In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the Mesh Tool and the
Gradient Tool in Adobe Illustrator to create a spring background with a bright white fence!
1. How to Create the Background
Let's start off by "painting" the background with the Mesh Tool (U).
Just create a rectangle, Fill it with a gray color
#F5F3EA and, using the Mesh Tool, create a grid in the rectangle.
Continue by coloring the nodes, as indicated in the picture below.
Here are the colors you will need for each step:
Let's move on to creating the grassy hills! The process is very similar to Step 1, but in the end you will have to bend your hill with the Mesh Tool.
Just create a couple more nodes and make the shape wavy by dragging them!
Here are the colors you will need:
Using the Mesh Tool again, similarly create another hill with the following colors:
Place both hills on top of our previously created background. The smaller hill should be partly hidden under the bigger hill.
Now, create a rectangle with No Fill over the top of the background, "framing" the picture. Make sure every element you want to be visible is inside the rectangle.
Then, select all of the elements and after right-clicking, choose Make Clipping Mask.
We will be using this tool a couple more times in the tutorial, so don't forget it!
With the Clipping Mask created, our first part of the picture is done!
2. How to Create the Fence
Let's begin by drawing the shape of the fence boards.
Grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw a half of a fence board. Once you've finished the outline, right-click on it and choose Transform > Reflect. Select the Vertical Axis and click Copy to create the second half of the shape.
Now, move the second half so it perfectly mirrors the original half (the colors below are just for illustration).
After you've managed it, select both parts and in the Pathfinder menu, choose Unite. This will create a full, symmetrical outline!
Fill the shape with a grey color (it doesn't matter which for now).
Grab the Lasso Tool (L) and select the two middle nodes on the bottom of the shape. Press Delete to get rid of them.
This will be very important later, so don't skip this step!
As there is now a gap at the bottom of the shape, use Object > Path > Join to unify it again.
Create a Copy of the outline and put it aside! We will need it later.
Let's add some depth to our fence board! Go to Effect > 3D > Extrude and Bevel and fill in the following settings for the Rotation:
The Extrude Depth should be about 5 px.
After applying the effect to the shape, create paths out of it by going to Object > Expand Appearance.
Ungroup the result a couple of times until you get three separate paths.
Select the two paths forming the side of the fence post and Unite them in the Pathfinder panel.
Color the front of the fence with
#F1EBE1 and the side with
For this step, you will need a photo of a wooden plank with a texture.
I recommend using my own photo, which you can download as an attachment for this tutorial (texture.jpg).
Move the photo into the file with your spring background and open the Image Trace panel (Window > Image Trace).
After selecting the object with the texture, input the settings I chose into the panel (you might need to click Advanced to show the rest of the settings) and click Trace.
Image Trace Settings:
- Mode: Black and White
- Threshold: 164
- Paths: 50%
- Corners: 75%
- Noises: 25px
- Create: Fills
- Ignore White: Checked
Select the result of the trace and go to Object > Expand.
In the Transparency panel, set the Opacity to 30% and the Transparency Mode to Overlay.
Grab the outline we created in Step 4 of this section and place it over the top of the texture. Make a Clipping Mask out of the two shapes.
Lay the result over our fence post.
Drag the post a bit to the right while holding Shift and Alt, creating a Copy of it at a reasonable distance.
Continue by pressing Control-D to repeat your last action, effectively creating as many boards as you want. Stop at your preferred fence length.
Now let's create a back board for our fence!
First, draw a rectangle a bit longer than your fence. Color it with
#EEE7DE. Add another, much narrower rectangle on top and color it with
In this step, we will be making shadows that are being cast by the fence posts.
Draw two vertical rectangles side by side, coloring them with
#7B6F5B (the left one) and
#DEDBD2 (the right one). The right rectangle should be a bit wider.
Next, set the right rectangle's Opacity to 0% and continue to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Set the Spacing to Specified Steps and choose 30 for the amount.
Finally, select both rectangles and go to Object > Blend > Make.
Move the blend onto the board we created. Just like before, use Control-D to Duplicate the shadow across the whole board.
Move the board with the shadows behind the fence. Try to line up the shadows perfectly!
Finally, we will create the screws that hold our fence in place.
Use the Mesh Tool (U) to recreate the likeness of a screw, following the steps below.
Here are the colors you will need:
Use two circles for the shadow. Create a smaller one inside the bigger one but slightly off center. Color the bigger circle with
#D8D4C9 and the smaller one with
Set the light circle's Opacity to 0%, and then proceed with Object > Blend > Make.
Place the Mesh on top of the shadow and turn it slightly. Our screw is done!
Place the screw on top of the finished fence in the middle of each intersection.
Use Control-D to Duplicate the screws after moving one (while holding Alt and Shift).
3. How to Create Clouds and Grass
Now that our fence is done, the image needs just a couple of finishing touches!
If you wish to have clouds in the sky of our spring landscape, follow this tutorial: How to Create a Night Sky With Clouds Using Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop.
After you've done your clouds, come back to our background and place them onto the sky.
I suggest creating a few copies of the first one and combining them together to create interesting shapes!
To make our sky even prettier, let's create a sun!
Draw a circle and apply a Radial Gradient which goes from white to
#95896A to black. Change the shape's Transparency Mode to Screen.
Place our highlight somewhere onto the sky. Now we have a sun!
For the final step, we can create some grass. Learn how to make grass with this tutorial: How to Create a Grass Banner in Adobe Illustrator.
After you've finished your grass vector, return to the fence we made in the previous section. Place it over the top of your grass banner so that the bottom part of the fence is sticking out a bit.
Next, create a Copy of the grass and move it on top of the fence. Make sure to place it lower so that you can actually still see the fence!
All that's left is to move the fence and the grass onto our background! Don't forget to use a Clipping Mask to "crop" your image!
Awesome Work, You're Now Done!
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and will be extremely happy to see any results in the comments below!