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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Gradient Mesh Tool
Design

How to Create Mesh Leaves and a Wooden Sign in Adobe Illustrator

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

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the Mesh Tool in Adobe Illustrator to create a natural summer background.

If you want to skip the tutorial and just use this vector in your work, purchase Natural Background with Leaves and a Wooden Sign from GraphicRiver!

Natural Background with Leaves and a Wooden Sign
Natural Background with Leaves and a Wooden Sign

1. How to Draw the Paper and the Board

Step 1

Let's begin drawing the paper with Mesh!

Grab the Mesh Tool (U) and a white rectangle. Click inside the rectangle to create a Mesh grid, and then color the lower and right edges of the paper with #DDDDDD.

Bend the upper left corner of the paper, and then color it with #B8B8B8. Finish by changing a node to #CBCBCB.

draw a paper with mesh

Step 2

Create a shape of a bent corner, filling it with a Linear Gradient from #000000 to #E3E3E3 to #FFFFFF.

linear gradient

Step 3

Attach the corner to the paper.

paper note vector

Step 4

Begin making a blend by creating two shapes like shown below, the bigger one white and the smaller black.

Place the black shape inside the white shape.

blend adobe illustrator

Step 5

Make the white shape transparent, and then proceed to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Set it to Specified Steps, 30.

Finally, select both objects and finish with Object > Blend > Make.

blend shadow tutorial

Step 6

Add the blend under the paper. You can also learn how to create a nail in this tutorial.

nail vector note

Step 7

Let's begin by taking a wooden vector texture! You can find out how to make one right here.

If you end up using the texture from my tutorial, begin by adjusting the color of the wood with Edit > Edit Colors > Saturate with a value of -67%.

wooden texture tutorial vector

Step 8

Create a gradient overlay for the planks. Use a Radial Gradient from #BFB3AB to #0C0503, and set the object to Overlay.

gradient

Step 9

Pick five planks out of the texture (preferably the ones pictured below and in the same order), and then place the overlay on top of each.

vector mesh wooden plank

Step 10

Draw an outline of a plank as shown below, and then create a copy of it.

Use the original to make a clipping mask with the textured plank. Fill the copy with #82614A, and then go to Effect > 3D > Extrude and Bevel.

Input the options shown below, and expand the result with Object > Expand Appearance.

adobe illustrator 3d effect

Step 11

Place the texture on top of the object.

textured vector plank

Step 12

Use the same outline and 3D object for the second textured plank.

textured vector plank

Step 13

Draw a new outline for the fourth and third planks, and then repeat the process of Steps 10-12.

vector wood tutorial
vector wooden plank

Step 14

Create one final outline and 3D object for plank 5.

3d effect tutorial

Step 15

Assemble the sign as shown below and rotate it slightly.

wooden sign vector

Step 16

Take planks 1 and 4, create copies of them, and stretch them out.

sign vector

Step 17

Add those behind the sign.

add legs to the sign

Step 18

Add the paper on top of the sign.

add paper to the sign

2. How to Draw the Ladybug

Step 1

Begin by drawing the body of the bug with Mesh.

You will need these colors:

  1. #CE2606
  2. #DF925E
  3. #E5C5A6
  4. #DA896A
mesh ladybug

Step 2

Finish the Mesh drawing.

  1. #F3F8F6
  2. #900903
  3. #3C0000
  4. #7D0000
  5. #650400
gradient mesh ladybug tutorial

Step 3

Create a rectangle filled with #BD4117, and bend it with Arc and Expand Appearance.

bend with arc

Step 4

Color the object with Mesh.

  1. #B21F03
  2. #A03C1B
  3. #D55A44
  4. #570805
mesh ladybug wing

Step 5

Finish the wing.

  1. #F5F7F8
  2. #A01301
  3. #880800
mesh ladybug wing

Step 6

Bend a #B74016 rectangle.

tutorial mesh bug

Step 7

Color it with Mesh.

  1. #400000
  2. #272522
mesh wing of ladybug

Step 8

Draw the head of the ladybug.

  1. #1B1D20
  2. #E3DCB2
  3. #EEE6DA
  4. #797776
mesh head bug

Step 9

Draw another part of the head.

  1. #282828
  2. #4F4F4F
  3. #000000
  4. #CBCBCB
ladybug vector tutorial

Step 10

Draw legs.

  1. #2E2E2E
  2. #686868
ladybug leg vector tutorial

Step 11

Draw the antennae.

  1. #010101
  2. #720500
antennae ladybug

Step 12

Draw spots.

  1. #000000
  2. -
  3. #4F4F4F
  4. #FFFFFF
spot ladybug

Step 13

Change the Transparency of the spot, and then create a few copies and modify them with Effect > Bend.

multiply
squezze
inflate

Step 14

Assemble the ladybug.

assemble ladybug vector

Step 15

Create a Blend shadow out of #162304 and #D5DBCC ellipses.

blend shadow

3. How to Draw the Background

Step 1

Begin by drawing a simple mesh object using #FFFFFF and #A5DDED.

sky background

Step 2

If you'd like to draw the leaves and the branch, consult this tutorial.

Then recolor the leaves with Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors and 5% Red.

vector leaves

Step 3

Recolor some of the individual leaves using the same method. You can also make some of them more transparent.

recolor leaf
transparent leaf

Step 4

Arrange some leaves inside an outline for a Clipping Mask.

clipping mask

Step 5

Take the grass from this tutorial.

Then isolate one of the blades and bend it with Effect > Warp > Arc.

vector grass

Step 6

Set the ladybug on top of the bent blade of grass.

blade of grass with ladybug

Step 7

Place it in the middle of the grass patch.

grass vector

Step 8

Create circles, different in size and filled with #B4B4B4. Set them to Overlay.

highlights

Step 9

Add more sizes and varying Opacity.

vector highlights

Step 10

Draw the sun using a Radial Gradient from #FFFFFF to #FFB500 to #000000.

Set the Transparency to Screen.

vector sun

Step 11

Assemble the background out of all the elements, and you're done!

nature background adobe illustrator

Awesome Work, 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 vector we recreated in this tutorial.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and I would be super happy to see any results in the comments below.

Natural Background with Leaves and a Wooden Sign
Natural Background with Leaves and a Wooden Sign
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