Illustrator Tutorial: Create A Football Helmet

football helmet

In the following steps, you will learn how to create a detailed football helmet illustration using Adobe Illustrator. The tools that I will be using in this tutorial include: Pen Tool (P), Ellipse Tool (L), Rounded Rectangle Tool and Direct Selection Tool (A). I will also be using Pathfinder panel along with the Clipping Mask and some effects (Feather, Gaussian Blur, Drop Shadow). The tutorial will take some time but rest assured you will not be disappointed with the final result. 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 530 in the width box and 400 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 Main Shapes

2. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create two ellipses with dimensions: 297px by 307px and 265px by 295px.

3. Based on thetwo black ellipses, create a red object as shown below.

4. Select the two black ellipses and remove them. With the help of the Pen Tool (P) create a blue object as shown below. Once your object is drawn, reselect the two newly created objects and open the Pathfinder palette (Window > Pathfinder), then click on the Minus Front button. Next, fill the resulting object with the radial gradient as you can see in the fourth image below.

5. Let’s proceed with the ear hole. Using the Pen Tool (P), create an object as shown below. Once your object is drawn, duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) it once. Now select the blue and red objects then click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder palette (Window > Pathfinder).

6. Reselect the remaining red object and go to the Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset and click OK. Next, select the two red objects and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder palette, then fill the resulting object with the radial gradient as you can see in the second image below.

7. With the help of the Pen Tool (P) create two objects as you can see in the images below.

8. Fill the red object with the radial gradient as shown below. Fill the yellow object with R=14, G=15, B=19. Send the two newly created shapes to back (Ctrl +Shift +Left Square Bracket).

9. It’s time to draw the remaining ear hole. Using the Pen Tool (P), create an object as shown below. Select the big shape created in step 8 and duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) it. Keep the duplicate selected, hold down the Shift key and click on the red object then open the Pathfinder palette (Window > Pathfinder). Click on the Minus Front button.

10. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create two objects as shown below. Once your objects are drawn, fill the red object with the linear gradient as shown in the third image below. Keep the resulting shape selected and go to the Effect > Stylize > Feather. Enter a 10px Radius and then click OK. Fill the yellow object with the linear gradient as you can see in the fourth image.

11. Continue working with the Pen Tool (P). Create an object and fill it with the linear gradient as shown in the images below.

12. Keep working with the Pen Tool (P). Create an object as you can see in the image below. Once your object is drawn, fill it with the linear gradient. Next, create a curved path as shown in the third image and fill this path with none, then add a 2px stroke (apply the linear gradient within stroke).

13. Make a duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of the shape created in step 12 and then go to the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Follow the data as shown below and click OK. Now reselect the shape created in the step 5, duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) it and bring the duplicate to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Keep this selected, hold down the Shift key and click on the shape with the Drop Shadow effect. Go to the Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Ctrl +7).

14. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create objects as you can see in the images below. Once your objects are drawn, reselect them and open the Pathfinder palette (Window > Pathfinder), then click on the Minus Front button. Fill the resulting object with the linear gradient as shown in the fifth image. Keep the resulting shape selected, open the Transparency palette (Window > Transparency), set the Blending Mode to Screen and reduce the Opacity to 80%. Finally, apply a 3px Feather effect for the resulting shape.

15. Using the Pen Tool (P), create two objects as shown in the images below. Once your objects are drawn, select the yellow object and make a duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) then hide it (Ctrl +3). Next, reselect the two new objects and fill them with the linear gradient as shown in the third image. Keep the resulting shapes selected and go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options. Follow the data as you can see in the fourth image and click OK. Go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B).

16. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create a green object and fill it with the linear gradient as shown in the images below. Make sure that the resulting shape is still selected and go to the Effect > Stylize > Feather. Enter a 8px Radius and click OK. Now press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the yellow object hidden in step 15. Hold down the Shift key and click on the shape created in this step. Go to the Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Ctrl +7).

17. To add some details, draw a curved path. Fill this path with none and add a 1px stroke (R=109, G=110, B=113), then apply the Width Profile 3 for the resulting path. Continue working with the Pen Tool (P). Create two paths as you can see in the third image. Once your paths are drawn, fill the red path with none and add a 3px stroke (R=35, G=31, B=32). Next, fill the remaining path with none and add a 3px stroke (R=121, G=128, B=138). Apply a 2px Feather effect for the two newly created paths. Now select and group (Ctrl + G) all the objects created from the beginning up to step 15, then hide this group behind the front of the helmet.

Create the Chinstrap

18. Let’s start by creating the chin cup. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create two objects and fill these objects with the radial gradient as shown in the images below. Next, hide the small shape behind the big shape.

19. Using the Pen Tool (P), create a curved path, then fill this path with none and add a 3px stroke (R=117, G=122, B=137). Make a duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of the newly created path. Next, pick the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add an anchor point in the point highlighted with red. Reselect the newly created anchor point and click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” button from the Properties bar. This makes the path become two paths. Select the longer path and replace the existing stroke color with R=255, G=255, B=255. Next, select the remaining path and replace the existing stroke color with R=35, G=31, B=32. Finally, reselect the two newly created paths and apply a 3px Feather effect for them.

20. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create two objects as shown below. Once your objects are drawn, fill them with the linear gradient.

21. Continue working with the Pen Tool (P). Create two curved paths as shown below. Next, fill these paths with none and add a 1px stroke (apply the linear gradient within the stroke), then apply the Width Profile 3 for the resulting paths.

22. Select the two shapes created in step 20. Duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) them and go to the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Follow the data as shown below and click OK. Press (Ctrl +X) to cut the resulting shapes. Next, double-click on the clipping set created in step 13 and press (Ctrl +F) to paste the two shapes. Finally, double-click anywhere outside of the clipping set.

23. With the use of Pen Tool (P), create an object and fill it with the linear gradient as shown below. Next, create a curved path as you can see in the third image. Fill the new path with none and add a 1px stroke (apply the linear gradient within stroke), then apply the Width Profile 3 for the resulting path.

24. To add some details, create an object as shown below and fill this object with R=53, G=58, B=73. Press (Ctrl +Left Square Bracket) twice to hide this shape behind two objects created in step 23.

25. Now, follow the sequence of images and draw some details similar to the ones from below.

26. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create an object and fill it with the linear gradient as you can see in the images below. Keep working with the Pen Tool (P). Create a curved path as shown in the third image. Next, fill this path with none and add a 1px stroke (apply the linear gradient within stroke). Continue to create another object as you can see in the fifth image and then fill it with R=36, G-41, B=51.

27. Let’s work on the creation of snap buckle. Pick the Rounded Rectangle Tool and simply click on your artboard. In the Rounded Rectangle box, enter the data as shown below and click OK. Next, using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), add six anchor points highlighted with blue and red, then click on the “Convert selected anchor points to smooth” button from the Properties bar. Now select the left anchor point highlighted with red and move it 3px to the right. Select the right anchor point highlighted with red and move it 3px to the left. Finally, with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A) along with the Shift key, extend the handles of the two anchor points you have just edited to get the results as shown in the fifth image below.

28. Select the newly created object and go to the Object > Transform > Scale. Check the Uniform and enter a 82 in the Scale box, then click Copy. Keep the new object selected. Pick the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add some anchor points highlighted with yellow and red. Next, select all the anchor points highlighted with yellow and move them up a bit. Now reselect the two newly created objects and open the Pathfinder palette (Window > Pathfinder), then click on the Minus Front button. Finally, fill the resulting object with R=96, G=106, B=116.

29. Select the shape created in step 28 and go to the Object > Transform > Move. Enter a 0.5px in the Horizontal box and enter 0.75px in the Vertical box, then click Copy. Replace the existing color of it with R=41, G=44, B=38.

30. Now, follow the sequence of images and draw some details similar to the ones from below.

31. Select and group (Ctrl + G) all the objects created from step 27 up to this time, then go to the Object > Transform > Rotate. In the Rotate box, enter a -127 degrees Angle and then click OK. Next, place the resulting group to the position as shown in the second image. Reselect the newly created group and go to the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Follow the data as shown below and click OK.

32. Make a duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of the new group and reduce the size of it. Place it to the correct position as you can see in the second image below. At this point your helmet should look roughly like the second image.

Create the Face Mask

33. With the help of Pen Tool (P), create a curved path as shown below. Once your path is drawn, fill it with none and add 9px stroke (apply the linear gradient across stroke).

34. Select the anchor point highlighted with red and click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” button from the Properties bar. This makes the path become two paths. Next, select the shorter path and replace the existing stroke color of it with new linear gradient as shown in the second image. Now select the longer path andd duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) it. Select the anchor point highlighted with red on the duplicate and click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” button, then remove the shorter path. Reselect the remaining path and replace the existing stroke color of it with the new linear gradient. Apply a 4px Feather effect for the resulting path.

35. Select the path created in step 33. Duplicate it and go to the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Follow the data as shown below and click OK.

36. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create two paths as you can see in the images below. Next, select the two anchor points highlighted with yellow of the two new paths and click on the “Connect selected end points” button from the Properties bar. Finally, fill the new path with none and add a 9px stroke (apply the linear gradient across stroke).

37. Select the two anchor points highlighted with red of the new path and click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” button from the Properties bar. This makes the path become three paths. Replace the existing stroke color of the two shorter paths as shown in the second image below. Finally, send the two paths you have just edited in this step to back (Ctrl +Shift +Left Square Bracket).

38. Select the long path created in step 37 and make a duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Keep the duplicate selected. Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) and click on the anchor point highlighted with red, then click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” button from the Properties bar. Next, select the shorter path and remove it. Now reselect the remaining path and replace the existing stroke color of it with new linear gradient, then apply a 4px Feather effect for the resulting path.

39. Select the path created in step 36, duplicate it and then go to the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Follow the data as shown below and click OK.

40. Select the shape created in step 5, press (Ctrl +C) to copy it. Next, click on the path created in step 39 and press (Ctrl +F) to paste it in front. Keep this duplicate selected. Hold down the Shift key and click on the two new paths with Drop Shadow effect. Go to the Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Ctrl +7).

41. With the use of the Pen Tool (P), create two curved paths as shown below. Once your paths are drawn, fill the red path with none and add a 9px stroke (apply the linear gradient across stroke). Next, fill the remaining path with none and add a 9px stroke (apply the linear gradient across stroke), then send the resulting path to back (Ctrl +Shift +Left Square Bracket).

42. Continue working with the Pen Tool (P). Create a curved path as you can see in the image below. Next, fill this path with none and add a 9px stroke (apply the linear gradient across stroke). Keep the resulting path selected. Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select the anchor point highlighted with red, then click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” button from the Properties bar. This makes the path become two paths. Select the shorter path and replace the existing stroke color of it with new linear gradient as shown in the final image.

43. Now, follow the sequence of images and draw some steel bars similar to the ones from below. Once done, your helmet should look roughly like the final image.

44. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 7px by 7px object. Make some duplicates of the new ellipse and place them to the correct positions as shown below. Now select all the magenta ellipses and go to the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data as shown in the second image and click OK. Select the two yellow ellipses and go to the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data as shown in the third image and click OK. Finally, select all the new ellipses and hide them behind the front steel bars created from step 41 to step 43.

45. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create two objects as shown in the images below. Once your objects are drawn, select the yellow object and duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) it. Keep the duplicate selected. Hold down the Shift key and click on the red object. Next, open the Pathfinder palette (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Minus Front button.

46. Fill the red object with the linear gradient as shown below. Next, reduce the Opacity of the resulting shape to 80%. Continue working with the Pen Tool (P). Create a green object as you can see in the second image. Once your object is drawn, reselect the yellow object and the green object, then fill them with the linear gradient as shown in the third image. Finally, reduce the Opacity of the two resulting shapes to 80% and then hide them behind the steel bar created in step 36.

47. To add some details, first draw a curved path as shown below. Once your path is drawn, fill it with none and add a 2px stroke (R=131, G=138, B=158), then apply the Width Profile 2 and a 2px Feather effect for the resulting path. Continue to create another path as you can see in the second image. Next, fill it with none and add a 3px stroke (R=131, G=138, B=158), then apply a 2px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting path.

48. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 19px by 19px object and place it to the correct position as shown below. Next, fill this ellipse with the radial gradient. Keep the resulting shape selected and go to the Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset and click OK, then replace the existing color of the new shape with the new radial as you can see in the third image.

49. To add some details, first draw two curved paths as you can see in the image below. Once your paths are drawn, fill the red path with none and add a 2px stroke (R=72, G=98, B=134), then apply the Width Profile 1 and a 1px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting path. Next, fill the remaining path with none and add a 0.5px stroke (R=255, G=255, B=255), then apply the Width Profile 2 and a 1px Feather effect for the resulting path. At this point, your helmet should look roughly like the final image below.

50. To give a more realistic look, I’m going to add some shadows on the helmet. Start by drawing a 234px by 56px object using the Ellipse Tool (L) and place it to the position as shown below. Continue to draw a curved path as you can see in the second image. Once your path is drawn, fill it with none and add a 8px stroke (R=27, G=28, B=33), then apply a 6px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting path. Next, fill the ellipse with R=27, G=28, B=33 and apply a 18px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting shape. Send the two newly created objects to back (Ctrl +Shift +Left Square Bracket). Finally, select and group (Ctrl + G) all the shapes created from step 2 up to this time.

Create the Background

51. With the help of the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 530px by 400px object. Next, fill this rectangle with R=241, G=242, B=242. The last thing to do is place the “Helmet” group on the background.

We’re done. Here is the final look of the football helmet.


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