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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Gradient Mesh Tool
Design

How to Create a Summer Vacation Background in Adobe Illustrator

by
Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial you will learn how to use the Mesh Tool to create a summer background with a vacation scene!

If you'd like to skip this tutorial and wish to purchase the end result with a couple more elements, head over to GraphicRiver to purchase Beach with a Palm Tree and a Direction Sign.

Beach Scene
Beach with a Palm Tree and a Direction Sign

1. How to Create a Hat

Step 1

Let's start off by creating a hat! I will walk you through the process of using Mesh for the first time in this tutorial.

First, create an ellipse, filling it in with #EFE9D4.

Next, grab the Mesh Tool (U) and create a Mesh grid on the ellipse by clicking where the nodes are supposed to be. Using the color #D4C6AF, color the nodes selected in the screenshot below.

Continue by adding more nodes and coloring them as in the image below. You will need these colors:

  1. #EFE9D4
  2. #D4C6AF
  3. #BCA88F
  4. #D8CCB5
  5. #F4EFDA
the rim of the hat

Step 2

Congratulations, we've made our very first Mesh object!

Make another part of the hat in a similar fashion. You can also modify shapes with Mesh, dragging the nodes around, as indicated in the image below.

You will need these:

  1. #D8CAB0
  2. #F0EAD8
  3. #ECE0BE
  4. #A28975
  5. #D0BFA6
  6. #EFE9D7
  7. #827666
the front part of the hat

Step 3

Similarly, continue with another piece of the hat.

  1. #ECDEBB
  2. #F9F5E9
  3. #D1BA9E
  4. #FCFBE8
  5. #F0EAD8
the middle of the hat

Step 4

Let's create the ribbon! Draw a rectangle, filling it with #6B0B10.

Next, go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Apply a -20% Bend to the object and move on to Object > Expand Appearance.

see above

Step 5

Color the side edges with #49070B and create some highlights, colored with #920F16.

see above

Step 6

Assemble the hat out of the parts we made in the previous steps.

assemble hat

Step 7

This should be the end result!

final result

2. How to Create a Beach Chair

Step 1

Begin by creating and coloring one of the wooden parts of the chair. You will need these colors:

  1. #D9AA7C
  2. #E3C5A8
  3. #BB936C
  4. #B68257
  5. #C79869
  6. #E8C396
draw a wooden plank

Step 2

Add an end part of the wooden plank. Color it with #AF8058.

end of a plank

Step 3

Create and shape another plank. Fill it with #DCAD76.

wooden plank

Step 4

Color the plank. For substeps 1 and 3, you will need to color the whole length of the plank.

  1. #F9CDA2
  2. #8F6646
  3. #C89C6A
with a line where the edge is

Step 5

Add an #C79A6D end part to the object.

plank end

Step 6

Draw the third plank of the chair, using these colors:

  1. #D6AF7E
  2. -
  3. #B2875B
  4. #996C46
  5. #E2C196
roundish wooden part

Step 7

Add a #DEC19C shape on the end of the plank.

plank end

Step 8

Assemble the wooden structure of the chair out of the planks we made!

different parts
assemble the chair out of the parts we drew

Step 9

Draw a base for the cloth part of the chair. Fill it with #FEF1EF.

cloth that would fit on the chair

Step 10

Create a stripe, and fill it with #7191BF.

draw a blue long narrow stripe

Step 11

Create a copy of the stripe and place both stripes on the sides of the cloth base. Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and set it to Specified Steps, 4.

Select both stripes and apply Object > Blend > Make. Use Object > Expand Appearance on the result.

see above

Step 12

Create another #FEF1EF shape.

end part of the cloth looks like a tube

Step 13

Draw the end of the stripe (#7191BF).

end of a stripe so it fits on the shape we made in step 12

Step 14

Similarly to Step 11, apply Blend to the stripes and Expand Appearance.

see above

Step 15

Join both parts together.

see above

Step 16

Attach the cloth on top of the chair.

see above

Step 17

You'll soon be able to consult an upcoming tutorial of mine (not released yet) on how to create a screw!

the screw

Step 18

Add screws to the mobile joints of the chair.

see above

The chair is done! Now onto the flip flops.

3. How to Create Flip Flops

Step 1

Draw an outline of the shoe and fill it with #EB9221.

shape of a flip flop sole

Step 2

Go to Effect > 3D > Extrude and Bevel to create a 3D version of our shape.

Use the following settings:

  • 16°
  • -1°
see above

Step 3

Select the result and use Object > Expand Appearance to divide both parts of the shoe.

Ungroup it to select only the side, filling it with #C15B25. Fill the front with #EB9221 if it has changed color. You can Group both parts together afterwards.

see above

Step 4

Now draw the strap for the shoe, filling it with #CCC15C, and place it onto the flip flop.

yellow flip flip strap

Step 5

Let's draw a shadow! Create a rectangle with 6 columns and 6 rows of Mesh and use Effect > Warp > Arc with a 16% Bend to distort it.

see above

Step 6

Expand Appearance of the result. Next, color the whole rectangle white, changing only the middle column of mesh to #7A5422 to create an illusion of a shadow.

Create another copy of the shadow and arrange it so that it will fit under the strap of the flip flop.

see above

Step 7

Set the both objects' Opacity to 50% and Transparency Mode to Multiply.

see above

Step 8

Move the Mesh under the yellow straps. It should create a shadow.

see above

Step 9

Group the whole flip flop, and then create a copy of it. You can Reflect the copy by right-clicking and choosing Transform > Reflect.

see above

Step 10

We will "bury" our flip flops in the sand, so for that draw a rectangle with a slightly jagged edge on the bottom. Make sure all of the top parts of the shoes fit into your shape.

Place the outline over the top of the flip flops, select everything and Make Clipping Mask after right-clicking.

see above

Step 11

Finally, draw the shadow our flip flops will leave on the sand.

Create an ellipse, filling it with a Radial, #C8C4AE to white gradient. Change its Transparency mode to Multiply.

see above

Step 12

Create a copy and place it on the original ellipse, slightly off center. Draw another outline, the top part lining up with the bottom of the flip flop.

Place the outline into the circle, the top of the outline being in the middle of our shadows. Make Clipping Mask.

see above

Step 13

Line up the shadows with our flip flops.

see above

4. How to Create the Background

Step 1

Draw a simple white rectangle, placing a Mesh node just under its middle, and color its top three nodes with #A4DBED.

see above

Step 2

If you want to add clouds to the sky, check out this tutorial of mine and learn how to create clouds!

place clouds on top

Step 3

Let's draw the sand using a mesh. You will need these color codes:

  1. #EBD9BD
  2. #F7E8D0
  3. #E2CFB3
  4. #F4E7CF
shape it like a little island

Step 4

All that's left is to draw the Mesh for the sea.

Use these colors:

  1. #EBD9BD
  2. -
  3. #F0F5F8
top row is F0F5F8

Step 5

Change the sea's Opacity to 70% and the Transparency mode to Multiply.

see above

Step 6

Place the sea on top of the sand, creating the illusion of a submerged island.

transparent part on top of sand

Step 7

Arrange a scene out of the objects we created before. If you want to add a suitcase just like in the picture below, check out this tutorial!

group of beach objects

Step 8

Now place your vacation supplies onto the island, and you're good to go!

finished scene

Congratulations, You're Now Done!

What now? You can try any of my other tutorials from my profile, or check out my portfolio on GraphicRiver, as well as the original image we recreated in this tutorial.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and I'll be extremely happy to see any results in the comments below!

Beach Scene
Beach with a Palm Tree and a Direction Sign
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