Illustrator Tutorial: Create a CFL Light Bulb

Follow this tutorial and learn how to draw a CFL light bulb using Adobe Illustrator. The tutorial is composed of three main parts, creating the spiral lamp, creating the ballast housing and creating the screw base. You will start from the basic shapes and with the help of a few tools (Pen Tool, Direct Selection Tool, Ellipse Tool, etc.), you can easily create the shapes that you need. The Clipping Mask also plays an important role in this tutorial along with some effects (Gaussian Blur, Feather, etc). So let’s begin!

Open a New Document

1. Launch Illustrator and press (Ctrl + N) to create a New document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 580 in the width box and 420 in the height box then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Create the Spiral Lamp

2. Let’s start by creating the glass tube of the spiral lamp. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 183px by 36px object. With the help of Direct Selection Tool (A), select two right anchor points of the rectangle and move them 66px down. Now based on this new object, create a red object as shown in the third image below.

3. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create two objects as shown below. Once your objects are drawn, fill them with the linear gradients as you can see in the images below.

4. Using the Pen Tool (P), create an object as shown below and fill it with R=128, G=130, B=133.

5. Continue working with the Pen Tool (P). Create two objects and fill them with the linear gradients as you can see in the images below.

6. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create two objects, then fill these objects with the radial gradient as shown in the second image. Next, hide the resulting shapes behind the shape created in step 4.

7. To add some details, create three curved paths as shown below. Once your paths are drawn, fill them with none and add a 1px stroke (R=209, G=211, B=212), then apply the Width Profile 3 for the resulting paths.

8. We are going to start making highlights on the glass tube to give it a 3D look. First draw two objects using the Pen Tool (P) as shown below. Once your objects are drawn, fill the yellow object with R=178, G=171, B=161 and then fill the red object with the radial gradient as you can see in the second image. Reselect the two newly created shapes and go to the Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 2px Radius and click OK, then press (Ctrl +G) to group these resulting shapes.

9. Select the last shape created in step 5, duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) it once and bring the duplicate to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Keep this duplicate selected, hold down the Shift key and click on the group created in step 8. Go to the Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Ctrl +7).

10. Now follow the sequence of images and repeat the process in the previous steps to add highlights for the remaining two segments of the glass tube. Once done, your glass tube should look roughly like the final image.

11. To add some details, first draw three objects as you can see in the image below. Once your objects are drawn, fill the red object and the cyan object with the radial gradients as shown in the second image. Reselect the two newly created shapes and go to the Effect > Stylize > Feather. Enter a 1px Radius and click OK. Next, fill the yellow object with the radial gradient as shown in the fourth image and then apply a 3px Feather effect for the resulting shape.

12. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create three curved paths as shown below. Fill these paths with none and add a 1px stroke (R=255, G=255, B=255), then apply the Width Profile 3 for the resulting paths.

13. We will add some highlights on the remaining parts of the glass tube. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create an object as shown below. Once your object is drawn, fill it with the radial gradient as you can see in the second image, then apply a 3px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting shape. Now select the right shape created in step 6, duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) it once and then bring the duplicate to the front of the blurred shape. Keep the duplicate selected, hold down the Shift key and click on the blurred shape, then go to the Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Ctrl +7).

14. Continue to create three objects as shown below. Once your objects are drawn, fill the two yellow objects with R=134, G=135, B=138 and then apply a 4px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting shapes. Next, fill the remaining object with the radial gradient as you can see in the second image and then apply a 2px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting shape. Finally, select and group (Ctrl +G) all the shapes created in this step.

15. Now select the left shape created in step 6, duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) it once and then bring the duplicate to front of the group created in step 14. Keep the duplicate selected, hold down the Shift key and click on the group created in step 14. Go to the Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Ctrl +7). Next, hide the resulting object behind the shape created in step 4.

16. Before you continue, select the objects as shown in the first image below and hide them (Ctrl +3). Now with the help of the Pen Tool (P), create four curved paths as shown in the third image below. Next, set the values for these paths as you can see in the fourth, fifth and sixth image. Finally, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the objects hidden in this step.

17. We will add some details on the glass tube. Using the Pen Tool (P), create some objects as you can see in the image below. Once your objects are drawn, fill the red objects with R=241, G=242, B=242. Next, select the black objects and fill them with R=255, G=255, B=255, then group (Ctrl +G) the resulting shapes. Make two duplicates of this group (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F, Ctrl +F) and place them to the positions as shown in the third image.

18. Continue to add other details. Draw some objects as shown in the first image below. Once your objects are drawn, fill them with R=255, G=255, B=255 and apply a 2px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting shapes, then reduce their Opacity to 60%.

19. Let’s create the final parts of the spiral lamp. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create two objects as you can see in the image below. Next, fill these objects with the linear gradients as shown in the second and the third image.

Create the Ballast Housing

20. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create two ellipses with dimensions: 172px by 12px and 172px by 20px. Reselect the two newly created ellipses, open the Align palette (Window > Align) and click on the Horizontal Align Center button, then click on the Vertical Align Center button. Keep these ellipses selected and move them to the correct postion as shown in the third image. Move the red ellipse 86px down.

21. Make a duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of the black ellipse and hide it (Ctrl +3). With the Direct Selection Tool (A), select four anchor points highlighted with blue and click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” button from the Properties bar. This makes the two ellipses become four curved paths. Next, remove the upper black path and the upper red path. Reselect the two remaining paths, duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) them once and replace the existing stroke color of the duplicaates with blue. Press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the black ellipse hidden in the previous step.

22. Select the black ellipse and the two blue paths, then hide them (Ctrl +3). Focus on the two remaining paths. Select the two anchor points highlighted with magenta and click on the “Connect selected end points” button from the Properties bar. Next, repeat the same techniques for the two anchor points highlighted with blue.

23. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the three objects hidden in step 22. Fill the red object and the black ellipse with the linear gradients as shown in the images below.

24. Select the upper blue path and make a duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Move the duplicate 7px down. Change the stroke weight of the duplicate to 2px and replace the existing stroke color with the linear gradient across stroke. Select the upper blue path again and change the stroke weight of it to 2px, then replace the existing stroke color with R=209, G=211, B=212. Next, apply the Width Profile 1 and a 1px Feather effect for the resulting path. Reselect the remaining blue path and change the stroke weight of it to 2.5px. Replace the existing stroke color with R=209, G=211, B=212. Finally, apply the Width Profile 1 and a 2px Feather effect for the resulting path.

25. With the help of Pen Tool (P), create two objects as shown below. Once your objects are drawn, fill them with the linear gradients as you can see in the third and fourth images.

26. Continue working with the Pen Tool (P). Create an object as shown below. Reselect the new object and go to the Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 8px Offset and click OK, then move the resulting object 8px up. Fill the bigger red object with R=0, G=0, B=0 and apply a 3px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting shape. Set it to Blending Mode Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to 50%. Keep the resulting shape selected, hold down the Shift key and click on the red object, then go to the Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Ctrl +7).

27. Select and group (Ctrl + G) all the shapes created from step 25 up to this time, then bring this group to back (Ctrl +Shift +Left Square Bracket). At this point, your light bulb should look like the final image.

Create the Screw Base

28. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create an object as shown below, then fill this object with R=9, G=9, B=11. With the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 86px by 50px object, then fill this rectangle with the linear gradient and place the resulting shape to the position as you can see in the third and fourth images.

29. Using the Pen Tool (P), create five object as shown in the images below. Once your objects are drawn, fill them with R=28, G=31, B=22. Continue to create another object as you can see in the fifth image and then fill it with the radial gradient.

30. Keep working with the Pen Tool (P). Create six objects as shown below. Fill these objects with R=68, G=68, B=58 and apply a 2px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting shapes.

31. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create nine objects as you can see in the images below. Once your objects are drawn, fill the red objects with R=171, G=166, B=156 and fill the yellow objects with R=187, G=179, B=170. Reselect all the new shapes created in this step and apply a 2px Feather effect for them, then set them to Blending Mode Lighten.

32. To add some details, first draw several curved paths as shown below. Once your paths are drawn, fill them with none and add a 1px stroke (R=237, G=233, B=229). Next, apply the Width Profile 2 and a 1px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting paths.

33. We will add highlights on the left side of the screw base. First create two objects as shown below. Once your objects are drawn, fill the red object with R=77, G=79, B=59 and then fill the yellow object with R=244, G=243, B=158. Reselect the two newly created shapes and apply a 1px Gaussian Blur effect for them. Next, select and group (Ctrl +G) the two newly created shapes. Make two duplicates of the new group (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F, Ctrl +F) and then place them to the positions as you can see in the fourth image.

34. Next is the right side. Using the Pen Tool (P), create three objects as you can see in the image below. Once your objects are drawn, fill the two yellow objects with R=235, G=204, B=150 and then fill the red object with R=103, G=104, B=105. Next, reselect the biggest shape and apply a 3px Feather effect for it. Then select the two remaining shapes and apply a 2px Feather effect for them. Now select and group (Ctrl +G) the three newly created shapes. Make three duplicates of the new group and then place them to the positions shown in the fourth image below. Continue working with the Pen Tool (P). Create a curved path as you can see in the fifth image. Once your path is drawn, fill it with none and add a 1px stroke (R=124, G=105, B=83). Finally, apply the Width Profile 2 and a 1px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting path.

35. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 5px by 6.5px object and make two duplicates of this ellipse (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F, Ctrl +F). Move the duplicate 1px down and 1px to the left, then replace the existing stroke color of it with blue. Now select the red ellipse and the blue ellipse, then open the Pathfinder palette (Window > Pathfinder). Click on the Minus Front button. Fill the resulting object with R=29, G=30, B=21 and then fill the remaining red ellipse with R=191, G=187, B=176. Continue to create a curved path as you can see in the sixth image. Once your path is drawn, fill it with none and add a 0.5px stroke (R=230, G=231, B=232), then apply the Width Profile 2 for the resulting path. Finally, select and group (Ctrl +G) all the objects created in this step.

36. Place the new group to the position as shown below. Reselect this group and go to the Object > Transform > Reflect. In the Reflect box, check the Vertical and click Copy. Drag the duplicate we have just created to the right. Don’t forget to hold the Shift key on the keyboard for straight dragging.

37. Let’s create the final part of the light bulb. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create an object as you can see in the image below. Fill this object with R=10, G=9, B=5. Now select and group (Ctrl + G) all the objects created from step 28 up to this time, then send this group to back (Ctrl +Shift +Left Square Bracket).

38. To give a more realistic look, I’m going to add some shadows on the light bulb. Before you continue, select and group (Ctrl +G) all the shapes created from step 2 up to this time, then lock (Ctrl +2) this group. Now pick the Pen Tool (P) and create an object as shown below. Once your object is drawn, move it 4px down and 12px to the right. Keep the red object selected and go to the Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 6px Offset and click OK. Replace the existing stroke color of the new object with blue and move it 12px up, then move it 12px to the right.

39. Fill the red object with R=35, G=31, B=32 and apply a 10px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting shape. Next, fill the blue object with R=128, G=130, B=133 and apply a 20px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting shape. Set the Blending Mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to 50%. Finally, select the two newly created shapes and send them to back (Ctrl +Shift +Left Square Bracket).

40. Press (Ctrl +Alt +2) to unlock the group created in step 38. Keep this group selected, hold down the Shift key and click on the two new shapes created in step 39, then group (Ctrl +G) them. Keep the resulting group selected and go to the Object > Transform > Rotate. Enter a -60 degrees Angle and click OK.

Create the Background

41. With the help of the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 576px by 413px object. Fill this rectangle with the radial gradient as shown below. The last thing to do is place the “Light Bulb” group into the background.

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