In this latest post of keeping things simple, we are going to step through designing a tropical island focusing on the humble tree. Like we have in the past – through our guitar and bicycle examples – we will break down our little island into its component parts and recreate the design in Sketch in 5 easy steps.
Without further ado..
I am feeling tropical at the moment with Summer hitting us hard Downunder – so let’s go ahead and check out a tree from a tropical island:
n.b. with thanks to this website for the image.
So there are a few parts to what we are going to create; the branch and the trunk (to form the tree), the island base, water and the sun.
Let’s check out the branch, the toughest component to design. Like the entire island, there are so many ways to design the branch – this is but one approach.
We start off by hitting the R key to create a rectangle, then we double-click on the rectangle to modify the paths to form leaves, like so:
We do a copy and paste trick to create a few more branches.
I’ve rotated the 2nd branch and moved it just above the first to give it that sense of realism.
I hit the transform button for the 3rd branch to replicate the other side of the tree, then hit rotate to put the branch in its place:
Once we have all the branches laid out, its time to create the trunk and the island using, you guessed it, more rectangles.:
I did say, we were simplifying objects, right?
And just to make sure everything looks right, I’ve double-clicked each rectangle and adjusted the paths like before.
There are so many ways to design water, but I’ve gone with calm water by adding lines, thickening them and rounding the ends like so:
The final piece to our beautiful island paradise is the midday sun.
Before creating the sun, I’ve grouped our design so far to make sure that we can sit the design before the sun (coming up soon).
This is simply an oval – hit O key on your keyboard – and we have to make sure to remove the fill (at least it’s the look I am going for) and adjust the thickness (to make it match our water).:
The final adjustment is to take our island design and bring it forward by cutting it and pasting it so that it’s sitting before our sun.
You can also bring things forward and back by hitting the Forward and Backward button on top of the display – funny that!
And there we have it, our base tropical island in 5 easy steps.
Building it out
Of course, you can customise this further to your heart’s content, like this:
Obviously, there are a few more adjustments made to the above, but the basic premise still stands when I design: I look to break up objects into smaller simpler components and use basic shapes where I can.
It’s always good to build from the ground up.
Using that formula, I’ve created a few more island designs:
Can you guess the bands and songs?
And just because the spirit of summer has taken over me, I thought to add a few summer lyrics to our design.
Can you figure out the bands and the songs to these designs?
The simple rule to the above designs – is that there are no rules! Design as you please.
Now let’s see if you can guess the bands / songs above. No cheating now!
And here’s the sketch file if you want to see how I’ve built it.
And don’t forget that you can download a free trial of Sketch to try it out, or buy it outright for $99 (a steal for what it can do). I personally use it a lot more than Illustrator or Photoshop purely for the simplicity and ease – but do try it out yourself if you get time.
There are 2 more basic designs I want to get out before I make this into a Skillshare class.
Skillshare has some solid design classes (a few of which cover Sketch). Here’s a referral link with an extended 1-month free trial if you want to check out their ever-growing collection. They have a broad range of topics that will suit most everyone out there.
About this post
I am really gearing up for Summer as you can tell, the weather has been lovely down here (although we did have a short period of hard rain).
I would be very interested to hear if anyone can guess the bands / songs above without cheating. I must admit that there are some tricky ones in there.
All part of the holiday cheer of course :)