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How to Create a Colorful Fashion Illustration in Adobe Illustrator - Part 2

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In this tutorial I will continue showing the possibilities of using the Mesh Tool for the means of fashion illustration. So this time meshes will be used for drawing the body's shadows and multicolored skirt. If you've just arrived here, you can catch up with the first part of the tutorial, then continue with this. Let's jump in!


1. Vector the Facial Features

Step 1

At the end of the previous tutorial, I finished rendering the hair. So now it's time to draw her beautiful face. First I deleted all accessories as those were done as a draft only and will be drawn later in details. Then I draw a rectangle in the main skin color using Rectangle Tool (M) and send it to back (I colored face shape to a different color just to show how everything is positioned for now).

Now I select the rectangle and the face shape and make a Clipping Mask (Control + 7).

Step 2

Now I create two shapes; smaller one on top with a pink fill with the Opacity 25%, bigger one in skin main color and with the Opacity 0%. Make a Blend from them, with the Specified Steps 79, to make it as smooth as possible.

Then I place this blend inside the face's Clipping Mask. You may see now that the ear differs in color.

So I will correct that by toggling on visibility of the layer "White" and using the Eyedropper Tool (I). I pick up the color on the border between face and ear, then fill a shape for the ear with a radial gradient of that color and the skin tone.

Step 3

Now I will just draw the closed eyes, eyelashes and brows, using the sketch as a guide. I'm using warm colors for that, playing around with transparencies and using a gradient for eyelid.

Step 4

Now I will work on the hairline. For that, I will draw a shape repeating the hairline in reddish brown color and set it's Opacity to 40%.

Then I paste this shape within the face's clipping mask.

A quick touch up on the hair above the ear, there can never enough of details!

Step 5

Now I will be adding some important details. For instance, the inner ear.

Then I will draw shapes to make the nose, lips and chin stand out. I will draw those using the Pen Tool (P), color them all with brown transparent radial gradients (positioned as depicted on the image) and set their Blending Modes to Multiply. And of course, all those details will go inside the face's clipping mask.

Then I will continue detailing the nose and draw lips. Lips and the nostrils will be left outside the face's clipping mask.

Step 6

Just a quick shape to improve the silhouette of the hair on the neck.

And send it behind all hair details.

Step 7

Now I draw a white rectangle above the face, larger than the face so it cover it.

Then set it's Blending Mode to Multiply.

Now using Mesh Tool (U), I will be adding some new points in warm grey-pink color, to create some soft shadows on the temple.

I will modify the positions of the points and play around with their Opacity if needed. Once I finish with it, I will place this mesh inside the face's clipping mask.

Step 8

Now I will be adding more and more details to the face. First draw two ellipses in light skin color transparent radial gradient and set their Blending Modes as depicted below on the image. Then of course, I will place them within face's clipping mask.

After all manipulations with the face, the ear now again differs in color. I will toggle on visibility of the "White" layer, use Eyedropper Tool (I) to select the border color and color ear with a new gradient.

Step 9

Now I will draw a few freehand shapes using the Pen Tool (P) to soften the hairline on the temple.

I'm using warm brown fill for that and setting the Blending Mode of the shape to Multiply with Opacity 15%.

I will repeat drawing such shapes a few times, playing around with their Opacity.

Step 10

I decided to draw some tiny hairs on the temple.

Expand the strokes, color them to beige color and set their Transparency as shown below.


2. Render the Skin on the Body

Step 1

To begin with I'm going to make a clipping mask for the body.

Step 2

Now I will draw a white rectangle above the body.

Then I start adding points with the help of the Mesh Tool (U) and color those points to a warm brown.

And now I set it's Blending Mode to Multiply.

Step 3

Then I just continue adding darker points for the shadows under arms and neck. Thus the mesh becomes more and more complex. To modify the point positions I use the Direct Selection Tool (A).

And now I draw a new path in order to use it as clipping mask for my mesh.

So I select it and the mesh I've just created and make a Clipping Mask (Control + 7).

I made this because somewhere I need more sharp edges near shadows. Now I modify the border of the clipping mask where needed.

And finally I put this mesh inside the body's clipping mask.

Step 4

What I'm going to do now is use a mesh once again but this time for the shaping of the bust. So I just follow the usual scheme: create a white rectangle and start adding darker points to it using the Mesh Tool (U).

Add new points and try to form the required shadowed shape.

Change the Blending Mode to Multiply.

Add some new points on the other side of the breast.

Then I decided to rotate the mesh slightly to fit better.

And place it inside the body's clipping mask.

Step 5

At this stage I noticed that the breast is a bit low, so I lifted up it using the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move all the points to the place I need.

And then modify everything that needs to be corrected.

Now it looks better.

Step 6

I will add some volume to the bust. This will be achieved by drawing two circles, one above other.

Lower circle is in main skin color with 0% Opacity and the top one, the lighter skin color, 100% Opacity for now. Then I make a Blend from these two circles, with Specified Steps to 20.

I modify the shapes of the circles slightly to look more natural.

I decided to reduce the Opacity of the top circle to 80%.

Step 7

Now I will just add shadow from the top over the body, using Pen Tool (P), as usual for precise shapes.

Step 8

Now I'm drawing neck lines, using the Pen Tool (P) and color them with a darker skin color.

Change their Blending Mode to Multiply with Opacity 30%.

If I scale the image the mismatch of the lines I've just created and the shadow on the neck I did previously with mesh may be seen.

So I will correct that by digging into the body's clipping mask and choosing that path (it is a clipping mask with mesh within the body's clipping mask), and I will use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to modify the path.

Here is how it worked out.

Step 9

Now I will add few details on the hand behind the head. For this I'm drawing a shape using the Pen Tool (P) with the parameters as shown on the image below.

And one more shape to intensify the shadow on the hand.

Step 10

After that, I'll create a Blend on the hand (just like I did for the bust).

Then I just copy that blend and paste it above the second hand and then I will continue to add details.

Few more here and there…

Add few shapes to serve as a shadow on the neck from the hair.

Now what I'm going to do is select all the shapes I made for the body and paste it within the body's clipping mask.

Here we go!

And now I create clipping masks for the front hand and the palm behind the head.

Then just place all the elements I made for those parts within their clipping masks. I also slightly corrected the mesh I did for the breasts.

Just a close-up of that part.

Here I chose the rectangle within the body's clipping mask and Add New Fill to it using the Appearance panel.

The new fill will be a lighter skin color transparent radial gradient positioned as depicted below.

Step 11

Now it's time to add few more details to the front hand. Again I'm using the Pen Tool (P), radial transparent gradients and Blending Modes. Here I used Blending Mode Multiply and 50% Opacity.

Some lighter skin color on the shoulder to add some light and shape to it.

Now I'm working on detailing of the hand.

Here I'm changing the color of the palm to a gradient fill, so that it coincides with the rest of the hand with the blend. For this I toggled on the visibility of the "White" layer and using Eyedropper Tool (I), I picked the light skin color on the border between these two shapes and then use it as the center color for the radial gradient.

Draw a few shapes for the fingers to add some depth to them.

Reposition the gradient to make these highlights look softer and lighter.

Now I'm adding shadow from the hand on the skirt and body. I also added the nails and shadow from the body on the big finger.

Here how it looks now. And I noticed that the palm is a bit too large.

So I reduced the size of it and repositioned accordingly.


3. Shade the Bodice

Step 1

OK, let's shade the bodice. First I'm drawing blends just like I did for the bust to add some volume. Both of the circles are in white color, lower shape is 0% Opacity, top shape is 20% Opacity, Blending Mode Overlay.

Step 2

Now I create another blend but this time it will be for shadow underneath the bust. Both shapes are in a blue color. The lower shape is at 0% Opacity.

The top one is at 12% Opacity, Blending Mode Multiply.

Step 3

Few touches on the bust. First I'm adding shapes that will be shadows.

Now I'm adding couple of blends that will also serve as shadows, and thus adding volume to the body.

And now just adding shapes to be highlights.

Step 4

Here is how it all looks now.

I feel something is wrong with the body, so I'm going to fix that. I draw a line on the back, to stick to it when correcting the silhouette.

After fixing the body's and top's clipping masks contours with the help of Convert Anchor Point Tool, I decided to lift breasts up a little bit again. So for that I chose the Lasso Tool, and using it selected the points that I wanted to move and then just moved them a little, using arrows buttons.

Now I will just correct everything within the clipping masks and the masks themselves to look smooth.

Here we go!

But as I'm a perfectionist I'm still not very happy with the result, so I flip the image horizontally to see the mistakes more clearly. I see that the back line is still not good enough!

So to fix that, I use the Convert Anchor Point Tool.

And if I toggle on the visibility of the "Sketch" layer, we see the difference now.

I can do this endlessly, you know… so I drew an imaginary body line to see what else can be improved and just do the amendments.

OK, I think I may stop now!

Step 5

Now I'm adding a light blend on her body to add some depth to that part and also a highlight on the back.

And then I select all the shapes I created for the top and place it within the bodice's clipping mask (from the image below you may see that I missed the blend on the left side of her waist – but I corrected that later).


4. Create a Colorful, Flowing Skirt

Step 1

So finally it's time to do the skirt! First I'm changing it's Fill to null and set it's Stroke to a contrasting color, and then put the skirt's shape to the front and Lock it.

After that I draw pink rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M) and place it behind the skirt's outline (the one that is locked).

And so I begin making a mesh, with the help of the Mesh Tool (U).

I added one column first and five rows, as I plan the skirt to have three colors. So I start adding a blue color to the middle.

And I continue adding colors to my mesh. The edges of the skirt I decided to make in very pale yellow. As you may see I toggled on the "Sketch" layer, to follow the waves of the skirt.

Here is how the mesh looks now: a lot of points appeared, I have position them according to the sketch.

Of course some of the points will look too rough, which can easily be fixed with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A).

And if I need to grab a middle color to smoothen the transition from one color to another, I use the Eyedropper Tool (I).

And I continue coloring and repositioning the points until I'm happy with the results.

And here is the mesh itself.

OK, I'm now done with the skirt's mesh!

Step 2

And now it's time for some shadows. I will be using the Pen Tool (P) for this and various transparent radial gradients. Please note that gradients will be mixed colors. For instance, here the radial gradient's center will be blue, as it begins on the blue part of the skirt, and ends in transparent pink.

And so I will just be adding more and more shadows where the folds of the skirt are, according to the sketch.

I'm using various mixed gradients. For the skirt's edge I'm using a radial gradient with pale yellow in the center and transparent pink on the end.

Working on adding further shadows from the waist.

Adding further folds to create depth.

Once I'm done with the first round of shadows, I begin to draw the second round and even third one in order to add depth and texture.

Building upon each shadow will add more depth to the fabric and create that folded look.

Opacity is always a subject to change, so I'm just playing around with it to see what percentage works best.

Step 3

Now I decided to add even more shadows to what I already have. For this I'm using the Pencil Tool (N) to draw freehand shapes on the places of folds and where I've already drawn shadows.

I Unite these shapes using the Pathfinder panel and make a Compound Path. I color this with grey transparent gradient and set it to Blending Mode to Multiply, Opacity 15%.

And draw some more shapes to intensify the effect.

But this time I will not unite them, so each of them will be colored in the same type of gradient as previous big shape. Then I will just reposition gradients to achieve better results.

OK, I think I'm done with shadows for now.

Step 4

Time for the highlights! So using the Pen Tool (P), I'm drawing shapes everywhere where there is no shadow.

Select these new shapes with the Magic Wand and recolor them with a white transparent gradient, Blending Mode Overlay. Opacity will vary, from 50% to 15% or so, depending on the place of the highlights.

This is what I've got now.

And now just like with the shadows I draw various freehand shapes with the help of Pencil Tool (N) above the existing highlights. These again will be colored with a white transparent radial gradient, Blending Mode Overlay and Opacity around 15%.

The skirt is ready!


5. Add Depth to the Belt

It's time to add a few details on the belt. First of all, I will create a Clipping Mask for it. Then I proceed to creating shadows, which will be in a grey pink color, Blending Mode Multiply, Opacity 30%.

Add a few highlights with a white fill, set to Blending Mode Overlay, Opacity 40%.

Now I draw a shape on the top edge of the belt also in white and with preferences as depicted below, to add thickness to the belt.

And then I just paste all of these elements within the belt's clipping mask.

Now I'm creating shadows from the belt onto the bodice and the skirt, parameters as shown below.

Then I place one within the bodice clipping mask and reduce it's Opacity, and another within the skirt's clipping mask.


6. Add the Finishing Touches

OK, the first part of the illustration is almost ready. I added nails to the hand behind the head. Wait, what is that on the hair?!

One of the highlights got distorted in the process of drawing! So fix that straight away.


Honey, I'm Fabulous - Well Done!

I hope you've enjoyed this second part of my fashion illustration tutorial. There will be a third part coming soon, which will show you how to create detailed accessories. Until then, have a fabulous week!

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