Forget Password

Illustrator Tutorial: Create an Abstract Vector Lava

vector lava

Learn how to create this super cool abstract lava illustration in Adobe Illustrator. You will learn how to use transparency options to create the overlap color effect. A simple tutorial to achieve trendy lava splashes in Illustrator.

Abstract Vector Lava Illustration

1. Create a 700 by 700px document. First, turn on the Grid (View > Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Next, you’ll need a grid every 10px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter 10 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. You can also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to replace the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Unit > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

vector lava

2. Start with the Ellipse Tool(L). Create a 250 by 250px shape, fill it with R=17 G=181 B=197 and change its blending mode to multiply. Duplicate it (Ctrl+C > Ctrl+F). Select the copy, hit the left arrow one and the up arrow twice then replace its fill color with R=204 G=0 B=0. Duplicate this red shape. Select the copy, hit the left arrow once and the down arrow twice then replace its fill color with R=252 G=193 B=15.

vector lava

3. Pick the the Ellipse Tool(L) and create three new shape (100x100px). Place them as shown below then fill them with the linear gradients. Save these gradients in your swatches panel. You’ll need them again later.

vector lava

4. Continue with the Ellipse Tool. First, focus on the blue circle. This time you need to make several shapes with various sizes. You don’t need to place them exactly as shown in the image. Fill them with the colors shown below and change the blending mode to Multiply. Move to the red area and the yellow area, make similar steps. Use the colors shown in following images and don’t forget to change the blending mode to Multiply for each shape. Save all these color in your Swatches panel. You’ll need them later too.

vector lava

5. Next, we’ll create a nice cloud shape. First, you’ll need a grid every 5px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Rectangle Tool(M) create a 60 by 20px shape and fill it with any color you want. Select this rectangle and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 10px radius, click OK then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Grab with the Ellipse Tool(L). Create a 30 by 30px shape and palce it as shown in the second image. Continue with the Ellipse Tool, create a 20 by 20px shape and place it as shown in the third image. Create a third circle (25 by 25px) and place it as shown in the fourth image. Reselect the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a small shape to cover the remaining free space. Select all the shape created in this step and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.

vector lava

6. Make some copies of the shape made in the previous step. Spread them as shown in the following image and fill them with the linear gradients saved in the third step. Make a copy for each cloud shape, resize these copies, move them a little as shown in the second image. Replace the gradients with the colors shown in the second image and change the blending mode to Multiply.

vector lava

7. For the next step you’ll need a grid every 10px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter 10 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Ellipse Tool(L), create a 60 by 100px shape and fill it with any color. Pick the Convert Selection Tool (Shift+C) and click on the bottom anchor point. Grab the Direct Selection Tool(A), select the bottom anchor point and move it 50px down. Select the entire shape and go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Enter the data shown below, click OK then go to Object > Expand Appearance. This will be the drip shape.

vector lava

8. Disable the Grid and the Snap to Grid. Make some copies of the shape made in the previous step. Spread them as shown in the following image and fill them with the colors shown below (also saved in your Swatches panel). Also, make some smaller copies and spread them. I only did it in the yellow area but you can spread it in the other areas. It’s your call.

vector lava

9. Next, you need to add a little bend effect for the drip shapes. Select one of the drip shapes and go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Enter the data shown below, click OK then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

vector lava

10. Again, make some copies of the shape made in the previous step. Spread these copies and fill them with the same linear gradients used in the previous steps.

vector lava

11. Enable the Grid and the Snap to Grid. For the next step, you’ll need a grid every 5px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box. First, let’s focus on the blue area. Pick the Ellipse Tool(L) and create a 5 by 5px shape. Make several copies, spread them and fill them with the colors shown below.

vector lava

12. Repeat the techniques mentioned in the previous step for the red and yellow areas.

vector lava

vector lava

13. For this step you’ll need a grid every 7px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter 7 in the Gridline every box. Again, let’s focus on the blue area. Pick the Ellipse Tool(L),create a 7 by 7px shape, fill it with R=G=B and change its blending mode to Multiply. Make several copies and spread them.

vector lava

14. Again, repeat the techniques mentioned in the previous step for the red and yellow areas.

vector lava

vector lava

15. Disable the Grid and the Snap to Grid. Pick the Ellipse Tool(L) and click on your Artboard. Enter 15 for both width and height then click OK. This will create a 15 by 15px shape. Make several copies, spread them and fill them with the colors shown below.

vector lava

16. Once again, repeat the techniques mentioned in the previous step for the red and yellow areas.

vector lava

vector lava

17. Next, we’ll create a simple flower shape. First, enable the Grid and the Snap to Grid. You’ll need a grid every 10px so, go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 10 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Ellipse Tool(L) and create a 10 by 10px shape. Fill it with any color then go to Effect > Distort&Transform > Pucker&Bloat. Enter the data shown below, click OK then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting shape, fill it with R=13 G=167 B=177 and change its blending mode to Multiply. Disable the Grid and the Snap to Grid then make several copies of this shape and spread them as shown in the following image.

vector lava

18. Move up to the red area. Make a new copy of the flower shape. Replace the fill color with R=239 G=65 B=54 then make some copies and spread them as shown in the following image. Repeat the technique for the yellow area.

vector lava

19. Let’s add some small, final effects. You’ll need a grid every 5px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Ellipse Tool(L). First, crate a 10 by 10px shape. Fill it with none and add a 1px, white stroke. Select the stroke (from the Appearance panel), align it to inside and lower its opacity to 50%. Make some copies of this shape and place them as shown in the following image. Create a second circle. Make it 15 by 15px, fill it with none, add the same type of stroke but, lower its opacity to 25%. Finally, place it as shown in the image below.

vector lava

20. Once more time, repeat the techniques mentioned in the previous step for the red and yellow areas.

vector lava

21. Disable the Grid and the Snap to Grid. Select all the shapes created so far and duplicate them (Ctrl+C > Ctrl+F). Select the copies and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape, fill it with none, remove any stroke then hit Shift + Ctrl + [ to send it to back.

vector lava

22. Select the shape made in the previous step and make two copies. Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 15 in the Keyboard Increment box. Now, let's focus on these three shape (the two copies and the original). Select one of the copies. Fill it with R=13 G=167 B=177, lower its opacity to 10% then hit the down arrow and right arrow once (to move it 15px down and to the right). Select the other copy. Fill it with R=239 G=65 B=54, lower its opacity to 10% then hit the left arrow and the down arrow once. Finally, select the original shape. Fill it with R=252 G=193 B=15, lower its opacity to 10% then hit the up arrow once.

vector lava

23. Pick the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a shape the size of your artboard (700 by 700px). Fill it with the radial gradient shown in the following image then send it to back (Shift + Ctrl + [). Take a closer look at the gradient image and you'll notice some white text above the gradient slider. It stands for location.

vector lava

24. Enable the Grid and the Snap to Grid. Next, we'll create a brush. First, open the Brushes panel. Next, pick the Rectangle Tool(M) and create three similar shape (45 by 15px). Place them one below the other and fill them with the colors shown below. Select these fresh shape, open the fly-out menu of the Brushed panel and click on New Brush. Check the Pattern Brush button then click OK.

vector lava

25. Next, you need to improve the look of your brush. You'll need to create two simple patterns. Pick the Rectangle Tool(M), create a 45 by 45px square and fill it with R=252 G=193 B=15. Create a second square (30 by 30px), place it as shown in the first image and fill it with R=13 G=167 B=177. Create one more square (15 by 15px), place it as shown below and fill it with R=239 G=65 B=54. Select all three squares and drag them in your Swatches panel to to turn them into a pattern. Get back to the squares and modify the colors as shown in the second image. Again, select all three shapes and create a second pattern. Double click on each pattern (in the Swatches panel) to rename it. Name the first pattern "red corner" and the second one "yellow corner". Finally, let's return to the brush. Double click on your brush (in the Brushes panel). Now, if you take a look at this new window you'll notice the patterns mentioned in the list. Now, as you wanted, you can use them to improve the look of your brush. First, click on the Outer Corned Tile and on the red corner pattern then click on the Inner Corner Tile and on the yellow corner pattern. Make sure that the brush Scale is set at 100% then click OK.

vector lava

26. For the next step you'll need a grid every 10px. Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 10 in the Keyboard Increment box. Pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the one shown in the following image.

vector lava

27. Select the shape made in the previous step. First, click on the brush then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 40px Radius then click OK.

vector lava

28. Select the path made in the previous step. Rotate it and place it as shown in the first image. Move it below the colorful shapes (in the Layers panel) then lower its opacity to 10%. Next, you need to mask a part of this path. First, make a copy of the background shape and open the Transparency panel. Select this copy and replace the existing gradient with the one shown below the second image. Select this shape along with the path, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and click on Make Opacity Mask.

vector lava

29. Finally, let's add the text area. Start with a 310 by 120px rectangle then pick the Direct Selection Tool(A). Select the bottom, right anchor point and move it 30px down and 10px to the left.

vector lava

30. Select the shape made in the previous step. Fill it with R=254 G=254 B=252 and place it as shown in the first image. Select the fill from the Appearance panel. Lower its opacity to 40% then click twice on the Duplicate Selected Item icon from the bottom of the Appearance panel. This will add two copies of the existing fill. Select the first copy and go to Effect > Distort&Transform > Transform. Focus on the Move section and enter 15 for both Horizontal and Vertical. Select the third fill and go to Effect > Distort&Transform > Transform. Again, focus on the Move section and enter -5 in the Horizontal box and -10 in the Vertical box.

vector lava

31. Continue editing the shape from the previous step. Select it and add a 1px, aligned to outside stroke (R=241 G=241 B=242). Duplicate it. Select the first stroke (from the Appearance panel) and go go Effect > Warp > Flag. Check the Horizontal button then drag the bend slider to -10%. Select the second stroke and go to Effect > Warp > Flag. Again, check the Horizontal button then drag the bend slider to 10%.

vector lava

32. Reselect the entire path and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 80px Radius and click OK then go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Check the Horizontal button, drag the bend slider to 10% then click OK. Now your shape should look like in the second image.

vector lava

32. Finally add your text. I used the Techno Overlaod font with a size of 65pt.

vector lava

[The article is for Basic Members only. Login or sign up now to read the whole article.]
[The article is for Premium Members only. Login or sign up now to read the whole article.]

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Design Float
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
See the list of all Illustrator tutorials.
Learn 101 Illustrator tips and techniques for free.


About The Author: Andrei

I'm the owner and administrator of VforVectors.com. My own website dedicated to Adobe Illustrator where I use to publish my own tutorials every week.

0 Trackbacks

+Add Comment14 Comments

  1. Gravtar for aman
    aman February 13th

    Thanks for it..
    Great tips… really helpful for me.

  2. Gravtar for ThePow
    ThePow February 18th

    Such an amazing outcome :D
    i love the color blending and color pallets :D
    keep up the good ideas!

  3. Gravtar for söve
    söve February 28th

    Excelent. Thanks for sharing

  4. Gravtar for Frank Zweegers
    Frank Zweegers March 4th

    Great tutorial!

  5. Gravtar for ORIT
    ORIT March 10th

    JUST GREAT!!!

  6. Gravtar for Lloyd
    Lloyd April 30th

    Hi there, this is my first illustrator tutorial though i have a deep history of PS, i am currently running CS3 and cant find the stylise/rounded edges – was this feature added to later additions? any help appreciated

  7. Gravtar for Lloyd
    Lloyd April 30th

    Following up on my previous comment i have found it now. must of missed it on the first hand. great tutorial

  8. Gravtar for dalila
    dalila August 4th

    Waww, great work, thanks for sharing

  9. Gravtar for Renu
    Renu November 7th

    Very nicely written tutorial. thanks a lot.

  10. Gravtar for pet supplies
    pet supplies March 5th

    Thanks for the informative writing. Would mind updating some good tips about it. I still wait your next place. ;)

  11. Gravtar for Tatiana Pesnya
    Tatiana Pesnya April 23rd

    Thank you for the great tutorial! Amazing effects!

  12. Gravtar for Michel
    Michel October 9th

    Cool bubbly design!

  13. Gravtar for Melissa
    Melissa November 12th

    Great Tutorial! I can’t wait to use these techniques in future designs.

  14. Gravtar for söve
    söve April 6th

    Thank you for the great tutorial!

Ads

Subscribe

Social Media Icons

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookCheck Our Feed

Istock Ads

Google Ads

About Vector Diary

Vector Diary is a popular blog offering great illustrator tutorials and tips. It was created by Tony Soh, a graphic designer, who has great passion in illustration. Tony has written one of the most popular tutorial to learn illustrator and has helped more than 20,000 people. On top of that, his tutorials and tips has helped designers improve their illustration skills and have received great feedback. So join Vector Diary and start learning today!

Write a Tutorial

Get paid $150 for each approved tutorials! Any writers who are passionate about sharing their illustrator techniques can contribute. Learn how »