Burden is a senior designer at design boutique I Love Dust. He also freelances under the name Therewillbeunicorns. He likes to produce work that references the pieces of vintage tat and printed material he gets from car boot sales and junk shops. Thomas has created work for book covers, ad campaigns, music videos and magazine editorials to packaging, animations, websites, stage visuals, building projections and the entire exterior of a Beirut shopping mall.

It’s easy to associate vectors with flat shapes – but creating Illustrator images with real depth needn’t be a headache. In this tutorial, Thomas Burden (who works under the name ...There Will Be Unicorns) shows how you can create striking, vibrant work in Illustrator using a simple colour palette and basic blur effects – particularly Illustrator’s built-in Gaussian Blur effects.

Along the way, you’ll also learn how to bring simple shapes to life, and how to create charming characters and elements, using only basic Illustrator and Photoshop.

Shading elements in Illustrator with the Gaussian Blur leaves your objects completely editable. Once you’ve scaled these elements to the right size, you can import them into Photoshop for a quick brightening up and some tweaks to layer blending modes and styles.

The net effect is fresh, clean and irresistibly cheerful.


Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop

Time to complete

3 hours

Project Files

Click here to download this tutorial's project files

Next Step »