Create a Four Leaf Clover in Illustrator

    ●   Create a balanced shape using the shape tools and add a gradient to the leaves.

Learn About:

Ellipse ToolPathfinderGradients Warp EffectTransform Tool

  •   This tutorial is part of the Logo-Licious, Shadow Life, Package Redesign and Cereal Box Design Projects.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.

clover example clover clover example clover example

Step #1: Open Your Project in Illustrator ~

Open YOUR CURRENT PROJECT in Illustrator if you've got one …



… (Remember: all these tutorials are intended to be
applied to YOUR PROJECT) …


… OK - I can hear you even now - you don't have a 4 leaf clover anywhere in your project,

why do I got to do this?

There are some interesting techniques to learn so please just try it …

Step #2: Create a Circle Shape ~

Get the Ellipse Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (L) …

… and, holding Shift (⇧)shift key while you drag, make a perfectly round circle.

Step #3: Copy the Circle ~

Select the circle with the Selection Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut (v) and hold alt key  to drag out a copy of the circle. Holding shift  makes the circle move in a straight line.

Step #4: Unite the Circles using the Pathfinder ~

Select both circles and Unite them from the Pathfinder Panel by going to: Window > Pathfinder

Step #5: Creating the Leaf Shape ~

Get the Direct Selection Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (a) …

… select the bottom anchor point where the circles intersect …

… and with the anchor point selected, drag it down.

With the anchor still selected, Convert it to a Smooth anchor point from the Control Panel.

convert to smooth

Step #6: Delete the Anchor Points ~

Hit the Delete Anchor Point Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut (-)


… and delete the anchor points on the left and right side.

Step #7: Divide the Shape ~

Grab the Line Segment Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut (\)…

… divide the shape in two by drawing a line down the middle.

Select both shapes by hitting the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+A

align center

… then go to: Window > Align and click the Horizontal Align Center.

Step #8: Divide the Shape and Group ~

With both objects still selected, press the Divide button in the Pathfinder Panel and then go to Object > Ungroup.

Draw Line and Divide

Step #9: Colors ~

Click the Swatches icon or go to: Window > Swatches

… grab the top, "tear off" the panel and place it somewhere.

Step #10: Gradient Palette~

Now click the Gradient icon or hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+F9 and select Radial as the Type …

… and make sure "Fill" is selected as the foreground color.

Step #11: Color ~

Drag a color from from the Swatches menu to your gradient …

Do the other side too …

… drag OFF any stops you don't need …

… and apply the same Radial Gradient for the leaves.

Add Gradient

Use the other Gradient Tool by hitting the keyboard shortcut letter (g) and click and drag from the top right of the shape to the bottom left.

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Step #12: Transforming ~

Select the whole thing including both sides of the leaf and Group them by hitting the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+G 

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… go to: Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform

… click the bottom center point in the 9-Point Proxy … 

… set Copies to 3 …

  … set Rotate to 90 degrees …

  … and Preview to see your results.

Then go to: Object > Expand Appearance (if necessary). If you don’t expand the clover, the next time you try to rotate it, it might get weird …


Step #13: Stem ~

Get the Rounded Rectangle Tool

rounded rectangle-tool

… draw a narrow rounded shape …

round rec shape

… and then go to: Effect > Warp > Arch. In the Warp Options dialog, make the Bend approximately 20% and the Horizontal Distortion approximately 40%.

warp options

Again go to: Object > Expand Appearance.

Step #14: Transform ~

Get the Free Transform Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (e) …

… rotate both the Objects …

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Right-Click and send the stem to the back.

send to back

Also, give the stem a Linear Gradient from the Gradient Panel and make it darker than the clover leaves.

Stem Warp and Adjust

Step #15: Eyes ~

Find some black and white cartoon eyes, copy them …


… and paste the eyes over your image.

Step #16: Image Trace ~

With the image selected, click on the Image Trace button …

… then click Expand.

Deselect the image by going to: Select > Deselect

… get the Direct Selection Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (a) …

… click the area you want deleted and hit Backspace or Delete.

Step #17: Effects ~

Select everything by hitting the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+A and go to: Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow

Try the other Effects Too! Experiment! Take a risk!

Last Step: Save your Project and Attach ~

Go to: File > Save as … and save your work as - FIRST_NAME_LAST_NAME_PROJECT_NAME.ai]

save as an ai

Attach it and keep working …

  •   ALWAYS save your projects like this:


  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.


  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.

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