1. In Adobe Illustrator, create a new page 20in by 20 in.
2. We will start with the base of your tree. Begin by creating a triangle with your polygon tool. Label this triangle “Life”
3. From that triangle, create 3 rectangles and label each Bacteria (Domain), Eukaryote (Domain), Archaea (Domain).
4. From the middle (Eukaryote) rectangle, draw 3 pentagons and label them Plantae, Fungi, Animalia. These are the three kingdoms. Draw the other two pentagons coming from the other two rectangles as shown.
5. You will now track the branch for Homo Sapiens, or humans. For each level, create a poligon with one more side and label the branch as shown until your reach the Species Level.
6. We will now turn our attention to the outer branches of the tree. You will select one species for each branch as listed. You have to consider this with a little care, as you will have to trace the species back to the first level using it’s taxonomical rank. Hence you will have to research that specie’s genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom and link it back to domain. You may not use any species that I have used in my example.
7. Depending on the species you choose, your tree will look different from mine, so don’t assume the way the branches are connected in the example will be the same for you. As you find a species you want to focus on, download their picture and place it inside the circle by using a Shape Mask. Then work your way bakc through the taxonomy levels.
8. For animals, you may use Wikipedia to identify the taxonomy of a species. You have to find a species of animal, not just a type of animal. So you can’t use “Frog” but you can use “Blue Poison Dart Frog.” Otherwise wikipedia will not show the classification. See example.
9. For plants and fungi, you have to use the USDA plants Database:
Again, you have to find specific species. So not “Cactus,” but “Cochineal Nopal Cactus.” See example.
10. When creating your lines, use only vertical, horizontal and 45 degree lines. You can insure this by pressing and holding shift as you create your lines.
11. Congratulations, you just created a tree of life. Save often. Once you are done, export your image as a .jpg with the appropriate name in the right folder.