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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Illustration
Design

How to Illustrate Crocus Flowers in the Snow

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:

This work is a common project created together with Iaroslav Lazunov and Alexander Egupov. Do you love flowers? We think that nobody says: "No" in answer to this question. All of us like the tenderness and elegant beauty of a flowers' leaves and buds. We love Roses and Daffodils, Daisies and Snowdrops, Water Lilies and Lilies of the Valley, and of course, Crocuses, which spring after the snowy and frosty winter. Learn how to create Crocuses in Illustrator.


Step 1

Let's create a crocus leaf. Take the Pen Tool (P) and illustrate the following path.

Now take the Rectangle Tool (M) and sketch a vertical rectangular path filled with apple green. Rotate it by going to Object > Transform > Rotate.


Step 2

Select both figures and apply a Clipping Mask to them by going to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Command + 7), or by using the fly-out menu. See the diagram below for reference.


Step 3

Select the apple green path in the Layers palette and go to Object > Create Gradient Mesh, then set the values as shown in the diagram below.

Now grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) in order to use it for moving the mesh nodes as shown.


Step 4

Take the Mesh Tool (U) and change the colors of the mesh nodes in order to receive the following result. You need to use plant leaf colors.

You should receive one Crocus leaf as the result.

Illustrate as many leaves as you want.


Step 5

Let's draw a Crocus bud now the same way as we did the leaves. Illustrate a violet rectangle and the white outer contour of a bud.

Convert the rectangle into a mesh, then change the colors of the mesh nodes in order to reproduce the light distribution.


Step 6

You will receive the following result.

The stem is illustrated the same way. Follow the helpful diagrams below.

Draw as many buds as you desire.


Step 7

Now we need to create covers for the buds. Take the Pen Tool (P) and sketch the following path located from the left of a bud's stem.

Then draw a curved path.

Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and set there the Spacing to Specified Steps and the number of steps to 3.

Select both paths and go to Object > Blend > Make (Command + Alt / Option + B). You need to achieve the following result.


Step 8

Select this blend and go to the Stroke palette in order to increase the Stroke Weight.

Illustrate the next blend the same way. Pay attention to the location of the next blend between the paths of the first one. The paths of the second blend must be thinner than the paths of the first one.


Step 9

Select the leftmost path of the two blends, copy it and paste in front (Command + C then Command + F). Extract it from the blend in the Layers palette, and then place it on the top. Repeat these manipulations with the rightmost path. After these actions you should receive both: two blends and two paths (shown with red for your convenience below) over them.


Step 10

Grab the Lasso Tool (Q) and select the top anchor points of both paths.

Go to Object > Path > Join (Command + J).

Repeat these manipulations with the bottom anchor points of the paths.


Step 11

Now fill this path with a yellowish color and set the (red) Stroke to None. Send the path backward.

Expand both blends by going to Object > Expand.

Expand the resulting paths again and fill each of them with a vertical gradient as shown.


Step 12

Illustrate a shadow on the cover. First, take the Pen Tool (P) and produce the following gray path with it.

Then select the yellowish path, copy it and paste in front (Command + C then Command + F).

After that select both paths,...

...and go to the Pathfinder palette, and click the Intersect button.


Step 13

After that go to the Transparency palette, and change the Blending Mode and the Opacity of the shadow.

Illustrate the second bud cover.

It would be wonderful to decrease the Opacity of the yellowish path.


Step 14

The shadows on the leaves are made the same way.

Moreover, you may emphasize the leaf form using the paths filled with dark green. See the diagram for reference.


Step 15

Use meshes in order to illustrate the back part of the snow. Give heed to a thawed patch in the center of the snow.


Step 16

The front part of the snow is illustrated the same way. First, superimpose the mesh on your artwork.

Now add roughness to the edge of the thawed patch using the Warp Tool (Shift + R). And change the colors of the mesh nodes if necessary. Follow the feeling of beauty.


Step 17

Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a small gray ellipse with the width about 13 or 14 pixels.


Step 18

Drag and drop it into the Brushes palette, and select the Scatter Brush item in the dialogue box.

Set the approximate values of the brush options to those that are shown in the image below.


Step 19

Grab the Paintbrush Tool (B), and while the Scatter brush is selected in the Brushes palette, sketch a path similar to the one shown.

Crop it with a Clipping path in order to place it over the back part of the snow.

Do the same with the front part of the snow.


Step 20

Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and illustrate a frame.

Crop the artwork with the Clipping path.


Conclusion

The final image is below... We would like to finish this tutorial with the words of the famous American poet of the 19th century Hannah Flagg Gould, who wrote about crocuses:

"...from my heart will young petals diverge,

As rays of the sun from their focus;

I from the darkness of earth will emerge,

A happy and beautiful crocus..."

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