The Art of Movement- Case Study

The objective of this study was to create a set of icons to learn proper skills in Adobe Illustrator. The process of creating a set of icons on Adobe Illustrator was both fun and challenging. Let’s take a look.

Step 1: Brainstorming

From the start, I know I wanted to create something I was passionate about but also something that reflected who I was as a designer. I continued to brainstorm online to better understand the power of Adobe Illustrator and the creations that come from the program. While some illustrations were more detailed than others, I know I wanted to create something simple. I later decided I wanted to produce something geometric to have more freedom with my shapes. That idea later developed into a butterfly. Once I had finally made a decision on an idea, I began sketching.


Step 2: Adobe Illustrator

Once I nailed my designs on my notepad, it was now time to open Adobe Illustrator. With only a few weeks into the program, I selected what I was most familiar with- the pen tool. This tool allowed me to design the geometric shapes I was hoping for. After creating 6 outlines of my desired shapes, I began coloring. This step was the most challenging of all. I layered color after color and was not satisfied with my results. I then played with the gradient tool to add shadows to my design. My finalized rough draft was a collected of flat and gradient vectors.

Step 3: Problem-Solving

After receiving critique on my butterflies, I was not confident going forward with my concept. I was pleased with my results but not satisfied with my 6 icons. I continued to brainstorm ideas, but this time I did things differently. Instead of looking for icons online, I shut myself from all electronic devices and pondered for ideas in my head. Icons, icons and more icons was all that ran through my mind. Finally, I decided to use wooden mannequins as my concept. I thought this idea would really help me understand the way light and shadows are used in objects and help me better create shapes in Illustrator. Next, I started from square one and began sketching, for a second time.


Step 4: Outline

It was now time to step back into Adobe Illustrator and bring my icons to life. Again, I used the pen tool to outline my designs. This process took over 3 hours to create. Once my outlines were completed, I used a mannequin to play with my color choices. I decided to keep my stroke on my designs because it was simple and added contrast to my icons.


Step 5: Color

Receiving critique is one of my favorite steps in the creative process. Once receiving critique on my rough layout, I was able to continue designing my icons with more confidence. At this point, I needed to remove the strokes and add more contract to my mannequins. I decided to add rules to myself since most of my icons were in different positions facing left and right. Coloring on Adobe Illustrator has been the most challenging thing about creating these set of icons. This process took more than 5 hours to complete and I was still struggling with my lights and shadows.



Step 6: Refining

My last step was to refine my details and the overall presentations of my icons. Taking the time to refine something can sometimes make all the difference.  Refining my mannequins took more than 2 hours to complete but was well worth it. I also decided to add a black backdrop to my icons to add more contrast to my details and align my icons into place.










Ariana Cedillo

Video Director at Soapbox Agency
Ariana Cedillo is currently earning her degree in communications at Brigham Young University-Idaho with a visual emphasis and a module in video production. She enjoys everything from 2D art to 3D. Visit to learn more!

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