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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Gradient Mesh Tool

How to Draw a Winter Christmas Landscape With a Wooden Sign 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 winter vector Christmas background!

If you want to skip the tutorial and just use this background with some other awesome elements, purchase the Winter Christmas Landscape with a Wooden Sign from GraphicRiver!

Winter Christmas Landscape with a Wooden Sign

1. How to Create the Background

Step 1

Let's begin by using Mesh for a bit!

Start by drawing a rectangle and filling it with #9DC3C5 color. Next, create a Mesh grid for this shape by manually placing nodes with the Mesh Tool (U)!

Once your Mesh grid is done, begin coloring it by selecting the whole lower right corner of nodes (the light-blue ones) and changing their color to #DFE9E3

Continue with this step by coloring the node selected in the third part of the screenshot below with #C4D9D7.

Next, color the top and right edge nodes (the ones selected) with #76A5AB and finish by coloring the two middle nodes on the left side with #BBD1CE.

color background with mesh

Step 2

Let's draw a snow hill!

Fill a rectangle with #F1F7EC and create a fairly dense Mesh Grid (using the Mesh Tool (U).

Next, drag different Mesh nodes to create a curved grid like the one shown below. Finally, color the selected nodes with #CADBD8.

draw snow with mesh

Step 3

Create another snow hill in a similar fashion—this one should be even simpler!

Use these colors:

  1. #E8EFEB
  2. #FBFCF5
  3. #D6E5E4
draw snow layer

Step 4

Now, simply overlay the two hills onto the background.

add snow

Step 5

For this step, you can either try to draw your own pine tree using the Pen Tool (P), use any other clip art, or refer to the attachment of this tutorial of mine to grab a ready outline of the tree!

In any case, recolor the tree with #C0CCCC and place several copies of it to create a background forest.

pine trees

Step 6

You can add some snow to these trees by drawing two series of snow outlines, which you would then overlay on top of each other—the bigger one, #99AAAD, on the bottom and smaller one, #FDFAEB, on the top.

add snow

Step 7

If you chose to draw these trees, add them to the scenery.

add snow pine trees

Step 8

Now place the trees onto our background!

add trees

2. How to Draw the Santa Hat

Step 1

Draw the base of the Santa hat using Mesh, just as we did with the snow piles before.

Use #D52A45 for the base color, #882231 for the shadows in part two, and #B5263C for the wrinkles in the last part.

use mesh to draw a santa hat

Step 2

Draw the second part of the hat using these:

  1. #D82A45
  2. #A72538
  3. #B9263C
draw hat with mesh

Step 3

Put the two parts together and Group (Control-G) them.

add hat together

Step 4

Use the Wrinkle Tool (under the Width Tool in the Tools panel) with a rather small radius and 20% Intensity to roughen the edges of the hat a bit, making them fuzzy.

wrinkle santa hat

Step 5

Draw the rim for the hat.

  1. #F1F1E4
  2. #E1E1D3
  3. #FAFAED
  4. #B4998C
draw mesh rim

Step 6

Use the Wrinkle Tool again.

wrinkle tool

Step 7

Draw the pom-pom!

  1. #F0F1E4
  2. #D2D5C5
  3. #F3F3ED
  4. #CDAFA3
draw pom pom with mesh

Step 8

Finish the pom-pom with the Wrinkle Tool.

wrinkle pom pom

Step 9

Add all the parts together!

final hat

3. How to Draw the Wooden Sign

Step 1

To create the texture, you will need to refer to Section 3 of my autumn leaves tutorial.

Your result should look like the wood on the left. Rotate the planks and space them out a bit, making the brown background more visible.

You can use your own texture as well!

rotate texture

Step 2

Change the color of the planks with Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors and:

  • Red: 1%
  • Green: 6%
  • Blue: 13%
change colors

Step 3

Draw a rectangle, applying a #5B565B to #0E0B0D Radial Gradient to it.

Change the Transparency to Overlay.

gradient rectangle

Step 4

Put the rectangle on top of the texture.

add overlay

Step 5

Draw a decorative sign shape, and then place it on top of the texture. Select all elements and after right-clicking, choose Make Clipping Mask.

clipping mask

Step 6

Let's create a shadow! Create two shapes, one filled with #562B0B and another with #955A15.

draw blend

Step 7

Change the smaller shape's Opacity to 0%.

change opacity

Step 8

Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and set it to Specified Steps, 30.

Next select both shapes and choose Object > Blend > Make, creating a nice shadow for our sign.

blend shadow

Step 9

"Cut" a frame out for the sign using a Clipping Mask.

cut frame

Step 10

Add all the elements together and set the blend shadow's Transparency to Multiply.

add elements

Step 11

Draw a plank for the sign with Mesh!

  1. #765B46
  2. #422E25
  3. #B9A392
  4. #1E0B04
draw wooden leg

Step 12

Draw a shadow for the hat by using Blend, as we did in Step 8.

The colors are #6D3B16 and #331C0A.

draw blend shadow

Step 13

Add the shadow under the hat.

add shadow to hat

Step 14

And add the hat to the sign!

add shadow and hat

Step 15

Draw a highlight using a Transparency mask (like the one in the last section of this tutorial) and change its Opacity to 80% and Transparency to Overlay.

draw highlight

Step 16

Add it on top of the sign.

add highlight

Step 17

Draw different variants of snow, as shown below.

draw snowflakes

Step 18

Add snow to the sign!

add snow

Step 19

Finally, place the sign on the winter background! If you want to add falling snow, feel free to refer to this tutorial of mine.

final result

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 will be super happy to see any results in the comments below!

original image
Winter Christmas Landscape with a Wooden Sign
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