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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Gradient Mesh Tool

How to Draw a Nature Scene With Dandelions and a Butterfly in Adobe Illustrator

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 beautiful natural scene!

If you want to skip the tutorial and just use these flowers in your work, you can purchase the Nature Summer Background With Daisy Flower from GraphicRiver!

Nature Summer Background with Daisy Flower
Nature Summer Background With Daisy Flower

1. How to Draw the Side-View Dandelion

Step 1

Let's begin using the Mesh Tool (U) by drawing the first petal!

Grab a rectangle, filling it with #FAF128. Next, use the Mesh Tool to create a Mesh grid inside the object by clicking on the preferred spots.

After you've created six rows and four columns of Mesh, use the Mesh Tool to round the object into a petal by dragging its edges and nodes. Use the screenshot below for reference.

Once you've done that, it's time to color! Select the whole left edge of the object and color it with #B67810, and then color the second column from the left with #D7BE1B.

use mesh to draw petal

Step 2

Continue coloring the object as shown in the screenshot below. You will need these colors:

  1. #FFFF2C
  2. #E2CA1F
  3. #D0B018
gradient mesh

Step 3

You've finished the first petal! Now, create petal number 2 by simply stretching a copy of the first object.

draw dandelion

Step 4

Create petal number 3 by stretching another copy of the first petal.

The third petal should be longer and thinner than the second one.

how to draw dandelion

Step 5

For the fourth petal, make a copy that's shorter and a bit thicker.

dandelion petal

Step 6

Grab a copy of petal number 4, stretch it a bit, and color a few nodes in its base with #B57510.

mesh flower petal

Step 7

For number 6, slightly recolor a copy of the first petal using Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors. Apply -5% Green.

edit colors

Step 8

Assemble the flower out of the petals you made.

assemble vector flower

Step 9

Let's create more petals! Make a bigger copy of petal 4.

dandelion vector petal

Step 10

Stretch number 1.

how to draw dandelion in illustrator

Step 11

Enlarge number 4, and then color its left edge with #B57510.

how to use gradient mesh

Step 12

Begin creating the 10th petal with mesh.

  1. #EFE124
  2. #FFF92A
  3. #C8BE1B
mesh petal

Step 13

  1. #D3B119
  2. #B57510

Finish the 10th petal.

gradient mesh adobe illustrator

Step 14

Create petal 11 by recoloring one node to #B57510.

change mesh petal

Step 15

Draw the 12th petal.

  1. #EFE124
  2. #DBBF26
  3. #BB8113
dandelion flower petal vector

Step 16

  1. #D0BD26
  2. #FFF934
  3. #E2CF2A
gradient mesh vector

Step 17

Assemble the lower part of the flower.

dandelion vector flower in adobe illustrator

Step 18

Create an object by applying a stroke to a curved line, creating a reflected copy of it, expanding both objects' appearance, and then using Pathfinder to Unite both objects.

vector dandelion

Step 19

Color the object with Mesh.

  1. #FFE52B
  2. #D09908

Next, turn the lowest row of mesh completely transparent.

how to use gradient mesh

Step 20

Finish the flower.

photo-realistic vector dandelion tutorial

Step 21

Draw a leaf with Mesh.

  1. #82924A
  2. #2B3806
  3. #6F7618
  4. #94A546
  5. #637323
mesh leaf

Step 22

Add the leaves to the dandelion.

add leaves

Step 23

Draw the stem out of three rows of mesh.

  1. #597418
  2. #839334
  3. #FFFFFF
mesh flower stem

Step 24

Add the stem to the flower!

vector dandelion flower

2. How to Draw the Front-Facing Dandelion

Step 1

Begin drawing the first petal for the second flower!

  1. #FCDC00
  2. #DEAF00
  3. #E0C100
  4. #FCEC00
  5. #F2D700
dandelion petal vector

Step 2

  1. #FDE000
  2. #E2A600
  3. #D5A700
  4. #F6C300
  5. #F7D200
  6. #FFF300
petal tutorial

Step 3

  1. #FDE000
  2. #FBEA00
  3. #EFCF00
  4. #D3A300
  5. #FCE300
vector flower petal

Step 4

  1. #F1BC00
  2. #CE8F00
  3. #FFDE00
  4. #CEA000
  5. #BB8200
  6. #F9CD00

Step 5

Create the fifth petal out of the first one.

dandelion petal

Step 6

Create the sixth petal.

flower petal

Step 7

Assemble the outer part of the flower.

vector mesh dandelion

Step 8

Create a smaller copy of the flower, and then reflect it and add it inside the bigger ring.

Step 9

Add an ellipse filled with #FFB600 behind the petals.

Step 10

Open the attachment to this tutorial, dandelion.jpg.

Drag it inside your work document in Adobe Illustrator, and then open the Image Trace panel.

Set the number of Colors to 30, adjusting the other settings to match the screenshot if they are different. Press Trace, and then Object > Expand Appearance.

image trace

Step 11

Delete the outer yellow part of the traced dandelion.


Step 12

Add the remainder inside the flower.

add dandelion middle

3. How to Add the Daisies and the Grass

Step 1

To draw the daisy, consult my tutorial How to Draw Heart-Shaped Daisies in Adobe Illustrator.

This time, do not create a heart out of the middle, and go through the steps as if the middle was round.


Step 2

After you've traced and expanded the middle, flatten it a bit.

daisy mesh

Step 3

Create a blend shadow out of #89580F and #FFFAD7, setting it to Multiply with 80% Opacity.

blend shadow

Step 4

Place the shadow in the middle of the petals, and then place the flower in the middle.

add shadow
add daisy middle

Step 5

To create grass, consult this tutorial of mine: How to Create a Grass Banner in Adobe Illustrator. Recolor it by going to Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors and adding 6% Green.

create grass

Step 6

To bend the straight blades of grass, use Effect > Warp > Arc with 50% Bend.

Expand Appearance.

bend grass

Step 7

Create a scene out of the objects we've made so far.

grass bush with flowers vector

4. How to Draw the Butterfly

Step 1

Draw an element of the butterfly's wing with mesh.

  1. #E7A229
  2. #000000
  3. #FDF2DA
  4. #FACB49
vector mesh butterfly

Step 2

Add another part.

  1. #E7A229
  2. #FBCB45
  3. #000000
  4. #7F490F
photo-realistic butterfly wing

Step 3

Draw the final element.

  1. #F7BE3D
  2. #000000
  3. #68380B
  4. #D38F24
  5. #5A2C09
  6. #FCCF46
mesh butterfly

Step 4

Draw an outline of a butterfly's wing, fill it with black, and then add the elements we just made.

how to draw butterfly in illustrator

Step 5

Draw another element for the wing.

  1. #000000
  2. #FFFFFF
  3. #F6BCA5
  4. #F9EBC9
mesh element

Step 6

Create different variants by bending the original shape.

butterfly wing decoration

Step 7

Add the objects to the butterfly's wing.

add to wing
vector butterfly

Step 8

Add a new copy of the wing.

butterfly mesh illustrator vector tutorial

Step 9

Begin drawing the body of the butterfly with legs and antennae.


Step 10

Draw the body.

  1. #000000
  2. #D4C3A7
  3. #86773E
  4. #554322
body of butterfly vector

Step 11

Assemble the body.

butterfly body mesh

Step 12

Complete the butterfly.

vector butterfly

Step 13

Create a Blend shadow out of #293F06 and #FFFFFF. Set it to Multiply.

blend shadow
blend shadow vector

Step 14

Add a Gradient shadow from #94A163 to #FFFFFF, and set it to Multiply.


Step 15

Add the shadows under the bush and the butterfly next to it.

Then, draw an outline, "framing" the picture. Select everything and Make Clipping Mask.

vector nature scene

Step 16

You're finished!

vector nature scene tutorial grass dandelion daisy butterfly mesh

Awesome Work, You're 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 beautiful photo-realistic flowers using the Mesh Tool.

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and learned how to use some useful tools for the future! Check out some of my other vector tutorials on my instructor profile.

You can purchase these flowers as well as other similar designs in my portfolio on GraphicRiver.

Nature Summer Background with Daisy Flower
Nature Summer Background With Daisy Flower

If you're looking for more floral gradient mesh tutorials, let me recommend the following tutorials to try next:

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