Illustrator Tutorial and Free Ribbon and Bow Vector

September 28, 2012 · 5 comments

by melanie

Illustrator Tutorial and Free Ribbon and Bow Vector

For my first tutorial here at TripWire Magazine, I decided to create a free ribbon and bow vector made in Adobe Illustrator. It is great for use in a Christmas-, birthday- well any type of gift / giveaway related design. Christmas season is coming fast now making this kind of ribbon bow vector really useful and relevant. I’m going to show you in detailed steps how you can create this kind of design building blocks in Illustrator yourself. However since Christmas is almost here we are also giving away the Illustrator Vector files you can use directly in your project as a freebie.


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  1. Let’s open a new document in Adobe Illustrator. We will start by drawing the basic shape of the left bow of our ribbon using the Pen Tool.
  2. Fill the drawn shape with a linear gradient (no stroke) using the colors #be1e2d and #f15a29.
  3. It would be great to give our ribbon a design on its lace so we will go on ahead and use the Pen Tool to draw the arc shape on our ribbon as shown below. Color it yellow. I use a linear gradient using the colors #fcb040  and  #fff200.
  4. Let’s grab our pen tool again to draw the inner lace of our ribbon. Color it with #d91b5c and 3c2313, linear gradient. Arrange, send it to back.
  5. Then with our pencil tool, draw our ribbon’s highlights freely and fill it with # f1592a (opacity set to 12%), # f7941e (opacity set to 100%), # ed1c24 (opacity set to 41%). For overall transparency, set its opacity to 25%.
  6. Now that our left bow is finished, it is easier if we can group the elements together. We do it by selecting all and click the right mouse button. Choose Group. We also want to create a duplicate copy of it; again select all, copy and paste, right click on the duplicate copy then choose “transform” from the popup menu, “reflect”, then choose vertical.
  7. Grab our pen tool again and start drawing the center knot. Fill it with linear gradient same color as our bow earlier. You can also use the eyedropper tool and pick on the bow’s color to copy its color properties automatically.  
  8. Draw the two arc bar line inside the knot to give our knot a design same with our bow. Give it a linear gradient using the colors #fcb040  and  #fff200.
  9. Now we will draw our ribbon’s tail. Use the Pen tool and draw the shape as shown below. Use the eye dropper tool to copy the same color that we use on our bow. However, use the gradient tool to get the right angle for the lighting and shadow of our ribbon’s tail. Adjust our gradient slider accordingly.
  10. For the tail design, I copy the ribbons tail twice and resized it smaller than the original. I also adjusted the points using the direct selection tool.
  11. Next, I selected both the top tail (smallest) and the middle tail and hit Pathfinder’s Minus Front.  I use a linear gradient using the colors #fcb040 and #fff200 again. I selected both tails, duplicate and transform it vertically.  Both should be arrange and send to the back of our ribbon’s bow and knot.
  12. For a more complicated ribbon, we can choose the left portion of our bow then duplicate it twice or thrice. Rotate them to form a circle around our knot. You can resize it and play with it to get more result.
Hope you enjoyed my tutorial! :)

Author : Melanie Reyes

Melanie Reyes is an aspiring graphic designer who loves to learn new stuff. She is currently learning adobe illustrator, offering her finished vector work free for the public to download. Melanie runs and founder of200DollarSite, a site dedicated to free vector downloads, tutorials and website package solution services.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Hale December 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Thank you so much for this tutorial and design files. These are really beautiful ribbon bows and would make a wonderful addition to any Christmas design project!

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Lars December 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Thanks for your feedback Anne. I agree that Melanie did a great job on this post!

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Mani Mazz December 7, 2011 at 10:43 am

Getting it smaller and adding this vectors to a cake factory or local cake selling store, and you got yourself a great logo.

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Tattoo December 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm

This is a picture of my fathers armband tattoo. He got it on his left arm. Im getting mine tomorrow and been planning the it for 2years now, i drew my own designe that i love, but i dont know which arm to get it on the left or right. I want it on the one that would show more like wen im talking to someone, or walking in the street.

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Khandaker Mehedi Hasan December 6, 2011 at 8:13 am

Thanks for your youseful Illustrator Tutorial, I am a new Graphic Designer this Tutorial will be helpful for me………

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