What an eventful month June 2015 has been. Not only is June seen as LGBTQI pride month (although this varies around the globe), but marriage equality has finally come to the USA!
To celebrate, I'm overjoyed to share with you how to create your own pride rainbow gradient in Adobe Illustrator and how to apply it over one of your illustrations, so you can show your pride and support for the LGBTQI community!
So let's open up Illustrator and begin.
1. How to Add the Colours to Your Swatches Panel
The pride rainbow is made up of six colours, each colour representing a different meaning. The six colours are and represent:
- Red: Life
- Orange: Healing
- Yellow: Sunlight
- Green: Nature
- Blue: Serenity
- Violet: Spirit
You can read up on the history of the pride flag on Wikipedia—it's rather interesting.
The first thing you need to do is to add your six colours to your Swatches panel, so they can eventually be added to a gradient.
If you're using a new default CMYK document, you'll have a collection of six colours already in the folder "Brights" which you can use. Alternatively, you can access this palette by going into the drill-down menu in the Swatches panel and going to Open Swatch Library > Default Swatches > Print.
While you're there, you can access one of the many rainbow gradients in Illustrator by going into the same menu, Open Swatch Library > Gradients > Spectrums.
Click on one of the spectrum gradients to add it to your Swatches panel. Then in the Print swatch library, click on the folder icon for the "Brights" palette and this will add all six colours to your Swatches panel.
2. How to Modify a Spectrum Gradient
Draw a Rectangle (M) and click on a spectrum gradient. This will automatically fill the shape with a rainbow. However, as pretty as this is, it's not the right combination of colours, so we're going to modify this.
Go into the Gradient panel and you'll see that the gradient is made up of six colours, the perfect number we need for our pride rainbow.
To change the colours, drag and drop each colour from the "Brights" palette onto the gradient sliders.
Once you're done, you can drag the fill in the Swatches panel which has your new gradient in it, and drop it into the Swatches panel to save your rainbow gradient.
You can rename the gradient by double-clicking on it and entering a new name in the pop-up window.
3. How to Apply the Gradient to the Artwork
Now that you have your gradient, you can apply it to your artwork however you wish. You can change the direction of the gradient by using the Gradient Tool (G).
Let me show you a couple of examples of how to apply the gradient. The first is using a linear gradient over a recent portrait tutorial: creating a Summer portrait from stock.
I hid the gradient in the very background, behind the hair, and then created a new layer on top of the portrait. I filled it with our pride rainbow gradient and used the Gradient Tool (G) to create a diagonal gradient overlapping the skin. I then set the Blending Mode to Color in the Transparency panel.
The next example is a radial gradient. I've used it on one of the end results of my Advanced Vector Portraits course.
Using the same method as before, I've overlaid our pride rainbow gradient over the top of the portrait. This time I've changed the Type to Radial. I've kept the Blending Mode as Color for this one, and moved the gradient around with the Gradient Tool (G).
Now Celebrate LGBTQI Pride!
Now you can add your support and pride to your own illustrations using this very technique! Feel free to share your own pride illustrations in the comments.