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Create Quick, Psychedelic Mushrooms With the Blob Brush Tool

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Turn on your black lights, fire up your lava lamps, and break out the fuzzy posters because these vibrant mushrooms are glowing! It's time to play with some blur effects and the Blob Brush Tool (Shift -B) to get these fantastic fungi dancing on your artboard in Adobe Illustrator.


1. Sketch and Basic Shapes

Step 1

I sketched out the composition and color palette in Adobe Photoshop. I want the mushrooms' tops to be neon bright and pop out from the screen.

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Step 2

Reduce the Opacity of your "sketch" layer and lock it. On a new layer (or just over top the locked "sketch") get ready to trace your sketched out pieces with the Blob Brush Tool (Shift -B). Double-click on the Blob Brush Tool icon to access the Blob Brush Tool Options dialog box. The Blob Brush Tool will make your mushroom's top one cohesive shape.

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Step 3

Change colors and repeat on each mushroom shape around the composition.

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2. Rocks and Leaves

Step 1

For the blades of grass, outline their shapes around the piece. Fill them in using the same color with the Blob Brush Tool. If you'd rather each blade was a separate shape, use the Pencil Tool (N) or Pen Tool (P).

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Step 2

Repeat the same process for the rocks. Select all of them and Group (Control -G) together in order to keep your Layers panel organized.

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Step 3

Don't forget about the mushroom stems. Place them beneath the tops of the fungi.

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3. Render the Mushroom

Step 1

Using the Pencil Tool (N) draw a quick shape around the pink mushroom's top. This will serve as one of the gradient shadow shapes on the mushroom. Apply a linear gradient with the Gradient Tool (G) going from the pink of the mushroom to a purple shade of your choice. Select both shapes and using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift -M) select the portions of shapes outside of the mushroom cap. Deselect and delete the extra gradient shadow bits.

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Step 2

Repeat step one with various gradients and squiggles for additional shadows and highlights on the mushroom's top. Use the Blob Brush Tool and add some simple polka dots (or you can make them more precise with the Ellipse Tool (L)). Group (Control -G) the pieces together.

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Step 3

Copy and Paste the main mushroom cap shape, align with the rest of the mushroom, and apply a light pink stroke to the new shape. Go to Effect > Blue > Gaussian Blur and play with the blur's settings to create a glow around the mushroom. Repeat with lighter colors and smaller strokes for a more complex glow.

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4. Render the Stem

Step 1

For the stem, repeat the process of slinging gradient shapes around and deleting non-intersecting pieces. Use the Blob Brush Tool extend and reshape portions of gradients.

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Step 2

The stripe portions on the stem were added with the Blob Brush Tool. Add some darker shadows under the mushroom cap to help form a cast shadow. In this case I added a radial gradient with the Gradient Tool.

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5. Render the Other Mushrooms

Step 1

Like the cap of the pink mushroom, the green, blue, and orange mushrooms need some rendering too. play with gradient shapes to give more form and color to each mushroom top's form. For the stripes, I used the Blob Brush Tool again, quickly drawing lines that connected beyond the mushroom so they could be deleted later with the Shape Builder Tool.

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Step 2

Render the mushroom stems and add blurry glow effects to the mushroom caps. Additional shapes were added below each cap, over the stems

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6. Detail the Grass and Rocks

Step 1

For the blades of grass, I've hidden everything in the Layers panel except for the green shapes. Using a darker green and the Blob Brush Tool, I've drawn curving shapes that will be shadows on each blade.

Select all of the blob shapes you've just drawn and adjust them as gradients using the Gradient panel. These ones go from dark green to the same green at 0% Opacity. Once you're satisfied with the shadows you've added to the grass, select all the new shadow shapes and the grass shapes. Using the Shape Builder Tool select the portions of the shadow shapes that do not intersect with the lighter green grass. These extra bits are to be deleted.

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Step 2

For the rocks, select all of them (add more where you see fit), and Unite in Pathfinder. Apply a gradient going from blue-gray to purple-gray. For highlights follow the same steps from the grass clumps in adding shadows by using the Blob Brush Tool, Gradient panel, and Shape Builder Tool.

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Step 3

Copy and Paste the compound rock shape, change the fill color to black, and apply a Gaussian Blur. Align it behind the rocks and slightly off to the right so the rocks pop out a little more from the background.

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7. Add Sparkles

Step 1

Double-click on the Blob Brush Tool icon to access the settings again. For the one I've used below, the size was changed to 2pt, but everything else remains the same.

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Step 2

Doodle up some sparkles with the Blob Brush Tool. Place them along the top left edge of each mushroom.

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Wow, You'll Need Sunglasses For Those Mushrooms!

Your glowing, sparkling mushrooms are complete! Print them out onto giant poster paper and line your dorm room walls with some rainbow fabulous fungi. Or push your friend further and add in some funky creatures to live in this little mushroom world.

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