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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Gradient Mesh Tool

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

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Read Time: 5 mins
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal 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 SignNatural Background with Leaves and a Wooden SignNatural 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 meshdraw a paper with meshdraw 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 gradientlinear gradientlinear gradient

Step 3

Attach the corner to the paper.

paper note vectorpaper note vectorpaper 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 illustratorblend adobe illustratorblend 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 tutorialblend shadow tutorialblend shadow tutorial

Step 6

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

nail vector notenail vector notenail 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 vectorwooden texture tutorial vectorwooden 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.

gradientgradientgradient

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 plankvector mesh wooden plankvector 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 effectadobe illustrator 3d effectadobe illustrator 3d effect

Step 11

Place the texture on top of the object.

textured vector planktextured vector planktextured vector plank

Step 12

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

textured vector planktextured vector planktextured 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 tutorialvector wood tutorialvector wood tutorial
vector wooden plankvector wooden plankvector wooden plank

Step 14

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

3d effect tutorial3d effect tutorial3d effect tutorial

Step 15

Assemble the sign as shown below and rotate it slightly.

wooden sign vectorwooden sign vectorwooden sign vector

Step 16

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

sign vectorsign vectorsign vector

Step 17

Add those behind the sign.

add legs to the signadd legs to the signadd legs to the sign

Step 18

Add the paper on top of the sign.

add paper to the signadd paper to the signadd 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 ladybugmesh ladybugmesh ladybug

Step 2

Finish the Mesh drawing.

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

Step 3

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

bend with arcbend with arcbend with arc

Step 4

Color the object with Mesh.

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

Step 5

Finish the wing.

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

Step 6

Bend a #B74016 rectangle.

tutorial mesh bugtutorial mesh bugtutorial mesh bug

Step 7

Color it with Mesh.

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

Step 8

Draw the head of the ladybug.

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

Step 9

Draw another part of the head.

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

Step 10

Draw legs.

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

Step 11

Draw the antennae.

  1. #010101
  2. #720500
antennae ladybugantennae ladybugantennae ladybug

Step 12

Draw spots.

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

Step 13

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

multiplymultiplymultiply
squezzesquezzesquezze
inflateinflateinflate

Step 14

Assemble the ladybug.

assemble ladybug vectorassemble ladybug vectorassemble ladybug vector

Step 15

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

blend shadowblend shadowblend shadow

3. How to Draw the Background

Step 1

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

sky backgroundsky backgroundsky 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 leavesvector leavesvector leaves

Step 3

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

recolor leafrecolor leafrecolor leaf
transparent leaftransparent leaftransparent leaf

Step 4

Arrange some leaves inside an outline for a Clipping Mask.

clipping maskclipping maskclipping mask

Step 5

Take the grass from this tutorial.

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

vector grassvector grassvector grass

Step 6

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

blade of grass with ladybugblade of grass with ladybugblade of grass with ladybug

Step 7

Place it in the middle of the grass patch.

grass vectorgrass vectorgrass vector

Step 8

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

highlightshighlightshighlights

Step 9

Add more sizes and varying Opacity.

vector highlightsvector highlightsvector highlights

Step 10

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

Set the Transparency to Screen.

vector sunvector sunvector sun

Step 11

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

nature background adobe illustratornature background adobe illustratornature 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 SignNatural Background with Leaves and a Wooden SignNatural Background with Leaves and a Wooden Sign
Natural Background with Leaves and a Wooden Sign
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