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How to Create a Piggy-Bank Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In the following steps you will learn how to create a detailed piggy-bank illustration in Adobe Illustrator. 

For starters, you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to create the main shapes using basic tools and vector shape building techniques, as well as the Live Corners feature and some simple effects. Using basic blending techniques, Gaussian Blur effects and some Warp effects, you will learn how to add shading and highlights. 

Moving on, you will learn how to create the first coin shape and how to easily mask it using a simple opacity mask. Taking full advantage of the Appearance panel, you will learn how to create a bunch of new, easily editable coins. You will also learn how to create and save a new pattern and how to add some subtle sparkles using the Pucker & Bloat effect.

For more inspiration on how to adjust or improve your final illustration, you can find plenty of resources at GraphicRiver.

1. How to Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 850 in the width box and 800 in the height box, and then click that More Settings button. Select RGB for the Color Mode, set the Raster Effects to Screen (72 ppi), and then click Create Document.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, and enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-“ keyboard shortcut.

You can learn more about Illustrator’s grid system in this short tutorial from Andrei Stefan: Understanding Adobe Illustrator’s Grid System.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Don’t forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

setup grid

2. How to Create the Body of the Piggy Bank

Step 1

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke and then select the fill and set its color to R=41 G=171 B=226. Move to your artboard and simply create a 290 x 255 px ellipse—the grid and the Snap to Grid feature will help.

ellipse tool

Step 2

Set the fill color to yellow and pick the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a 75 x 55 px shape and place it exactly as shown in the following image.

rectangle tool

Step 3

Focus on your yellow rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the bottom-left anchor point and drag it 15 px to the right, select the bottom-right anchor point and drag it 20 px to the left, and then select the top-right anchor point and drag it 25 px down. In the end, your yellow shape should look like in the second image.

direct selection tool

Step 4

Make sure that your yellow shape is selected and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical box and then click that Copy button. Select the newly made shape and place it exactly as shown in the second image.

reflect

Step 5

Select the three shapes made so far, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder), and click the Unite button. Fill the resulting shape with R=246 G=148 B=140.

unite

Step 6

Focus on the bottom side of your shape and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the two anchor points highlighted with blue, go to the Control panel, and enter 50 pt in that Corners box.

Select the two anchor points highlighted with green, return to the Control panel, and enter 10 pt in the Corners box.

Select the four anchor points highlighted with purple, get back to the Control panel, and enter 5 pt in the Corners box.

live corners

Step 7

Select your pink shape and add a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a new 290 x 255 px shape, and place it exactly as shown in the first image. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shapes remain selected and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Set the fill color to black (R=0 G=0 B=0) and then click that Opacity piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel. Change the Blending Mode to Overlay and lower the Opacity to 25%.

minus front

Step 8

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 290 x 255 px shape, and place it exactly as shown in the first image. Using the same tool, create a 270 x 215 px shape and place it as shown in the second image.

Select both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 20%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

minus front

Step 9

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 290 x 255 px shape. Place it exactly as shown in the first image and then add a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 5 px down and 5 px to the left.

Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 10%, and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

minus front

Step 10

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 230 x 160 px shape and place it as shown in the following image. Fill this new shape with the linear gradient shown below and then focus on the Appearance panel. Keep in mind that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 30%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay, and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 15 px Radius and then click that OK button.

gaussian blur

Step 11

Make sure that your newest shape is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill and duplicate it using the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select the newly added fill, lower its Opacity to 10%, and remove that Gaussian Blur effect.

duplicate fill

Step 12

Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create the two shapes shown in the first image. Fill them both with R=243 G=136 B=129 and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 3 px Radius and then click that OK button.

rounded corners

Step 13

Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create the two shapes shown in the first image. Fill them both with R=254 G=212 B=192 and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 3 px Radius and then click that OK button.

pen tool

Step 14

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create the two shapes shown in the first image. Fill them both with R=254 G=212 B=192 and then turn them into one compound path (Control-8 or Object > Compound Path > Make).

Make sure that your compound path stays selected and pick the Rotate Tool (R). Hold the Alt button on your keyboard and simply click the anchor point highlighted in the first image to set the center point in that spot and open the Rotate window. Set the Angle to 45 degrees, click that OK button, and move to the Appearance panel. Lower the Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

rotate tool

Step 15

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 150 x 10 px shape, fill it with black, and place it as shown in the following image. Lower its Opacity to 50%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Enter the attributes shown below, click that OK button, and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 7 px Radius and then click that OK button.

warp arc

Step 16

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 150 x 80 px shape. Fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the following image. Lower its Opacity to 30% and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 20 px Radius and then click that OK button.

gaussian blur

Step 17

Disable the Snap to Grid (Control-“). Select your large pink shape and create a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F).

Pick the Brush Tool (B) and draw a simple path roughly as shown in the first image. Select it along with the copy made a few moments ago and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=254 G=212 B=192, lower its Opacity to 20%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

brush tool

Step 18

Reselect your large pink shape and create a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F).

Pick the Brush Tool (B) and draw a simple path roughly as shown in the first image. Select it along with the copy made a few moments ago and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 15%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

brush tool

Step 19

Select your large pink shape and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click that OK button.

inner glow

3. How to Create the Nose of the Piggy Bank

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (Control-“). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 55 x 135 px shape, and place it as shown in the first image.

Focus on the left side of this new rectangle and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the top anchor point and drag it 40 px down, and then select the bottom anchor point and drag it 40 px up.

trapezoid

Step 2

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 65 x 195 px shape, and place it exactly as shown in the first image. Select this squeezed circle along with the trapezoid shape made in the previous step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=242 G=137 B=131.

intersect

Step 3

Keep focusing on your trapezoid shape and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the two anchor point highlighted in the following image and enter 20 pt in that Corners box.

live corners

Step 4

Make sure that your trapezoid shape is selected and add two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 15 px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=238 G=106 B=101 and lower its Opacity to 70%.

shadow

Step 5

Make sure that your trapezoid shape is selected and add two new copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 5 px down. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=249 G=175 B=166 and lower its Opacity to 30%.

highlight

Step 6

Make sure that your trapezoid shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a second fill using the Add New Fill button and select it.

Set the color to black, lower its Opacity to 15%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -10 px Offset, click that OK button, and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 5 px Radius, click that OK button, and return to the Appearance panel. Select the pink fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown below and then click that OK button.

add new fill

Step 7

Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create the shape shown in the following image. Fill it with black, lower its Opacity to 15%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 4 px Radius and then click that OK button.

shading

Step 8

Select the four shapes highlighted in the first image, Group them (Control-G) and then send your group to back (Shift-Control-[).

group

4. How to Create the Ears of the Piggy Bank

Step 1

Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create the shape highlighted in the first image. Fill it with R=214 G=85 B=82 and place it as shown below.

Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the highlighted anchor point, and enter 5 pt in that Corners box. Make sure that this shape stays selected, send it to back (Shift-Control-[), and then go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Enter the attributes shown below and then click that OK button.

ear back

Step 2

For this step, you will need a grid every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box.

Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create the shape highlighted in the first image. Fill it with R=244 G=149 B=142 and place it as shown below. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the highlighted anchor point, and enter 5 pt in that Corners box.

ear front

Step 3

Make sure that the shape made in the previous step is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a second fill and select it. Apply the linear gradient shown below and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset, click that OK button, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click that OK button.

linear gradient

Step 4

Make sure that the shape edited in the previous step is still selected and go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click that OK button.

warp arc

5. How to Create the Eye and the Tail

Step 1

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box.

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 15 x 20 px shape, and fill it with R=176 G=73 B=65. Place this new shape as shown in the first image and then rotate it -45 degrees as shown in the second image.

rotate oval

Step 2

Disable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-“) and then go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set to 1 px.

Make sure that your dark oval shape is still selected and add two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 5 px down and 2 px to the right using the arrow buttons on your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=214 G=85 B=82.

minus front

Step 3

Make sure that your dark oval shape is still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click that OK button.

drop shadow

Step 4

Enable the Snap to Grid (Control-“). Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 15 x 30 px shape and fill it with R=214 G=85 B=82. Place this new shape as shown in the following image and send it to back (Shift-Control-[).

tail

6. How to Create a Coin and the Coin Slot

Step 1

Focus on the Layers panel (Window > Layers), name the existing layer “Body” and then lock it. Add a second layer using the Create New Layer button, name it “Coin” and make sure that it stays selected.

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 280 x 245 px shape. Fill it with blue and place it exactly as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new shape is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5 px Offset and then click that OK button. Fill the resulting shape with yellow.

lock layer

Step 2

Select the two oval shapes made in the previous step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

minus front

Step 3

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 80 x 20 px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Select it along with the blue shape and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=176 G=73 B=65.

intersect

Step 4

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create an 80 px circle. Fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the following image.

yellow circle

Step 5

Make sure that your yellow circle is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and select the stroke. Set the color to white (R=255 G=255 B=255), lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay, and then click that Stroke piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 4 px and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

white stroke

Step 6

Make sure that your yellow circle stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Use the Add New Stroke button to add a second stroke and select it.

Be sure that the color is set to white and then lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Set the Weight to 2 px, check that Align Stroke to Inside button, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5 px Offset and then click that OK button.

add new stroke

Step 7

Select your yellow circle and add a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and then select the thin, dark shape that lies behind your yellow circle. Create a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]).

Select both copies made in this step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 30%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

coin shadow

Step 8

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 270 x 235 px shape. Fill it with black and place it as shown in the following image.

Select this black oval shape along with the yellow circle, open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency), and click the Make Mask button. Uncheck that Clip box and things should end up looking like in the second image.

make mask

Step 9

Focus on the thin, dark shape that lies behind your yellow circle. Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the four anchor points highlighted in the first image, and enter 1 pt in that Corners box. Make sure that your shape stays selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click that OK button.

live corners

Step 10

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create an 80 x 35 px shape, and place it as shown in the following image. Fill it with R=255 G=170 B=0, lower its Opacity to 20%, and then send it to back (Shift-Control-[).

shadow

7. How to Create the Background

Step 1

Focus on the Layers panel, lock your “Coin” layer, and add a third layer. Name it “Bg“, select it, and make sure that it lies below the other two layers.

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create an 860 x 810 px shape. Fill it with R=212 G=222 B=227 and make sure that it covers your entire artboard.

background

Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 860 x 260 px shape, and place it as shown in the following image. Fill it with the radial gradient shown below and don’t forget to change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Use the Gradient Tool (G) to stretch that gradient as shown below.

background base

Step 3

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 290 x 15 px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Fill it with black, lower its Opacity to 20%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 200 x 10 px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Fill it with black, lower its Opacity to 20%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

shadows

8. How to Create Several Coins

Step 1

Switch to gridline every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Focus on the Layers panel and lock your “Bg” layer. Add a new layer, name it “Coins“, make sure that it lies at the top of the panel, and don’t forget to select it.

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 4 x 1 px shape, and fill it with yellow. Using the same tool, create a 2 x 1 px shape, fill it with black, and place it exactly as shown in the second image.

rectangles

Step 2

Select that tiny yellow rectangle, focus on the Appearance panel, and turn off the visibility for the fill. Reselect this shape along with the tiny black rectangle and simply drag them inside the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) to save them as a pattern.

save pattern

Step 3

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box.

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create an 80 x 15 px shape, and fill it with R=255 G=190 B=20. Make sure that this shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a second fill and select it. Apply the linear gradient shown below and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag the Scale-Horizontal slider to 98% and the Scale-Vertical slider to 95%, and don’t forget to check that top middle reference point. Then click OK.

squeezed circle

Step 4

Make sure that your squeezed yellow circle is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a third fill and drag it to the bottom of the panel. Select it, set the color to R=243 G=155 B=11, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below and then click that OK button.

transform

Step 5

Make sure that your squeezed yellow circle stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and duplicate the bottom fill. Select the newly added fill, lower its Opacity to 20%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay, and then replace the flat color with your pattern from the Swatches panel.

patetrn fill

Step 6

Make sure that your squeezed yellow circle is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a fifth fill and drag it to the bottom of the panel. Select it, set the color to R=221 G=115 B=0, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below and then click that OK button.

add new fill

Step 7

Make sure that your squeezed yellow circle is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Select the stroke and set its color to white. Increase the Weight to 4 px, check that Align Stroke to Inside button, and then lower the Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

white stroke

Step 8

Make a copy of your yellow coin (Control-C > Control-V) and select it. Focus on the Appearance panel and simply replace the existing colors with the ones indicated in the following image.

silver coin

Step 9

Make a new copy of your yellow coin (Control-C > Control-V) and select it. Focus on the Appearance panel and simply replace the existing colors with the ones indicated in the following image.

bronze coin

Step 10

Multiply your coin shapes and spread them roughly as shown in the following image.

multiply coin

Step 11

Let’s add some subtle shading for the bottom coins (the ones that touch the ground). Select one of these shapes and focus on the Appearance panel.

Add a new fill and drag it in the bottom of the panel. Set the color to black, lower its Opacity to 40%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click that OK button, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 2 px Offset and then click that OK button.

coin shadow

Step 12

Make sure that the shape edited in the previous step is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a new fill and drag it to the bottom of the panel. Set the color to black, lower its Opacity to 20%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click that OK button, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 4 px Offset and then click that OK button.

coin shadow

Step 13

Move to the other coins that are touching the ground and add the same subtle shading.

coin shadow

Step 14

Focus on the Layers panel and unlock your “Bg” layer. Add two coins behind your piggy bank as shown in the following image and then lock it again.

coin back

Step 15

Return to the Layers panel and make sure that the “Coins” layer is selected. Create a 5 px circle and fill it with white. Lower its Opacity to 50%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat. Drag that slider to -80% and then click that OK button. Multiply this subtle sparkle and spread the copies as shown in the following image.

sparkles

Congratulations! You’re Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects. Don’t hesitate to share your final result in the comments section.

Feel free to adjust the final design and make it your own. You can find some great sources of inspiration at GraphicRiver, with interesting solutions to improve your design.

final product