In this tutorial we’ll be creating a Hanukkah holiday card and illustrating one of the most popular Jewish symbols, the Hanukkah Menorah. The Menorah is one of the oldest symbols in Judaism. Sometimes called the ‘Chanukiah’, the Menorah is a nine-branched candelabrum that is used onHanukkah. It stands for light, wisdom, and Divine inspiration.
How to Create a Menorah Illustration in Adobe Illustrator
We’ll be creating a trendy flat design style, using a lot of basic geometric shapes, combining and transforming them with the help of the Pathfinder panel, Rounded Rectangle and Ellipse Tool. We’ll also learn some useful shortcuts that actually help us to create an illustration without requiring any drawing skills!
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1.How to Set Up a Card Design File
We will be designing a simple 5″ x 7″, one-page Hanukkah holiday card.
Have Adobe Illustrator CC 2018 up and running. Let’s set up aNew Document(File > NeworCommand-N) using the following Print format settings:
- Number of Artboards:1
- Width:5 in
- Height:7 in
Next, let’s set up our layers for the artwork.
Open the Layers panel: Window > Layers.Name Layer 1 as ‘Background’ and click the Create New Layer icon to create another layer on top. Name it ‘Menorah’.
2. How to Design the Card Background
Lets start by designing our background.
Make sure you are on the ‘Background’ layer. Turn on your Smart Guides(Command-U). These are short-term snap‑to guides that appear when youmanoeuvreobjects.
Select the Rectangle Tool (M). Tap once on the artboard and create a rectangle that’s the same size as the artboard: Width: 5″ andHeight: 7″.
Give the rectangle a Fill hex color of
#FFF3DAand use the Smart Guides to center it.
Let’s create a frame for our card.
Select the Rectangle Tool (M), and create a rectangle that’s 4.6″ Width and6.6″ Height.
There’s a new cool feature in Adobe Illustrator CC 2018, which is the Properties panel. The new Properties panel (Window>Properties) lets you view settings and controls, plus it provides you with all the editing options whenselecting shapes. It also allows quick access to options, alignment, pathfinder options, positioning and transform options all on one panel!
Select a Fill anda black Stroke of 6 pt, and use the Smart Guides to center it on the artboard.
Next, we need to create four ellipses on the edges of the frame to give a simple design.
Take the Ellipse Tool (L), and tap once on the artboard to open theEllipse Options dialog box. Set Width and Height to3.5 in, and with the Selection Tool (V), use the Smart Guides to center the ellipse on the left corner.
Next, with the ellipse selected, hold down theShift-Altkeys to constrain movement and duplicate the ellipse. Drag theselection to the right, until ‘intersect‘ appears within theSmart Guides.
Then select both ellipses on the top and Shift-Alt-Drag downwards until the new duplicated ellipses are centred on the bottom edge, as in the image.
Select all four ellipses, and then, in thePropertiespanel, you will find thePathfinder options. Select the Unite icon.
Then hold down the Shift key and select the black border line, and click the Minus Front icon from the Properties panelPathfinder Options.
Object > Expand the black stroke to open the Expand dialog box, and check FillandStroke, and then OK.
Give the frame shape a hex color ofbeige
#F9bd5d. Then give the frame a Stroke of 1 pt from the Properties panel, and hex color
3. How to Illustrate the Menorah
Lock the ‘Background’ layer, and move onto the ‘Menorah’ layer.
Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool, under the Rectangle Tool from the Tools menu. Tap once on the artboard to open the Rounded Rectangle dialog box and choose the following settings:
- Width: 0.8 in
- Height: 3 in
- Corner Radius: 0.6 in
Use the Selection Tool (V) to center the shape onto the artboard using the Smart Guides.
Set theStroke from Properties panel to13 pt.
With the rounded rectangle selected, Object > Path > Offset Path, and set theOffset to0.4 pt.
Repeat the action twice until it looks like the image below.
Select the four rounded rectangles, and then Object > Expand, and check Stroke, and OK. Then, to create a compound shape, Object > Compound Path > Make (Command-8).
To crop the top of the candelabra, select the Rectangle Tool (M), and draw a rectangle to cover the upper part of the candelabra shape.
Select both shapes, and then Minus Front from thePathfinder options. Give the shape a hex color of
Now let’s create a highlight color for the bars. Object > Path > Offset. Set theOffset to-0.04 in. Give the shape a Fill Hex color of
#E8B44B.Effect > Stylize > Feather. Set theFeather to0.06 in.
Next, let’s create the center stem for the candelabra.
Select the Rectangle Tool (M), and create a rectangle with Width of 0.14 in andHeight of 2.9 in, and center it in the middle of the branches, using the Smart Guides.
Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow, to open the Inner Glow dialog box, and set the settings as:
- Mode: Multiply
- Hex Color:
- Blur: 0.08 in
- Check Edge
Now for the base of the candelabra.
Select the Rectangle Tool (M), and use the Smart Guides to draw two rectangles on top each other and center-aligned with the branches.
Give the top rectangle a Fill Hex color of
#E8B44Band the bottom
Select theRounded Rectangle Tool, and create a rectangle with the following settings:
- Width: 0.3 in
- Height: 0.1 in
- Corner Radius: 0.4 in
Give the rounded rectangle with Fill Hex color of
#E8B44B, and use the Smart Guidesto center it on the far left branch.
Then, with the rounded rectangle selected,Shift-Alt-Drag down slightly to create a parallel duplicate, as shown below.
Select both rounded rectangles and Group (Command-G).
Then Alt-Drag the group to the right branch.
Repeat the action, but place your bars on different levels to create diversity, as in the image below, and use theSmart Guides for assistance.
Let’s create a spherical bead shape to decorate the menorah.
Select the Ellipse Tool (L), and let’s draw three circles within each other:
- circle one with Width & Height of 2.5 in, and with Fill Hex color of
- circle two withWidth & Heightof0.17in, and withFillHex color of
- circle three withWidth & Heightof0.095in, and withFillHex color of
Group(Command-G) themall together.
Select the round bead form and duplicate it byAlt-Dragging, and then center align them on top of each branch.
Now let’s create a leaf-like form on top of the beads to lay our candles on.
Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and create two intersecting ellipses that are 0.4 inches in Width and Height.
Select both circles and click the Intersecticon from thePathfinder options in theProperties panel, and give the leaf aFillHex color of
Copy(Command-C) andPaste(Command-P) to duplicate the leaf.
Object > Transform > Rotate and set theAngle to40°. Then select the leaf behind andObject > Transform > Rotateand set theAngleto-40°.
Give the front leaf a Hex color of
#FFCC71and use the Right Arrow keyto position the leaf to the right slightly.
Now, Group (Command-G) the two leaves together.
Select the leaf group and send to back: Object > Arrange > Send to Back.
Position the leaf group behind the bead, and then Scale (Object > Transform > Scale), and set Scale toUniform, at80%.
Position the leaf behind the branch head, and then Alt-Drag to duplicate the pattern and position it behind the other branches.
Place one in the center as in the image, and Object > Arrange > Bring Forward (Command-]) until it’s arranged behind the bead.
Now lets draw the Star of David.
Select the Star Tool, from the Rectangle Tool drop-down.
Chose a Stroke Hex color of
#3D77B2and a Stroke Weight of3 pt. Click once on the artboard and set the Points to 3.
Delete the shape that’s created, and then hold down the Shift-Alt keys and draw an upright triangle.
Copy(Command-C) andPaste(Command-P) to duplicate the triangle.
Object > Transform > Reflect and select Horizontal, and OK.Then use the Down Arrowkey to align.
Select both triangles, and Object > Path > Offset, and set theOffset to0.05 pt.
Give the offset null Stroke and a Fill Hex color of
#164875andObject> Arrange> Send to Back(Shift-Command-[).
Then,with both offset triangles selected, Object > Path > Offset, and set theOffsetto0.0 pt.
Give the offset nullStrokeand aFillHex color of
#1FFCC73andObject> Arrange> Send to Back(Shift-Command-[).
4. How to Add Candles & Details to the Artwork
Let’s add some candles.
Select the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a rectangle with a Width of 0.15 pt and Height of 0.8 pt. Give it aFillHex color of
Then select the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw an ellipse with aWidthof0.06 ptand give it aFillHex color of
#6CA6E5. Position the ellipse on top of the rectangle using the Smart Guides for guidance.
Again use theEllipse Tool(L) and draw an ellipse with aWidthof0.12 ptand Height of0.77 pt. Position it in the middle of the rectangle and give it aFillHex color of
Let’s place a flame and glow.
Select the Pen Tool (P) and draw in a flame shape.
Then select the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw an ellipse with aWidthof0.03 ptand Height of0.08 pt. Position it within the flame and give it aFillHex color of
Open the Gradient panel: Window > Gradient.Give the flame a yellow-orange90°GradientAngle.
Let’s draw the flame glow.
With theEllipse Tool(L), draw an ellipse with aWidth and Heightof0.35 pt.
Make the Fill a Radial Gradient from light yellow to white.
Object > Arrange > Send to Back.
Select all the candle parts and Group (Command-G). ThenObject > Arrange > Send to Back.
Select the candle and duplicate it byAlt-Dragging, and then center align it on top of each branch, and on different levels, as in the image below.
Let’s create a wreath-like decor at the base of the candles.
Select one of the leaf groups on the middle branch, andShift-Alt-Drag to the base of the candelabra.
Then duplicate another copy by selecting the leaf group andAlt-Dragslightly to the right. Object > Transform > Rotate.
Set theRotation Angle to -63°.
Then duplicate another copy by selecting the leaf group andAlt-Draggingto half the branch distance.
Select the Free Transform Tool (E) and scale the group slightly down from the bounding box by holding theShiftkey to constrain proportions, and rotate it slightly.
Select both the leaf groups, and then Object > Blend > Make.
Then Object > Blend > Blend Options to open the Blend Options dialog box, and set:
- Spacing: Specified Steps: 3
- Orientation: Align to Page
Select the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C), and pull the path slightly down.
Select thePen Tool(P) and draw a path from the base to the top of the leaf group, to create a branch.
Give it aStrokeof 3 pt and a Hex color of
Object > Arrange > Send to Back
From theToolspanel, select theBlob Brush Tool (Shift-B).
Select a StrokeHex color of
To control theBlob Brush Toolbrush size, hold the left square bracket key ([) to decrease and the right square bracket (]) to enlarge.
Decorate the lower wreath, and then select all the related shapes with the Selection Tool (V), while holding down the Shift key to add on to the selection. ThenGroup (Command-G) them together.
Object > Arrange > Send to Back.
Let’s create a symmetrical branch, with the branch selected.
Take theReflect Tool (O)and set the center reference point at the end of the branch;Option-Shift-Dragand release when the group is mirrored into position.
Select theEllipse Tool(L), and create a circle withWidth and Heightof2.5 in, and with Hex color of
Duplicate the ellipse byAlt-Dragging, and place the circle between the rounded rectangle on the menorah and the base of the branches.
Select theStar Tool, from theRectangle Tooldrop-down.
Click once on the artboard to open the Star dialog box, and set:
- Radius 1: 0.1 in
- Radius 2: 0.05 in
- Points: 6
Then randomly draw six-pointed stars around the menorah and give them aFillHex color of
Select theBlob Brush Tool (Shift-B), and with a white Stroke draw in several white circles around the candles of the menorah. Also draw some dots around with Hex Stroke color of
Don’t forget, you can control theBlob Brush Toolbrush size with the left square bracket key ([) to decrease and the right square bracket (]) to increase.
I hope you’ve learned some new tricks from this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects. Show your friends, loved ones and fans how you can create some stunning cards!
Feel free to adjust the final design and make it your own, and then share your results in the comments below.
Let’s kindle light for Hanukkah!!