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How to Illustrate a Realistic Iron using Gradients in Adobe Illustrator

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Read Time: 9 min

If you want to illustrate an iron, let’s get started on doing this tutorial and you will learn excellent vector illustration techniques, and use various powerful Illustrator tools! Follow along, while creating your own artworks.

Step 1

First of all you need to create the main geometry sketch of an iron. The main geometry will be represented as a simple and flat image. Let's begin to create this shape. Take the Pen Tool (P) and illustrate a smooth flat path filled with yellow or another color if you prefer.

Then create the path shown below. Try to achieve the exact positions as with the image shown below, because these paths are the contours of our iron.

Step 2

Illustrate a blue path under the iron as shown.

Then select all the paths except the blue one and go to the Pathfinder palette in order to click there the Divide button.

Go to Object > Ungroup, and paint the paths with different colors. See the image below for reference.

Step 3

If you desire you can change the shape of the main geometry paths slightly. For example you may take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and change the violet path as shown in the helpful diagram below.

Unite three top paths in order to create the united handle of an iron by clicking the Unite button in the Pathfinder palette or by using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift + M). Use the appropriate image below as a reference.

You should receive the following picture.

Step 4

Let's paint the violet path named "Handle." Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a rectangular path which is semitransparent in the image below for your convenience.

Go to Object > Create Gradient Mesh.

Then go to Object > Transform > Rotate.

Change the opacity of the mesh to 100% if your mesh is semitransparent too. Apply the clipping mask (Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Command + 7) to the mesh and change the colors of the mesh nodes in accordance with the light distribution principle. Follow the helpful image shown below.

Step 5

It is interesting to see what will be received if we use the mesh only without using the Rectangle Tool (M) and the corresponding clipping path.

What's the simplest mesh? The answer is evident, isn't it?

Step 6

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw an elongated elliptical path. Now fill it with black.

Then go to Object > Transform > Scale and set there the values shown below. Click the Copy button.

Change the Opacity of the biggest ellipse to 0.

Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and set the Spacing to Specified Steps and the quantity of steps to about 75.

Select both elliptical paths and go to Object > Blend > Make (Command + Option + B).

Step 7

Drag and drop this path into the Brushes palette. Select the Art Brush option in the dialog box.

Set the items for the brush as shown below. Name this brush "Black brush." You can change the colorization method of the brush to Hue Shift as well. It will allow you to manage the color of the brush further in your artwork.

Produce the "White brush" with the ellipses filled with white the same way.

Step 8

Take the Pen Tool (P), illustrate a path shown in the diagram below and apply the “Black brush” to it. Crop it with the corresponding clipping path as shown below.

Change the Stroke color of the path.

Change the Stroke weight and the opacity of this path.

Step 9

Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a small circle at the right end of the "Handle" path. Crop it with a clipping path.

Take the Scissors Tool (C) and click in the point indicated with an arrow in the diagram above. Then apply the "Black brush" to it, and change the Stroke color to white. You should achieve the next interesting result.

Change the Stroke weight and the opacity if necessary.

Step 10

Apply the "White brush" to the following paths. Of course, you can use the "Black brush" with the white stroke for this purpose!

Step 11

Create a blend from two white circles.

Use the white circles at the right end of the handle path.

Step 12

The light distribution in the "Center" path shown with orange bounds is created the same way. In other words, use the mesh cropped with a corresponding clipping mask for this purpose. See the helpful diagrams below.

Emphasize on the border of the "Center" path using a stroke.

Step 13

Apply the created Art brushes to the paths which are located at the ends of the "Center" path in order to improve the light distribution and to add a realistic view to your image.

Apply the white blend over the "Center" path as well.

Step 14

Fill the yellow "LPart" path with an angled linear gradient.

Copy it and Paste in Back (Command + C then Command + B), take the Direct Selection Tool (A), and change the shape of the path copy as shown.

Fill it with a darker gradient filling.

Illustrate the next path the same way and fill it with dark gray.

Step 15

Apply the Art brushes to the paths at the ends of the "LPart" path.

The "Plate" part is painted the same way. Do it by yourself. Follow the image below.

Step 16

We should place the temperature selector in the "Center" part of the iron. In order to do this, first, illustrate a smooth path and fill it with an angled linear gradient as shown in the image below.

Then apply the "Black brush" to the following path,...

Go to the Transparency palette and change there the Blending Mode to Screen.

Step 17

Place the blend created from two white circles over both the "Center" and "LPart" paths.

Place a thin path over the entire iron, and apply the "White brush" to it.

Step 18

Illustrate the temperature selector as shown.

If you know how to achieve this without assistance, do it by yourself. But if not, read carefully the continuation of this tutorial. First sketch an ellipse filled with an angled gradient.

Copy it and Paste in Back (Command + C then Command + B). Move it down slightly. Then copy the first ellipse and paste it in back again. Use the Lasso Tool (Q) in order to select both anchor points: the lower anchor point of the top ellipse and the upper anchor point of the bottom ellipse and press the Delete button on your keyboard.

Take the Lasso Tool (Q) again and select both leftmost anchor points.

And go to Object > Path > Join (Command + J).

Repeat these manipulations with the other anchor points, and fill the received path with an angled linear gradient.

Step 19

Draw two paths with the "White brush" applied to them.

Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and specify the values which you can see in the dialog box in the image below.

Then go to Object > Blend > Make (Command + Alt + B), and change the opacity of the blend.

Crop the blend with a clipping path.

Add the blend created by using the "Black brush".

Step 20

In order to create a conical gradient over the temperature selector, in the beginning, draw two white triangles, and change the opacities of them.

Create a smooth blend from them as shown.

Illustrate the next blend by going to Object > Transform > Reflect.

Repeat these actions in order to achieve the following result.

And crop it with a clipping path.

Step 21

Illustrate the shown compound path and fill it with an angled linear gradient.

And draw a shadow from the temperature selector, fill it with a gradient filling too, and change the Blending Mode of it as shown.

Step 22

In order to make a button create a usual elliptical brush.

Draw an ellipse. See the picture below.

And apply the "Elliptical brush" to the following path.

Step 23

Expand and ungroup the crimson path and convert it to the mesh by going to Object > Create Gradient Mesh.

Apply the "Black brush" to the following path.

Step 24

Now we should produce a silk material under the iron. Use the mesh for this purpose and follow the helping diagrams below.

Step 25

If you want to cover the material with a pattern texture, you can, first select the mesh, then group it by going to Object > Group (Command + G), and finally go to the Appearance palette and click the Add New Fill button.

Click the Fill, open the Swatches palette, then open the fly-out menu, find the Basic Graphic Textures, and select the Diagonal Lines texture.

Keep this method in mind, but do not use it for this tutorial, because I want you to learn how to create your own pattern texture. If you want to learn something new, read the continuation of this tutorial and we will use Ariadne's thread for escaping this intellectual labyrinth. :)

Step 26

Take the Line Segment Tool (Back Slash), and draw a simple black horizontal line.

Go to Object > Transform > Move and set the values shown below. Then click the Copy button.

Transform it again by pressing Command + D as many times as you want. You need to achieve the following result.

Step 27

Rotate the lines as shown in the diagram below.

Take the Rectangle Tool (M), click over the lines and draw a square without a stroke or filling. Send the square under the lines.

The diagonal lines must cover all the area of the square. So, decrease the square dimensions as shown. Group all of the paths.

Step 28

Drag and drop the received group of paths into the Swatches palette.

After that repeat the actions described in Step 25, use the created pattern, and you will achieve the following result.

Step 29

But what do we see on the scaled image?!

Our texture is seamed. This is wrong. Delete such a texture from the Swatches palette. And repeat all the described manipulations on creating the new texture, but use a square that will allow you to create a seamless pattern. For example, make the square angles intersect with lines. See the helpful diagram below.

Apply the new texture to the material. Zoom your image and be sure that your new texture is seamless.

Step 30

Make a shadow from the iron. Fill the shadow shape with black and change the Blending Mode and the opacity of it.

Finally, illustrate a gray elliptical path in order to emphasize the temperature selector surface in the "Center" path.


The final image is below. As you can see, the gradient mesh and custom brushes has made it easy to give volume to our basic shapes. Play around with the techniques you've learned today and see what kind of fabrics and items you can come up with. I hope you've enjoyed this tut.

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