CommonLounge Archive

Learn Sketch: Part I

December 06, 2017

Note: If you’re on a Windows laptop, we recommend learning Figma instead of Sketch. Sketch is a Mac-only app, whereas Figma is available for both Windows and Mac. They are very similar in terms of their feature set, and learning one tool will definitely help you use the other without much re-learning.

In this series of tutorials, we are going to describe how to create the Colorful switch freebie as it uses a lot of interesting features Sketch has to offer and is not extremely long to do.

This tutorial is designed for beginners so we’re going to take the time to describe a lot of things you may already know. Here’s the expected result:

In case you get lost in the steps or if something is unclear there is a half way .sketch file you can download and the final source is also available.

Alright let’s get to it.

01. Installing Sketch

If you do not already own it, you can download a Free trial or directly buy it from the App Store. Install it and launch it. When you see the prompt, do not open any specific template and just click “ok” to open a new document. You’ll see this:

02. Creating an Artboard

Artboards are “work areas” they can be as small as an icon or as big as you like. If you used Illustrator before, it’s the same thing.

Press “A” on your keyboard or hit the “Insert” button at the top left and select artboard(1). As you can see a lot of convenient sizes are now available on the right column. We’re not going to use that. Simply draw your artboard of any size on your canvas. Once this is done, go in you right panel, and under “size”, enter 400x300 (2). This freebies was intended to be a Dribbble shot from the start.

In you artboard/layer panel (left side), double click the “Artboard 1” label and rename it whatever you like. I hesitated between “Glørk the destroyer” or “Colorful switch”, I went for the latter as it was somehow more descriptive(3).

03. Setting a colorful background

Now that you have your artboard ready, it’s time to give it the tone. You can always come back to it later but the background color you’ll decide upon will influence the light reflection on your icon and the general coloring of it.

I did a lot of back and forth and testing but for the sake of this tutorial, let’s cut to the chase and deliver the values right away.

Press the “R” button on your keyboard to select the rectangle button (insert>shape>rectangle (R) in the UI) (4).

Draw your rectangle on your artboard so it fills it up completely. It should be easy as the rectangle tool will automatically snap to the artboard borders (5). When it’s done, you’ll notice that your effect panel (right side) gets automatically populated with a grey “fills” and a grayer “borders” (6)

Uncheck the Borders color, then click the fill color. In the Hex value type #A846FF(7). You now have you base color.

Now notice the “+” icon on the top right of the Fills panel, click that.
As you can see, it just added a new Fills layer on top of the other one.
If not already selected, select the gradient panel and draw you gradient from the top left to the bottom right of your artboard(8).

The two squares right below the fill type selector are your gradients color, click on one and it becomes editable.

Make sure the top left color on your shape is #ffffff(white) and the bottom right color is #000000(black). Click on the black color in your gradient color selector or directly on the artboard and set its opacity to 0. The opacity of a gradient color can be set by using the slider right under the color picker or the “A” box on the right of the RGB boxes. Select your white color and set it’s opacity to 60. See image 9.

Set this Fill level to overlay (10) and click the + button again. This time, select the third tab to get a radial gradient. Draw this radial gradient from top left to bottom right(11).

Make sure the top left color is white and the bottom right color is black. Keep them both a 50 opacity and set this fill to overlay as well. You’ll end up with image 12. A super shiny neon purple gradient from light to dark.

To finish, let’s get fancy and make a group out of our newly created layer.

Select your layer in the left panel, hit cmd+G to put it into a group, double click the group and name it Background. Get even crazier by naming the layer. See image 13 for the final result.

04. The base of your icon using the built-in iOS 7 icon template

Now let’s create the icon shall we.

We’re going to use the built-in iOS icon template so that we do not have to recreate their quite complicated rounded corners.

Click “File>New From Template> iOS App Icon”(14). A new file opens. For the purpose of this, we’re not going to create the full set of course, this is just to make you discover the useful template feature.

In the layer panel (left) click the lock on the right of the “Icon Shape” layer in the “Icon-76@2x” artboard (15). Once this layer is selected and unlocked, copy it (cmd+c) and paste it on your original file(16). You can close the template file window without saving.

Select the Icon Shape layer you just imported as well as our crazy colors layer created earlier (use click+cmd to multi-select)(17).

Using the align tool located at the top of the right column, we’re going to center the app icon in the background. click once on the “align horizontally” button and once on the “align vertically” icon, respectively the 4th and the 7th (18). You’ll end up with image 19.

Now let’s organize this so we don’t have to later.

Hit “cmd+G” on your Icon shape layer to create a group. Drag the group up and Rename it “Icon”. Cmd + G again inside the group to put your layer one level down in the group tree. Rename it “Icon Base” (20).

Continued in the next part: Learn Sketch: Part II

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