Create a Candy Gumball Machine Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating
The look and simplicity of a gumball machine is ubiquitous in design. It's no doubt you've grown up around them at stores, restaurants, or shopping malls. While globe-like machines tend to be the most iconic, we're going to focus on the box-like design that's often seen to house more than just gumballs. Fire up Adobe Illustrator CC and let's get to it!
Create a New Document. Mine has dimensions of 6.67" x 7.75", though anything in that ballpark should be ample space for your design. Let's start with the base of the gumball machine:
  1. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to draw a rectangle that covers 2/3 of the width of the artboard. Pull the Live Corners inward slightly to round out the corners of the rectangle. If you're not using Illustrator CC, use the Rounded Rectangle Tool with some trial and error to get the radius you want.
  2. With the Direct Selection Tool (A), move the anchor points of the lower left corner so the space between the two of them is elongated to the right.
  3. Move the path on the left side of the rounded rectangle so its angled inward, toward the right.
  4. Finally, bring the corner anchor points upward a bit so the curve kicks up at the end (see top left corner of the trapezoid).
  1. Draw a vertical rectangle with the Rectangle Tool overlapping half of the trapezoid. 
  2. Select both shapes and hit Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. Expand the shape under Object.
  3. Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) the newly cut shape and Reflect it over a Vertical AxisAlign the two shapes and Unite them in Pathfinder.
  4. Change the Fill color to bright Red.
This gumball machine needs a bright and shiny (very shiny) base in which to hold coins and such (though in the case of this illustration, all gumballs are free as I have declined to draw a coin slot).
Three gradient shapes were drawn below with the Pen Tool (P). The first and largest of the shapes covers the lower right side of the machine's base. Once drawn with the Pen Tool, use the Gradient Tool (G) in order to apply Linear Gradient that goes from Dark Red to Red. Concentrate the darker color of the gradient in the lower right corner. Do so in the Gradient panel.
Carefully draw two shapes on either side of the base shape to cast shadows on either side of the gumball machine.
The third and final shadow shape on the red portion of the gumball base is curved around the lower left side of the machine's base and contains a Linear gradient going from Dark Red at 100% Opacity to Red at 0% Opacity. Concentrate the darker color toward the bottom of the machine base.
The majority of the gumball machine's shapes will have additional line art placed over them. Let's begin doing so now:
  1. Copy and Paste the trapezoid drawn in Section 1, Step 2 and set the Fill color to Null and the stroke color to Black. In the Stroke panel, set both Cap and Corner to Rounded and the stroke's Weight to 2pt.
  2. With the Pen Tool, draw a long, rectangular-like shape on the top of the machine base that curves up at the sides. This shape will hold the glass container that holds the gumballs. Draw a second shape underneath the first (selected below) that curves slightly in the middle.
  3. Finally, draw a curved rectangular shape at the bottom of the gumball machine. I found it easiest to trace the bottom edge and sides of the trapezoid before drawing the top curve of the shape. Adjust  any curves with the Direct Selection Tool.
Select all four shapes drawn in the previous shape, Group (Control-G) them together, and set the Blending Mode to Soft Light in the Transparency panel. Copy and Paste the group, set the Blending Mode to NormalStroke color to Null, and Fill color to Black. Place the new group underneath its counterpart in the Layers panel.
Select the bottom black shape with the Direct Selection Tool and apply a Linear Gradient going from Black to Dark Gray to Black to Dark Gray to Black (see below). Draw two rectangles on the top black shapes with Linear Gradients going from Light Gray at 0% Opacity to 100% Opacity to 0% Opacity.
Let's focus on the top of the machine base. Copy and Paste the two black shapes and apply the same black and dark gray gradient from the previous step. Reduce their Opacity to 46% in the Transparency panel.
This step calls for five rectangles in total drawn with the Rectangle Tool. Two on each black shape (see below) that goes from Light Gray at 0% Opacity to 100% Opacity to 0% Opacity. Note how the gradients are at their lightest and brightest along the same space on either side of the design.
Draw one thin, horizontal rectangle at the top of the second black shape (last image below) that contains a Linear Gradient that goes from Gray at 0% Opacity to White at 100% Opacity to Gray (0%) to White (100%) to Gray (0%).
Group together the shapes drawn in this step and place them underneath the stroked lines from Section 2, Step 3.
Draw two more thin horizontal rectangle underneath the one drawn last in the previous step and place them as seen below. For the gradient highlight on the red base (final image below), use the Light Gray at 0% Opacity to 100% Opacity to 0% Opacity gradient with its overall Opacity reduced to 40%, or so, in the Transparency panel.
For the bottom of the gumball machine base, apply the same gradients from the previous three steps resulting in four additional gradient rectangles (see the progression below).
The final step to rendering the gumball machine base are a few shiny highlights onto the red portion of the design. Draw two vertical rectangles (thin ones) on the left side of the machine base. Apply Linear Gradients to each going from White at 100% Opacity to 0% Opacity at a 90° angle. Reduce the Opacity of the second gradient shape to 40% in the Transparency panel.
Draw two additional rectangles, side by side, to complete the highlights on the base. Both shapes have a Linear Gradient going from White at 0% Opacity to 100% Opacity to 0% Opacity.
This isn't so much of a step as it is a progress point of what we've accomplished in this section. Compare the two designs to your own. Perhaps you've got just enough shiny gradient rectangle shapes, or wish to add more. Group everything together when your gumball machine base is complete.
Draw a Rounded Rectangle and place it behind the machine base group in the Layers panel. Set the Fill color to White.
Using the Pen Tool, draw two shadow shapes that follow the side edges of the white box and angle inward at the bottom. Set the Linear Gradient to black at 100% Opacity to 0% Opacity and a 90° angle.
Copy and Paste the white box, set the Fill color to Null and the Stroke color to Black. In the Stroke panel, set the weight to 2pt and Cap and Corner to Rounded. Set the Blending Mode to Soft Light in the Transparency panel.
For the top of the glass container, we'll need to create two base shapes and then render them.
  1. Use the Pen Tool to draw a rectangle whose sides are angled inwards. Set the fill color to Black. Alternatively, you can use the Rectangle Tool and angle the anchor points to match the image below.
  2. For the front piece, use the Pen Tool to start at the lower left corner of the black rectangle with a straight line down and a slightly curved corner to the right.
  3. I find it easiest to hold down Shift in order to draw a straight horizontal line to the right.
  4. End the shape in the center of the glass case. The right corners of the shape are both 90° angles. Close the shape at the origin anchor point on the left side.
  5. CopyPaste and reflect the pasted shape over a Vertical AxisAlign the shapes together and Unite them in the Pathfinder panel.
The process to render the top of the glass case is pretty much the same as what was done in Section 3 of this tutorial.
  1. Set the Fill color of the front piece to a Linear Gradient that goes from Black to Dark Gray to Black to Dark Gray to Black
  2. Copy and Paste both shapes and set the Fill color to Null and the Stroke color to BlackWeight to 2ptCap to RoundedCorner to Rounded, and the Blending Mode to Soft Light.
  3. Draw a thin, horizontal rectangle along the top edge of the front shape. Set the Gradient to White at 0% to 100% to 0% Opacity in the Gradient panel.
  4. Draw two rectangles over the Dark Gray portions of the front shape with the same White to White gradient done in the previous step.
  5. Draw two small, thin rectangles near the top edge with the same gradient again in order to really make the highlights pop. Group together all of the gumball machine lid components.
Draw a thin, horizontal rectangle near the bottom of the "glass" container in the design. Set the Fill color to black and the Opacity to 23% in the Transparency panel. Group together the shadow gradient shapes.
Any designs inside the machine that aren't the gumballs themselves are optional, as your glass case might obscure this construct entirely. If it will be shown, however, follow the steps below.
  1. Draw a long, vertical rectangle in the center of the glass case with a Linear Gradient that goes from Dark Gray to Medium Gray to Dark Gray.
  2. Beneath this shape, draw two identical Dark Gray ellipses using the Ellipse Tool (L).
  3. Draw a rectangle between them so their edges are flush with the rectangle's sides.
  4. Either Unite the three shapes in the Pathfinder panel, or use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) to Merge the shapes.
  5. Place the new flattened cylinder shape beneath the long rectangle pole in the Layers panel.
In order to render the cylinder, follow the steps below:
  • Apple a Linear Gradient that goes from Dark Gray to Medium Gray to Dark Gray.
  • Draw a Light Gray ellipse and align it to the top of the cylinder.
  • Apply a Light Gray to Medium Gray Linear Gradient to the ellipse.
  • Copy and Paste the cylinder and the ellipse, set the Fill color to Null and the Stroke color to Black. In the Stroke panel, set the Cap and corner to Rounded, and the Weight to 2ptGroup together the cylinder components and place them beneath the vertical rectangle in the Layers panel.
Once again, this isn't so much of a step as it is a progress shot of where we are so far. I added two transparent ellipses beneath the base of the glass case.
We'll start with the bright red "gumball" at the top of the machine. This will be the basic method for every gumball color in the design.
  1. Draw a Red circle with the Ellipse Tool.
  2. Copy and Paste the circle twice and overlap the two copied shapes as seen below.
  3. Hit Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel.
  4. Align it to the bottom right of the red circle. Apply a Linear Gradient that goes from Dark red to Red with the darker color concentrated at the bottom right.
  1. Paste the circle again over the red circle. Set the Fill color to Null and the Stroke color to Black. In the Stroke panel, set the Weight to 0.5pt.
  2. Paste a circle again. This time the Stroke Weight will be 2pts and the Blending Mode will be Soft Light.
  3. Draw a smaller circle in the center of the red gumball with a Linear Gradient that goes from Red at 100% to 0% Opacity.
  4. Draw two small white circles in the upper left of the gumball. Group the gumball components together. Place the gumball at the top of the machine.
In order to create multiple colors, I found it easiest to Copy and Paste multiple gumballs and change the Red and Dark Red of the original gumball by going to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork. This allows you to change two colors in each gumball without having to bother with each individual gradient.
I decided on seven colors in total for my gumballs. How many colors you choose is entirely up to you. Copy and Paste the gumballs around the glass case in order to fill it up. Make sure there are a few levels of gumballs piled within it in order to add depth. Once satisfied with placement, Group the gumballs together.
Use the Pen Tool in order to draw highlight shapes across the glass case with a Linear Gradient that goes from Cream or White at 0% to 100%.
The stylized tray and coin mechanism are fairly simple in design.
  1. Draw a rounded rectangle in Dark Gray.
  2. Apply the same Gray and Black Linear Gradient as used in Section 3 of this tutorial.
  3. Draw a smaller, more severely rounded rectangle in Black in the upper half of the first rounded rectangle.
  1. Draw a rectangle over the smaller rounded rectangle.
  2. Use the Shape Builder Tool to select the lower half of the rounded rectangle. Delete the rest of the overlapping rectangle.
  3. Apply a Linear Gradient going from Black to Gray to Black to Gray to Black again.
  4. Copy and Paste all three shapes and change the Fill color to Null, Stroke to 2pt Weight, Black, and Rounded Corners and Caps. Set the Blend Mode to Soft Light in the Transparency panel.
  1. Draw a thin, horizontal rectangle with a Linear Gradient that goes from White at 0% to 100% to 0% to 100% to 0% Opacity.
  2. Repeat on the tray itself.
  3. Draw a thin vertical rectangle with a Linear Gradient that goes from White at 0% to 100% to 0%.
  4. Draw a small Gray rectangle set at 50% Opacity in the Transparency panel.
  5. Use the Pen Tool to draw a curving shape on the bottom of the gumball tray. Set the Fill color to Black and Opacity to 50%.
For the turning mechanism, you'll be repeating the same rendering steps as used throughout this section.
  1. Draw a rounded rectangle whose width matches the gumball tray.
  2. Apply the same shiny metallic black Linear Gradient used previously. Copy and Paste the rounded rectangle, set the Fill color to Null and Stroke to Black, 2pt Weight, Rounded Corners and Caps, and Blend Mode to Soft Light.
  3. Draw a small black rounded rectangle in the center of the other shape.
  4. Draw a second, even smaller rounded rectangle with the shiny metallic black gradient applied.
  5. Draw thin rectangles with highlight gradients along the top edge of the turning mechanism.
  6. I've drawn five highlight gradient shapes in total, mostly on the top and left side of each shape, similar to what has been done on the other metallic black components of the gumball machine design.
Group together your gumball machine components. I chose a bright, mustard yellow for my background color. Draw a large rectangle over the artboard and place it behind the gumball machine in order to create the background.
Draw a smaller rounded rectangle of the same color and place it above the white rectangle drawn in Section 4, Step 1 in order to make the glass case look transparent.
Copy and Paste the gumball machine without the inner components, Expand all shapes under Object, and Unite them in the Pathfinder panel. Set the Fill color to Null and Stroke to 2-4pt WeightCap to RoundedCorner to Rounded, and Blending Mode to Soft LightAlign it with the gumball machine.
It was a long process, but your gumball machine is ready for business! What colors did you use? Imagine a whole fleet of candy-colored vending machines. Show us your version of this design in the comments below!


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