Ever wondered how illustrations like this are made?

These illustrations, known as vector art, are created with software like adobe illustrator which uses mathematical equations and geometric primitives, which are points, lines, and shapes. Unlike illustrations created using pixels, vector art can be scaled infinitely without any loss of quality.

In this tutorial, we will teach you how to create flat illustrations with the use of the Pen Tool in Illustrator.

Before we begin, you might be wondering. What is the Pen tool? How is the Pen Tool used?

The Pen tool is the most powerful tool in Illustrator. It allows you to define your own anchor points, as well as adjust the curve associated with those anchors, simply by manipulating two control points associated with each anchor. 

The Pen Tool allows the artist to create shapes with freeform curves, and with time and skill, most curves found in the “real world” can be duplicated using the Pen tool. 

One Difference between the Pen tool and Brushes is that the Pen tool creates Paths.

Paths are made up of one or more straight or curved “segments.” The beginnings and ends of each segment are marked by “anchor points,” which is placed by the Pen Tool, works like pins holding a wire in place.

With that being said, Let’s proceed with the tutorial.


Step 1: Importing an Image

Open an image that you would like to illustrate in a new layer and lock it to ensure it does not get moved around.


Step 2: New Layer

Create a new layer for your illustration. Set it above your image layer.



Step 3: Use Pen Tool

We can start tracing our image now using the pen tool.

The keyboard shortcut for the Pen Tool is “P”

Make sure to set the fill to none and outline to visible color.





Step 4: Create Objects

*video: D6step4*


Create each object in a separate layer so that it can easily be deleted, modified, and hidden. 


Step 5: Color

*video: D6step5*

Once you’re done tracing, Fill your shapes with colors and set outline to none.

You can use the eyedropper tool (keyboard shortcut “i”)  to select colors from your original image or fill the shape with whichever color you like.

Switch between the selection tool (keyboard shortcut “v”) to select your shapes and eyedropper tool to fill the shape.


Step 6: Repeat

Repeat the steps for every shape and there you have it! An easy to make and simple illustration of your favorite images!


You’re Done!

Congratulations! You’ve created a flat illustration! Feel free to experiment and practice with other images!

Stay Tuned for tomorrow when we focus on a more detailed version of vector art, with the use of Gradient Mesh! In the Meantime, Why not check out our previous tutorials? 

Sound Design Part 1: Introduction

Sound Design Part 2: Making a Melody

Concept Art Part 1: Weapons

Concept Art Part 2: Characters

Concept Art Part 3: Environments

Follow @amphibistudio and @projectj2k on Instagram for more updates!

About Amphibi Studio

Amphibi Studio is studio led by students dedicated to creating explosive fun, emergent gameplay productions.

Mentors provide real-life guidance to cultivate students in creating their own games, interactive works or animation productions.

Blk 31, Level 7
School of InfoComm Technology
Ngee Ann Polytechnic
E: info@amphibistudio.sg