Tutorial: Create a Wind Turbine icon in Illustrator

Create a vector Wind Turbine icon

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a vector wind turbine icon in Adobe Illustrator. The tutorial will cover all the steps from drawing the modern windmill, coloring it and creating the background and the small details. Basic drawing tools and gradients are the key to this tutorial. So go ahead and create this green energy icon.


1. Creating the wind turbine

Start by creating the tower of the wind turbine. Draw a rectangle and make it more narrow in the top.


Now create the tip of the hub. Draw a circle centered at the top of the tower.


We now need to create the hub where the blades are connected to. Start by creating a star with 6 points.


Delete 3 points as shown here with the Delete Anchor Point Tool so you get the shape shown to the right.


Round the corners of the hub (Effect -> Stylize -> Round Corners). In this case it’s by a 5 pt. radius but that depends on the scale of your turbine.


Now rotate the hub 30 degrees and then align it to the circle you created before. Make sure the circle is in front (Arrange -> Bring to front) and the tower is in the background (Arrange -> Send to back).


We can now create the three blades. Draw a shape like this with the Pen Tool (P).


Then round the corners of the shape with a radius that fits the scale.


Move the blade to the hub like this so the blade is connected.


Now we have to copy the blade two times by rotating and copying at the same time. Select the Rotate Tool and move the pivot point to the center of the circle so the blade will rotate around the hub center.


Now drag the blade to rotate it around the pivot point. By holding down Alt(Win)/Option(Mac) at the same time you copy the object. Rotate the blade 120 degrees. Do this one more time for the third blade but rotate this 240 degrees from the original blade.


To curve the bottom of the tower add a new anchor point between the two bottom anchor points. Move this point down a bit and curve it with the Convert Anhor Point Tool.


You now have finished the basic shape of the turbine.


2. Coloring the turbine

Let’s move on to the coloring of the turbine. We will use white/gray gradients on all the turbine parts. On the tower use a gradient as shown below making the left part of the tower lightest.


Next use a radial gradient on the tip of the hub.


The hub needs just a simple gradient like this.


The three blades are all rotated differently so they need diffently angled gradients. The first blade uses a gradient that darkens the bottom part.


The second blade uses a gradient as shown here.


And the third blade uses a gradient like this.


Now with all the parts colored the turbine should look like this.


To add some more depth to the turbine we will create some shadows. First we’ll add a blade shadow on the tower. With the Pen Tool (P) draw a shape where the bottom part is parrallel with the blade angle. Make the new object solid black and change the transparency to 30%.


Select the tower and the shadow object and go to the Pathfinder window and select Trim.


Select the tower and choose Ungroup from the Objects menu. Now delete the spare parts so only the shadow on top of the tower is left.


Select the three blades, the hub and the circle and Arrange -> Send to front.


Now we’ll add three small shadows where the blades are connected to the hub. Create three rectangles and place them where the hub and blade connects. Select the hub and the circle and Arrange -> Bring to front. Make the three small object solid black and change the transparency to 20% for the two blades closest to the top left corner and 50% to the blade pointing down.


Congratulations. The turbine is now done!


3. Background

To make the turbine stand out we will add a simple background. Make a new layer for the background and place it below the turbine layer. On this layer draw a blue square with a radial gradient.


Now we will add some green hills. Draw a curvy shape at the bottom of the blue square. Give it a green gradient lightest at the top.


Now select both the blue sky and the hills and choose Trim in the Pathfinder menu. Go to the Objects menu and select Ungroup. Then delete the unwanted part outside blue square.


To add more depth create two more shapes as distant hills. Give them the same green gradient. Select the first large hills and move then to the front (Arrange -> Bring to front).


A few more details and we’re done. Let’s create a fake shadow at the ground to soften up the tower at the ground. Create an ellipse ¬†behind the tower. Place slightly to the right and slightly behind the tower. Make it solid black and give it a feather (Effect -> Stylize -> Feather) of approximately 13 pt.


As a final touch let’s add a white cloud. Create five overlapping circles in different sizes. Create a radial gradient from white to light gray where you push the white color to the middle of the gradient so the cloud becomes mostly white. Give all the circles the same gradient at the same angle.


The final result

And you’re done. Now you have created a modern windmill ready to harvest energy from the wind. The final result looks like this.


Inspiration, Resources, Tips December 18th 2012

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