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30 Illustrator Gradient Mesh Tutorials to Help Enhance Your Vector Realism

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We've got some awesome tuts from across the net for learning and improving your Gradient Mesh skills with. It's a great tool to work with to achieve vector realism. It takes a little practice to get the feel for working with it, but it's worth the effort.

We've released quite a few tutorials for learning and mastering the Gradient Mesh Tool. There are lots of dedicated tuts on this tool on Vectortuts+ and across the web listed here. Also check out some inspirational links at the end of this post as well. And now it's time to get our vector realism on!

How to Create a Yellow Submarine Icon with Gradient Meshes – Vector Plus Tutorial

If you want to learn how to use gradient mesh, pattern brushes and other advanced Illustrator tools to create a shiny submarine, then we have an awesome tutorial for you. This is one of the best Plus tutorials we have on the site. If you're a member, then it's a must see.


Illustrate a Pair of Sweet Gradient Mesh Cherries

Learn how to create a pair of cherries solely with the Gradient Mesh tool. If you're not familiar with the Gradient Mesh tool, then this is a great tutorial to learn how to start using it. You can create artwork with a semi-realistic to very realistic look with that tool. It can take effort to master, but it's worth your time.


Gradient Mesh Bell Pepper Tutorial

This is an awesome Gradient Mesh tutorial with stunning realistic results. This downloadable PDF offers encouragement for the beginner and detailed advice that those looking to master the Gradient Mesh tool will find useful.


Create realistic illustrations using Illustrator's Gradient Mesh

This tutorial teaches you how to create a Brussels Chicory illustration from a reference photo using the Gradient Mesh Tool. Veerle covers all the details of using this tool to create this shiny vegetable in all it's vector glory.


Gradient Mesh Tutorial of Thumbdrive

This is one of those tutorials found of DeviantArt, which is formatted as one big image. There are loads of detailed instructions on using the Gradient Mesh Tool to create a technical device.


How to Create an Energy Saving Bulb in Illustrator

In this tutorial you'll learn how to create an energy saving bulb with the help of the Illustrator's Mesh Tool. At the beginning it could be quiet hard to work with this tool, but if you get used to it, it's fairly simple. Jump into this tutorial to get some advanced practice.


Mastering Mesh by Creating a Vector Fish

In this tutorial you'll learn how to create numerous shapes using the Gradient Mesh Tool to color them uniquely. You'll then merge these shapes into one whole fish illustration. This is a straight-forward and quality process to follow.


How to Create a Mesh Flower in Illustrator

Utilize Illustrator CS4 to create a flower with Illustrator's mesh tools and opacity masks. With these tools you have a high-degree of control and can create realistic looking illustrations.


Gradient Mesh Portrait Tutorial

If you want to take your Gradient Mesh skills to the rockstar or ninja level, then this is the tutorial for you. Ever wanted to create plush photo-realistic vector illustrations? If so, this is the tutorial for you!


How to Create a Radial Mesh in Illustrator and Make a Vector CD

Ever wonder about creating Radial Mesh in Illustrator? Yes, now you can and it will reveal more possibilities to you in Illustrator. In the first part of this tutorial you'll learn how to create a Radial Mesh in Illustrator (without using any 3rd party plugin), and in second part we'll create a Vector CD using that radial mesh method. So let's do it!


Illustrator Tutorial: Realistic Curtain

This is a relatively simple Gradient Mesh Tool tutorial with high quality results. Creating interesting backgrounds and fabrics are both good topics to practice and build your meshing skills with.


How to Create Vector Clouds with the Gradient Mesh Tool

Create impressionistic, infinitely-scalable vector clouds with the Gradient Mesh tool. It's easy to start, but it takes a lot of time to master. There are several ways of approaching the Gradient Mesh - this one may be new to you.


Using Illustrator's Mesh Tool as Nature Intended

Learn how to transform a flat vector leaf into a golden Gradient Mesh leaf. Follow practical and detailed steps to transform natural imagery and add a level of three dimensionality and color blending with the Gradient Mesh Tool.


Adobe Illustrator CS, CS4: Gradient Mesh Tool, Gradients & Blends

Kevin Hulsey is a master technical illustrator. He has a quick primer here to get you started with the Gradient Mesh Tool, as well as some high end inspiration to expand on what you think is possible with illustrator.


Tips for Working with the Gradient Mesh Tool In Illustrator

One of the most amazing and confounding tools in Adobe Illustrator is probably the Gradient Mesh tool. Working with this feature allows the user to divide almost any shape into a mesh. Each intersection of two lines (horizontal/vertical) can be colored with a solid color. This tutorial takes a different format than some of our other tuts, and will help you work with the Mesh tool better.

In this tutorial, we'll show you some tips that will improve your Mesh work. We'll also show you a proper workflow to get outstanding results with this tool. We'll take a close look at creating a layer within the detailed file of a meshed boot. Also, you can download the source file of this tutorial for free: Vector Army Shoe Freebie.


Creating a Leaf with the Mesh Tool

"In this exercise, you’re going to create a leaf using the Mesh tool. I must first warn you that this exercise isn’t for the faint of heart. The Mesh tool is one of Illustrator’s most powerful tools-along with that power comes complexity." While the Gradient Mesh Tool is powerful and difficult to master, this is a good introductory tutorial to get stared with.


Illustrator Tutorial: Master the Gradient Mesh Tool

This is a tutorial for the intermediate to advanced Gradient Mesh artists. The details covered in this tutorial will help transform your skills to the professional level. Learn how to create meshes along curves, control meshes to make gradient flow smoothly between color transitions, and more precise instruction. You'll learn to create a super detailed dinosaur and loads of tips along the way!


Create a Yummy Ice Cream Icon with Mesh Objects and Blends

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to create a fun icon made up of mesh object and blends. This is a fairly easy tutorial, although you should be familiar with the mesh tool as we'll be using it extensively. This is good practice for your meshing skills.


Magical Butterfly - Gradient Mesh Tutorial

This is written for beginners to understand, though it may be challenging for someone new to the Gradient Mesh tool to jump in here and make drapes. If you've worked with the Gradient Mesh tool a couple times to create basic shapes, then you'll want to tackle this tutorial next.


Make an Aurora Borealis Design in Illustrator

To recreate the light patterns of the Aurora Borealis you'd probably turn to Photoshop's filters and effects. Use Illustrator however, and you'll not only achieve a stunning end result, but you'll also benefit from the flexibility of working with vectors. This is an intermediate level tutorial rewarding you with an attractive desktop wallpaper for your efforts! With the skills learned form this tutorial you'll be able to use the gradient mesh tool for backgrounds in addition to skies.


Make a Shiny Gum Ball Machine with Mesh Gradients

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to create a gum ball machine with mesh gradients. We'll create the base, the glass casing, the money slot, and the opening where the bubble gum balls come out. This is an advanced tutorial and the pace is fairly quick. Intermediated Illustrator knowledge is required.


Vector Sun Glasses Video Tutorial Series

This video series is broken down into six segments. It's relatively easy to digest, but this is a complex image of sunglasses and will take some practice to recreate something similar. It's interesting to see how this artist goes about creating fast and loose with this tool.


New PLUS Tutorial – Create Some Delicious Mesh Tomatoes

We have another great Vector Plus tutorial exclusively available to members today. If you want to take your Illustrator Meshing skills to the next level, then we have a a comprehensive tutorial for you. It details how to use the Gradient Mesh tool to create juicy tomatoes! Every detail of creating this illustration is covered!


Gradient Mesh Adobe Illustrator Tutorial

This is a relatively simple illustration to create with the Gradient Mesh Tool and great practice for beginners. If you did the curtain and drape tutorials above, then this will be a good tutorial to see how similar techniques can be used on other objects.


Illustrate a Vector Lifesaver From Scratch

Learn how to create a unique lifesaver that can be used as an icon or design element. We'll be working with the Pathfinder Tools to create the shapes. The Mesh Tool will help us to apply the color and highlights to give our object the desired "realistic" look. We'll also take advantage of the Duplicate and Rotate Tools, so we get a balanced look.


Tutorial :-An intro to mesh tool

This is a great introductory tutorial for the Gradient Mesh Tool. Learn to create a cartoon moon with the tool. Starting with meshing a basic circle into a 3D ball is a great first step to get a grasp on how this tool works.


How to Make a Vector Military Cap Icon

This tutorial will show the intermediate-to-advanced Adobe Illustrator artist how to make a realistic military style cap icon using predominately gradients, blends, and the Gradient Mesh Tool. We'll be using a photo reference to base this illustration on, though utilizing creative judgement throughout the process.


Create a Stylized Gradient Mesh Soccer Ball Illustration

In this tutorial, we'll show the advanced Adobe Illustrator artist how to create a realistic looking soccer ball with mesh objects. You'll learn how to create reflections with the Opacity Mask. We'll also make our own swooshes and custom brushes. This is an interesting use of the Mesh tool and a quality end result.


Chinese Bamboo

This tutorial uses the Gradient Mesh Tool in a simple manner to achieve high quality results. It's really helpful for those new to the mesh tool to learn how to create uncomplicated, simply beautiful illustrations.


Make a Fairy-Tale Inspired Magical Hand Shaped Vine

In this tutorial, we'll show the intermediate to advanced Adobe Illustrator artist how to make a fairy-tale inspired magical vine that is shaped like a hand. You should have a basic understanding of Adobe Illustrator tools before you begin this tutorial. This tutorial uses a surprisingly simple Mesh to create these vines that are formed into a magical illustration.


Gradient Mesh and Realistic Vector Inspiration

If the tutorials above have got you craving more, then check out the links below for more realistic vector goodness and mesh inspiration.

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