WHAT WE’RE CREATING:
Hey there, designers! Renee here with a brand new, vector-licious tutorial and a giant pack of freebies! This week, we’re going to create a double sided menu for a fancy tasting event. We’ll use beautiful watercolor-style food vectors, seafood illustrations and some fun flourishes to frame a five course dinner menu. We’ll layer multiple elements of different styles, edit patterns, customize brushes, texture within Illustrator and learn some techniques to fill line drawings with color.
Follow along with this tutorial: Download the freebies
This week we have an awesome freebie pack of vectors, patterns and brushes courtesy of our designers.
Remember, this freebie is just a tiny sample taken from the amazing collection: The Versatile Vector Collection (1000s of High Quality Resources) at just $29 (an unbelievable 94% off). This bundle is packed with thousands of best-selling vectors chosen by you—our incredible design community!
In addition to the fantastic freebie pack, you may want to download Quicksand, the free font used for the main body copy.
Since this bundle is vector based, we are going to do our work in Illustrator.
We want to create a menu that is convenient for a customer to hold while sitting at a dinner table with place settings, so I’m going with a half letter size. Open a new document in Illustrator at 5.5” x 8.5” with 2 artboards spaced at least 4 inches apart so we have plenty of breathing room.
Save your file! I like to do this right away so further saves require nothing more than a cmd/ctrl + s. The newest release of Illustrator introduces an automatic recovery feature, but it’s still best to save often.
Let’s start things off right by naming our layer. Open your Layers palette and double click on Layer 1. Rename the layer Art. This is where we’ll put all of our primary elements.
Unlike Photoshop, I prefer to use just a few key layers when I’m in Illustrator, but some people like to put each group of elements on a different layer. I find that it slows me down when I have to click through a ton of layers, but you’ll find your personal preference with experience.
Open the Freebies file and copy the lemon from Elena Pimonova. Paste it into your new document on the first (left) artboard. Go to Object > Transform > Scale and set Uniform scaling to 300%.
Position the lemon on the bottom left side of the menu with a large portion outside the artboard.
Next, we’ll copy the bay leaves from the Freebies file. Paste those on the first artboard. Go to Object > Transform > Scale to uniformly scale up 300%. We’ll also add a slight rotation by going to Object > Transform > Rotate and entering 20 for our angle.
Position in the top right of the artboard so that only the leaves on the left are on our artboard.
Now we’ll copy the garlic from the Freebies file and paste it onto the artboard. This time, we’ll scale it uniformly to 180%. This illustration comes with 2 lovely little garlic cloves below the main head of garlic. Since these would hang down into title area, we’ll want to delete them.
For this, we’ll use our Group Selection Tool. It’s the white arrow with a plus sign. You can access it by clicking and holding on the Direct Select Tool icon in the Tools panel until you see the flyout panel with additional tools.
With your Group Selection Tool, drag across the cloves to select them.
We’re going to end up selecting a few of the watercolor splatters, but that’s ok. We can delete those few specks with the cloves or hold down shift and click on any highlighted specks to deselect them. When you’re happy with your selection, press delete. Position the remaining garlic head at the top of the file, resting slightly over the bay leaves.
For the next step, we’ll add some fun flourishes. I absolutely adore the fresh, bright yellow of the lemon, so I’m going to sample that color for some of our flourishes.
Go to your Swatch palette and click the New Swatch icon. We’ll create a new process color named Lemon Yellow and give it a CMYK value of 4/10/81/0.
Select this flourish from Swedish Points in the Freebies file…
…and paste it onto your artboard. Scale up 400% and rotate with an angle of -30 degrees. Change the color to Lemon Yellow and position on the far left side of the artboard, overlapping the lemon.
Lastly, we’ll move the flourish behind the lemon. With the flourish selected, go to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (or press cmd/ctrl + shift + [).
Now we’ll make a copy to use in a different location. With the flourish still selected, go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Enter an angle of -30 degrees and hit Copy (instead of Ok). Drag this copy to the right side of the artboard, just below the lowest bay leaf.
Next, copy the top flourish from the Freebie file.
Paste onto your artboard, scale uniformly to 400% and change the color to Lemon Yellow. Position on the top of the artboard, overlapping the garlic leaves and send to the back using cmd/ctrl + shift + [ (or navigate to Object > Arrange > Send to Back).
We’ll repeat this process once more for our last yellow flourish. Select the largest flourish in the group.
Paste it onto your artboard, scale up 400% and change the color to Lemon Yellow. Position at the bottom so only the top curl is on the artboard, then send to the back (cmd/ctrl + shift + [).
Before we add any more flourishes and ornaments, we should get our remaining big elements in place so we know where to place the supporting elements.
Seafood time! Let’s start by going to our Layers palette and creating a new layer above Art. Name the layer Seafood. We’ll use two fantastic seafood illustrations from Elena Pimonova and a beautiful flower illustration from Vecster.
Lock your Art layer by clicking to the left of the layer name. You will see a little padlock icon when locked.
With your Seafood layer selected, copy the shrimp from the Freebies file and paste them on your artboard. Scale up 350%. I also gave mine a slight rotation of about 10 degrees. Position them over the right side of the cut lemon.
We really want the shrimp to stand out, so we’ll color in the line drawing. Start by creating a new gradient. We’ll be applying this color to both shrimp and lobster, so let’s go with a bright pinkish red gradient.
Create a new color swatch named Lobster Red with the CMYK value of 0/100/90/0. Then create a second color swatch named Shrimp Pink with the CMYK value of 14/100/56/0.
Open your Gradient palette (Window > Gradient or cmd/ctrl + F9). Select Radial for type. Drag the Lobster Red swatch from your swatch palette to the far left of the gradient in the Gradient palette. Drag the Shrimp Pink swatch to the far right.
Now select the New Swatch icon in your Swatch palette and name the new gradient swatch Seafood Gradient.
Now that we have our color ready to use, we’ll draw our fill area behind the shrimp. Like many handdrawn illustrations, the shrimp aren’t made entirely of closed areas we can easily fill with color, so we’ll use a couple of different techniques to create our fill area.
First, copy the shrimp by selecting the shrimp and hitting cmd/ctrl + c. We’ll hide our original shrimp by pressing cmd/ctrl + 3 (or navigate to Object > Hide > Selection). Paste the copy in place by pressing cmd/ctrl + shift + v (or Edit > Paste in Place).
Switch to your Group Selection Tool (the white arrow with a plus sign that we used earlier) and click once to select the outermost edge of the shrimp.
Copy (cmd/ctrl + c) and click in an empty area to deselect. Then Paste in Place (cmd/ctrl + shift + v). As you can see, that takes care of a big section of our shrimp fill, but not quite all of it.
We’ll use our Blob Brush Tool (shift + b or go to the flyout menu on the Brush tool) for the remaining sections.
Zoom in a little closer and with your Blob Brush Tool, ,start clicking and dragging across the empty areas to fill them in. Use [ and ] to make your Brush size smaller and larger on the fly. Don’t worry too much if you go outside the lines. We’ll clean that up afterwards.
When you’re done coloring in your empty spots, select all (cmd/ctrl + a) and open your Pathfinder palette. Under Shape Modes, select Unite. This will make all of our separate pieces into one single shape.
Select the shape and change the color to Seafood Gradient.
Go to Object > Show All to turn the line drawing back on. Then navigate to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front to bring it forward above the fill color we made.
Now we can see any areas where we overdrew and a few areas we’ll need to remove, mostly between the legs.
For areas where you overdrew with your Brush tool, just select the fill shape and use your Eraser tool (e) to drag over the unwanted areas. I think a little color outside the lines adds to the rough illustration effect, so don’t worry about getting it perfect.
The parts that will look like mistakes are the big open areas between the legs. We’ll use our Group Selection Tool to select the outermost section of those shapes on our shrimp.
Copy the selections, then click on an empty area to deselect. Paste in place (cmd/ctrl + shift + v) and press cmd/ctrl + 8 to create a Compound Path (or Object > Compound Path > Make). This will basically make sure that we’re treating the three separate pieces as one single piece.
Change the color to Seafood Gradient, then shift and click on the red fill shape behind the shrimp.
Open your Pathfinder palette and under Shape Modes, choose Minus Front. This will automatically bring our new fill shape to the front, so we’ll send it back behind the line art by pressing cmd/ctrl + [ (or go to Object > Arrange > Send Backward).
We’ll repeat these same steps for the lobster.
Copy the lobster from the Freebies file and place on your artboard. Scale up 250% and rotate with an angle of -10 degrees, and place on the right side of the artboard overlapping the bottom bay leaf.
From here, our steps will be identical to the shrimp color fill. Copy the lobster, hide the original (ctrl/cmd + 3), and Paste in Place (ctrl/cmd + shift + v). Use the Group Selection Tool to select the outermost path around the lobster.
Copy, then click onto an empty area to deselect and Paste in Place.
Use the Blob Brush Tool to fill in empty spots. Drag your Selection Tool (v) across the entire lobster and in your Pathfinder palette, select Shape Mode of Unite. Change the color to Seafood Gradient.
Go to Object > Show All. Then select your fill shape and send it behind the line drawing by pressing cmd/ctrl + [.
Use your Eraser tool to clean up any big mistakes outside the lines.
Select areas between the legs and claws that we need to open up. Don’t worry about any areas off the artboard since they won’t be visible.
Copy, deselect by clicking on an empty area and Paste in Place. Press ctrl/cmd + 8 to create a Compound Path. Hold shift and select our fill shape. In the Pathfinder palette, choose the Shape Mode of Minus Front, then press cmd/ctrl + [ to send it back behind the line drawing.
Our last red fill shape is going to be the easiest. Copy the flower from the Freebie file and paste it onto the artboard. Ok – it’s not seafood, but we’re going to put it on the Seafood layer anyway :)
Scale up 200% and position it in the top left corner so it just barely peeks onto our artboard.
Use your Group Selection Tool to select any dark brown area on the flower. With that selection, navigate to Select > Same > Fill Color. This will select all of the dark brown areas. Change the color to black.
Deselect and use your Group Selection Tool to select any white area on the flower. This is one solid piece, so we don’t need to select the same fill color on this one. Just change the color of the white area to Seafood Gradient.
You made it through the hardest part! Now we’ll add a few more flourishes.
Lock the Seafood layer. Unlock the Art layer by clicking on the padlock icon and select the layer by clicking the name once.
Now, we get to use this incredibly cool, detailed vintage ornament from 2 Lil Owls in the Freebies file. There are hundreds of these in the bundle and I honestly can’t recommend it enough because I never run out of uses for these types of elements.
Paste the ornament onto your artboard and scale it up 260%. Place along the bottom of the artboard.
I don’t like how the top portion of the ornament sticks out above the shrimp, so we’ll mask that area off. First, let’s make a copy to use in another spot. Copy the ornament and paste it anywhere on the artboard for now.
Now back to the first ornament. The easiest way to create our mask is to use the Rectangular Marquee tool (m) to draw a rectangle around the area we want to be visible.
With the rectangle selected, hold shift and click on the ornament to add it to our selection. Press cmd/ctrl + 7 (or navigate to Object > Clipping Mask > Make) to create our clipping mask. Then cmd/ctrl + shift + [ to send it to the back (behind our yellow flourishes).
Now we’ll select the copy we made of the ornament earlier and rotate it 180 degrees. Position it on the far right side under the lobster.
We’ll mask the left portion off using the same clipping mask technique.
Draw a rectangle around the areas we want visible, then hold shift and click the ornament. Press cmd/ctrl + 7 to create a clipping mask and cmd/ctrl + shift + [ to send to the back behind the yellow flourish.
Next, we’ll copy the line in the Freebies file that has Pixelwise’s charming leaf brush applied to it.
Paste it anywhere in our file. This will add the brush to our Brushes palette. You can now delete the line that you pasted in and the brush style will stay in the Brushes palette.
We’re going to use our Pen tool (p) to draw an irregular curvy line along the left side of the artboard. With your Pen tool selected, click to add points. Click and drag to add curves as you go. This takes a little practice, but it’s one of the most useful tools in Illustrator and worth the time to master.
Once you’re happy with the rough shape of your line, open your Brushes palette and select the leaf brush.
In your Swatch palette, create a new color named Leaf Green with a CMYK value of 40/13/65/0. Change the stroke on our leaf line to this color.
Now open your Stroke palette. We’re going to leave all of the settings at their default except the Profile. Change this to Width Profile 5.
Now we’ll create two more lines and apply the same settings. One at the top…
…and one at the bottom right.
For the last step with the leaf lines, select all three and send to the back (cmd/ctrl + shift + [).
Our final two flourish type elements will utilize the beautiful Good Vibes frame from So Nice.
Paste it onto our artboard and scale it up 450%. Place in the top right corner and change the color to 6/7/3/0. Then, send to back with cmd/ctrl + shift + [.
Copy the frame and position the copy in the bottom middle of the artboard. Make sure it’s also sent to the back.
Create a new layer in your Layers palette and name it Copy. In the Freebies file, copy Chef Stefan and paste it onto the artboard. This name was created using the premium font Wallows.
Scale it up about 200% and place in the top left open area of the artboard.
Next, use your Text tool (t) and type “presents” in Quicksand at 15 pt. In the flyout menu in the top right of the Character palette, choose All Caps. Position just below and to the right of Stefan.
Select your Text tool again, but this time use it to draw a rectangular text box in the middle of the page. Copy and paste the following:
blini with crème fraîche and caviar
green salad with shaved parmagiano and lemon drizzle
roasted chateaubriand with pan jus
lemon lavender sorbet
Or make up your own menu! This will all be in Quicksand. The course titles are all caps at 16 pt and the descriptions are all lowercase at 12 pt.
For our last part of this side of the menu, we’ll add a subtle texture. In the Layers palette, lock the Copy layer and create a new layer above it called Texture.
Copy Vecster’s grunge texture from the Freebies file and place it on the Textures layer. Increase the scale to cover the entire artboard.
Change the color to 2/3/1/0.
With the texture selected, go to Object > Transform > Rotate and enter 90 degrees, then hit Copy. Increase the scale of the copy so that it also covers the entire artboard.
Select both textures and open your Transparency palette. Change the Blending Mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 65%.
That’s it for the first side! Now we’ll add a simple bright backing.
Move over to the artboard on the right. In your Layers palette, lock the Textures layer, unlock the Art layer and select it.
Copy Lisa Glanz’s sweet blue and gray pattern from the Freebies file and place it on the artboard. Scale it up about 250%.
Using your Group Selection Tool, click once on the open blue area to select it. Change the color to 7/100/73/0 which is a color that lands between our Lobster Red and Shrimp Pink.
Now we’ll use the Group Selection tool again to select one of the gray areas of the pattern. This time, we’ll go to Select > Same > Fill Color to select all of the gray. Change the color to 7/96/64/0.
Select the pattern and drag it into your Swatch palette.This will automatically create a new pattern swatch.
Using your Rectangular Marquee tool (m), draw a 5.5” x 8.5” rectangle to cover the entire artboard, then choose the new pattern we just made as the fill color.
Draw a new rectangle that’s 5” x 8” and change the fill color to no fill and the stroke to Lemon Yellow. With the rectangle selected, open your Align palette, make sure Align To is set to Align to Artboard and under Align Objects, click Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center.
Now open your Stroke palette and change the Width Profile to Width Profile 2.
Next, we’ll use our remaining flourish from Lisa Glanz.
Place onto the artboard, change the fill color to white and scale up 175%. Position it along the top of the yellow stroked rectangle. Use your Align palette to Horizontal Align Center so it’s centered on the artboard.
With the flourish selected, navigate to Object > Transform > Reflect. Select Horizontal Axis and hit Copy. Drag this new copy to the same location on the bottom line of the stroked rectangle.
Next, we’ll revisit a few of our existing elements.
Copy the Good Vibes frames from the first artboard and paste them onto the second artboard in roughly the same location. Change the color of both to 17/100/75/0.
Now we’ll reuse our vintage ornament. Copy the original from the Freebie file and place it on the second artboard. Scale up 350% and place in the lower left corner of the artboard.
With the ornament selected, go to Object > Transform > Rotate and enter 180 degrees, then hit Copy. Place the copy in the upper right corner.
Select the yellow stroked rectangle and two white flourish elements and hit cmd/ctrl + shift + ] (or Object > Arrange > Bring to Front) to bring them to the front.
Oooh! We’re almost done!
Copy “Tasty” from the Freebie file. This was also set in Wallows. Paste onto the artboard and change the color to white. Scale up 320%. Position in the center of the artboard.
Above it and to the left, typeset “A night of” in Quicksand, All Caps at 15 pt.
And that’s it. We’re done!
We have a gorgeous 2-sided tasting menu that combines vintage and modern elements for a unique dining experience.
Please remember to share your designs on the Facebook page too. I know this incredible vector bundle, The Versatile Vector Collection (1000s of High Quality Resources), is going to inspire you to create amazing new works of art and we can’t wait to see them!