A Step-by-step Guide to Designing Custom Illustrations Without Any Drawing Skills

I see many businesses today use stock illustrations or images. Although these options are cheap, the brand message is diluted because the visuals are not exclusive to the product.

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In a world where 74 percent of social media and B2B marketers use visuals in their promotions, how you set yourself apart visually is critical.

If your brand is prolific, people will learn the visual language associated with your brand. As soon as they see the same stock illustrations associated with another product, your brand identity will weaken.

With custom illustrations, the elements of a brand’s identity can coalesce around a shared perspective and personality. They communicate to customers on an intuitive level and help brands tell their story in an enduring way.

However, many designers shy away from illustrations for the fear that they don’t have drawing skills. We’re here to show you how any designer can develop beautiful illustrations, no drawing required.

We’ll look at three popular illustration styles, and apply very simple steps to develop your own artwork from scratch. You can follow along, and apply what you’ll learn to create great looking pieces for your next project.

Recreate the famous space illustration.

Designer and Illustrator Nina Georgieva is the trailblazer behind this notorious Dribbble piece, and now, the style has become a trend of its own.

Stealing inspiration from Georgieva, we’ll create our own space illustration, following a few easy steps.

This is what you’ll get in the end.

Here is the full video tutorial incase you want to pause, rewind etc.

1. Start with the stars.

Using Illustrator’s “star tool,” create a four-point star. Then make it 75 percent transparent.

While selected, duplicate it in place by pressing Ctrl+C, then Ctrl+F.

Scale down the shape in front.

Next, add a glowing effect; select the bigger shape; and apply a “Gaussian Blur” effect from the “Appearance” panel.

Finally, you can store your star shape inside the “Symbols” panel to use it later in the composition.

2. Create the cloud’s shape.

Stack rectangles together with various widths.

Merge them together with the “Pathfinder” panel.

Finish up by giving the entire shape a high “corner radius” value.

3. Make the planet texture from the clouds

Starting with the cloud shape, create the planet texture effect as shown above.

Stack many cloud shapes together, and make sure you have a succession of outward and inward curves to create a wavy pattern.

4. Tweak the texture.

Simplify the wavy pattern before applying it to the planet shape.

Remove extra points on one side of the texture and flatten it.

5. Create a textured planet.

Overlap the wavy pattern with a circle, and create a division by using the “Divide” option within the “Pathfinder” panel.

Delete the extra shape created outside of the circle, and create a lighting effect by applying different gray values to each side of the planet.

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