pinwheels

Create the Colorful Pinwheels in Adobe Illustrator

In today’s tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create some colorful pinwheels in Adobe Illustrator. First, you will learn how to create the first propeller using basic tools and feather effect. Moving on you will learn how to create remaining propellers using Transform effects along with vector shape building techniques. Next using a bunch of new colors you will learn how to recolor the new propellers. Likewise, repeat the same techniques to create two more pinwheels. Finally, you learn how to create a subtly textured bacgkround.

Create a New Document

1. Launch Illustrator and then press (Ctrl + N) to create a New document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 940 in the width box and 700 in the height box then click on the Advanced button. Select RGBScreen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Create the First Propeller

2. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 233 by 94px rectangle. Next pick the Pen Tool (P) and create a black object like you see in the second image. With the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A) and the Shift, select three upper anchor points of the black object, then click on the “Convert selected anchor point to smooth” icon from the Properties bar. Keep working with the Direct Selection Tool (A), adjust the handles of the three upper anchor points as shown in the last image.




3. Pick the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift +C), click on the bottom-left anchor point of the black object, hold mouse and drag it down. Next select the lower handle of the bottom-left anchor point and drag it to the right. After you are done adjusting the shape of the black object, reselect and remove the rectangle created in the step 2.



4. Select the black object created in the step 3 and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it, then replace the existing stroke color of the copy with red. Now pick the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and click on the point highlighted with blue to add a new anchor point. Next with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A) and the Shift, select the two anchor points highlighted with black and remove them. The resulting object should look like the second image below. Now select the bottom anchor point of the red object, then move it 10px down and 2px to the left. With the Direct Selection Tool (A), adjust the handles of the bottom anchor point like you see in the next to last image. Next pick the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift +C), select the right handle of the right anchor point and drag it to the left. The resulting object should look like the last image below.


5. Select the black object, remove its stroke and fill this object with the linear gradient like you see in the first image. Make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of the newly created shape and then replace the existing fill color of the copy with new linear gradient. Keep the resulting shape selected and go to the Effect > Stylize > Feather… Enter a 4px Radius and click OK.



6. Select the red object, remove its stroke and fill this object with the linear gradient like you see in the first image. Make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of the newly created shape and then replace the existing fill color of the copy with new linear gradient. Make sure that the resulting shape is still selected and apply a 8px Feather effect for it.


7. Select and group (Ctrl + G) all objects created from beginning step 2 to this time. Keep the newly created group selected, pick the Rotate Tool (R), hold down the Alt and click on the bottom, left point of the group. In the Rotate dialog box, enter a 90 degrees Angle and click Copy. Then press (Ctrl +D) twice to get the results like you see in the last image.


8. Select the upper, right propeller and move it 20px down, then 10px to the left. Next select the upper, left propeller, move it 10px down and 20px to the right. Now select the lower, left propeller, then move it 20px up and 10px to the right. Finally select the lower, right propeller, move it 10px up and 20px to the left.




9. Before you continue, select the upper, right propeller and bring it to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square). Now reselect four propellers and press (Ctrl +Shift +G) to ungroup them. Next select all eight big shapes of the propellers and send them to back (Ctrl +Shift +Left Square Bracket).


10. Focus on the upper, left propeller, select the bigger shape with feather effect and press (Ctrl +3) to hide it. Next select the remaining bigger shape of this propeller and replace the existing fill color with new linear gradient as shown in the third image. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shape hidden in this step. Next replace the existing fill color of this shape with new linear gradient like you see in the last image.



11. Select the smaller shape with feather effect of the upper, left propeller, then press (Ctrl +3) to hide it. Next select the remaining smaller shape of this propeller and replace the existing fill color with new linear gradient as shown in the third image. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shape hidden in this step. Next replace the existing fill color of this shape with new linear gradient like you see in the last image.



12. Focus on the lower, left propeller, select the bigger shape with feather effect and press (Ctrl +3) to hide it. Next select the remaining bigger shape of this propeller and replace the existing fill color with new linear gradient as shown in the first image. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shape hidden in this step. Next replace the existing fill color of this shape with new linear gradient like you see in the second image. Now select the smaller shape with feather effect of this propeller and hide it. Next select the remaining smaller shape and replace the existing fill color with new linear gradient as shown in the third image. Press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shape hidden in this step. Next replace the existing fill color of this shape with new linear gradient like you see in the last image.


13. Now, follow the sequence of images and repeat the same process as the previous steps to replace the colors used for the main shapes of the lower, right propeller.


14. At this point your pinwheel should look like in the next image:

15. Select all objects created from beginning step 2 to this time and double click on the Rotate Tool icon from the Tool bar. In the Rotate dialog box, enter a 33 degrees Angle and click OK. Now select the four smaller shapes with feather effect of the propellers and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of them. Keep the copies selected, open the Pathfinder palette (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Unite button. The resulting shape should look like the last image below.


16. Before you continue, select the shape created in the step 15 and press (Ctrl +3) to hide it. Focus on the blue propeller, select the smaller shape with feather effect and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Still having the copy selected and open the Appearance palette (Window > Appearance), then remove the Feather section. Keep the resulting shape selected and go to the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow… Follow the data like you see in the first image and click OK. Now press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shape hidden in this step. Make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of this shape, then hide the copy. Reselect the original shape and the shape with shadow effect applied in this step. Right click on the artboard and then select the Make Clipping Mask section from the drop-down menu. Finally hide the clipping set behind the two smaller shapes of the blue propeller.


17. Focus on the green propeller, select the smaller shape with feather effect and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Still having the copy selected and open the Appearance palette (Window > Appearance), then remove the Feather section. Keep the resulting shape selected and go to the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow… Follow the data like you see in the first image and click OK. Now press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shape hidden in the step 16. Make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of this shape, then hide the copy. Reselect the original shape and the shape with shadow effect applied in this step. Right click on the artboard and then select the Make Clipping Mask section from the drop-down menu. Finally hide the clipping set behind the two smaller shapes of the green propeller.


18. Continue with the yellow propeller, select the smaller shape with feather effect and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Still having the copy selected and remove the Feather section. Keep the resulting shape selected and go to the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow… Follow the data like you see in the first image and click OK. Now press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shape hidden in the step 17. Keep this shape selected, hold down the Shift and click on the shape with shadow effect applied in this step. Right click on the artboard and then select the Make Clipping Mask section from the drop-down menu. Finally hide the clipping set behind the two smaller shapes of the yellow propeller.


19. At this point your pinwheel should look like in the next image:

20. Focus on the blue propeller, select the bigger shape with feather effect and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it, then bring the copy to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Keep the copy selected, open the Appearance palette (Window > Appearance) and remove the Feather section. Still having the resulting shape selected, remove the fill color of it and then add a 2px red stroke. Focus on the third image, pick the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and click on the two points highlighted with blue to add two new anchor points. Next select the two anchor points highlighted with black and remove them. Now pick the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift +C), select the right handle of the top-right anchor point and drag it down. Keep working with the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift +C), select the right handle of the bottom-right anchor point and drag it up. You should end up with something like in the last image.



21. Reselect the red object created in the step 20, remove its stroke and fill this object with blue (# 1a28b3). Still having the resulting shape selected and go to the Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur… Enter a 10px Radius and click OK. Now select the bigger shape with feather effect of the blue propeller and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Then bring the copy to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Keep this copy selected, hold down the Shift and click on the shape with blur effect applied in this step. Right click on the artboard and then select the Make Clipping Mask section from the drop-down menu. Finally hide the clipping set behind the two smaller shapes of the blue propeller.


22. Repeat the same process as the previous steps to create a black object like you see in the image below. Once your object is created, reselect it and remove its stroke, then fill this object with orange (# e6480b). Having the newly created shape selected, apply a 10px Gaussian Blur effect for it. Now select the bigger shape with feather effect of the orange propeller and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Then bring the copy to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Keep this copy selected, hold down the Shift and click on the shape with blur effect applied in this step. Right click on the artboard and then select the Make Clipping Mask section from the drop-down menu. Finally hide the clipping set behind the two smaller shapes of the orange propeller.



23. Now, follow the sequence of images and repeat the same process as the previous steps to add shadows for the remaining two propellers.



24. Next come the yellow propeller.



25. At this point your pinwheel should look like in the next image:

26. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create two curved paths like you see in the image below. Once your paths are drawn, reselect them, change the stroke weight to 3px and replace the existing stroke color with dark orange (# a53009). Keep the resulting paths selected and apply the Width Profile 5 for them. Next reselect the lower path and replace the existing stroke color with green (# 2c972a). Now select the two paths created in this step and apply a 3px Gaussian Blur for them. Still having the resulting paths selected, set the Blending Mode to Multiply and reduce their Opacity to 40%. Finally hide these two paths behind the small shapes of the propellers.



27. Using the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 22 by 22px ellipse, then place it to the position as shown below. Make sure that the newly created ellipse is still selected, remove its stroke and fill this object with the radial gradient like you see in the second image. Keep the resulting ellipse selected and go to the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow… Follow the data as shown in the last image and click OK.



28. At this point your pinwheel should look like in the next image:

Create the second Pinwheel.

29. Select all objects of the pinwheel and go to the Object > Transform > Transform Each… Follow the data like you see in the image below and click Copy. Then move the new pinwheel to another position.

30. Select four big shapes with feather effect of four propellers and press (Ctrl +2) to lock them. Next select remaining four big shapes and bring them to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Now reselect the blue shape and replace the existing fill color with new linear gradient as shown in the second image. Continue to replace the existing fill colors of the remaining three shapes like you see in the third image. Finally select the four shapes you just replaced colors and send them to back (Ctrl +Shift +Left Square Bracket).




31. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +2) to unlock the four shapes locked in the step 30. Next replace the existing fill colors of these shapes like you see in the image below.

32. Select the blue shape with feather effect and press (Ctrl +3) to hide it. Next select the remaining blue shape and replace the existing fill color with new linear gradient as shown in the second image. Finally press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shape hidden in this step.


33. Select the small green shape with feather effect and press (Ctrl +3) to hide it. Next select the remaining small green shape and replace the existing fill color with new linear gradient as shown in the third image. Finally press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shape hidden in this step.


34. Select the orange and the yellow shapes with feather effect and press (Ctrl +3) to hide them. Next select the remaining orange and yellow shapes and replace the existing fill colors with new linear gradient as shown in the third image. Finally press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shapes hidden in this step.


35. Select four small shapes with feather effect and then replace the existing fill colors with new linear gradient as shown below.

36. Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) and click on the point highlighted with red. This will select the shape with shadow effect of the top propeller. Next replace the existing fill color of the selected shape with dark green (# 194f00). Focus on the second image and repeat the same techniques for the remaining three propellers. Finally select the dark orange ellipse and replace the existing fill color with new radial gradient as shown in the last image.



37. At this point your second pinwheel should look like in the next image:

Create the third Pinwheel.

38. Select all objects of the newly created pinwheel and go to the Object > Transform > Transform Each… Follow the data like you see in the image below and click Copy, then move the new pinwheel to another position.

39. Select four big green shapes with feather effect of four propellers and press (Ctrl +2) to lock them. Next select remaining four big green shapes and bring them to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Keep these four shapes selected and replace the existing fill color with new linear gradient as shown in the second image. Then reselect the four shapes you just replaced colors and send them to back (Ctrl +Shift +Left Square Bracket). Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +2) to unlock the four green shapes locked in this step. Finally replace the existing fill color of these four green shapes with new linear gradient as shown in the last image.




40. Select the yellow shape with feather effect of the top propeller and press (Ctrl +3) to hide it. Next select the remaining yellow shape of the top propeller and replace the existing fill color with new linear gradient as shown in the third image. Finally press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shape hidden in this step.


41. Select three yellow shapes with feather effect of the remaining three propellers and press (Ctrl +3) to hide them. Next replace the existing fill colors of the three remaining lower yellow shapes with new linear gradient. Finally press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the shapes hidden in this step.


42. Select the upper yellow shape and replace the existing fill color with new linear gradient as shown below. Next select the remaining three yellow shapes and replace the existing fill color with new linear gradient as shown in the last image.


43. Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) and click on the point highlighted with green. This will select the shape with shadow effect of the top propeller. Next replace the existing fill color of the selected shape with dark red (# 5d1020). Focus on the second image and repeat the same techniques for the remaining three propellers. Finally select the dark green ellipse and replace the existing fill color with new radial gradient as shown in the last image.



44. At this point your third pinwheel should look like in the next image. We are done with the pinwheels for the moment. Also you can see them all in the final image.

Create the Sticks

45. We will create a stick for the first pinwheel. With the help of the Rectangle Tool (M) and the Gradient Tool (G), create a 14 by 470px rectangle, then place it to the position as shown below. Keep this rectangle selected and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Then replace the existing fill color of the newly created rectangle with the new linear gradient as shown in the third image. Still having the resulting rectangle selected, change the Blending Mode to Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to 60%. Now select the two rectangles created in this step and send them to back (Ctrl +Shift +Left Square Bracket). The stick is done! Finally select and group (Ctrl +G) all objects of the first pinwheel.



46. Repeat the same process as the previous steps to create sticks for the remaining two pinwheels.

Create the Background

47. We’re done with the pinwheels. It’s time for the background now. With the help of the Rectangle Tool (M) and the Gradient Tool (G), create a 940 by 700px rectangle as shown below. Reselect the newly created rectangle and go to the Effect > Sketch > Water Paper… Follow the data like you see in the second image and click OK. Keep the resulting rectangle selected and apply a 2px Gaussian Blur effect for it.


48. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create some soft blue ellipses (# b3d3f0), then place them to the positions as shown below. Reselect all ellipses created in this step and apply a 10px Gaussian Blur effect. Keep the resulting ellipses selected, change the Blending Mode to Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to 10%. We are done with the background for the moment. The last thing to do is place three pinwheels into the newly created background.

And We’re Done!

I'm a freelance graphic designer. I love to write about tech gadgets. I'm using Adobe Illustrator, but I love playing with Photoshop in my free time.