In this tutorial, you will learn a quick, easy way create peonies. We will use the Warp Tool and the Pucker Tool.
1. Drawing a Petal
After creating a new document (600 px width and height), take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a circle. Any fill color and with no stroke. Then replace the existing fill color with linear gradient. In the picture below you can see exactly which color you can use.
To create a petal from the circle, you need to use the Warp Tool (Shift-R). But before using it, let's adjust the options of this tool. Double-click on it and in the new dialogue window, enter Width: around 20, Height: around 20, Intensity 70%, Detail 2, Simplify 50, and tick Show Brush Size.
These measurements are just estimates—you need to see what
works better for you and how much warp you want give the petal. The
arrows on the second petal show the directions of the Warp Tool (Shift-R).
Create a few more copies of the petals and arrange them similar to the image below.
Compose the whole flower as you did in the previous step. Note that every new layer is behind the previous one and the petals are bigger. You can also move the Gradient Slider of every petal on the Gradient panel (or just click on a petal and press the G button and then move the slider).
Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a circle and set the Radial fill color as shown below.
Now press down the Alt key and shift the previously created yellow circle a bit using your mouse/pen tablet. You can hold the Alt key to copy-paste any object while moving it. After you've created many of the yellow circles, compose them to show the middle part of flower.
Create two more copies of the flower.
Now we need to change the color of two flowers. Select the one you would like to change, but note that you need to select just the petals, without the middle part. Then go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork.
In the new dialogue window, select Edit. Look downward and find the button Link harmony colors. Click on it. Move the circle with the thicker stroke presented on the color palette any way you want. Look how your flower is changing!
Do the same with the third flower.
2. Creating the Leaf
Draw an ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L). Set the fill color shown in the image below. Then distort the leaf using the Warp Tool (Shift-R) just as you did with the petal before.
Add two lighter ellipses (fill color R=202 G=197 B=87) and distort them.
Create two more leaves and arrange them close to what you see below.
Double-click on the Pencil Tool (N) and adjust the options:
Make a thick stroke on the Stroke panel, check Round Cap and set the fill color to R=165 G=154 B=0. Draw a stalk. Afterwards, decrease the stroke Weight and draw veins. Expand all strokes with no fill color. Select one vein or stalk which you have recently drawn and go to Select > Same > Fill color. Once you have selected all the strokes, go to Object > Expand.
Hit the Pucker Tool on the Tools panel. If you can't find it, click on the Warp Tool (Shift-R), hold for a while and then a pop-up menu will appear. After you've selected the Pucker Tool, shift the top of each vein and stalk to make it sharp. Group the whole branch (right-click > Group).
3. Arranging the Composition and Creating the Background
Compose the bouquet as you like.
A light pink square behind everything will be our background (fill color R=247 G=228 B=232). The dimensions of the background are 600 px width and height. And that's it, dear florists!
Congratulations, you have made some beautiful peonies! You have mastered the Warp Tool and learned how to quickly recolor your artwork. And now, using these techniques, you can create any flower you want!