In this tutorial, we’re going to use simple shapes from Adobe Illustrator’s default Shape tools to create a cute stylized tube of pink lipstick. All you’ll need are circles, squares, and some subtle gradients as shading.
Let’s start with the base of the tube. Using your Shape Tool’s ‘Rectangle’ option, click once on your artboard. This will bring up a dialogue window that shows your options:
Shape Tool Tip: When you click on the shape tool and hold to bring up your Shape Tool options, you’ll notice a little extra tab on the right. If you move your mouse onto this tab and release the mouse button, it’ll open a separate mini-toolbar of your shape tools. This is called a ‘tearoff’ toolbar and gives you one-click access to all of your shape tools. Tearoffs work on several tools including the Pen and Pencil tools.
We’ll choose 2 inches wide and 3.5 inches tall. Why are we setting specific measurements? You’ll see why in just a minute! Here is what we get:
Now we’ll draw a flattened circle of the same width. Click on the ‘Ellipse’ Shape tool and again click on your artboard to bring up your Ellipse Options dialogue window:
We’re going to set it to the same width as the rectangle, 2 inches wide, and about half an inch tall. Move the circle so it’s just underneath the rectangle we’ve just drawn. Select your circle and your rectangle and hit the Align Centre button in your Pathfinder Palette:
Select just the oval shape with your direct select arrow and using your keyboard’s directional ‘Up’ arrow, move it up until it neatly matches along it’s centre with the bottom of your rectangle. You may have to zoom in to get it just right:
Select both shapes again and hit Pathfinder’s ‘Add To Shape Area’ button to combine the two shapes. Click the ‘Expand’ button in your Pathfinder palette if you’re working in CS3 or earlier (CS4 expands the shapes for you). Here’s what we’ve got, a good rounded base for our lipstick tube:
Now we need to create a ‘lip’ for the top of our tube. Copy your base shape and paste it onto a new layer (Command-C on Mac or Control-C on a PC to copy the shape, then on a new layer hit Command-F on Mac or Control-F on PC). Copy and paste this shape in front of itself again and move it up on your artboard a few points using your keyboard’s direction arrow ‘Up’:
Click on your Pathfinder’s ‘Subtract from Shape Area’ and hit expand. Here’s what we’ve got:
Now to add a top. Using your Direct Select arrow (the white arrow, hit ‘A’ on your keyboard to bring it up), click and drag over the top points of your shape. The points you select will have a blue fill like so:
Copy these points (Command-C on Mac, Control-C on PC). Paste them in front of themselves (Command-F on Mac, Control-F on PC).
Copy and paste this shape one more time in front of itself, as we’re going to need a complete circle. With the copied shape selected, use the Transform Palette to flip the shape vertically (in the flyout window of the Transform Palette, choose ‘Flip Vertical):
Transform Palette Tip: Ever wonder what those little squares are on the left of your palette? Well, these squares determine from which part of your shape you want to apply the transformation. So, if you click the top left box, your shape will transform around that shape. Draw a shape and experiment with the Transform effects while clicking off each box to see how it affects your shape.
Now we’ll join our new circle shapes. Select both the bottom and top portions and move them up a little from your main shape (this makes it easier to see what we’re doing). Using your direct select arrow, click and drag over the left hand points of both shapes and hit ‘Command-J’ on Mac (Control-J on PC) to join your points. Repeat this with the points on the other side and voila, you now have a completed circle. Move it back down over your original shape:
Since this is supposed to be a lip, we’ll select it and make it a bit larger than our base shape. Select the shapes and holding down Shift and Option on your keyboard, hover your Select arrow over the bounding box around your shape. When it turns into a little double arrow cursor (<–>), click and drag to resize the shape. Holding down Shift ensures your shape won’t skew as you resize, and holding down Option will resize your shape from the centre. Here’s how it looks:
We’re going to copy our lip shape and paste it onto another new layer to create a ‘neck’ for our tube. This neck will be narrower than our lip shape, so again we’ll hold down Option and Shift and resize our shape like so:
To lengthen the neck, hit ‘A’ on your keyboard to bring up your direct select arrow. Click and drag over the top points on the shapes to select them:
Now use your ‘Up’ direction arrow on your keyboard to move the points upward.
Repeat the last few steps (copy the neck shape onto a new layer and downsize it) to create the shape of the lipstick itself:
But wait a minute, this lipstick looks used 😦 We’ll need to angle the top circle in order to make it look more realistic. Select your circle shape, and hover your Selection Arrow (the black arrow, hit ‘V’ on your keyboard to bring it up) over the left hand side of the circle. You’ll see your cursor now turns into a little curved line with an arrow on either side. This is how you rotate a shape. Click and drag to rotate the shape to a better angle like so:
Hold down ‘Shift’ and resize the circle so it roughly aligns with the right hand side of the base shape (we’ll adjust later so that it’s a perfect fit):
Now for our base shape. Using your Direct Select arrow, click and drag over the middle of the top curve and delete that point by hitting ‘delete’ on your keyboard:
Click and drag over the top right point and using your keyboard’s direction arrows, move it upward until it roughly aligns with the side of the angled circle shape. Select each of the top points with your Direct Select arrow and hit ‘Command-J’ to close the shape (or Control-J on a PC). Here’s where you’ll need to do some tidying: Zoom in on the corners to make sure your angled circle lines up nicely with your base shape. You may need to do additional resizing and some point tweaking to get it perfect. Here’s what we’ve got!
Time to add some shading. We’ll color our base with a nice metallic blue/grey and a subtle gradient to give some depth:
We’re also going to add a drop shadow under the lip. Copy-Paste the shape in front of itself, then move it up until the bottom curve is a few points below the lip:
Click and drag over the top points with your direct selection arrow and move them down so they’ll be hidden under the lip. Then darken your gradient tints slightly to give the illusion of a drop shadow:
Now we’ll color the lip and the neck shapes with a silvery gradient, and color our lipstick a cute pink:
It’s looking good, but a little bland. Some extra shading should help add contrast. Let’s start with where the neck shape is coming out of our lip. Select the circle on the lip layer and copy-paste it in front of itself. Holding down Option and Shift, we’ll shrink this circle so it’s slightly larger than the neck. We’ll color this a darker shade of silver:
We’ll repeat this on the neck layer underneath the lipstick, and draw a subtle shadow along the bottom of the lipstick as well to give things more volume. Here’s where we’re at now:
Now we’ll draw a lid for our lipstick container. This will be easy, since we’ve already drawn most of our shapes!
Copy the base and lip shapes and paste them on a new layer behind everything. Select these shapes and group them so it’s easier to move them around. Rotate the shape so it appears to be lying on the ground behind our lipstick:
We’ll tweak the shading slightly so that the dark silver circle on top of the lip looks like it’s a hollow object, and we’ll make the lip shape slightly shorter. We’ll also move the drop shadow under the lip further down the lid so it looks like the lipstick is casting a drop shadow over the lid. Here’s what we’ve ended up with:
Almost done! We’re going to add a slight reflection under our shapes, as though the lipstick is sitting on a shiny surface. All we need to do to create a reflection is to copy our shapes and use the Transform Palette to flip them vertically. We’ll align our shapes so they line up with the bottom of our lipstick and lid, and use simple gradients to fade the shapes into white. Here is our final illustration:
© 2009 Jennifer Borton