How to Create an Illustration Inspired by International Day of Persons With Disabilities

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In the following steps, you will learn how to create a simple illustration inspired by the International Day of Persons With Disabilities

For starters, you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to easily add or remove anchor points from a path. Moving on, you will learn how to add text on a path, how to stylize it, and how to easily mask it. Using basic stroke techniques and the Rounded Corners effect, you will learn how to create most of that wheelchair logo. Finally, you will learn how to add a simple background, some subtle shading, and a smaller piece of text on a path.

For more inspiration on how to adjust or improve your final text effect, you can find plenty of resources at GraphicRiver.

1. How to Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 850 in the width box and 860 in the height box, and then click that More Settings button. Select RGB for the Color Mode, set the Raster Effects to Screen (72 ppi), and then click Create Document.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 10 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, and enter 10 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-“ keyboard shortcut.

You can learn more about Illustrator’s grid system in this short tutorial from Andrei Stefan: Understanding Adobe Illustrator’s Grid System.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Don’t forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

set up grid

2. How to Create the Wheelchair Wheel

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the fill and then select the stroke and set its color to R=37 G=170 B=227. Move to your artboard and simply create a 300 px circle—the grid and the Snap to Grid should make it easier.

Make sure that your shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance), and set the stroke weight to 60 px.

ellipse tool

Step 2

With your shape still selected, go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points twice. Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the seven anchor points highlighted in the first image, and remove them using the Delete button on your keyboard.

Make sure that the resulting path remains selected and return to the Appearance panel. Click that “Stroke” piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel, and then check the Round Cap and Round Join buttons.

add anchor point

3. How to Add Text on a Path and Stylize It

Step 1

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 330 px circle, and place it exactly as shown in the following image. The color attributes are not very important.

circle

Step 2

Make sure that your 330 px circle is still selected, pick the Type on a Path Tool, and simply click on the edge of your selected shape. This will allow you to add text along your path.

Add the “INCLUSION MATTERS” piece of text, make it white, and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Insaniburger font, and set the Size to 45 px and the Tracking to 75

Next, you need to adjust the position of your text. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and simply drag that middle bracket from the outside to the inside of your circle. This should move your text inside the circle. Use that same bracket to move your text along the path as shown in the following image.

text on path

Step 3

Make sure that your text is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a new fill using the Add New Fill button. Select it and set the color to R=27 G=34 B=88.

add new fill

Step 4

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a second fill, drag it below the existing one, and select it.

Set the color to R=27 G=34 B=88, lower its Opacity to 30%, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Scale sliders to 101% and set the Move-Vertical slider to 0.2 px, enter 1 in that Copies box, and then click OK.

opacity

Step 5

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a third fill, drag it below the existing ones, and select it.

Set the color to R=27 G=34 B=88, lower its Opacity to 30%, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click OK, and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 3 px Radius and click OK.

gaussian blur

Step 6

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a fourth fill, drag it below the existing ones, and select it.

Set the color to R=27 G=34 B=88, lower its Opacity to 15%, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

transform

Step 7

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a fifth fill, drag it below the existing ones, and select it.

Set the color to R=27 G=34 B=88, lower its Opacity to 20%, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

transform

Step 8

Select your blue path, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F), and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]). With this copy still selected, go to the Appearance panel and set the stroke color to white.

Select this white path along your text on a path, open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency), and click the Make Mask button. In the end, things should look like in the third image.

make mask

4. How to Create the Background

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create an 870 x 880 px shape. Fill it with R=27 G=34 B=88, send it to back (Shift-Control-[), and make sure that it covers your entire artboard.

background

Step 2

Reselect your blue path and replace the blue with white.

white stroke

5. How to Create a Human Silhouette

Step 1

Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create a simple path about as shown in the following image. Once again, the grid and the Snap to Grid will help. Add a 60 px stroke for this new path, make it white, and don’t forget to check the Round Cap and Round Join buttons.

pen tool

Step 2

Make sure that the path created in the previous step is still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 30 px Radius and then click OK.

rounded corners

Step 3

Using the Pen Tool (P) or the Line Segment Tool (), create a 120 px horizontal path, and place it as shown in the following image. Add a 60 px stroke for this new path, make it white, and don’t forget to check the Round Cap button.

line tool

Step 4

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 100 px circle. Fill it with white and place it as shown below.

white circle

6. How to Add Subtle Shading and a Second Text on a Path

Step 1

Reselect your white circle along with the three white paths and Group them (Control-G).

group

Step 2

With your group still selected, apply the three Drop Shadow effects (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow) shown in the following image.

drop shadow

Step 3

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 220 px circle, and place it exactly as shown in the following image.

circle

Step 4

Make sure that your 220 px circle is still selected, pick the Type on a Path Tool, and add the “DECEMBER 3RD” piece of text along your selection. Make it white, use the text attributes shown below, and use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to adjust the text location as shown below.

type on path

Congratulations! You’re Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects. Don’t hesitate to share your final result in the comments section.

Feel free to adjust the final design and make it your own. You can find some great sources of inspiration at GraphicRiver, with interesting solutions to improve your design.

final product