How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

In today’s tutorial, we’re going to take a close look at the process of creating a particularly interesting icon pack, since we’re going to illustrate some Romanian traditional objects that are the living definition of what “home” was back before the digital age.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

As always, we’re going to use and abuse Illustrator’s geometric shapes, in combination with some basic tools such as the Align panel and Pathfinder.

That being said, grab a fresh batch of coffee and let’s dive in!

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Also, if you’re looking to expand the project, you can do so by heading over to GraphicRiver and checking out some of their home-themed icons.

1. How to Set Up a New Document

Since I’m hoping that you already have Illustrator up and running in the background, bring it up and let’s set up a New Document (File > New or Control-N) using the following settings:

  • Number
    of Artboards: 1
  • Width:
    800
    px
  • Height:
    600
    px
  • Units:
    Pixels

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color
    Mode: RGB
  • Raster
    Effects: Screen (72ppi)
  • Preview Mode: Default

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

2. How to Set Up a Custom Grid

Since we’re going to be creating the icons using a pixel-perfect workflow, we’ll want to set up a nice little Grid so that we can have full control over our shapes.

Step 1

Go to the Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid submenu, and adjust the following settings:

  • Gridline
    every: 1 px
  • Subdivisions: 1

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Quick tip: you can learn more about grids by reading this in-depth piece on how Illustrator’s Grid System works.

Step 2

Once we’ve set up our custom grid, all we need to do in order to make sure our shapes look crisp is enable the Snap to Grid option found under the View menu, which will transform into Snap to Pixel each time you enter Pixel Preview mode.

Now, if you’re new to the whole “pixel-perfect workflow”, I strongly recommend you go through my how to create pixel-perfect artwork tutorial, which will help you widen your technical skills in no time.

3. How to Set Up the Layers

With the New Document created, it would be a good idea to structure our project using a couple of layers, since this way we can maintain a steady workflow by focusing on one icon at a time.

That being said, bring up the Layers panel, and create a total of four layers, which we will rename as follows:

  • layer
    1: reference grids
  • layer
    2: pan flute
  • layer 3: sewing frame
  • layer 4: wooden spoons

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

4. How to Create the Reference Grids

The reference grids (or base grids) are a set of precisely delimited reference surfaces, which allow us to build our icons by focusing on size and consistency.

Usually, the size of the grids determines the size of the actual icons, and they should always be the first decision you make on you start a new project, since you’ll always want to start from the smallest possible size and build on that.

Now, in our case, we’re going to be creating the icon pack using just one size, more exactly 128 x 128 px, which is a fairly large one.

Step 1

Start by locking all but the “reference grids” layer, and then grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 128 x 128 px orange (#F15A24) square, which will help define the overall size of our icons.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Add a smaller 120 x 120 px one (#FFFFFF) which will act as our active drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4 px padding.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Group the two squares composing the reference grid using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, and then create three copies at a distance of 40 px from one another, making sure to align them to the center of the Artboard.

Once you’re done, lock the current layer and move on to the next one where we’ll start working on our first icon.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

5. How to Create
the Pan Flute

The pan flute, also known as panpipes, is a simple yet interesting musical instrument dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks. It takes its name from Pan, the god of nature and protector of shepherds. The name itself is a derivative of the word “paein” which means “to pasture”, which is probably the reason why so many cultures, including mine, have associated the instrument with the act of herding.

To me, this little object has a special meaning, since it manages to take me back to a time and place when life was simpler, and home wasn’t all about the place, but the people that made it home.

Now, without wasting any more time, make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the second one) and let’s get kick off the project by recreating it.

Step 1

Start working on the pan flute’s upper section, by creating an 8 x 6 px rectangle, which we will color using #899E47 and then align to the top edge of the active drawing area, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from its top edge and 20 px from its left one.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Give the shape an outline using the Stroke method, by creating a copy of it (Control-C) which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by changing its color to #2B3249 and then flipping its Fill with its Stroke (Shift-X). Set the Stroke’s Weight to 4 px, selecting and grouping both shapes together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Create nine copies of the shape that we’ve just grouped (Control-C > Control-F nine
times), and then horizontally distribute them onto the original’s right side, using the Align panel so that their outlines end up overlapping.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4

Create the pipes using ten rectangles (#A8755A—see the dimensions
below) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), which we will horizontally stack next to one another, grouping (Control-G) and then positioning them underneath the smaller rectangles.

  • first pipe: 8 x 110 px
  • second pipe: 8 x 102 px
  • third pipe: 8 x 94 px
  • fourth pipe: 8 x 82 px
  • fifth pipe: 8 x 74 px
  • sixth pipe: 8 x 66 px
  • seventh pipe: 8 x 54 px
  • eighth pipe: 8 x 46 px
  • ninth pipe: 8 x 38 px
  • tenth pipe: 8
    x 30 px

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 5

Add an 8 px wide 4 px thick Stroke line (#2B3249) to the first, fourth and seventh pipe’s lower section, positioning it at a distance of 2 px from their outlines. Once you’re done, select and group all the shapes that we have so far using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 6

Create the horizontal section holding all the pipes together using a 92 x 16 px rectangle (#CE9D78) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the pipes, positioning it at a distance of 12 px from the active drawing area’s top edge.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 7

Start adding details to the section from the previous step, by creating the center flower using eight 2 x 2 px circles (#2B3249), which we will position around another 2 x 2 px one (2B3249). Once you have them in place, don’t forget to select and group (Control-G) them together so that they won’t get separated by accident.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Quick tip: for the current and following step I recommend you turn onPixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y) since it will give you the ability to carefully position each and every circle as seen in the reference image. Once you’re done, exit the mode by pressing Alt-Control-Y again.

Step 8

Start working on the left decorative wave pattern using a couple of 2 x 2 px circles (#2B3249), which we will position as seen in the reference image. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all the circles together before moving on to the next step.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 9

Finish off the current icon by adding the right segment of the decorative pattern, using a copy of the one from the previous step (Control-C > Control-F), which we will position onto the opposite side of the flower, making sure to vertically reflect it once we have it in place (right click > Transform > Reflect > Vertical). Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) the decorative pattern to the underlying section, doing the same for all of the icon’s composing shapes afterwards.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

6. How to Create the Sewing Frame

Living in a digital age can really erase some of the older arts from one’s mind, especially if that person never encountered them in real life. Sewing, which is thought to have originated way back in the Stone Age, was and in some places still is a powerful part of the Romanian culture and tradition, since it has been used as a means of decoration of both the home and the clothes and tools used back in the day.

To me personally, sewing brings back so many fond memories from my childhood, when I used to sit next to my grandmother and watch her spend hours creating beautiful art pieces to decorate her home.

That being said, let’s get back to our own art, by first making sure we’re on the right layer (that would be the third one) and then creating our second icon.

Step 1

Start working on the frame’s main body by creating a 106 x 106 px circle (#CE9D78) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the underlying active drawing area’s top edge.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Create a smaller 90 x 90 px circle (#A8755A) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the one from the previous step.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Add the canvas using a 78 x 78 px circle (#EFD4C5) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the previous section. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all three sections together as well.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4

Start working on the frame’s bottom section by creating its outline using a 20 x 18 px rectangle (#2B3249), which we will center align to the active drawing area’s bottom edge, making sure to send it to the back of the larger circles (right click > Transform > Arrange > Send to Back).

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 5

Add the fill section using a smaller 12 x 14 px rectangle (#CE9D78) which we will center align to the top edge of the previously created shape.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 6

Create an 18 px tall 4 px thick Stroke line (#2B3249), which we will center align to the shape from the previous step.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 7

Start working on the little tightening screw, by creating its main body using a 44 px wide 4 px thick Stroke line (#2B3249), which we will position towards the bottom section of the frame, leaving a 2 px gap between it and the larger outline.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 8

Add the screw’s cap using an 8 x 8 px square (#2B3249), which we will center align to the body’s right anchor point. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) the two shapes together, sending them to the back of the bottom section afterwards (right click > Transform > Arrange > Send to Back).

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 9

Start working on the actual decorative flower by creating the center section using four 2 x 2 px squares (#2B3249) which we will position so that they end up forming a plus sign. Group (Control-G) the shapes and then center align them to the canvas.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 10

Turn on the Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y) and create the upper section of the flower’s top-left petal, using three sets of four 2 x 2 px squares (#E56F5C) which we will position next to one another, pushing each set 2 px up so that they end up forming a stair set. Group (Control-G) the squares and then position them onto the left side of the plus sign, making sure to leave a 2 px gap between them.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 11

Create a copy of the section from the previous step (Control-C > Control-F), which we will rotate (right click > Transform
> Rotate > 90º) and then horizontally reflect (right click > Transform > Reflect > Horizontal), positioning the resulting shape underneath the original.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 12

Give the petal an outline, by adding a couple of 2 x 2 px squares (#2B3249) around its two composing sections, making sure to select and group (Control-G) all of them together once you’re done.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 13

Create the other petals using three copies (Control-C > Control-F three times) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will position around the center plus sign, reflecting them as needed.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 14

Continue adding details to the flower by creating four copies (Control-C > Control-F four times) of its center plus sign, which we will position on the outer edge of space found between each pair of petals.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 15

Finish off the flower, and with it the icon itself, by adding diagonal lines to each of its petals, using four sets of 2 x 2 px squares (#2B3249). Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the flower’s composing shapes together, doing the same for the entire icon afterwards.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

7. How to Create
the Wooden Spoons

We are now down to our third and last icon, which is composed of a set of traditional handmade spoons, which are another powerful means of expression of Romanian people’s minds, used not only to decorate but also as a tool within their households.

I’m not even going to talk all that much about this art form, since I’m really hoping that by creating this little icon you’ll gain a powerful enough curiosity to search for more information on it.

That being said, make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the
fourth one) and let’s finish this.

Step 1

Start working on the first spoon by creating an 8 x 8 px circle (#D3685E) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), which we will group (Control-G) and then position at a distance of 16 px from the active drawing area’s left edge, making sure to align it to its top edge afterwards.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Create a slightly larger 12 x 12 px circle (#CE9D78) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249) on top of which we will add another 4 x 4 px circle (#2B3249). Group (Control-G) all three shapes together, and then position them below the previous section.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Create the spoon’s first set of petals using two 10 x 10 px rectangles (#CE9D78), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of their lower outer corners to 8 px and their upper inner ones to 4 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties. Give the resulting shapes a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), individually grouping (Control-G) each petal, and then positioning them below the previous section.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4

Create the remaining sets of petals using three copies (Control-C > Control-F three times) of the ones that we already have, vertically stacking them underneath one another.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 5

Adjust the color of some of the petals by carefully selecting them using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then changing the color to #A8755A.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 6

Create a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the spoon’s two circular sections, which we will position below its petals, making sure to horizontally reflect them (right
click > Transform > Reflect > Horizontal) and change the color of the larger one’s fill shape to #A8755A.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 7

Create the section connecting the small bowl to the spoon’s handle using an 8 x 16 px rectangle (#A8755A) (1), which we will adjust by adding a pair of side anchor points at a distance of 4 px from its top edge using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) (2).

Then, individually select and push the shape’s top anchors to the inside by a distance of 2 px (right click > Transform > Move >
Horizontal > + / – 4 px depending on which side you start with) (3) giving the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249) (4).

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 8

Add two 8 px wide 2 px thick Stroke lines (#2B3249) vertically stacked3 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then positioning the current section below the smaller circle.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 9

Finish off the spoon by creating its bowl using a 16 x 16 px circle (#CE9D78), which we will adjust by selecting and pushing its lower anchor point to the bottom by a distance of 6 px (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > 6 px). Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), grouping (Control-G) and then positioning the two shapes onto the previous section. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the spoon’s composing shapes together, before moving on to the next one.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 10

Start working on the icon’s second spoon by creating an 8 x 20 px rectangle (#A8755A) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 4 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249) followed by three 2 x 2 px circles (#2B3249) vertically stacked at 2 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then positioning the shapes onto the right side of the first spoon, at a distance of 24 px.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 11

Add the circular section using a 12 x 12 px circle (#A8755A) with a 4 px outline (#2B3249) on top of which we will add a smaller 4 x 4 px circle (#2B3249), grouping (Control-G) and then positioning the shapes below the previously created section, so they end up slightly overlapping them.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 12

Create a 12 x 16 px rectangle (#CE9D78) which we will turn into a diamond by adding a new anchor point to the center of each of its edges using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), removing the corner ones afterwards using the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-). Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), grouping (Control-G) and then positioning them both at the back of the circular section (right click > Transform > Arrange
> Send to Back).

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 13

Create two 8 x 8 px circles (#899E47) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), individually grouping (Control-G) and then positioning them onto each side of the upper section of the diamond.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 14

Start working on the spoon’s main body by creating an 8 x 10 px rectangle (#A8755A), followed by a larger 12 x 34 px one (#A8755A), which we will unite and then position below the previous sections.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 15

Adjust the shape by setting the Radius of its top corners to 4 px, adding a pair of side anchor points at a distance of 14 px from its bottom edge. Then, individually select and push the bottom anchor points to the inside by a distance of 4 px (right click >
Transform > Move > Horizontal > + / – 4 px depending on which side
you start with).

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 16

Create the body’s lighter section using a 12 x 12 px square (#CE9D78) which we will center align to the larger shape, positioning it at a distance of 15 px from its top edge.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 17

Give the larger body a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), followed by five 12 px wide 2 px thick Stroke lines (#2B3249) vertically stacked3 px from one another, which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the section’s lighter rectangle.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 18

Add two pairs of two 2 x 2 px circles (#2B3249) vertically stacked2 px from one another, positioning one on the upper section of the body and the other one on the bottom. Once you’re done, select and group all of the current section’s composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 19

Add an 8 x 8 px circle (#899E47) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), which we will group (Control-G) and then position on top of the previous section, at a distance of 22 px from the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 20

Finish off the spoon, by adding the bowl using a 16 x 22 px ellipse (#A8755A) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), which we will group (Control-G) and then position below the smaller circle. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of its composing sections together as well, before moving on to the third and last spoon.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 21

Start working on the third spoon, by creating a 12 x 16 px ellipse (#CE9D78) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249) on top of which we will add a 4 x 4 px circle (#2B3249), grouping (Control-G) and then positioning all three shapes at a distance of 20 px from the second spoon’s right edge.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 22

Create an 8 x 8 px circle (#CE9D78) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249) which we will group (Control-G) and then position below the previous section, at a distance of just 3 px.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 23

Create two more 8 x 8 px circles (#D3685E) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), which we will individually group (Control-G) and then position onto the sides of the two sections that we have so far.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 24

Create a slightly larger 12 x 12 px circle (#A8755A) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249) on top of which we will add a 4 x 4 px circle (#2B3249). Group (Control-G) all three shapes together and then position them below the smaller circular section.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 25

Start working on the spoon’s flower by creating its petals using four 10 x 10 px squares (#CE9D78), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of two of its corners to 6 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties. Give the resulting shapes a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), and then position them slightly over the previous section, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all four of them together.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 26

Change the color of the bottom-left and top-right petals to #A8755A, and then add an 8 x 8 px circle (#D3685E) with a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249) in their center, grouping all of them together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 27

Create a copy (Control-C >
Control-F) of the circular section found above the spoon’s flower, and position it below it, making sure to change the color of its fill shape to #CE9D78.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 28

Create the spoon’s lower body using a 20 x 32 px rectangle (#A8755A), from the bottom of which we will remove two 14 x 24 px ellipses (highlighted
with red) using Pathfinder’s Minus Front Shape Mode. Once you’re done, position the resulting shape below the previous section.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 29

Set the Radius of the resulting shape’s top corners to 10 px (2), adding a lighter 20 x 12 px rectangle (#CE9D78) which we will position at a distance of 6 px from its top edge (3). Then, add five 20 px wide 2 px thick Stroke lines (#2B3249) vertically stacked3 px from one another, which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the smaller shape’s center (4).

Add a 4 x 4 px circle (#2B3249) to the top of the larger shape (5), followed by a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249) (6), selecting and grouping (Control-G) all the shapes together afterwards.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

Step 30

Finish off the spoon, and with it the icon itself, by adding its little bowl using a 16 x 22 px rectangle (#CE9D78) which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 8 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249), grouping (Control-G) and then positioning the two below the previously created section. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the icon’s composing sections as well.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator

It’s a Wrap!

Great work! I hope that you’ve managed to follow and understand each and every step, and most importantly learned something new and useful along the way.

How to Create Traditional Romanian Objects in Adobe Illustrator