In today’s tutorial you will learn how to create a Tote Bag Mock-up on which you can easily replace color elements, textures and even object shapes. This is possible thanks to a few plug-ins: Texturino, VectorScribe, Stylism, PhantasmDynamicSketch and some native Illustrator effects. Let’s get started!

Step 1

Start Adobe Illustrator and create a new document (Cmd / Ctrl + N). For this I have worked in RGB color mode. Create a rectangle filled with light-gray color, this will play the role of the background. Sizes of the rectangle correspond to the sizes of the artboard (in my case it’s 600 x 600 px).

Step 2

Create a handle for the tote bag with the help of the Pen Tool (P), creating two intersecting paths similar to those shown in the picture below.

There are three methods to trim the upper part of the right-hand path back to the intersection:

  1. If you have DynamicSketch installed, select that tool, hold down Shift and strike through the upper part of the right path segment to be trimmed.
  2. If you have VectorScribe v2 (or above) installed, use the Path Extend Tool (stacked beneath the PathScribe Tool in the Illustrator toolbox) and simply click-drag the protruding endpoint to snap with the intersection.
  3. Natively in the latest Illustrator CC, select both paths, click on the Shape Builder Tool (Shift + M), holding Opt / Alt, scrub out the section of path to be removed.

Create a short parallel curve which touches the right-hand path. If you have VectorScribe installed, you can easily ensure the path touches perfectly by using the Extend Path Tool.

Join points A, B and C, D using the Pen Tool (P).

Note that points C and D are on the same vertical.

Step 3

Select the resultant path, take the Shape Builder Tool (Shift + M) and click inside the shapes. As a result, we should have two closed paths, any other objects that may appear as a result of the building shapes process, must be deleted.

Take the Reflect Tool (O) and click at point C, holding Opt/ Alt. In the opened dialog box, select the Vertical option and press the Copy button.

Select two upper shapes, then press Unite in the Pathfinder panel.

Step 4

To create the cloth part of the bag, we will be using the Dynamic Shapes part of the VectorScribe plug-in, which will allow us to easily change the shape of the bag after the mock-up is ready. Take the Dynamic Shapes Tool and create a rectangle 300x300px in size with 5px for radius of the shape’s corners. While doing this tutorial it’s advisable to stick to these sizes, so that the parameters used in your future effects will coincide with those in the pictures.

Fill the dynamic shape with radial gradient, which consists of two shades of brown.

Apply the Drop Shadow effect to the object (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow …) with the parameters shown in the picture below.

An alternative and more convenient way of applying the effects is to use the Stylism plug-in. This allows you to control the parameters of the effect using the Stylism panel (Window > Stylism > Stylism panel) and annotation system that appears on the object after activating the Stylism Tool. In the case of the Drop Shadow effect, you can control the Opacity, Blur, Blending mode and the position of the shadow with the control of the annotation system.

Step 5

Now let’s add a fabric texture. We will need some Free Hi-Res Canvas bitmap textures. For this artwork I have chosen fzm-canvas.texture-04- [800×789] texture from a Seamless folder. Place the selected texture into a current document (File > Place…). By default, it will be a linked file. Now click on the Embed button in the Control panel.

With the help of Texturino, we are able to automatically convert embedded images directly in the Texture Manager of this plug-in. Select the texture, and then open the Texture panel. To do this, go to Window > Texturino > Texture panel or simply click on the Texture Tool icon in the Tools panel. Open the fly-out menu of the panel and select the Convert Raster Art to Texture function.

Open the Texture Manager dialog box, and we can see that a new texture has now appeared in the library.

Here we can rename the texture and assign it to an existing or newly-created category. Apply the sackcloth texture to the rectangle by clicking the Plus icon in the Texture panel. On the object there appears an annotation system which gives control over Scale, Opacity and Blending mode, and rotation. Now reduce the scale and choose the Overlay blending mode.

Step 6

Next, apply a white stroke to the rectangle 15px in width.

Select a stroke in the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance), then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path and set the value of -10px.

Apply the Drop Shadow effect to the target stroke (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow…) with the parameters shown in the picture below.

Now apply the Multiply blending mode to the stroke.

Next, apply the Roughen effect to the stroke (Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen…) with the parameters shown in the picture below.

This effect will give the shadow a slight roughness, which corresponds to the surface of the material.

Step 7

Now add a new stroke in the Appearance panel. Set a 3px width for it and apply a Linear Gradient within the stroke from black to gray color, and with an inclination angle of -45°.

Apply to this stroke the Offset Path effect with a -16px Offset value.

Apply the Screen blending mode to the stroke.

Apply the Gaussian Blur effect to the stroke (Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur …) with 1px radius.

Now apply the Roughen effect to the stroke with the settings shown in the picture below.

Step 8

Add a new gray stroke (K = 40) in the Appearance panel. Set 2px width for it, tick the Dashed line option and set 5px for dash.

Apply the Offset Path effect with -10px for Offset value to the gray stroke.

Now apply the Screen blending mode to it.

Duplicate the last stroke in the Appearance panel and put a new item below the previous one. Set 1px for the stroke width.

Apply to this stroke the Transform effect (Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform …) with the parameters listed below.

Apply the Multiply Blending mode to the stroke. This will create a shadow from the seam thread.

Step 9

Create shadows in places where the handle attaches to the fabric. Do this by adding a new fill to the Appearance panel and apply to it a Linear Gradient that consists of alternating white and gray colors, as shown in the picture below.

Now select this fill in the Appearance panel, then go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle …, tick Absolute option and set 300x19px for size.

Next, apply to the fill the Transform effect with the parameters listed below.

Then apply the Color Burn blending mode to the fill.

Step 10

Now let’s change the shape of the tote bag to create a more realistic look. Select the entire object, then go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower …, effect parameters are shown in the picture below.

Create slight bumps on the edges of the fabric, for this go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen …, effect parameters are shown in the picture below.

Despite all the transformations, the cloth part of the Tote Bag is a single object. The picture below shows the Appearance panel with all the fills, strokes and effects applied that have been used in the process of its creation.

Now we can save it all as a graphic style in the Graphic Styles panel and apply it to other objects. This ensures we will not have to repeat all the steps described above.

In addition, the object has not lost its dynamic properties, which means that you can easily change its shape and size via the Dynamic Shapes panel.

Step 11

You can quickly change the color of the tote bag, to do so just replace the colors of the radial gradient (lower fill in the Appearance panel).

Or for a quick color adjustment you can use the Hue/ Saturation feature of the Phantasm plug-in (Effect > Phantasm > Hue / Saturation… or Object > Filters > Phantasm > Hue / Saturation…).

Step 12

The texture of the fabric can also be quickly and easily replaced with the help of the Texturino panel. To do this, select the new desired textured in the Texturino panel and click on the Replace Texture button (2nd from left).

Step 13

Now let’s color the elements of the handle. For the side parts use Linear Gradients which contain shades of gray color, transmitting light and shadow.

For the upper part use the Radial Gradient consisting of the two shades of gray color.

Group up the objects of the handle, then add to the group a new fill in the Appearance panel. The color of the fill will be the color of the handle, and it is easy to replace if you later decide to recolor it.

Apply the Multiply blending mode to the color fill.

With the help of the Texturino panel, apply to the handle the Undulating render texture from the installed plug-in library. Select Soft light blending mode, reduce the Opacity to 70%, then set the scale to 15% with the annotation system.

Step 14

Create a drop shadow from the handle. Add to the group a new fill in the Appearance panel. Now apply a linear gradient of black and two shades of grey. Place the gradient at a slight angle to the vertical, as shown below.

Move the fill below the Content item in the Appearance panel.

Step 15

Apply a Free Distort effect (Effect > Distort & Distort > Free Distort…) to this fill. Here I want to note that controlling this effect is much more convenient when using the annotation system of the Stylism plug-in rather than the Free Distort dialog box, which does not even have a Preview option.

Apply to the shadow a Gaussian Blur effect (Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur…) of 7px radius.

Apply the Transform effect (Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform…) with the parameters listed below.

Then apply the Multiply blending mode.

Step 16

Select the whole group, then apply to it the Free Distort effect, as shown below.

And finally, apply the Arch effect to the group (Effect > Warp > Arch…) with the parameters shown below.

The Tote Bag Mock-up is now ready! We can now add whatever logo and inscription. I hope this tutorial has been useful for you, and that you’ll have a go at creating a Tote Bag Mock-up in Illustrator.

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