30/01/2010 - Editorial.Iconshock

Tutorial: wizard icon tutorial with illustrator


Welcome back to the virtual space where some of the secrets for creating iconic beauties are unveiled.

The word “wizard” has its root on concepts like wisdom and guidance. Most probably that´s the reason why those helping user interface elements, the assistants, are also called wizards and are represented by default with a wizard’s hat and wand icon.

The spell will be performed using Illustrator CS4.

Step 01.


Start with a new 256 x256 px document. The brim of the hat will be an ellipse (A) with a small rotation (B). Duplicate that ellipse, reduce its size and place as the inner part of the hat. To help visualize the perspective you can use a line segment as an axis or reference.

Note: When talking about “duplicating” an object, we will refer to the procedure of copying (Crtl+C) and pasting in front (Shift+Crtl+V).


Step 02.


Now duplicate the smallest ellipse. This will be used to make the cone of the hat. The idea is to move upwards the top anchor point, however, in order to make a round corner, first create a new anchor point near to that one using the Add Anchor Point Tool. Move those two points to the end of our guide axis and adjust the outer handles of both points until you get a cone like in figure B.


Step 03.


A) Apply a basic gradient fill to the cone. RGB values here are: (13, 59, 96) and (4, 33, 66).

B) Draw a triangle with the Pen Tool, this will be the shine. Fill with color (84, 151, 192). Keep this triangle selected, bring on the Appearance Panel (Shift+F6) and press there the Add New Effect Button. From the drop down menu, go to Blur – Gaussian Blur and use 5.0 pixels for radius.

C) The shine is almost ready but it flows over the brim area. Let´s mask it. Duplicate the base cone and place it on top of the triangle so that you do not see the light blue triangle. Select both cone copy and triangle and press Crtl+7 (Make Clipping Mask).

D) The base cone will disappear but its shape is now a kind of window through which you can see the shine, with no overflowing. We will use this technique several times along this tutorial.


Step 04.


Now make a new duplicate of the cone, remove the fill and use a 2 pts stroke with color (4, 33, 66). Apply a 2.0 radius Gaussian Blur. Finally use another cone as a clipping mask for this inner shadow.


Step 05.


Let’s now work on the brim. Remove the initial stroke and apply a gradient like that used in step 03, part A. Then duplicate that oval, send it to back and apply a solid fill with the light blue of step 03, part B. move it a bit down-left.

Now add power by drawing some stars of 5 points.


Step 06.


Illustrator can make perfect pentagrams. Select the star tool. When drawing your star note that if you press up and down arrows changes the number of points. Dragging with Shift pressed will make a perfect 5 points star. Alt and Crtl also provide other functionalities. This ceremonial hat will use 7 stars generated with Shift pressed. Use a yellow gradient with these colors: (190, 114, 2) – (255, 214, 49). Do not forget to group each set of different components.


Step 07.


The magic wand symbolizes power and authority.

A) Simply draw a rectangle and use a gradient with (113, 81, 31) – (244, 211, 131).

B) With the Direct Selection Tool reduce the size of one of the sides.

C) Add one anchor point and move it outwards a bit just to give the impression of roundness.

D) With the pen tool draw a shape which will be the different tone zone of the wand. Set its transparency to Overlay 50%.

E) Now duplicate the main body of the wand. Select the shape and the rectangle and hit Crtl+7 (clipping mask) like in step 03 C. A zone of the magic wand will change its color.

F) Finally duplicate the wand again and set the transparency to Multiply 50%.


Step 08.


Finish the other side with an oval filled with a gradient similar to those dark tones of the wand.


Step 09.


For a better effect, put a shadow that the wand projects onto the hat. Make one last copy of the main shape of the wand, fill it with black, apply Gaussian Blur (2.0 pixels), move it a bit downwards and make a clipping mask with a copy of the cone (step 03 – C).


Step 10.


Make a copy of the whole object and delete the clipping mask in order to keep the exact shape of the hat and the wand. Use the command Unite from the Pathfinder panel (Shift+Ctrl+F9) and give a black 9 point stroke, as shown in the picture. Note the settings used: align stroke to outside, round cap and round join. Send it to back.


Step 11.


The shadow of the complete object can be done like in the previous step. Simply do a copy of everything, with no transparency masks, and unite like in step 10. Delete unnecessary parts, Fill it with black, apply Gaussian Blur 5.0 pixels and Normal transparency 40%.




Although this is a very geometric icon, this time our results are more realistic than ever. Very appealing, don’t you think? Try varying colors, or add another symbols instead of some of the stars. You could make an even more interesting version of this icon.


The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts


8 Responses to “Tutorial: wizard icon tutorial with illustrator”

  1. So thorough! I didnt even think to put a gradient on the shade end of the wand – i would have totally missed that. Though I’d have spent more time shading the stars to match the gradient of the shade to the cone and probably still not done as good a job. thx for sharing once again!

  2. iconoclastNo Gravatar
    September 9th

    these tutorials rock. so… a question for the graphics pros out there: when is it appropriate to use Photoshop, and when should you use Illustrator?

    curious minds want to know!

  3. Editorial.IconshockNo Gravatar
    September 9th

    Hi Jjay, I just realized how to answer to comments here… You’re welcome. What I most like about these tutorials is the temptation of taking another direction in any of the steps i.e. to make an emo version of the hat or wonder how to make it look very old. Possibilities are endless.

  4. Editorial.IconshockNo Gravatar
    September 9th

    Hi iconoclast. The option of using Photoshop or Illustrator depends mostly on the kind of output the artwork will have. A clean, geometric logo would be made preferably in Illustrator since it will be used in many sizes, from very tiny samples on business cards to the huge version in front of the store: vectors are perfect for this case. On the other hand, I would prefer Photoshop for illustrating an article because bitmaps lets you work with images from the camera and rich textures easier. Of course, there are personal preferences.

  5. Kim JohnstonNo Gravatar
    October 23rd

    I wish Iocnshock posted more of these. this one and the 3D wallpaper are my favorites. You have great designers in deed!

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