Illustrator Tutorial - Perspective Grid Tool (2)

In part one of this tutorial, we showed you the basics of using the new Perspective Grid Tool. Now, continuing the theme - and using techniques contained within the Illustrator tutorials on this site - you can easily produce graphics like this:

If you roll over the image above, you'll see it with and without the grid lines.  If it seems a long way from those first hesitant steps in the first tutorial, don't worry it really isn't!  Like all good projects, the secret is in the preparation.
If you think you'll be creating artwork using the Perspective Grid Tool (and after seeing our main image, we're sure you will!), why not create a new Illustrator file and draw a few windows, doors etc? The screenshot below shows what I mean.  You can always add to these graphics as you go, and they'll always be available for you to copy and paste into your 'grid' artwork.
Download the Architecture ai. file
The shopfronts may seem a bit of work but, being Illustrator, you can always change colours, names etc. The postbox, bollard and lamp post?  Easily created in this tutorial! (For more inspiration, see here).
If starting from scratch seems a bit daunting, download the original .ai file we used for the main illustration at the top of the page.
Download the street scene.ai file

So what are the basics behind creating a good-looking image like this?

  • Firstly, get to grips with your keyboard shortcuts.  Ctrl + Shift + I turns the grid on and off.
  • 1, 2 and 3 switches the plane you're working on - left, lower and right in that order. (If you find that your widget doesn't change to reflect this, click on the plane you want to work on using the Perspective Selection Tool.

  • Remember, the Perspective Grid Tool will show your grid and allow you to move its handles, resize it etc. as described here. The Perspective Selection Tool is the one you'll use most.  When you've drawn or pasted an element - a window frame for example - get out of the habit of using your Selection Tool Selection Tool to select and move it.  Make sure you have the correct plane selected and use the Perspective Selection Tool to drag it roughly into its final position and resize it etc. That way, your element will assume the correct perspective to the plane you're using.
  • Any item that is repeated - the windows, bollards etc. can be duplicated by selecting the item you wish to duplicate, again using the Perspective Selection Tool, and with Alt held down to clone the item, drag the item to its duplicated place.  Again it will be reduced or increased in size to suit the perspective.
  • If you draw an item in one perspective and want to clone it and its perspective (this does not include the 3D items such as bollards etc.) but elements such as windows and doors, hold down Alt and the numeric key of the plane you are moving it to.  More here.
The curve in the pavement was achieved by using the pen tool and drawing a suitable shape and filling it with the appropriate colour. And the brickwork and road texture?
Make sure your Graphic Styles palette is visible (WINDOW...Graphic Styles).  Click on the tiny black arrow at the top-right of this palette and, on the fly-out, choose Open Graphic Style Library and select Textures.
RGB Brick is in there for the walls and the other we've used is RGB Concrete.  Simply select the element you want to fill with a texture (using the Perspective Selection Tool - forget the Selection Tool!) and click on the appropriate texture.
So there you have it.  Simply using different techniques, your knowledge of Illustrator can improve massively.  Enjoy!
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