Illustrator Tutorial: Surprise Gift

There are times when you will need to do vector gift box and effects for special occasions. This Illustrator tutorial will give you an idea how this can be done using brushes and some other techniques. I will not be going into details how each step is done but I will illustrate on some of the techniques used to create this vector gift box illustration.

1. Breakdown of Layers

The illustration consists of 6 different layers. We will look at how each layer is done.

2. Background Layer

The is the background mesh of the illustration. First we create a blue square and we start adding points using the Gradient Mesh Tool and tweak it to the the shape below. You can see that I have set the bottom points to a darker blue and the middle point to white. If you have difficulty creating this gradient mesh, take a look at my Gradient Mesh tutorial.

3. Gift Box

Drawing the gift box is pretty simple. All you need is the Pen Tool. A tip for beginner is to turn on the Grid (View>Show Grid) and Enable Snapping(View>Enable Snap to Grid). With the grid on, you can precisely snap each points to the grid so that each intersecting shape will line up perfectly.

gift box

After you have drawn the gift box, fill it will different gradients to give the box volume. Finally, draw the ribbons to complete the illustration.

gift box

Here is the final gift box.

gift box

4. Line Patterns

For the line patterns on the gift box, you will find that there are actually some perspective. We can easily achieve the effect by using the Blend Tool. Below are the steps on creating it…

First we create a long rectangle and place it at the start point(left side). Next, we duplicate the rectangle and rotate it slightly and we place it at the end point(right side).

Select the Blend Tool. Click on the left rectangle stripe and hold Alt/Option and click on the right rectangle stripe. If you do it correctly, it would pop up the Blend Options. Select Specified Steps for Spacing and enter a value of 7.

This is what it will look like after we applied the blend correctly. Next, we need to expand the blend. Go Object>Expand to expand it into individual shapes.

Finally, we need to trim off the exceeding shape. Copy the rectangle face on the gift box underneath the stripes. Press Ctrl/Command+F to paste it in front. Select both the pasted shape and stripes. Open up Pathfinder and hold Alt/Option and select Intersect Shape to trim away the protruding areas. After that, we apply a gradient to the shape to achieve the effect I have done for my stripes.

5. Swirl Explosion

The gift explosion effect can be easily achieved by using the Brush Tool.

Swirl Explosion

Let’s start drawing our swirly lines using your Pencil Tool or Pen Tool. Make sure you draw from one single direction, so that when you apply the art brush it will point in the same direction.

Next we will create the brush by drawing a long triangle stripe shape. Open up your Brushes Palette and click New. Select New Art Brush when the option pops up.

Finally, we select all the swirly lines and apply the new art brush we have made. (If the lines are going in the opposite direction, you can double click your Brush in the Brushes palette and check Flip Along to swap the direction.) You notice that I have varying widths for my swirly, you can do this by selecting each individual swirly and setting the line stroke to a smaller/bigger value.

After you are satisfied with what you have done. Go Object>Expand Appearance to expand the swirly. Open up your Gradient Palette and apply different gradients to your swirly to finish up the swirls. To hide the unwanted parts we can mask it out.

6. Fairy dust

Fairy Dust

If you have no idea how to achieve this fairy dust effect in less than 3 mins. Then you better check out my Starry Night tutorial.

Hope after reading this tutorial you will have a better idea on how this illustration is done.

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About The Author: Tony Soh

Hi. I'm the founder of Vector Diary. Illustrator is my passion and I have written numerous tutorials on illustrator helping people learn illustrator. My most popular tutorial on learn illustrator has been a hit. It makes learning illustrator so easy and has benefited more than 20,000 people worldwide. Also, I've revealed some of my secret techniques in the premium tutorials. So don't forget to check it out!

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  1. Gravtar for Paul
    Paul March 7th

    But that’s okay, go ahead and delete my comment. I’m still sick of half-a$$ed Tuts…

  2. Gravtar for Olawale
    Olawale April 8th

    It is splendid

  3. Gravtar for Owais Khan
    Owais Khan April 23rd

    you S-U-C-K!
    when u can’t go into the detail, then why the f-u-c-k you’ve brought your stinky a$$ into the tutorial writing

  4. Gravtar for iStockdiary
    iStockdiary April 23rd

    Hi Owais,

    I’m sorry if you didn’t find this tutorial useful. When I’m writing this tutorial, I just want to illustrate some of the techniques on how the effect is done. I didn’t want to go into details as how to draw the gift. Now, I understand what the readers needs, hence I have improved on my recent new tutorials. Thanks for your comments, I will improve on my new tutorials.

  5. Gravtar for corpsweb
    corpsweb April 25th

    Nice tips and tricks.. Owais Khan and Paul don’t appreciate this Bcoz they don’t have initiative. they must respect the writer… πŸ™‚ by the way… it’s a nice tutorial…

  6. Gravtar for hfng
    hfng April 30th

    Thanks for the tutorial. It’s a great concept. It is actually meant for intermediate who understand the basics of illustrator not for beginners.

  7. Gravtar for Steini
    Steini May 7th

    The tutorial is nice, man i got to get my illustrator up and running anyway, i understand Paul and Owais khan. They just really wanna learn the basics as well, you should maybe create categories like Basic intermediate experts and just fill the Basic with Basic setups of tutorials such as how to make this line how to make this effect. That way they can take all the effects and create some splendid masterpiece.

    The Tutorial was awesome and i learned a lot πŸ˜€

    With warmest, steini

  8. Gravtar for jam
    jam May 11th

    Can you pls. send me the AI file for this E-mail “

    I waiting for your replay.

    Thanking you

  9. Gravtar for iStockdiary
    iStockdiary May 11th

    Hi Jam, as this file is a stock vector sold at istockphoto, I cannot send it to you. If your are interested to use it for your project, you can buy it at stockphoto. The link is at the end post.

  10. Gravtar for jmr
    jmr May 15th

    have a nice day !
    thank you for your replay

  11. Gravtar for Sami Sweeney
    Sami Sweeney May 23rd

    this is so stupid. the only hard thing about this is make the box and you wont even show us how to do it. you should just take it off the web site.

  12. Gravtar for Vladimir
    Vladimir May 25th

    This tutorial is excellent and you sami are so lame if you do not know how to draw a box. Better give up on using illustrator.

  13. Gravtar for Roli
    Roli May 28th

    i thnk its quiet a decent tutorial but the thing is..even if makin da box is easy..da process should hav been explained coz many people lukin for tutorials are freshers. neways..nice job.

  14. Gravtar for Brandon
    Brandon June 4th

    Very nice and easy to understand tutorial. Thanks!
    @Roli: Even though I can understand your post, you should take the time to spell correctly. Thx

  15. Gravtar for iStockdiary
    iStockdiary June 4th

    Thanks, I will be careful next time.

  16. Gravtar for Kevin
    Kevin June 29th

    Great tutorial!
    not only have you given steps for various effects, but given an insight to the thought process involved in developing such a piece.

    Keep up the good work…….and remember: More people appreciate the effort that you are taking to create this tutorial than the few who have nothing better to do than criticize.

  17. Gravtar for Joro
    Joro July 19th

    just atach a file with the shapes, or the final thing.
    You can upload it on many file shareing servers.

  18. Gravtar for iStockdiary
    iStockdiary July 19th

    Hi Joro, if you like the illustration you can buy the source file from istockphoto. The link is located at the end of the post.

  19. Gravtar for Jura
    Jura August 9th

    Thanks for puting those tutorials up and please dont consider those lame comments as serious as the writers probably never tried to do a tutorial and dont know how hard it is.

  20. Gravtar for Khawla
    Khawla August 12th

    Tutorials are not for beginners who bought AI and just want to start making arts right away. You should first learn the basics and experiment making art by yourself. When you feel you are missing something or that you want to make things easier then you depend on others’ experiences.

    Thanks Tony for your tutorials.

  21. Gravtar for ans
    ans September 19th

    indrajit…. there is no need to use such bad language… Shows what sort of a person you are. If you don’t like the ‘kiddie suff'(gift boxes) you do not need to show it with such disrespect. If you can’t appreciate other people’s talent.. then i am sure you have none yourself

  22. Gravtar for alexandra
    alexandra October 24th

    perfect! so manny tips in an article πŸ˜‰

  23. Gravtar for Robolasse
    Robolasse November 4th

    This is a very useful tutorial. Nice job, and keep it up. πŸ™‚

  24. Gravtar for jeroen
    jeroen November 17th

    this is more an inspiration post then a tutorial. you set the picture, but not how-to, that’s what a tutorial should do, right?

  25. Gravtar for kaber
    kaber December 4th

    love this image.. can i use it on my blog?

  26. Gravtar for Vectordiary
    Vectordiary December 4th

    Hi Kaber, my image is royalty-free. Click the buy source file from istockphoto. Once you have purchase the image, you are free to use it on your site.

  27. Gravtar for Yanto
    Yanto December 14th

    Hi, I like this tutorial, especially the stars and fairy dust effects. If you can also give tutorial on making a box and the design, I think that would be better. Christmas is coming, so not only the image is necessary, but also the real box. You can use the design on six sides of a box. But I believe you would have to write quite a lot for the whole box design tutorial, though.
    And one more thing, I would like to ask:
    I found this image, “gift_surprise.jpg” from Creative Commons Search. Does it mean that this vector graphic can be used free of charge? I’m sorry that I don’t know much about photo copyrights.

  28. Gravtar for Vectordiary
    Vectordiary December 15th

    Hi Yanto, I have added a quick screenshot of the box drawing process. However, the image is copyright protected.

    If you would like to have a Christmas gift box illustration. I have another similar surprise gift box made for Christmas. You can find it here:

  29. Gravtar for Jess
    Jess December 23rd

    It’s a very nice tutorial for me, thanks for your job.

  30. Gravtar for ekwe
    ekwe December 29th

    nice tut. wud help though if you had a “basic” category

  31. Gravtar for bobito
    bobito January 10th

    The tutorial is goog. Thanks

  32. Gravtar for chufaxy
    chufaxy January 14th

    i love it thanks 4 empowering more

  33. Gravtar for Flameseeker
    Flameseeker May 13th

    Thanks for the tutorial it’s pretty good.

  34. Gravtar for Natalie
    Natalie May 16th

    Excellent. There are many useful tips in this tutorial. Thank you for sharing.

  35. Gravtar for TAQUITA
    TAQUITA May 17th


  36. Gravtar for :]Heyyy
    :]Heyyy May 19th

    hey this is cool. ur tutorials are great. we use ur site in tech class yaaaaa

  37. Gravtar for madhan
    madhan May 22nd

    its nice i learned well
    thank u

    send me some more picture to get idea

  38. Gravtar for victor0304 victor0304
    victor0304 victor0304 June 8th

    muito irado…

  39. Gravtar for amy chuang
    amy chuang June 17th

    excuse me,can i know how to make confetti?

  40. Gravtar for amy
    amy June 17th

    excuse me ,can i know how to make this beautiful confetti?

  41. Gravtar for yuri
    yuri November 11th

    this tutorial is useless. it shows the laziness of the author. hey, lazy writer, stop writing. keep your knowledge to yourself because no one can follow your so-called tutorial. it is not tutorial at all, it is only a show-off.

  42. Gravtar for SouthAm
    SouthAm December 21st

    Maybe Yuri needs some basic tutorials. It seems you are in the wrong site. And there is not need to be so disrespectful. I bet you can not make a better tutorial by yourself.

  43. Gravtar for Babu
    Babu January 30th

    Thanks For Ur Support

  44. Gravtar for sven
    sven February 3rd

    could you post the link to this particular image on istock again please? Spenty some time looking but can’t lovcate it.

  45. Gravtar for Kim
    Kim March 10th

    thank you STB πŸ˜€

  46. Gravtar for Kim
    Kim March 10th

    btw STB, i love you πŸ˜€ lol as a frieeend

  47. Gravtar for ADEEL
    ADEEL June 13th

    nice tutorial thanks….

  48. Gravtar for Sven Spinkternards
    Sven Spinkternards June 28th

    Good tip! At these prices who can complain.

  49. Gravtar for ari
    ari August 20th

    Wonderful blog! I truly love how it’s uncomplicated on my eyes and the details is well written. I am wondering how I can be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which should do the trick! Have a nice day!Also welcome to my website
    Gift Box Wrap Tutorial

  50. Gravtar for Anonymous
    Anonymous August 24th

    Can you please share the PSD file of it?

  51. Gravtar for valery
    valery November 4th

    this so stupid!!!!

  52. Gravtar for Nyox
    Nyox November 4th

    For those people who don’t understand these tips. You must learn how to do it in Illustrator. I thank the author for I it helped me some tips like the grid that I didn’t use before. Please refrain from making bad comments! If you don’t like it then why read this tutorial anyway? You can actually ask some more specific questions not some f*** comments. If you guys don’t know how its being done then go ahead and download the link.
    To Tony, thank you for this… Keep up your tutorial and tips… more power! Don’t listen to faggots… πŸ™‚

  53. Gravtar for Erna Steynberg
    Erna Steynberg September 12th

    Thank you, for all the nice ideas, tips and tricks.

  54. Gravtar for Brian Johnson
    Brian Johnson November 16th

    Okay tutorial, but you did definitely leave out a lot of steps. Most notably the entire confetti layer seems to be conspicuously absent… But it sounds like your future tutorials are more in-depth. And I did learn some things, so thank you.

  55. Gravtar for seo
    seo January 31st

    My coder is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on various websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform. I have heard excellent things about Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it? Any kind of help would be really appreciated!

  56. Gravtar for Jayesh
    Jayesh February 4th

    This is just a short steps to create that illustration.
    Its ok, sometimes I cant go in details…
    Please try explaining the lessons in details, or provide references to another sites tuts.

  57. Gravtar for Iran Lama
    Iran Lama February 27th

    thanks for tuterials. it;s a great idea .thanks

  58. Gravtar for Wedding Photography in Delhi
    Wedding Photography in Delhi August 13th

    Nice Idea.. I am very impress.

  59. Gravtar for go here
    go here August 26th

    Wow this is a GREAT GUIDE!!!

  60. Gravtar for go here
    go here August 26th

    I love the fish and the present, really cool!

  61. Gravtar for sona
    sona November 7th

    great .

  62. Gravtar for Belen
    Belen March 24th

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    keen of reading this webpage’s post to be updated regularly. It includes fastidious data.