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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Gradient Mesh Tool

How to Create a Vector Autumn Background in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this simple tutorial, you will learn how to use the Mesh Tool and a bit of Image Trace in Adobe Illustrator to create an autumn background!

If you want to skip the tutorial and just use this background in your work, you can purchase the Autumn Background with Umbrella and Rain Boots from GraphicRiver!

Autumn Background with Umbrella and Rain Boots
Autumn Background with Umbrella and Rain Boots

1. How to Draw the Boots

Step 1

Let's start off by drawing the first boot with Gradient Mesh.

Create an orange rectangle—the color is #CB492C.

Next, grab the Mesh Tool (U). Click to create nodes, which in turn create a Mesh Grid. When you have a thick enough mesh grid, grab the edges of the rectangle and move them to make the shape rounder. It should resemble the shape of a boot.

Once you're done with the shaping, select the nodes on the left side of the shoe (they are already colored differently in the screenshot) and color them with #F7997F.

Next, select the nodes on the edges of the object (they're selected below) and proceed to change their color to #A73013. Add some darker red tones in the fourth step with #BA391D, and then add more highlights with #DD6B4E and #D0593C.

Always make sure to select the nodes that are selected in each screenshot below and apply the corresponding color to them!

gradient mesh tutorial autumn background rain boots

Step 2

Draw an object in the shape of a sole for the boot, coloring it with #1A1C24. Attach it to our mesh shape, and then create a smaller copy of both objects.

vector rain boots

Step 3

Modify the smaller copy with mesh. You will need these colors:

  1. -
  2. #98250F
  3. #CA4C31
rain boot mesh tutorial

Step 4

Add some shadows by cloning an ellipse filled with a #C4A78B to white Radial Gradient. Set them to Multiply.

gradient shadow

2. How to Draw the Umbrella

Step 1

Begin drawing the umbrella with mesh.

  1. #EE836B
  2. #BB361E
  3. #D34628
gradient mesh

Step 2

  1. #F77758
  2. #AE1E0A
  3. #E13D1C
  4. #FF6944
gradient mesh tutorial

Step 3

  1. #E56F52
  2. #B43019
  3. #CC4428
umbrella vector

Step 4

  1. #A43627
  2. #52130D
  3. #230303
  4. #81251A
vector mesh umbrella tutorial

Step 5

Draw a handle by filling a narrow rectangle with a Linear Gradient. It should contain these colors: #C6BDB3 - #4A4138 - #BAAFA4 - #14120F.

gradient umbrella handle

Step 6

Draw the final part by applying a Gradient to the Stroke of a drawn path. It should contain these colors: #1B0D03 - #C39983 - #1B0D03.

Expand the path.


Step 7

Assemble the umbrella, adding some shadows underneath.

vector umbrella

3. How to Draw the Background and the Floor

Step 1

Begin by drawing the backdrop with mesh.

  1. #DDF5E2
  2. #86AFAE
  3. #E2AD12
  4. #FEF69B
mesh adobe illustrator

Step 2

  1. #FFFEFD
  2. #E7D2A8
  3. #ADC4AE
  4. #C98105
gradient mesh

Step 3

  1. #ECF1C4
  2. #E1E0B4
mesh background

Step 4

To add the wooden floor, first consult Section 4 of this tutorial:

Next, bend it with Effect > Distort & Transform > Free Distort as shown below.

Expand Appearance of the result.

free distort

Step 5

Draw an outline over the highlighted section of the floor, and then Make a Clipping Mask.

clipping mask

Step 6

Place a #533D18 backdrop behind the planks.

planks backdrop

Step 7

Create a rectangle, filled with a Gradient from #F5BB59 to #75441B.

Set it to Overlay and 80% Opacity, and place it on top of the floor.

gradient overlay

Step 8

Create a little rim using a Radial, #42210B to #F5BB59 gradient on a Stroke.

gradient rim

4. How to Add the Leaves and Bokeh

Step 1

Learn how to make the orange leaf in this tutorial:

Next, bend it with Effect > Warp > Arc, using these settings:

  • Bend: 30%
  • H.: -26%
  • V.: 26%

Expand Appearance of the result.

warp effects adobe illustrator

Step 2

Add a copy of the bent leaf and make it yellow with Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors.

adjust colors

Step 3

Take the original leaf once more, bending it with Effect > Warp > Arc.

warp effect arc

Step 4

Take a copy of this one as well, making it lighter with the Edit > Edit Colors > Saturate function.


Step 5

Press the Download Attachment button on the right sidebar of this page, and open leaf.jpg in your working file in Adobe Illustrator.


Step 6

Use Image Trace to isolate a Black and White outline.

image trace adobe illustrator

Step 7

Fill the outline you get with #D09739. Add an actual leaf, filling it with #EAC02C and using 20% Opacity.

image trace

Step 8

Add one more leaf, this time filled with #E09736. Also use 20% Opacity.

leaf vector

Step 9

Arrange the leaves, adding shadows under the ones on the bottom.

vector leaves

Step 10

Create an Opacity Mask out of a #FF1200 circle and a circle filled with a Radial Gradient. Set the Transparency mode to Screen, with 70% Opacity.

transparency settings

Step 11

If you'd like to add bokeh lights, learn how to do it here:

Create a background.

bokeh lights vector

Step 12

Assemble all the elements!

autumn background vector

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 an autumn background 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 Autumn Background with Umbrella and Rain Boots as well as other similar designs in my portfolio on GraphicRiver.

End Result
Autumn Background with Umbrella and Rain Boots

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