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How to Make a Textured Abstract Gradient Background in Illustrator

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What You'll Be Creating

The trend of ethereal and dreamy backgrounds is great for those projects that want to look stylish. In this abstract gradient Illustrator tutorial, you'll learn how to create an abstract gradient in three different ways. You'll learn to use the abstract gradient mesh in Illustrator and the freeform gradient texture. These gradient texture wallpapers are great for full brand projects, Instagram feeds and stories, or cellphone wallpapers.

Envato Elements is a great resource for assets like this abstract gradient texture background. For a small fee, you can have access to unlimited assets. Find anything from fonts to photos, graphics, and even video and audio.

Abstract Gradient BackgroundAbstract Gradient BackgroundAbstract Gradient Background
Abstract Gradient Background

This abstract gradient includes vibrant colors and beautiful waves. Use it for branding and presentation backgrounds. The pack includes vector versions, so you can choose between having a normal or a noise gradient in Illustrator.

Prefer to watch videos to learn new skills? Then you'll love this new video from the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel. Follow us along and learn how to make abstract gradients in Illustrator by watching this video:

What You'll Learn in This Abstract Gradient Illustrator Tutorial

In this gradient texture wallpaper tutorial, you'll learn to:

  • Use the Gradient Mesh Tool
  • Use the freeform gradient
  • How to recolor artwork
  • Add noise to a design

What You'll Need

For this abstract gradient tutorial, you'll need access to Adobe Illustrator.

1. How to Set Up a Gradient Texture Illustrator File

Open Adobe Illustrator and click on Create New. Select the iPhone X preset or set the document Width to 1125 px and the Height to 2436 px. 

Set all the Bleeds to 15 px. Set the Color Mode to RGB and the Resolution to 72 px. Click Create.

How to Set Up a Gradient Texture Illustrator FileHow to Set Up a Gradient Texture Illustrator FileHow to Set Up a Gradient Texture Illustrator File

2. How to Make Abstract Gradients in Illustrator

Step 1

In the toolbar, select the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a rectangle on the artboard that extends to the bleed marks.

How to Make Abstract Gradients in IllustratorHow to Make Abstract Gradients in IllustratorHow to Make Abstract Gradients in Illustrator

Step 2

In the toolbar, select the Mesh Tool (U).

The Mesh Tool allows us to create gradients in practically any form. It's useful for 3D vectors and to add depth by creating a mesh. Each space can be moved, curved, and manipulated in any way, adding flexibility and control to a design.

You can create your own mesh by clicking in different parts of the rectangle we created in the previous step. The mesh doesn't have to be even—that's the whole point! Create as many or as few points as you'd like. 

How to Make Abstract Gradients in IllustratorHow to Make Abstract Gradients in IllustratorHow to Make Abstract Gradients in Illustrator

Step 3

We need to set up color swatches so the following steps are easier to follow. Use the following color swatches or create your own:

  • Pink: #F09FC6
  • Blue: #A9CDD7
  • Yellow: #FBF5CC
  • Green: #BEF4BC
How to Make Abstract Gradients in IllustratorHow to Make Abstract Gradients in IllustratorHow to Make Abstract Gradients in Illustrator

Step 4

In the toolbar, select the Direct Selection Tool (A). 

You can select individual points by clicking on each point. Add more points to your selection by holding Shift as you click on the points. You can also select several points at once by clicking and selecting. 

Once you've made the selection, go to the toolbar and select the Eye Dropper Tool (I). Click on any of the color swatches we created. There's no right or wrong here—be original!

abstract gradient mesh Illustratorabstract gradient mesh Illustratorabstract gradient mesh Illustrator

Step 5

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), click on any point. You'll notice that other points get activated, and those are points that allow for curves. Feel free to play with those. 

Another option is to grab whole areas with just the Selection Tool and move them around. Remember that Command-Z allows you to Undo—this is your best ally for this step. You can repeat step 4 if want to change any of the points' colors. 

abstract gradient mesh Illustratorabstract gradient mesh Illustratorabstract gradient mesh Illustrator

3. How to Use the Freeform Gradient for a Gradient Texture

Step 1

Create a new artboard by pressing Shift-O. Go to the Control bar and select the New Artboard button.

abstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free form

Step 2

We need to set up color swatches so the following steps are easier to follow. Use the following color swatches or create your own:

  • Light Purple: #E8D0E2
  • Blue: #0930CC
  • Light Blue: #A9EFEE
  • Peach: #F2C6AF
abstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free form

Step 3

In the toolbar, select the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle that expands to the bleeds of the wallpaper.

abstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free form

Step 4

Open the Gradient panel by going to Window > Gradient. 

While selecting the rectangle, click on the Freeform Gradient in the Gradient panel.

Under Draw, select the Points. You'll know it's the correct one when you see four points at each corner of the rectangle. 

abstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free form

Step 5

To edit each color, click on one of the dots at the corner, select the Color Picker from the Gradient panel, and click on any of the swatches we created.

abstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free form

Step 6

You can move the dots around and expand their radius to edit the wallpaper. Add more points by clicking anywhere on the rectangle. 

abstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free form

Step 7

Create a New Artboard by pressing Shift-O, and draw a new rectangle with the Rectangle Tool (M). In the Gradient panel, select the Freeform Gradient and under Draw select Lines.

Click anywhere in the rectangle to set a starting point. Click anywhere else and as you move the mouse you'll notice a curve will appear. The Lines option behaves in a similar way as the Pen Tool. 

abstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free form

Step 8

To change the color of each point: click on a point, select the Eye Dropper Tool from the Gradient panel, and click on one of the color swatches.

abstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free formabstract gradient Illustrator free form

4. How to Recolor Artwork for Your Gradient Texture Background

The Recolor Artwork option in Illustrator lets you experiment with color variations. This is helpful when you have finished designing something, but you only want to swap colors. 

Select any of the wallpapers we created in this tutorial. Go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork. 

The color wheel will show a selection of colors that you currently have in the wallpaper. To change the colors, move the main color around the wheel and watch the rest of the colors move in conjunction.

recolor gradient texture background recolor gradient texture background recolor gradient texture background

5. How to Add a Noise Gradient in Illustrator

Select the designed wallpaper rectangle, go to Effect > Texture > Grain.

In the Grain pop-up window, set the Intensity to 25 and the Contrast to 50. Set the Grain Type to Regular. Click OK.

Illustrator noise gradientIllustrator noise gradientIllustrator noise gradient

5 Gradient Texture Wallpapers From Envato Elements

Gradient Ombre Blur Textures (AI, PNG)

Gradient Ombre Blur TexturesGradient Ombre Blur TexturesGradient Ombre Blur Textures
Gradient Ombre Blur Textures

Mix two trends that are big at the moment—nude palettes and gradients—and you get double the awesome. This earthy, neutral abstract gradient texture is carefully designed. In this pack, you get 20 grainy gradients that are high resolution so you can print them out.

Pale Gradient Backgrounds (AI, PNG)

Pale Gradient BackgroundsPale Gradient BackgroundsPale Gradient Backgrounds
Pale Gradient Backgrounds

This versatile collection of colorful pale gradients is useful for creating modern designs. Use them in website backgrounds, brochure designs, and illustrations. There are 30 gradients in the pack with an awesome faded effect.

Colorful Wavy Gradient Backgrounds (AI, EPS)

Colorful Wavy Gradient BackgroundsColorful Wavy Gradient BackgroundsColorful Wavy Gradient Backgrounds
Colorful Wavy Gradient Backgrounds

If you're looking for more texture in wallpaper backgrounds, these wavy and colorful gradient backgrounds are the answer. Use these vectors in web design, branding, and blog backgrounds. These files are fully scalable, so you won't have any problem using them for print or web.

Color Instagram Store (PSD, PDF)

Color Instagram StoreColor Instagram StoreColor Instagram Store
Color Instagram Store

Minimalistic and fun, these trendy gradients are perfect for Instagram. If you're looking to update your feed, these colorful gradients have a modern style with bright colors. The holographic textures will make your Instagram account cool again. 

Pastel Blend Abstract Gradient Background (JPG, EPS)

Pastel Blend Abstract Gradient BackgroundPastel Blend Abstract Gradient BackgroundPastel Blend Abstract Gradient Background
Pastel Blend Abstract Gradient Background

If you're looking for something more low-key, these soft blends resemble auras. Use these textures for presentation backgrounds since they're soft, or use different blending modes to create something more interesting. 

Make an Abstract Gradient in Illustrator Today!

In this tutorial, we showed you how to make abstract gradients in Illustrator. This latest trend of ethereal and colorful abstract gradient textures works well for many types of projects. Using the abstract Gradient Mesh Tool in Illustrator, you created a simple background. With the help of new Illustrator tools, we also looked at how to recolor artwork so your gradient texture can be edited long after you have designed it. The results are three noise gradients created in Illustrator, great for a full brand look, posters, and Instagram stories. 

Remember that if you're short on time, Envato Elements is here to the rescue. There's a big library of assets that include abstract gradient texture backgrounds and cool fonts. Be sure to check it out!

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