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Create a Quick and Easy Tranquil Sky in Adobe Illustrator

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Read Time: 4 mins
This post is part of a series called Summer in Session!.
How to Make a Sweet Vector Popsicle Illustration

In today's tutorial, I'm going to show you how to create a quick and easy tranquil cloudy sky scene in Adobe Illustrator with help of the a Scatter Brush and the Blending Mode Screen. Also we learn how to draw a bird silhouette and create the sun by Flare Tool. So let's get started!

1. Create the Background

First of all we should draw the background. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a rectangle with the same dimensions as the Artboard. Fill it with the help of the Gradient. You can use standard Swatch Libraries of Adobe Illustrator to do this. Go to Window > Swatch Libraries > Gradients > Sky. Choose any sample. Set the angle of 90 degrees in the Gradient panel.

2. Create a Scatter Brush

To create a Scatter Brush we need to draw a circle. Use the Ellipse Tool (L). Then drag and drop this circle to the Brushes panel. Create a Scatter Brush. Use random settings as shown in the image below.

3. Draw the Shape of the Clouds

Step 1

Take the Paintbrush Tool (B) and select our new Scatter Brush. Then draw few different lines as shown in the image below. You should get shapes of the clouds.

Step 2

Select all of the cloud shapes and go to Object > Expand Appearance to transform brushes into objects. Don't forget to Ungroup (Control + Shift + G) these shapes.

4. Add Fluffy Effect by Using Gradients

Step 1

Now you can change the size of the clouds. I made them smaller. Then select all circles and fill them. Use black and white Radial Gradient.

Step 2

Next go to the Transparency panel and set Blending Mode to Screen. Now you can Group (Control + G) the shapes of each cloud. When using a black fill with Blending Mode Screen, it will become completely transparent. So this process will only show the white of the gradients. With a group of white gradients, it creates a fluffy, blurred effect which you'd usually achieve with the many raster Blur effects. However as these are gradients within vector shapes, your fluffy, blurred effect is 100% vector!

5. Create a Cloudy Sky

Step 1

Just make a few copies of the clouds. You can use the hot keys Control + C and Control + V.

Step 2

Make more copies. Then select some of them and go to the Transparency panel. Set Opacity between 60% and 80%. This will give the impression of distance for some of the clouds.

6. Draw a Bird

Step 1

Create a bird frame:

  • The body and the head draw by the Ellipse Tool (L)
  • The beak draw by the Pen Tool (P)
  • The tail and wings draw by the Pencil Tool (N)

Step 2

Take the Width Tool (Shift + W) and add some extra thickness to the left wing. Pull the path in the middle and the Width Tool will add thickening.

Step 3

Then add some thickness closer to the tip of the wing. Use the Width Tool (Shift + W) again.

Step 4

Finally add extra thickness to the bottom of the wing.

Step 5

Make the second wing and the tail using the same technique.

Step 6

Make several copies of the tail. Now it looks much better.

Step 7

Now select all shapes of the bird and go Object > Expand Appearance. Finally Unite all shapes with the help of the Pathfinder panel.

7. Add Birds to the Illustration

Step 1

Make three copies of the bird and fill them with white.

Step 2

Select the birds and go Effect > Stylize > Feather. Feather Radius set to 2px.

8. Create the Sun

Take the Flare Tool, click and drag in any place of your illustration. Then left click anywhere else. You should get the flare like the sun on the sky.

Wasn't That Easy? Well Done!

Now you can make the Clipping Mask to hide the protruding parts. Draw the square on the top of all objects with same size as the artboard. Select all and go Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control + 7).

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial! If you like to draw the clouds just look for my another Quick Tip: How to Illustrate a Valentine's Card with Cloudy Text Effect

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