Create a new .ai document of 3000px height and 2000px width. If you like to print the resulting image, set resolution to 300 dpi and color mode to CMYK. For the purpose of this online tutorial, I’ll use 72 dpi and RGB color mode.
Firstly we are going to make the background.
Select Rectangle Tool from the Tools Bar and draw a rectangle to cover your Art Board. While the background rectangle is selected, open the Swatch Libraries menu (Window, Swatches), select Gradients from the fly out menu, then select Sky. From Sky gradients swatches choose Sky 14. Now your art board will be covered in a lovely sunset colored gradient.
I have shown at the right hand side of my screenshot how to find the sky gradient among the many swatch libraries.
Now we are going to add a lovely exotic pattern to the background. While the Background rectangle is selected, go to Appearance panel (Window, Appearance), click on the tiny black arrow at the upper right hand side of the panel to call the fly out menu. Select Add New Fill. Now go to the Swatch Libraries menu, select Patterns, Decorative, Decorative Primitive and choose Mayan Bricks Color.
In Transparency panel (Window, Transparency) change Blend Mode to Luminosity and reduce Opacity to only 5 %.
Select Rounded Rectangle Tool and click onto your art board to call the Rounded Rectangle dialog box. For Width option insert 130px, change Height to 1900px and set Corner Radius to 80px.
Open Swatch Libraries menu (Window, Swatches), select Gradients, Metals and fill the selected Rounded Rectangle with Gold gradient.
In this step we are going to multiply the previously created rounded rectangle. Select it with Selection Tool, hold down Alt key and move aside the Rounded Rectangle to duplicate it. Repeat this action five more times. When ready, try to arrange your rounded rectangles as per my screenshot. Play with Transparency and Opacity. For three of the rounded rectangles I changed Transparency to Overlay and reduced Opacity to 90%. The other four rectangles are with Soft Light transparency option, Opacity: 100%.
It is not obligatory to follow me 100%. You can choose other gradient and different settings for Transparency and Opacity.
Add five thinner rounded rectangles to your design. Fill the two rectangles in the middle with Gold Gradient from Metals Gradients set, then for the two left rectangles (one of them placed in front of the golden one) choose Ruby gradient (from Gems and Jewels gradient set) and finally fill the right side rectangle with Copper gradient (from Metals gradients set).
It’s time to play again with Transparency and Opacity options.
Change Transparency of the first rounded rectangle (from left to right) to Multiply and reduce Opacity to 15%. For the second ruby filled rectangle choose the same Multiply Transparency and decrease Opacity to 9%. For the two golden rectangles choose Exclusion type of Transparency and set Opacity to between 7 and 11%. Change Transparency of the copper filled rectangle to Overlay.
Use Selection Tool to select all rounded rectangles created in Step 4 and Step 5 and press Ctrl+G to group them.
Have a look at my screenshot to get a better impression of how I have processed those gradient filled rounded rectangles.
Take Ellipse Tool and draw small concentric circles placed randomly in front of the rounded rectangles. Fill each circle with different color or radial gradient of your choice. When ready, select all circles with Selection Tool, press Ctrl+G to group them then navigate to Transparency panel to change the group’s blend mode to Overlay and decrease Opacity to 50-60%.
Select the group of Rounded Rectangles, created in Step 5. Duplicate it (Ctrl+C) and Paste in Front (Ctrl+F). Keep the duplicated group selected and go to Effect, Texture, Texturizer. When Texturizer dialog box opens, from Texture drop down menu select Burlap, set Scaling option to 100%, Relief to 11 and leave the Light to Top Left. Press OK button to apply the effect. With the duplicated group still selected, go to Transparency panel and change the blend mode to Soft Light.
Now the group of rounded rectangles looks better with this subtle texture added.
Grab Rectangle Tool and draw five rectangles. I decided to color them in blue, red, green, orange and yellow. Select all of them with selection tool and press Ctrl+G (Object, Group) to group them.
While the group of colored rectangles is selected, navigate to Effect menu, choose Warp, Arc and when the Arc Warp dialog box appears simply click OK (not necessary to change settings unless you prefer more bended rainbow shape.
Keep the rainbow shape selected and go to Object, Expand Appearance. Thus you’ll be able to edit your shape in the further steps.
Grab Selection Tool and rotate the rainbow shape the same way you see on my screenshot.
In front of the rainbow shape draw a rectangle covering your art board (I have decreased its Opacity to make the rainbow shape visible). Select this new rectangle and the rainbow shape by holding down Shift then right click and choose Make Clipping Mask. Now you see that the rainbow fits perfectly to your art board.
On the following screenshot you see my result after I applied the Clipping Mask.
Keep the shape selected, navigate to Transparency panel and reduce Opacity to 32-35%.
Take Pen Tool and draw a hill shape as shown on the following screenshot. Fill it with Linear gradient, Angle: -90 degrees, position the two gradient swatches at 0% and 40% respectively and use these colors:
1st gradient swatch (position 0%): color R=255, G=223, B=139;
2nd gradient swatch (position 40%): color R=166, G=124, B=82
Keep selected the hill shape you created in the previous step. Go to Appearance panel (Window, Appearance), click on the little black arrow at the upper right side of the panel and from the fly out menu select Add New Fill. Go to Swatches panel (Window, Swatches), select Patterns, Decorative, Decorative Ornament, Chinese Scallops Color. When the new fill is added, navigate to Transparency panel, change blend mode to Multiply.
Take Pen Tool and draw a hill shape again. Fill it with Linear gradient, Angle: 90 degrees, position the three gradient swatches at 57%, 70% and 100% respectively and use these colors:
1st gradient swatch (position 57%): color R=156, G=138, B=10;
2nd gradient swatch (position 70%): color R=172, G=152, B=47
3rd gradient swatch (position 100%): color R=217, G=224, B=33
Keep selected the second hill shape you created in the previous step. Navigate to Appearance panel, click the tiny black arrow and select Add New Fill. In Swatches panel select again Patterns, Decorative, Decorative Ornament, Chinese Scallops Color (as you did in Step 15). After the new fill is added, go to Transparency panel, change blend mode of the pattern to Multiply.
Grab again Pen Tool and draw a hill shape again or simply duplicate the previous one and scale it down using Selection Tool. Fill the new smaller hill with linear gradient, minus 90 degrees, position the two gradient swatches at 0%, and 52% respectively and use these colors:
1st gradient swatch (position 0%): color R=226, G=175, B=167;
2nd gradient swatch (position 52%): color R=163, G=87, B=84
Keep selected the previously created hill shape. Go to Appearance panel and click the tiny black arrow to select Add New Fill. In Swatches choose again Patterns, Decorative, Decorative Ornament, Chinese Scallops Color. In Transparency panel, change blend mode of the pattern to Multiply.
Using Pen Tool add the fourth hill shape to your design. Fill this smaller than previous hill with linear gradient, minus 90 degrees, set the two gradient swatches at 0%, and 65% respectively and use these colors:
1st gradient swatch (position 0%): color R=227, G=229, B=237;
2nd gradient swatch (position 65%): color R=97, G=120, B=107
With the previously created hill shape navigate to Appearance panel, open the fly out menu and select Add New Fill. Apply the same Chinese Scallops Color pattern and in Transparency panel change this pattern’s blend mode to Multiply.
Using Pen Tool again draw the last and the smallest hill shape. Fill it with Linear gradient, -90 degrees, position the three gradient swatches at 0%, 58% and 100% respectively and use these colors:
1st gradient swatch (position 0%): color R=173, G=179, B=227;
2nd gradient swatch (position 58%): color R=117, G=143, B=160;
3rd gradient swatch (position 100%): color R=105, G=119, B=151
Apply again New Fill (Appearance Panel), choose the same Chinese Scallops Color pattern from the patterns swatches and change its Transparency to Multiply.
In this step we’ll be using Line Tool and Ellipse Tool (only Stroke Color) to add more decoration at the upper right hand side of our art board.
Select Line Tool and holding down Shift key, draw six vertical lines of different length. As you can see on the screenshot, I have drawn two green, one red, one orange, one blue and one brown line.
Now grab Ellipse Tool and start drawing circles (hold down Shift). At first add circles at the down edge of each of the previously drawn vertical lines. Use Stroke Color only (disable Fill Color). I have chosen from 15 to 40px stroke size.
Create also a “cloud” of circles at the upper right hand side of your art board. Make some of the concentric circles by using only Stroke Color and for other circles use Fill Color and Gradient Fill.
Continue your work with ellipse tool and add more circles of various color fills and gradients.
Take Vertical Type Tool (from Type Tool fly-out menu). In the Options Bar select Onyx Font, Regular Style, 400 pt Font Size. Type the word RETRO with capital letters, then take Selection Tool and rotate the text slightly to the left as you see on the screenshot.
Select again Vertical Type Tool with the same Onyx font, but this time change the font size to 320pt and type the word Poster. When ready, select the word with Selection Tool and rotate it to the left.
Select with Selection Tool the word Retro and change its color to red, then select Poster and changer its color to blue.
Select both words Retro and Poster, press Crtl+G to put them into one group. Now we are going to add volume. With the newest group selected, navigate to Effect, 3d, Extrude and Bevel, Specify Rotation Around the X Axis: minus 6 degrees, Specify Rotation Around the Y Axis: minus 33 degrees, Specify Rotation Around the Z Axis: 5 degrees, leave Perspective option to 0 degrees, Extrude Depth: 77pt., press OK button to apply the settings.
Have a look at the following screenshot. If you have performed Steps 27-30 in an appropriate manner, your result should resemble my screenshot image.
This step is optional. If you like to make your text more colorful, simply grab Direct Selection Tool, select each letter separately and add some gradient. As you can see on the screenshot, I have applied a different gradient on each letter. See the example given in the next step.
On the following screenshot I have shown an example how to change the color of the letters. Select letter R with Direct Selection Tool and fill it with pink to brown gradient (not necessary to use my colors). Repeat this action on the rest of the letters.
Create a few ribbons to add more decoration elements to your design.
Take rectangle tool and draw a rectangular shape for the first ribbon. I have chosen to fill it with Sky 8 Gradient (Window, Swatches, Gradients, Sky, Sky 8). While the rectangular shape is selected, go to Effect, Warp, choose Flag and set the Bend to 100%.
Draw a new Rectangle and fill with Golden Beryl gradient from Gems and Jewels gradients set. Apply the same Flag warp of 100% Bend.
Draw a third rectangle, fill it with Pink Tourmaline gradient (again from Gems and Jewels Gradients Set) and apply the same Flag Warp effect of 100% bend.
In this step your task is to duplicate and arrange the ribbons around the letters. Play with Opacity and Transparency. I preferred Luminosity and Overlay for Transparency.
Take Star Tool, click once on the art board and in Star dialog Box insert these settings:
Radius 1: 50px, Radius 2: 25px, Points: 8. Well, you’ll get a lovely eight pointed star. Duplicate it a few times, change the color of each duplicate and distribute the stars around the letters at the bottom left hand side of the art board.
Select Star Tool again, click on the art board and this time insert these settings in Star Dialog Box: Radius 1: 10px, Radius 2: 100px, Points: 8. Duplicate this new star a few times and arrange them. Use my screenshot for reference. Change the colors of the duplicates, use different settings for Transparency and Opacity.
This is the resulting image of our 36 steps tutorial. Hope you enjoyed it :)