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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Gradient Mesh Tool
Design

How to Draw a Festive Theatre Stage in Adobe Illustrator

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

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the Mesh Tool and Transparency settings in Adobe Illustrator to create a beautifully lit performance stage!

If you want to skip the tutorial and just use this background with some other awesome elements, purchase the Festival Night Show Poster from GraphicRiver!

1. How to Draw the Curtains

Step 1

Start by drawing a narrow rectangle and filling it with #B91925 color.

Let's begin using Mesh! Grab the Mesh Tool (U) and create a Mesh Grid like the one in the screenshot below by clicking where the nodes are supposed to be.

Once your Mesh Grid is done, begin coloring it by selecting the indicated columns of nodes with the Mesh Tool (U) and changing their color to #220002.

Finish this step by coloring the nodes selected in the screenshot below with #F55244.

draw mesh curtain

Step 2

Grab the colored rectangle and stretch it downwards to create a full-size curtain. Create a copy of it and put it aside for now.

Next, take the Warp Tool (Shift-R), change the brush's size to be appropriate, and bend the side of the curtain as pictured below.

warp curtain

Step 3

Set the intensity of the Warp Tool a bit higher and bend the curtain even more.

Next, color the nodes selected below with #220002.

warp curtains

Step 4

Drag around the Mesh nodes on the bottom of the curtain to create some ruffles.

ruffles

Step 5

Grab the copy we made in Step 2 and add some ruffles to the bottom of it as well.

long curtain

Step 6

Let's create a shadow for the curtain! First, draw two shapes, the first one filled with #190502 and the second one slightly bigger and filled with #300909.

objects for blend

Step 7

Place the darker shape on top of the second one, and then make the bigger shape completely transparent.

transparent

Step 8

Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and enter the values seen below.

Next, select both objects and use Object > Blend > Make to create a shadow.

blend

Step 9

Follow similar steps for the next shadow—we will need a #491E06 and a #300909 ellipse.

ellipses

Step 10

Make the bigger shape transparent and apply Object > Blend > Make with the same settings.

blend

Step 11

Arrange all the elements, changing the shadows' Transparency Mode to Multiply.

arrange curtains

Step 12

Fill a rectangle with rounded edges with the #992831 color.

Proceed to Object > Create Gradient Mesh and input 3 Rows, 50 Columns.

create mesh grid

Step 13

Create some ruffles by moving nodes up/down, and then color the darker nodes with #711617.

mesh

Step 14

Warp the shape with Effect > Warp > Arc and -19% Bend.

Object > Expand Appearance of the result.

warp mesh

Step 15

Draw another blend shadow. We'll need two stripes: #1E0509 and #600D17.

blend

Step 16

Make the red stripe completely transparent, and then apply Object > Blend > Make again.

blend

Step 17

Arrange the elements as seen below.

Change the shadows' Transparency Mode to Multiply.

add shadows

Step 18

Add the ribbons to the curtain.

add ribbons

Step 19

For the temporary background, use a #030D21 rectangle.

background

Step 20

Place a reflected (Object > Transform > Reflect) copy of the curtains on the other side of the rectangle.

add copy

2. How to Draw the Seats

Step 1

Draw a single seat with Mesh. You will need these colors:

  1. #1D0300
  2. #410205
  3. #CC051D
mesh seat

Step 2

Create ten more copies of this seat by moving the shape to the right manually while holding Alt, and then pressing Control-D nine more times to finish the row.

Use the same method to clone this whole row of seats six more times.

clone seats

Step 3

Now let's put the rows of seats into perspective.

Select the topmost row and go to Object > Transform > Transform Each. Input 30% Scale for both dimensions and a 12px Vertical Move.

Apply this for every row, but with different settings (going from the top):

  1. 30% Scale, 12px Vertical Move
  2. 40% Scale, 6px Vertical Move
  3. 50% Scale, 2px Vertical Move
  4. 60% Scale
  5. 70% Scale
  6. 80% Scale
  7. don't modify
scale seats

Step 4

Go to Effect > Warp > Arc and use -14% Bend on the seats.

Expand Appearance of the result.

warp seats

Step 5

Place a #1D0300 rectangle behind the seats.

add background

Step 6

Draw another rectangle on top, identical in size to the last one. Select all elements and use Make Clipping Mask after right-clicking.

clipping mask

Step 7

Create a #2B0F07 rectangle, and then color the middle Mesh Nodes with white.

mesh

Step 8

Change the object's Transparency Mode to Multiply, and place it on top of the seats.

add mesh

3. How to Draw the Lights

Step 1

Grab an ellipse and fill it with a #1F2A59 to black Radial Gradient.

Set the Transparency to Screen.

radial gradient

Step 2

Create a sort of a star shape out of the ellipses.

star shape

Step 3

Get another, narrower ellipse with a Radial Gradient from #3D2875 to black.

Again, set the Transparency to Screen.

radial gradient

Step 4

Arrange these as seen below.

arrange lights

Step 5

Add the blue rays on top.

add blue

Step 6

We'll create some more colored ellipses!

  • Radial Gradient: #7B5090 - #100D0A - #000000
  • Transparency: Screen
radial gradient

Step 7

  • Radial Gradient: #FFFFFF - #FF6DB9 - #3D1803
  • Transparency: Color Dodge
radial gradient

Step 8

  • Radial Gradient: #4099FF - #3D032D - #000000
  • Transparency: Screen, 60% Opacity
radial gradient

Step 9

  • Radial Gradient: #B640FF - #3D1803 - #000000
  • Transparency: Screen, 60% Opacity
radial gradient

Step 10

  • Radial Gradient: #786D06 - #000000
  • Transparency: Color Dodge
radial gradient

Step 11

Place the ellipses on top of each other, with the order being 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1, with the 5 on the top.

place lights in order

Step 12

Place these lights on top of the rays, and then draw a rectangle, framing the bottom half.

frame

Step 13

Select all objects and Make Clipping Mask.

clipping mask

Step 14

Place the lights onto the background, in front of the curtains.

place lights

4. How to Add the Floor

Step 1

To learn how to draw the wooden boards, please consult the last section of this tutorial of mine.

Next, use Edit > Edit Colors > Saturate with -20% Intensity to reach the desired color.

desaturate

Step 2

Create some copies of the boards, increase their width, and place them further apart.

further apart

Step 3

Put these into perspective with Effect > Distort & Transform > Free Distort.

Expand Appearance of the result.

free distort

Step 4

Place a #68544E rectangle behind the floorboards.

background

Step 5

Apply a Radial Gradient from #82705F to #453D38 to the rectangle.

radial gradient

Step 6

Place this rectangle with Overlay on top of the floor.

overlay

Step 7

Add another, framing rectangle and Make a Clipping Mask.

clipping mask

Step 8

Create a Mesh rectangle with #38190A and #FFFFFF middle.

create mesh

Step 9

Change the rectangle's Transparency to Multiply and put it on top of the floor.

add mesh

Step 10

Put all the elements together.

all together

5. How to Add Highlights

Step 1

You can learn how to create this sort of highlight in Step 6 of the last section of my autumn leaves tutorial.

Position them as shown below and change the two top ones to Overlay.

overlay

Step 2

Leave the bottom cluster's Transparency at Normal.

highlights

Step 3

Place these onto the stage.

add highlights

Step 4

Draw another highlight with a Radial Gradient (#FFFFFF - #FF6DB9 - #3D1803 - #000000).

radial gradient

Step 5

Place some of these sparkles into the curtains.

add sparkles into curtains

Step 6

Place another batch on the floor and change them to Color Dodge.

add sparkles

Step 7

Draw another highlight with a Radial Gradient from #40A9FF to #3D0332 to black with Screen Transparency.

radial gradient

Step 8

Place this highlight on the floor.

add highlight

Step 9

You're done!

result

Congratulations, You're Now Done!

Thank you for following along, and please feel welcome to post your result in the comments. I'll be looking forward to seeing it!

In this tutorial, you learned how to create a festive stage using the Mesh Tool.

I hope you've enjoyed it and learned how to use Gradient Mesh for the future! Check out some of my other vector tutorials on my instructor profile.

You can purchase the Festival Night Show Poster as well as other similar designs in my portfolio on GraphicRiver.

Festival Night Show Poster
Festival Night Show Poster
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