How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator

In this tutorial you will learn how to create delicious gingerbread cookies in Adobe Illustrator.


Follow this tutorial and learn how to draw gingerbread cookies in vector form. We will play with brushes and effects to create the texture and with the Appearance panel to create the colored icing. By the end, you will be able to draw a different kind of cookies and apply these techniques in your future projects. Let’s start the fun!


Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:
How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator


Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS3+
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate

Step 1

Launch Illustrator and go to File > New in order to open a blank document. Type a name for your file and set up the dimensions then select Pixels as Units and RGB as Color Mode. Also, uncheck Align New Objects to Pixel Grid. Next, go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1 px and while there, also go to Units and make sure that they are set as in the following image. I usually work with these settings and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 2

Let’s start with the heart shaped cookie. Use the Pen Tool (P) and draw a triangle shape like in the image below; then go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points to add an extra point in the middle of each side (1).

Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and use it to select these middle points and move them as indicated by the arrows. Next, still using the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the four point indicated (2) and press the Convert selected anchor points to smooth option in the Control panel. They will transform from corner to smooth points and you can see the result below (3).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 3

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to adjust the handles and make the sides of the heart shape rounder (1). Next, take the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and use it to generate small handles for the top and bottom points of the heart (2). You can see the final heart shape in the image below (3).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 4

Let’s continue with the tree shaped cookie. Grab the Rounded Rectangle Tool and draw the trunk shape using the dimensions shown (1). Continue to draw three triangles of different sizes at the top (2).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 5

Use the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) to generate handles for the six points on the sides to make them rounder (1). Make extra adjustments if needed and then select all the shapes and press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape. At this point the tree shape is ready (2).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 6

For the star shaped cookie, grab the Star Tool and draw the shape using the dimensions shown (1). Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and use it to move the four points indicated outwards a little (2).

While the shape stays selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Round Corners and apply a Radius of 10 px; then choose Expand Appearance from the Object menu. At this point the star shape is ready (3).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 7

The last shape is the gingerbread man. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw the first ellipse having the dimensions shown as the head (1). Continue to draw four smaller ellipses as the hands and feet (2) and then draw the shape of the body between these ellipses with the help of the Pen Tool (P) (3).

Make extra adjustments if needed and when you are happy with how it looks, select all the shapes and press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape. At this point the gingerbread man shape is ready (4).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 8

Scale up or down the cookie shapes and make sure they are about the same size (1). White the four shapes stay selected, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen and apply the settings shown; then choose Expand Appearance and Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) from the Object menu.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 9

Focus on the heart shaped cookie and give it a brown fill color. Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 10

With the cookie still selected, go the Appearance panel and add a New Fill above the first. Use white as the color; then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain and apply the settings shown. Set the Blending Mode to Soft Light and reduce the Opacity to 25%.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 11

With the cookie still selected, add a New Fill at the top of the Appearance panel. Use white as the color; then go to Effect > Texture > Texturizer and apply the settings shown. Set the Blending Mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to 77%.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 12

While the heart shaped cookie stays selected, press the New Graphic Style icon at the bottom of the Graphic Styles panel in order to save it. You can name it “gingerbread style”.

Now, select the other three cookie shapes and simply select the new style from the Graphic Styles panel to apply it.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 13

Let’s add more texture. Grab the Pencil Tool (N) and draw five paths on the heart cookie like in the following image (1). Stroke these paths with the Chalk Art Brush from the Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPencil. Keep the Stroke Weight at 1 pt and use beige as the stroke color (2). Set the Blending Mode to Soft Light and reduce the Opacity to 35% (3).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 14

Repeat the previous step for the other three cookies. First draw the paths on each one and then use the same brush and settings.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 15

Select the heart shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it in front of everything (the red path). Remove all existing appearances for this copy (1).

Now, select everything on your artboard and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). As a result you will get clean edges (2).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 16

Repeat the previous step for the other three cookies and mask them as well.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 17

Focus on the heart cookie again and let’s create the icing. Select the heart shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it in front of everything. Remove the existing appearances and just give it a stroke (1).

While this copy stays selected, go to Object > Transform >Scale and type 80% in the Scale field. Hit OK and you will get the smaller heart shape (2).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 18

Select the smaller heart shape and give it a 5 pt Stroke using a darker shade of pink. Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 19

With the icing shape still selected, go to the Appearance panel and add a New Stroke above the first. Use pink as the color and set the Stroke Weight at 3 pt. While this Stroke attribute stays selected in the Appearance panel, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and apply a -1 px Vertical Move.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 20

With the icing shape still selected, add a New Stroke at the top of the Appearance panel. Set the Stroke Weight at 3 pt and this time, use a light shade of pink.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 21

With the icing shape still selected, add a New Stroke and the last one at the top of the Appearance panel. Use white and set the Stroke Weight at 1.5 pt. Next, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and apply a -1 px Vertical Move.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 22

At this point the pink icing is ready and you can create another one. To do that, select the pink icing and go to Object > Transform > Scale. Type 50% in the Scale field and hit Copy. As a result you will get the smaller heart shape in the center and by simply changing the stroke colors you will get the white icing. So, replace the shades of pink with the shades of gray indicated and keep the rest of the settings the same.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 23

Select the pink icing and press the New Graphic Style icon at the bottom of the Graphic Styles panel to save it. You can name it “pink icing style” (1). Do the same thing and save the “white icing style” as well (2). You will use them for the other cookies.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 24

Focus on the star shaped cookie. Select the star shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it in front of everything. Remove the existing appearances and just give it a stroke (1).

While this copy stays selected, go to Object > Transform > Scale and type 72% in the Scale field. Hit OK and you will get the smaller star shape. Now, simply select the “white icing style” from the Graphic Styles panel to apply it (2).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 25

Select the white icing, go to Object > Transform > Scale and type 55% in the Scale field. Hit Copy and you will get the smaller star shape in the center (1).

You can leave it as white icing or you can change the stroke colors as you did before. Replace the shades of gray with the shades of orange indicated and you’ll create a new icing that you can save as the “cream icing style” in the Graphic Styles panel (2).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 26

Let’s continue with the tree shaped cookie. Use the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N) to draw three wavy paths on it (1) and then apply the “white icing style” or one of the others to them (2).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 27

The last cookie is the gingerbread man. Draw the paths from the image below to define the face and the body (1). Simply select the “white icing style” from the Graphic Styles panel and you are done (2).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 28

Let’s create a bow tie for the gingerbread man to make it cuter. Draw two triangle-like shapes like in the image below (1) followed by a circle between them (2). Select all three shapes and press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape (3).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 29

Fill the bow tie shape that you have obtained at the previous step with a very light gray and also give it a 1 pt gray Stroke (1). Make a copy of this shape, scale it down and give it a white fill (2).

Now, select both shapes and go to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Choose 10 Specified Steps, hit OK and then go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B). At this point the bow tie is ready (3).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 30

While the bow tie blend-group stays selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 31

Under the bow tie draw a 12 x 12 px circle with the Ellipse Tool (L); then fill it with the radial gradient shown (1). Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) this circle and replace the existing gradient with a white to red radial gradient and then set the Blending Mode to Overlay (2).

Group (Control-G) the two circles and apply the Drop Shadow effect (3).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 32

To add some sparkles, draw two or three tiny ellipses on the pink button and fill them with a basic white to black radial gradient (1). Set the Blending Mode to Screen for all of them (2).

Make a copy of the pink button along with the sparkles and move them below the first one (3).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 33

Make more copies of the pink button and arrange them on the tree as the baubles. To obtain different colored baubles, just select the second circle filled with the white to red radial gradient and replace it with the white to green gradient for the green bauble or use the other one for a golden bauble. Feel free to use other gradients as well.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 34

It’s time to create the shadows and you are done. Select the heart, tree, star and gingerbread man shapes and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make copies of them in front of everything (1). Remove all existing appearances and just select a brown fill color. Move these copies in a New layer behind the cookies.

While these copies stay selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown (2).

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Step 35

At this point the gingerbread cookies are ready.

How to Draw Gingerbread Cookie Icons in Adobe Illustrator 2


Awesome work!

Here is the final image of the gingerbread cookies. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you learned new things today.

diana_gingerbread_cookie_icons_tut_final2