What is the most memorable scene for you from the Harry Potter world? For me, it is the moment when Harry looks at his parents in the Mirror of Erised. The Mirror of Erised is a magical device which shows the deepest, most desperate desire of the beholder.
So today we’re going to get to know how to create this scene in Adobe Illustrator by using basic geometrical shapes, the Gradient Tool (G) and more. After this tutorial you’ll know how to usefully organize a file with many layers, how to quickly create Clipping Masks, and how to combine basic shapes to create pretty looking characters. Also, we’ll render our illustration with the Brush Tool (B) a bit. Now, let’s get started.
1. How to Create Harry’s Back and Front
Open Photoshop, go to File > New (Command-N), and choose the A4 preset in the Print tab.
Change Millimeters to Pixels and click OK. Also, don’t forget to turn Smart Guides on (View > Show > Smart Guides).
With the help of the Ellipse Tool (U), make a 225 x 275 px deep blue (
#18242c) oval. You can set the size, color and corner radius in the Properties panel (Window > Properties). Choose the Convert Point Tool (it’s located beneath the Pen Tool (P)) and click on the bottom anchor point of the shape.
Make a 70 x 15 px rectangle in the same color with corners rounded to maximum.
Press Control-T for Free Transform, and then right click and select Warp.
Choose the Arc effect which is located in the drop-down Warp menu on the top panel. Drag down the center of the shape a bit. Press Enter.
Place two copies of this shape (press Command-C and Command-V for it) on the top of the oval shape.
Create a 65 x 90 px pink (
#f39e91) rectangle for a neck by using the Rectangle Tool (U). Select the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move both bottom anchors of the shape away from each other.
Move the neck layer beneath the hair layers in the Layers panel.
Let’s take the Rectangle Tool (U) and form a body from a red (
#e95839) 365 x 580 px rectangle. Round its bottom corners to 60 px by using the Properties panel.
Use the Add Anchor Point Tool (it’s located beneath the Pen Tool (P)) to add two anchors near the neck. Then select the left and right top anchors and press the Down Arrow key a few times to form shoulders.
Create a 365 x 120 px yellow (
#fca84d) rectangle and place it at the center of the previous shape.
Start making a sleeve from a 100 x 570 px red (
#d73f1e) rectangle with corners rounded to 40 px. Add a 70 x 30 yellow (
#fca84d) rectangle. Round its corners to 10 px and place it beneath the bottom side of the sleeve.
Form a hand from a 90 x 90 px pink (
#f39e91) circle (use the Ellipse Tool (U)). Create a random rectangle over the left half of the oval. Then, select both shapes and, keeping the Rectangle Tool (U) selected, right-click and Subtract front shape. Add the hand to the arm.
Select the red sleeve layer on the Layers panel and click on the Create a New Layer thumbnail at the bottom, while holding the Alt key. Choose Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask in the pop-up window and click OK (or Enter). Make a 90 x 90 px burgundy (
#a72205) circle with 1 pt Stroke and no Fill. Move the circle to the edge of the sleeve.
As you can see, the circle cuts off automatically where it goes beyond the sleeve shape because it’s located on the Clipping Mask layer. Drag the circle while holding the Alt key to quickly place two copies of it. Put their layers beneath the first circle’s layer.
Group (Command-G) all the layers related to the arm. Copy (Command-C) the group and paste it to the same place (Command-Shift-V). Press Command-T for Free Transform, and then right-click and choose Flip Horizontal. Move the copy while holding Shift.
Let’s add a collar and the bottom part of the sweater.
Take the Rectangle Tool (U) and make a 315 x 45 px burgundy rectangle with bottom corners rounded to 20 px. Place it beneath the bottom side of the sweater.
Make a 180 x 30 px rectangle with fully rounded corners. Click Command-T and select Warp with a right-click. Choose Arc in the top control panel. Drag the center of the shape a bit and click Enter. Place the shape as a collar.
Now, we’ll add a few stripes to make our sweater look more detailed.
Take the Line Tool (U) and create a long burgundy line. Set 5 px Width in the Properties panel. Place this layer over the sweater layer, select it, and click on the sweater layer while holding Alt—it’s another useful way to turn the layer into a Clipping Mask.
Make four more copies of the line and place them on the sweater. Move their layers beneath the layer of the first line to turn them into Clipping Masks too.
Make jeans by combining two 135 x 670 px blue (
#312f5a) rectangles (make their bottom sides a bit narrower with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A)) and a small random rectangle between them. Select all three shapes (holding Shift) and click Command-E to combine these shapes into one layer. Add the jeans to our character.
Make an 80 x 40 px dark blue rectangle and go to the Warp menu as we did before. Choose Bulge and click on the Change the Warp Orientation thumbnail in the top panel. Add a sole layer as a Clipping mask.
Place a pair of shoes on Harry. Copy all the layers related to our character except the shoes—it’ll be Harry’s reflection. Paste and move these layers behind Harry’s back.
Click Command-T and Flip these layers Horizontally. Move them to the left a bit higher than Harry’s back.
With the help of the Properties panel, recolor the hair to brown (
#392822) and the jeans to light brown to make the reflection warmer than the original.
Now let’s start making a face from a light pink (
#ffcdc5) rectangle with the bottom corners rounded to 60 px. Add two small dark blue (
#162539) 17 x 17 px ovals as eyes.
Create two 65 x 65 px dark brown (
#36251d) circles with 10 px Stroke and no Fill and a small fully rounded rectangle between them. Press Command-T, choose Warp, and then select Arc in the Warp top menu. Harry’s glasses are in their place! You can always pick the color from the Recently Used Colors panel.
Add a pink (
#ffa99b) 15 x 35 px fully rounded rectangle as a nose and two 25 x 25 px ovals with the same color as cheeks.
Now, let’s combine a 25 x 25 px blue (
#36251d) oval with a random rectangle to form a mouth. Select both shapes and choose Subtract Front Shape.
Make a 35 x 35 px peachy pink (
#e5754f) oval and cut its upper half as we did before to form an ear. Add two ears to the head.
Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw Harry’s scar as shown below. Set the attributes by using the upper panel. Group (Command-G) all the layers related to the face.
Let’s finish the character by adding a fringe to Harry. Create a random brown rectangle and place it over the glasses. With the help of the Add Anchor Point Tool (it’s located beneath the Pen Tool (P)), add about eight anchors on the bottom side of the fringe. Then, move some of them higher by using the Direct Selection Tool (A).
Create an oval a bit darker than the neck and place it over the neck as a shadow. Click on the neck layer while holding Alt to turn the shadow layer into a Clipping Mask.
2. Design Harry Potter’s Mother, Lily
Start designing this character by copying Harry’s neck with the shadow. Take the Rectangle Tool (U) and create a cloak from a blue (
#36568d) 420 x 1120 px rectangle. Form shoulders by adding two anchors near the neck with the help of the Add Anchor Point Tool. Move the right and left upper corners by clicking the Down Arrow key a few times.
Add a dark blue (
#1b2b4a) circle to the top of the cloak as a collar. Turn it into a Clipping Mask.
Complete the collar with a dark blue rectangle covering half of the neck. Make an orange line (
#e95839) that cuts across the collar. Set 8 px Width.
Form a clasp from a 75 x 75 px yellow (
#fcba4a) circle by cutting its bottom half (we cut shapes that way in some previous steps).
Place two copies of the clasp over the collar as shown below.
A magic cloak isn’t truly magic without stars. Select the Custom Shape Tool (U), and then look at the top Shape menu and click on the cog thumbnail on the right. Select All in the pop-up menu and find a star among the other shapes. Place the star over the cloak while holding Shift and color it in yellow. Then click on the star and drag it while holding Alt to make a copy of it. Make as many copies as you need. Turn any of these stars into a Clipping Mask of the cloak layer and move the other star layers beneath the Clipping Mask.
Create a 100 x 765 px dark blue (pick the color from the Recently Used Colors panel) rectangle and round its upper left corner to 100 px. Add a pink oval as a hand and place our arm near the body.
Select the sleeve and the hand, Copy them, right-click, and Flip them Horizontal. Move the copied one to the left while holding Shift.
With the help of the Ellipse Tool (U), create a 170 x 260 px pink (
#ffcdc5) oval. Add two small, slightly darker (
#ffa99b) circles as cheeks.
Make a short, narrow, dark blue (
#162539) fully rounded rectangle and arch it by using the Warp function as we did before. Place two such shapes as eyes. Copy Harry’s nose and Paste to his mom (perfect similarity between child and parent).
Create another narrow rectangle, brown like Harry’s hair. Arch it in the opposite direction. Make a 50 x 50 px pink (
#ff8b78) circle. Select both the narrow rectangle and the circle, right-click, and choose Subtract Front Shape. You may also choose this function in the top Path Operations menu. We made a mouth!
Add two narrow, dark brown, fully rounded rectangles as eyebrows. Don’t forget to arch them too.
Make two 100 x 100 px orange (
#e95839) circles as a fringe. Turn them into Clipping Masks of the head layer.
Take the Rectangle Tool (U) and make an orange (
#d73f1e) 240 x 440 px rectangle. Round its upper corners to 115 px and place it beneath the head (see the screenshot below).
Create a 155 x 155 px orange circle and two more circles (each a bit bigger than the previous) and form the left half of the hair. Then, Copy, Flip Horizontal and move the bunch of hair shapes to the right.
Form a leg from a 125 x 200 px brown (
#392822) rectangle. Make its bottom side narrower by using the Direct Selection Tool (A). Place two legs beneath the cloak. Group (Command-G) all the layers related to the mother and move this character to the left side beneath Harry’s reflection (see the screenshot).
Cut the unnecessary part of Harry’s jeans by combining them with a random rectangle. They have to be as long as the mother’s (see the screenshot below). Then, make sure that you’ve grouped all the layers as shown in the screenshot to keep our project well organised. And now, let’s turn to Harry’s father.
3. How to Create Harry Potter’s Father, James
You’ve learned a lot in the previous steps, so your process should go faster.
Start with a 130 x 130 px pink rectangle created with the help of the Rectangle Tool (U).
Make the upper side of the shape narrower and add an oval shadow to it by using the Ellipse Tool (U) and Clipping Mask function as we did before.
Make a 530 x 1350 px blue (
#404759) rectangle. Take the Add Anchor Point Tool to add two anchors near the neck. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the left and right upper corners, and press the Down Arrow key a few times to form shoulders.
Let’s form a face from three basic shapes. First of all, make a 170 x 120 px pink rectangle. Add a 170 x 130 px rectangular shape, make its bottom side narrower, and place it right under the first shape. Also, add a circle to the bottom side of the previous shape to make a chin. Quickly combine the shapes by pressing Command-E.
Take the Rectangle Tool (U) and make a 70 x 6 px, brown, fully rounded rectangle for the mouth. Arch it a bit by using the Warp function. Copy the nose and the glasses with the eyes from Harry’s face. Create two 75 x 70 px pink circles for cheeks and turn them into Clipping Masks.
To form an ear, create a 65 x 65 px peachy (
#e5754f) circle by using the Ellipse Tool (U) and a 40 x 40 px darker (
#e95839) circle with 1 pt Stroke and no Fill. Place the second circle on the first. Place the ear near the head to the left and its copy to the right.
For the father’s hair, make a 185 x 170 px dark brown (
#392822) rectangle with the top left corner rounded to 70 px. Place it beneath the head. Add a small, dark brown circle over the top left corner of the head.
To make a fringe, start with a 160 x 160 px light brown (
#392822) circle. Then, choose the Subtract Front Shape function in the upper Path Operations panel, press Command-Z, and draw a random rectangle over the circle to cut it in half. Put the resulting fringe over the top right corner of the head. Group (Command-G) all the parts related to the head. Our character looks handsome, doesn’t he?
Place the head on the neck. Add two white, slightly rounded rectangles as a collar. Place a light blue (
#abc7fa) circle on the cloak as shown below, and click on the cloak layer while holding Alt to turn the circle into a Clipping Mask.
With the help of the Rectangle Tool (U), create a dark blue rectangle (
#22273b) with the upper right corner rounded to 70 px. Place it on the right side of the body. Copy it, Paste, Flip Horizontally, and move to the left side.
Make a 50 x 50 px yellow (
#fcba4a) rectangle. Add an anchor point to the middle of its left side by using the Add Anchor Point Tool. Switch to the Convert Point Tool and click on the new anchor point. We’ve made a triangle that way.
Add a narrow orange (
#fcba4a) rectangle beneath the triangle and add another triangle over its opposite side (see the screenshot below). Select all three shapes and Group (Command-G) them.
Place about six copies of the clasp over the cloak. Add a dark blue (
#22273b) line over the cloak by using the Line Tool (U). Group (Command-G) all the layers that belong to father character. Place James Potter behind Harry and Lily.
We made all the characters! It’s time to work on the background.
4. How to Create the Mirror of Erised and the Background
Let’s get started with a mirror shape.
Take the Rectangle Tool (U) and make a 1190 x 2010 px rectangle. The color doesn’t matter.
Add one anchor point in the middle of the upper side of the shape by using the Add Anchor Point Tool. Select the left and right upper corners with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A) and press the Down Arrow key a few times.
Change the Fill mode to Gradient. Set a radial gradient with three colors:
#9ea1d6, and again
#fb9953. Place the resulting shape beneath all the characters as shown in the screenshot.
Make a 1355 x 2225 px lilac (
#78769e) rectangle. Add one anchor point in the middle of the upper side of the shape by using the Add Anchor Point Tool. Select the left and right upper corners with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A) and press the Down Arrow key a few times as we did with the previous shape. Take the Convert Point Tool and click on the anchor point in the middle of the upper side.
Copy the shape, Paste in the same place (Command-Shift-V), move it beneath the original shape layer, and lift it up a bit. Recolor this shape in blue (
#36568d). Cover the right half of this shape with a dark blue (
#1e2a55) rectangle and turn this newly made rectangle into a Clipping Mask of the previous blue shape.
Add a narrow lilac (
#78769e) rectangle as a plank over the characters’ heads. Make a small orange (
#fb9953) circle and place it in the middle of the plank. Place nine similar circles on the plank.
Make a 145 x 1900 px dark blue (
#1b2b4a) rectangle for a column. Add a small 260 x 80 px light lilac (
#acafea) shape to the top of it and the smallest dark blue (
#1b2b4a) rectangle. Also add a 260 x 200 px rectangle with light lilac (
#acafea) 40 px Stroke and lilac (
#78769e) Fill. Make its upper side narrower and place it on the top of our column. Also add two light lilac (
#acafea) lines to the column by using the Line Tool (U).
Group (Command-G) the column and place it to the left of the mirror. Make a copy of the column and place it on the right side. Add two small rectangles on both sides and two rectangles over the plank (see the screenshot).
Color the background layer in dark blue (
#2e4b7d). Make a rectangular shape scaled to the canvas over it and set Foreground to Transparent gradient mode and Radial mode, and color it in darker blue (
#1c2d4c). We’re adding depth to our illustration that way.
Make a rectangle with a dark blue Stroke (
#162539) and blue Fill (
#1c2d4c) and place it as the floor.
Let’s fill the background with some objects to make our illustration more interesting and detailed.
Now we’re going to create a candlestick.
Start with a 40 x 165 px yellow (
#fcba4a) rectangle with corners rounded to 5 px. Add an orange (
#fcba4a) oval by using the Ellipse Tool (U). Switch to the Convert Point Tool and click on the upper anchor point. Add a narrow, dark brown rectangle beneath the two previous shapes.
Take the Ellipse Tool (U) and make a 120 x 120 px red (
#e95839) oval, set 30% Opacity in the Layers panel, and place it behind the fire shape. Add a 270 x 270 px yellow (
#fcba4a) circle, set 15% Opacity in the Layers panel, and place it behind the previous shape.
Add a narrow, fully rounded, dark blue rectangle, and Group (Command-G) our candlestick. Place a candlestick on each side of the mirror.
Take the Rectangle Tool (U) and make two kinds of bricks. One is 210 x 90 px and dark blue (
#1f3154) with corners rounded to 15 px. And another is the same but colored in dark lilac (
#3f4668). Multiply these two kinds of bricks over the wall.
Form a shelf from a narrow lilac (
#5c5b7e) rectangle. Add a short, darker square on the right side of the rectangle. Create a purple (
#3b386a) silhouette of a skull from a circle and a rectangle. Also, make a silhouette of a test tube from a square turned to a triangle, a small, narrow rectangle, and one more fully rounded rectangle (see the picture below). Place the shelf on the top of the wall.
Make a silhouette of a painting by creating a rectangle with dark purple Fill and dark lilac Stroke. Add two dark lilac circles over both bottom corners of the rectangle (see the screenshot below).
And a couple of final touches!
Make a copy of the mirror shape and place it in front of all the characters and beneath Harry’s back group of layers. Set the Opacity to 15% on the Layers panel.
Right-click this layer and select Blending options. Select Outer Glow and set the following attributes:
Blend Mode: Screen
Let’s render our beautiful illustration a bit with brushes. Take the Brush Tool (B). Click on the Toggle the Brush Settings icon on the top panel. Select the Brushes tab and find the Dry Brush. Draw some lines around the edges of the mirror. I’ve done it with my touchpad.
Keeping this layer selected, click on the mirror layer while holding Shift to turn the newly made layer into a Clipping Mask. You can also change the blending mode to Dissolve to make the dust sharper.
Change the brush to Dry Brush Tip Light Flow and draw a couple of horizontal lines while holding Shift. Then rotate them and place them over the mirror. Turn this layer into a Clipping Mask too.
Select Dry Brush again, choose a dark blue color, create a new layer, and draw shadows of the mirror, Harry, and the candlesticks.
Nicely Done, Wizards!
We’ve finished a complex, quite tricky illustration and learned more about working in Photoshop, thereby creating a bunch of useful new neural pathways in our brains. I hope that it helps to unleash your creative capabilities and to create more beautiful, unique projects.
Don’t forget to share your results here in the comments because I am always happy to see them. And feel free to add more details to your illustration and to experiment with colors.
See you soon!