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Digital Art Ideas for Beginners: How to Create Form in Illustrator

You know that since we are talking about form, we’ll be diving into some 3D effects in this post! As we learn how to do digital art with form here we’ll not only explore the 3D effects, but also learn how to use gradients in illustrator to make some simple forms. 

If you’re looking for a simple illustrator project to get you started with forms, look no further! Check out the video tutorials below to learn some valuable skills. (NOTE:  I’ll be adding more in the future, so be sure to check back in!)


Digital Art Ideas for Beginners: How to Create Form in Illustrator - patterned sphere

Design a 3D Object Effect Illustrator Tutorial

Illustrator recently made an update to its 3D effects capabilities and there really aren’t many tutorials out there for it, so this tutorial uses 3D effects “classic style”. Use this one if you have an older version of Illustrator. If you have a newer version, I think this is still valuable to learn because a lot of tutorials are out there to explain how to do cool effects with the old method.

  • Tutorial Difficulty: 2/10
  • Time to complete: 35 minutes
  • Tutorial Type: Video 
    • Run Time: 6:10
  • Writer: Easy to listen to, pleasant voice.
  • Adjustments for Cloud:
    • At 1:07, IF you have the newest version of cloud, you’ll need to go to Effects>3D and Materials>3D (Classic)>Revolve (Classic)...
    • At 1:40, in order to see all the settings, click on the More Options button at the bottom of the dialogue box.
  • What you need to know in order to do this tutorial:
    • He refers to some artwork that he uses to map it onto the sphere. You can create your own or find one to use on 
  • Tutorial corrections:
    • He doesn’t tell you what size his document is. I created a 400 x 400 pixel page.
    • At 1:00, I was unable to see my gray color until I pressed command (or control)+Y again.
  • Ideas for creative license: 
    • Make a few different spheres and change small controls of each of them to see how it would affect the overall design.
    • Download a couple different SVGs from the linked website or use one of your own previously made designs.


Digital Art Ideas for Beginners: How to Create Form in Illustrator - shapes into forms

Shading Objects In Adobe Illustrator CC

The other tutorial on this page shows you how to use the 3D tool in Illustrator, but I thought it would be a good idea to show you another way to go about making a shape into a form. The ideas presented in this tutorial are simpler than using the 3D tool AND they won’t slow down your computer. So if you have an older computer, this may be the tutorial for you! 

  • Tutorial Difficulty: 3/10
  • Time to complete: 40 minutes
  • Tutorial Type: Video 
    • Run Time: 8:19
  • Presenter: He has a pleasant voice and he is easy to understand, but he moves somewhat quickly and doesn’t fully explain everything he does (see below).
  • Adjustments for Cloud: none.
  • What you need to know in order to do this tutorial:
    • There are no suggested beginning size dimensions, I made min 400 x 1000. 
    • You will need to create the simple 4 circle arrangement that he starts with at the beginning of the tutorial. Hold shift to keep your circles from distorting. 
    • If you want to create a background color, make a rectangle covering the background and then put it in a locked layer.
  • Tutorial corrections:
    • At 0:55, he tells you to select the gradient bar. My gradient was set to black and white. In order to get it set to the way that he has it, you need to: C
      • Click on the little circle next to the gradient bar. 
      • Double click on the “fill” box within the gradient panel.
      • Click the eyedropper option (bottom left of the dialogue box). 
      • Click on one of the other circles.
      • Repeat these steps for the other circle next to the gradient panel.
    • At 3:14, he tells you to click on “inner glow”. This option won’t work the same way that he suggests unless you change the color in the box next to the “Mode” options. You can double click on the box and choose a color similar to the one used in your circles.
  • Ideas for creative license: Try some different colors and shapes for your shading (NOTE: if you do this, you may have to make some adjustments to some of the settings to make the shading look right.

That pretty much wraps up how to create forms in Illustrator, though there’s so much more to learn! Keep practicing and trying new things to see what you can come up with! Get creative and I’ll see you in the next post!