Do you love the fall? Do you love pumpkins? How about those specialty, seasonal coffee drinks that shrink your wallet and expand your waist? Want to indulge in your pumpkin love in ways that don’t detract from your overall self esteem? What if we actually learned something new while screaming, ‘Pumpkiiiiinnns!’ We’d feel great, wouldn’t we? Excited and proud of ourselves. Pat our backs.
In this tutorial we’ll cover the creation of the pumpkin in both the solid fills and with gradient fills. In a follow-up we’ll cover creating the Jack-O-Lantern face as well as wrapping the pumpkin in ribbon. This tutorial was created using Adobe Illustrator CS 4 and is 100% yummy vector. But you shouldn’t eat Vector. Just like babies. You shouldn’t eat something just because it’s yummy!
In a new document, create an ellipse (L on your keyboard) with a nice orange fill color (or whatever color you like, pink pumpkins are cute, too!).
This will be the lightest shade for our pumpkin and the base color as we go along.
Open up your appearance panel (window> appearance or shift+f6). Duplicate your fill in the appearance panel and work with the bottom fill. Now choose FX at the bottom of the appearance panel then ‘distort and transform’ followed by ‘transform’. Apply the effect as shown. Click ok and change the foreground color to begin differentiating segments of the pumpkin rind.
Duplicate your new fill. Again working with the bottom copy click the ‘transform’ option in the appearance panel and adjust the horizontal Move slider the opposite direction.
This is most of the learning curve for this pumpkin, guys. For those really new newbies, well, I love you- and that’s why I am going to continue detailing the pumpkin rind.
Once again, duplicate your fill and work with the bottom fill. Adjust the transform options by clicking the link in the appearance panel and applying the settings as shown. We are making the segments of the pumpkin a little wider and a little higher. Adjust the color to continue to create a bit of depth.
The process continues. Duplicate fill, work with bottom fill, adjust the transformation to move this to the opposite side of the pumpkin.
This is very repetitive, so if you’ve mastered it in the first couple of rounds you can probably figure out how the rest is going to go. However, if you would like to make your first pumpkin just like the tutorial pumpkin to make sure you get it, then you are why I am going to continue sharing all of my settings.
Duplicate the fill, work with the bottom fill, edit the transform effect and adjust the color.
Here we do something completely different!
Oh, wait, no… it’s the same again.
Duplicate, work with bottom, adjust transform effect.
Can we just, for a second? This is so CUTE!
We’re almost done with the pumpkin! Repeat the process and adjust the transform effect to bump these little segments to be seen behind the foreground segments.
I told you this was easy. Twice. Or three times. But it really is easy. Emphatically easy.
Duplicate your previous segment, work with the bottom segment, adjust the new shape over to continue mirroring pieces. We’re so close now.
We will do this one final time. Duplicate your last fill, work with the bottom fill and center it horizontally. It probably doesn’t look quite like mine, but that’s because this guy gets two transform effects. Apply the effect (OK button) and go back to the appearance panel. Select FX>Distort and Transform>Transform.
Confirm you wish to apply a new copy of this effect and apply as shown in the next image (step 11).
Our pumpkin looks like a pumpkin! Huzzah!
Well, almost! The rind is complete!
It needs a stem, and that part just gets down to a little good old sketching.
Zoom in. Grab your pen tool (press ‘P’ on your keyboard) and draw points around the tops of your ridges. Click and drag to create the curves you need- if you haven’t used the pen tool before, experiment a bit to see how it works. It is so easy! Now just create a cute, hand-friendly stem shape for your pumpkin.
Beginner pen tool tip: click to create a first point then click where you want your second point to be but don’t release your mouse. Drag it around while holding down the button and watch as it arches and creates two handlebars. After you’re satisfied release the mouse button, hold alt and click on the second point so that the next point you make isn’t affected by the arch between the first and second point. This is how you get clean angles between your arches.
Using the same color for your stem, create some highlight shapes. They don’t have to be perfect, pumpkins are nice and bumpy. Set the opacity to about 30% and the blending mode to Screen.
And don’t worry, it looks a little better as you add a few extra highlights ; )
Just have fun. To rotate the pumpkin you’ll need to add a Transform Effect to the layer you have the rind + stem layers in (in other words, don’t put anything else in this layer! If you want to create more things, give them their own layer. You could also group them I guess, but I’m a fan of layers over groups). You can then scale the whole pumpkin with the bounding box (as long as you have the layer, and not just individual shapes, selected), create copies and make fun pumpkin wreaths.
Optional Step 15.
This clip-arty style not really your thing? That’s ok! Simply changing the solid fills to gradient fills brings out a more 3d appearance. After following the steps above I simply went to the appearance panel, selected each fill 1 at a time and opened up the Gradient Window. I used a Radial Gradient with two fill colors: #f7963e for the lighter color and #cd4827 for the darker fill and used the Gradient Annotator to make my circle gradients into ovals and then moved the annotator around until I had the fills where I wanted. To make this a little quicker work I saved the gradient from the first fill into my Swatches Window, then was able to just apply that to the next fills and then adjust position with the annotator.