How To Create Flat Design Illustrations In Canva?

Here we are in Canva. For those of you who aren’t familiar with How To Create Flat Design Illustrations In Canva you just simply go to

You can log in with an email address and you can even attach your facebook to id if you want to. But just simply complete the registration process and this is roughly the screen that’s going to take you to.

So here, we have a couple of different layouts that you can choose to work with. And we’re really not going to dive too deeply into Canva.

There are some other great courses out there from some other really great creators that do some really deep dives into Canva.

I’d recommend you check one of those out if you really want to get into the nitty-gritty with Canva.

We’re just going to do a quick brush and overview. So you can see in here is you can a type in you know an artboard dimension like for instance is a logo which is 500 by 500 pixels or you can come down here and you can pick a size like for instance the Facebook cover.

There’s a flyer Facebook post you know whatever you’re the size of your artboard is gonna be that you’re going to be working with we are gonna be building a 10 ADP our board which is 1920 by 1080 pixel tall.

I did to do this was come up here and click this little button and you can change it from pixels to inches to millimeters to centimeters.

I predominately work in pixels but yet again this will be your projects you can do whatever you’d like.

I would recommend at this point time if you have dual screens set up or if you’re watching this on one device and you have your laptop handy this would be a good time to go ahead and get registered.

Log into Canva and kind of get to the point to where I’m at yet again we’re working on a 10 ADP the document which is 1920 by 1080 or you can really work on any size document that you feel comfortable in from the list that was down there below.

But we’re going to start off right here with this white background. And over here just to kind of remember things very quickly.

Campbell always starts you off with some templates so let’s pretend that you were making a thumbnail for a YouTube video or something like that.

You could just grab one of these thumbnails throw it up here and you know to fill in the blanks and being a bang and boom there you go.

That’s what my.

A mixed canvas so great is very quickly you can make predominately professional looking things without a whole lot of hassle on a whole lot of effort.

We’re not gonna be going into that we’re going to be mainly hanging out and what’s called Elements which is where you find all your shapes your lines your frames so forth and so on.

There is the text you can change your background you can upload images over here.

You know once we’re done with our project you can share you can download it you can publish it predominant

we’re just gonna be focusing on download and to talk real quickly about can the pro or camera premium.

I don’t know exactly what they call it.

There’s so much to do in Canva for the beginner graphic designer I wouldn’t really worry about you

know to get into that and paying for Canva right off the bat.

You know you can spend a lot of time just using the free stuff and learning and getting better and making

a lot of really great projects before you think about spending a penny.

So I would just focus on the free version until you know if you need to do that for your business or

for your work or let’s say you’re doing some side projects on fiver or whatever you know then consider

maybe paying for it but the free version is really great.

I would recommend it to anybody.

So yeah.

Anyway going back over here in the elements we’re just going to throw something up on the board right

now we have a nice grey circle and you can copy it which is gonna make you know two of them.

You can change the position so over here we can change our color and I’m just going to choose opposing

colors right now.

That way you can kind of an idea what I’m talking about.

We can change the position we can make one go back.

We can make one come forward.

We can align them whatever we’re trying to do we can change the transparency to whatever we’re trying

to accomplish with the type shading

kind of get the idea.

Other things we can do here.

Know of course you can delete with some of the photos and some of the other objects you have a few more

options appear to play with on the colors if you want to make a custom color you can go in here and

make whatever custom color you want or if you know the code for the color you can input that.

For instance, if you’re doing a project for like home business or let’s say you’re doing something

for a local business or whatever may be and you know their color codes for their however many colors

if they have a logo or whatever you can just plug those in right there for instance.

Seventy-three seventy-three seventy-three that makes a nice medium grey you know.

So yeah anyway we’re gonna go ahead and get started wrong when we’re gonna go ahead and get started

with building our first object

so we’re gonna start for the coffee cup.

And the first thing we want to do is we want to get rid of this white background.

It doesn’t really do me any good.

And it’s gonna be hard to take an object that is white and make it stand out on a white background.

So what I usually like to do is pick a funky color.

I tend to hang out in the blues.

No real reason why I just find them calming and they were a star for the most simple thing a circle

and we’re just gonna put this right in the center of our document right now because we’re not really

going to worry about what everything else we’re gonna builds we’re just going to focus on making the

coffee cup.

So here we have this grey shaded circle and if you remember from our demo coffee cup you know it didn’t

have a saucer so you can choose you to know whether if you want to have a saucer you don’t want to have

a saucer in the mockups and I made it had a saucer I like that look it doesn’t have to be that way it’s

your coffee cup.

So we’re going to probably end up making it both ways just to give you a feel.

The first thing we want to do is coffee cups are usually white on white.

Now that’s not gonna be a perfect combination.

That’s where colors can come in.

But just right now just for learning, I’m going to show you white on white.

So we’re going to take this for a copy walking in a circle out here and we want this circle to be smaller.

Not a lot smaller just a little smaller.

Well, right now I have a white circle within a white circle.

If I do this again copy center it brings it down a little center and again and change that third circle

that I made to something reminiscent of a brown technically I have a coffee cup on a saucer with some

coffee in there but you can’t tell that because there is no definition between the saucer and the Cup


So what we’re gonna do now is we’re gonna go in we’re going to create a color and we’re gonna work with

something more in the yellowish range and we’re going to lean towards like white gray yellow kind of

like that and now you can start to see the definition between the layers.

Now all coffee cups have a handle.

So we’re gonna make a handle

and there’s are a very very basic coffee cup.

Now is this perfect.

Of course not.

Not by any stretch of the imagination but could you take this and start building a nice looking project.

Of course, I’d highly recommend you tinker with this more but this gets us to a starting point now let’s

talk about problems no coffee cup in terms of what somebody is going to be able to see from however

small thumbnail or Facebook post is going to register whenever it has this thin of a wall.

So the first thing we do is we’re gonna make the actual coffee portion smaller and you see how it makes

this wine a lot thicker in graphic design especially in commercial graphic design.

You know thick lines are the best because you can see them from a pretty significant difference whereas

thin or intricate lines are usually not the best because I had to be really close to the subject.

So what you want to be thinking about here is now what is the viewing distance from the eye of the viewer

to the subject you know are they gonna be like in this cell phone screening a computer screen is going

to be a print of you know if it is going to be a print of how far is the individual going to be from

the desk where it’s sitting on the wall that’s on the holding in their hand if it’s going to be on their

cell phone what’s going to be the size of say like the YouTube thumbnail you know very small maybe maybe

not even an inch you know how is it going to look at all those different formats and pull up your phone

print out a piece of paper or whatever and kind of play with that in your mind you know how does this

look you know from a foot away you know one inch by one inch you know does it still look good.

And what you’re going to find really quickly is very thin very intricate lines don’t make friends for

whenever you’re dealing with all these different sizes.

So we’re going to stick to Bromley thick lines and focus on creating something that no matter what marketing

the format you’re putting it in it’s going to be easy to identify with the individual.

So here we have our coffee cup.

It’s very flat.

So what we want to do now is look at some shading options and all we do here is we take our big circle

copy it again center it where it changes the color to a darker gray and I’m going to use my arrow buttons

on my keyboard to do this but you can do this just as easily with a mouse.

The difference between doing it with the arrow buttons on your keyboard versus using the mouse is you

have a lot finer control.

So if you’ll just watch the circle I’m hitting the up button which is making you go up and down button

which is making you go down left right so forth and so on.

Whereas if I use the mouse I can do all the same stuff but I don’t have it’s fine-tuning the adjustment.

So for this first one, I’ll use the mouse and I’ll come back I’ll show what it looks like with the arrows.

So here I have it just kind of off to the side and I’m going to position it back.

I’m going to go through all the layers and there we go.

We have our shadow.

Now let’s stop and talk about light.

Before we move on.

Whereas the light coming from in this image we’re going to take a triangle.

We’re going to use that to act as our pseudo light source example the light from this image or the way

that we’ve made this image is kind of coming from over here and it’s just kind of shining out in this


Now if we take the shadow and we move it to say 0 1

and we move it say down here and let’s say we go like way-way out here.

Where’s the light coming from now.

Well, it’s coming from over here.

Well actually way over here

something kind of like a like that.

You get the idea need to play with this a little bit more.

There we go.

So now the light is coming from this direction shining this way.

So keep that in mind you know wherever your light in grand.

This is digital so it’s not real light but wherever your light in your composition is coming from you

need to respect that across your entire image.

So getting back to working with our arrow keys I’m going to just place this kind of over here somewhere.

Not necessarily perfectly and using my arrow keys I’m going to get this to look you know exactly how

I want it so I’m going to come out and I want a little bit of a shadow.

And I’m trying to think about how my final composition is going to look and I don’t want it to be perfectly

you know in the cardinal directions because I think I feel like a minute of turning this coffee cup

to make the handle look like it’s towards the individual who would potentially be holding the coffee

cup because it would look weird if say my human figure was down here and you know the coffee cup handle

were you know up here somewhere that wouldn’t make any sense.

That would be silly.

So I mean take it and yet again I’m using my

arrow buttons here and I’m just going to kind of bring it a little askew and just a little sliver of

a shadow.

Other things you can do to really contrast this shadow up as you can come over here to your transparency

and just kind of slowly bring it down.

And this is going to affect the hardness of the light shining in your image.

So here we have our mock light source and let’s pretend this light source is really hard.

I’m an I won’t change it to read.


So it is just unbelievably hard to run one.

Unbelievably hard.

So we’re going to bring that all the way up and bring it all the way kind of out this way.

It’s just-just a really really hard light source is just really beaming on and you know we’re gonna

we’re gonna take another step further we’re gonna leave this gray and we’re going to go to a black shadow.

So this would be something if like you had like almost like a spotlight shining on your coffee cup.

Well, that’s probably not going to happen too much in real life.

So don’t use those colors don’t.

Don’t build it that way unless of course, that’s specifically what you’re going for.

Maybe you’re making a piece of marketing for spotlights.

I don’t know but we’re gonna build this a little bit more realistic.

Say it again.

We’re gonna come back and we’re going to change back to a gray.

It doesn’t really matter which Gray you pick the darker gray the harder the light the lighter the gray

the softer the light the darker the gray the more you can play with it.

Over here in transparency the lighter the gray you have a little bit less room to wiggle.

And we’re gonna bring it down you know to probably about maybe in the 30s.

Let’s go.

Thirty on the nose.

And actually, I think that’s a little too soft because yet again talking about what’s the distance that

somebody is going to be viewing this from.

You know if they’re going to be viewing it from say I don’t know a foot away on one inch by one inch


Are they going to be able to tell if that’s a shadow?

So we’re gonna bring it back up and let’s just go for 50 percent.

And if I don’t like 50 percent I’ll change the color or do something else married and change the color.

So here we have our shadow and it’s a little scary because I messed with it

and that kind of fits our light source not perfectly but kinda sorta in the ballpark.

You know again remembering you know people are going to be viewing this in different formats.

So here we have our coffee cup with our shadow coming out the side.

Now if we have a light source and shining down what are we going to have in the liquid you’re going

to have sheen sovereignty over here the elements and we’re gonna go over here to shapes and we’re

in a click on all and here we have all the different shapes that are available to you in Canva yet

again your imagination is where Canva begins and ends.

So if you want to build whatever crazy thing you can dream up there’s a ton of different shapes in here

you can use.

Do be careful because the farther you go down eventually you run into page shapes and paid pictures

and paid illustrations.

And they’re like a buck a pop but I don’t really want to pay for them.

I’m sure you don’t either.

So just keep that in mind if you’re going through when you use them.

Some of these do require you to spend some money but the ones up here at the top and like the basic

shape area they don’t.

So we’re going to take this macaroni shape and that is going to be our sheen and what we want to do

are we want to size it to the cup first

and you see how that’s relatively even all the way around.

And some different ways you can check that down here in this corner.

We have our size or our zoom measure.

So if I go all the way up to 200 I’m going to be right up on the image.

If I go up to 300 all I’ll be even tighter on the image.

So how we check that is we can create a dummy amount to backpack out.

Make that a little bit smaller and we are going to change that to a very bright color

I want to make it too small for even me to get a handle on it.

There we go in that ballpark and zoom all the way back in so we’re going to use this Red Square as a


So the first thing we want to do is we want to size it all right.

And we’re looking for something that’s going to kind of touch this line and touch this line and we’re

trying to see if we go around our curve here.

Is it all relatively the same you can use this trick for the weather if it squares triangles circles whatever

it’s going to be a little bit more difficult on curved things as opposed to flat things but you can

still use it too about the same effectiveness and in general, we’re going to be using this little trick

throughout everything that we do.

It’s just a very simple guide tool to have in your toolbox.

So going to come down here and well it doesn’t exactly work.

So now we’re going to turn it and we’re just seeing you know is it about like what we had up there and

that’s pretty close.

You know I think we have a little bit more overlap over here than what we have there.

But some that could be mistaken on my part in terms of rotating it and we attest over here in it

again you know where in the ballpark.

That’s pretty good.

So we’re not through our guide off of the side will prime the leading him later and we’re in a bag check

out so here we are looking into her cup and the first thing we’re gonna go back to is our light source

our light source is shining from over here shining this way so we need to make our Sheen matter shadow

so we’re gonna rotate our Sheen up.

Oh, it went outside of the cup.

So we’re going to come back and we can do the same little guy trick all over again or you can just kind

of eyeball it.

It really just depends on how super tight you’re trying to get.

You can also bring this curve out and try and match the curve of your shadow which isn’t exactly perfect

but it can help kind of get you yet again in the ballpark.

So here we go.

We have our sheen and we’re just trying to play with the alignment.

I might go back to use my arrow keys for the find two adjustments.

It’s important that you remember how useful the arrow keys are as a tool because it’s really sometimes

where you want to move it just one pixel.

So here we have our Sheen.

It’s in our cup.

It doesn’t really look that good, does it?


Because it’s too hard.

So we’re going to change it to a lighter brown due to

this kind of playing with an I like that Brown right there.

It’s a little pinky so we might go back and change it again.

I’m going to bring down the opacity and go back and change it I want a little bit more white in there.

I think I like that.

So here we have our coffee cup.

We have a shadow.

We have a sheen.

And yet again if you feel like something is imperfect like maybe this sheen just doesn’t quite line

up you can go back and you can fix it.

It’s important that you know that it’s OK to make mistakes.

That’s OK if things aren’t perfect.

If you know you’re willing to go back and fix some and you know it’s up to time and effort that goes

into it just realize you know it’s OK to make a mistake.

Just be willing to go back and fix it and make it look good.

Al Shariar Apon

Al Shariar Apon is a Digital Marketing Specialist with over 4 years of Marketing & Design experience based out of Khulna, Bangladesh. But I'm very passionate about photography from my childhood. So I have participated and won some photography contests.

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