Illustrating a Business Briefcase in Windows 7 Style
The new O.S. Windows 7 has improved aesthetics to make the user interface at least more appealing. There are huge ultra detailed icons for folders, devices and so on. This time we will use Illustrator CS4 to create a nice briefcase with the Windows 7 style. You need only a few basics on how to copy, paste, rotate, scale and color the shapes. Let’s focus on business.
Start selecting the Rounded Rectangle Tool (fig. A) and make a single left click on the art board to bring the Rounded Rectangle options configuration window appear. Use 16 px. for corner radius (fig. B) and press Accept. Then left click and drag to draw a shape as shown.
Take a look of the main axes (fig. B) that give a sensation of perspective. We will now transform the first rounded rectangle by selecting the Shear tool (fig. A) from the Tools Panel and drag the right side downwards. Also notice that the left side is just a bit smaller than the right one. This can be done by pressing E (Free Transform Tool) and dragging a corner while holding Ctrl after clicking.
Now prepare a smooth curve which will be reused in Step 12. First, select the Line Segment Tool and draw a horizontal line. Take that line and apply the Zig Zag effect from the Effects Menu – Distort & Transform (fig. A) and apply the configuration shown in the picture. After that, press – (minus) or select the Delete Anchor Point Tool and delete some of the points (fig. B) in order to get a single curve and shear it just like you previously did in step 2. You should have now a line like in fig. C.
Now rotate a copy of that line and place it over the first rectangle done in step 1 as shown in fig A, select both element and apply the Pathfinder – Divide operation to cut them, ungroup the results and delete the hole. Now copy the new shape (fig. B), place it behind the former one, add an intersecting line in the upper left corner, an intersecting rectangle in that same corner and an ellipse in the bottom right corner. Select all and Divide, delete unnecessary parts so that at the end you get the side shape of the briefcase (step 5).
Duplicate the front side of the briefcase (step 3) and press E (Free Distort tool) like in step 1 to deform it from both bottom corners.
Make a grid with the Rectangular Grid Tool and apply the settings shown in the picture. Rotate it a bit and apply a distortion (Object – Envelope Distort – Make with Warp or Alt+Shift+Ctrl+W). Use the arch distortion so that you get a set of curved lines as you can see in the picture. Finally, convert the grid from line to shapes with the Object – Expand Appearance command and cut them with the base shape.
Use the same procedure above to make the stripes for the right side of the briefcase. Note that this time we will not use a Warp Distort but a Free Distort because we need to simulate perspective.
Prepare a decorative stripe under the lines of the front side by duplicating and cutting the shape of step 5. Apply a linear fill with whites and light grays as shown in the picture.
With the Pen Tool draw a small black shape in the upper right corner and press U to pick the Mesh Tool and single click in the middle of the shape to make a color point. Select that center point with the Direct Selection Tool (key A) and color it with white. Set the transparency of that shape to Screen so that blacks become transparent and whites convert into a shine.
Prepare a contour line for the division of the briefcase by using a copy of the side shape (steps 4 and 3), make it black as in fig. A and duplicate it, apply Object – Expand – Expand Lines to convert the lines into shapes and fill them with linear black and white gradient like in fig. B and set the opacity to Screen as in step 9.
Make another set of shine lines (as in step 10, part B) for the front edges of the briefcase.
Now use a copy of the shape from step 2 to apply a mesh gradient as in step 9. Note how many points you should click and which ones are white. Set the transparency to Screen.
Using the first curved line (step 3) several times to make the handle of the briefcase. From A to B in the picture, use a copy of the line and convert it to a shape. Note that in each step the weight of each line is different so that we can give the impression of volume. In fig. B we add a tiny rectangle to make the end side of the handle.
As in step 10, part B; add some extra shines to the upper and right front side of the briefcase. We are almost done.
To make the lock, prepare a simple shape out from a circle and a rounded rectangle, using the Divide command (step 4) and add some shines with the same procedure of steps 10 and 14.
This last part is also the easiest one. The front plaque can be made from a rounded rectangle with gradient fill as shown in the picture. Make the front part, the back part and add a shine to finish the plaque.