red and yellow pepper on plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 22 min

Step
3

Duplicate and arrange more rocket leaves. For the leaves that are up in the
air, you don’t need to apply the Drop Shadow effect because the
shadow should exist only on the plate and not outside and around the
plate.

arrange more rocket leaves on plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 23 min

Step
4

Next,
put an olive on the plate and apply the Drop Shadow effect. 

Also, put
an onion ring and a yellow pepper on the left side but without the
shadow this time, because they go over the edge of the plate. We will
create more detailed shadows later in the tutorial for ingredients
like these.

arrange a black olive and onion on plate   How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 24 min

Step
5

Following
the technique explained in the previous steps, place more leaves and
other ingredients on your plate. 

arrange other salad ingredients on plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 25 min

Step
6

Arrange
another piece of red pepper, another slice of tomato, more olives and
another copy of the onion ring plus a bunch of leaves in between and
on top, as many as you want.

In
the image below, you can see the Drop Shadow settings for the onion
ring on the right side and for the rocket leaf on top of it. 

Don’t
add a shadow under the slices of tomato because we’ll take care of that
later in the tutorial. 

arrange more salad ingredients on plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 26 min

Step
7

It’s
time to arrange a few radish slices. Scale them so they are not the
same size because that is more natural. Add more leaves on top and
start to go upwards with the ingredients.

arrange radish slices on plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 27 min

Step
8

Add
another piece of yellow pepper and another slice of tomato up in the
air between the leaves. 
The
last two ingredients are the red pepper and another onion ring. 

arrange salad ingredients up in the air  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 28 min

10. How
to Add Shadows Between the Ingredients

Step
1

If
you are happy with your salad and the position of each ingredient, you
can now add more detailed shadows between them for a realistic
look.

Focus
on the slices of tomato and draw a path following the bottom edge,
one for each slice that you have. Give them a 3 pt black Stroke and
then apply a 3 px Gaussian Blur. After you are done, send each path
right behind the corresponding slice of tomato. 

create shadow under the tomato slices  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 29 min

Step
2

Now,
focus on the ingredients that are up in the air and especially on the
areas where they overlap because you need a shadow there. Take your
time, zoom in as much as you need, and draw a small path where two
ingredients are overlapping following their contour, but don’t go over
the edges (into the white background). You can see a few examples in
the close-ups. The more paths you draw, the more detailed and
realistic your salad will be.

Select
a 2 pt black Stroke for all these paths and apply a 2 px Gaussian
Blur
. Some of them are at 100% Opacity, and some of them are at 75%
Opacity
, depending on the area and the colors. Don’t forget to move
each path between the two ingredients that are overlapping in the
Layers panel because the correct order is very important in this case.

create shadow between salad ingredients  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 30 min

11. How
to Clean Up the Edge of the Plate

Step
1

Select
the ellipse from the inside of the plate and then Copy and Paste in
Place (Shift-Control-V)
in order to make a copy of it in front of
everything (1). Grab the Scissors Tool (C) and click on the two end
points of this copy to cut the shape in two and keep only the half in
front (2). Use the Pen Tool (P) to close this path and create a new
shape around the salad (3). 

how to create the mask shape  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 31 min

Step
2

Set
the shape from the previous step to StrokeNone and Fill-None. Now,
select all the ingredients of the salad along with this shape and go to Object >
Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7)
. Now, the front side of the plate
is clean, as it should be.

how to mask the salad ingredients  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 32 min

Step
3

If
you want to add a leaf that goes over the edge of the plate for a
more realistic look then now is the time to do it, outside the mask.
Arrange it in the desired place and then apply the Drop Shadow
effect. 

add rocket leaf on the edge of plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 33 min

12. How
to Add Highlights on the Salad

Focus
on one of the tomato slices and draw two short paths as shown in the next
image. Stroke them with the Black Blend Art Brush from another
tutorial of mine dedicated to Blending Brushes and how useful they are: How to Create a Set of
Multi-Use Blend Brushes
. I use these brushes all the time to add
highlights and details in my drawings. Set the color as
indicated and set the Stroke Weight to 0.75 pt. Keep the bigger path at
100% Opacity but for the shorter path reduce the Opacity to 50% to
make it more discreet.

Do
the same thing for the rest of the tomatoes to make them shinier.
You can also do this for the other ingredients if you want but for
me, this was enough. 

how to add highlights on tomato slices   How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 34 min

13. How
to Create the Shadow Under the Plate

Step
1

Use
the Pen Tool (P) to draw a shape like in the next image on a New Layer behind the plate, and give it a white Fill. Continue with a
similar but smaller shape Filled with light gray and set it to 75%
Opacity

draw first two shadow shapes under the plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 35 min

Step
2

Draw
another ellipse under the bottom of the plate and Fill it with gray.
The last ellipse is much smaller and filled with a darker gray.

draw last two shadow shapes under the plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 36 min

Step
3

While
the four shapes stay selected, go to Object > Blend > Blend
Options
and choose 50 Specified Steps. Hit OK; then go back to Object
> Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B)
.

Set
the resulting blend group to Blending Mode Multiply and reduce the
Opacity to 75%, but this depends on the color of your background. 

blend shadow shapes under the plate  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut 37 min

Congratulations!
You’re Done

The colorful salad on the plate is ready now. Grab a fork!

Let
me know if you enjoyed this tutorial, and don’t forget to share an
image of your recreation with us if you decide to have fun with it. I would love to see it.

salad plate vector illustration adobe illustrator tutorial  How to Create a Colorful Salad Plate in Adobe Illustrator diana salad plate tut final min



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