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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Illustrator

How to Use the Gradient Tool in Illustrator

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In this tutorial, you'll learn how to use the gradient tool in Illustrator to add custom gradients to your vector artwork and designs. 

Are you looking for a quick video tutorial to learn everything about the gradient tool in Illustrator? The Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel has you covered:

What You'll Need in This Gradient Tool Illustrator Tutorial

To follow along with this tutorial on how to use the gradient tool in Illustrator, you'll need your own version of Adobe Illustrator. We'll also be using stock images from Envato Elements to help us, but feel free to use your own illustration too! Click on the link below to download it.

wolf gradient logowolf gradient logowolf gradient logo

1. How to Use the Gradient Tool in Illustrator

Step 1

Select the Gradient Tool (G) from the left toolbar.

select gradient toolselect gradient toolselect gradient tool

Step 2

With the Gradient Tool selected, click on the shape object you want to apply the gradient to.

apply gradient tool to shapeapply gradient tool to shapeapply gradient tool to shape

Step 3

This will apply a default gradient to the object. You'll also notice that the Gradient Annotator is applied across the shape. We'll be using the Gradient Annotator to adjust the look of the gradient to our liking.

gradient annotatorgradient annotatorgradient annotator

Step 4

Double-click on the Colour Stop to change the starting and ending colour of the gradient. 

add colour to colour stopsadd colour to colour stopsadd colour to colour stops

Step 5

You can also add more colour stops to the gradient bar by clicking on it. Move the colour stop along the bar to change its position.

add another colour stopadd another colour stopadd another colour stop

Step 6

You can also angle the gradient by rotating the Gradient Annotator. To do this, hover the mouse cursor over the end point until it changes into the rotation icon. Then simply click and drag to rotate.

rotate the gradient annotatorrotate the gradient annotatorrotate the gradient annotator

2. How to Use the Gradient Tool in Illustrator on Text

Step 1

In this section, we'll learn how to use the Gradient Tool on text. If you try to use the Gradient Tool on text, you'll see that at first it doesn't work as expected. This is because we can only apply flat colours to text.

try to apply on texttry to apply on texttry to apply on text

Step 2

In order to apply a gradient to the text, we must first outline the font. To do this, right-click on the text and select Create Outlines (Shift-Control-O).

create outlinescreate outlinescreate outlines

Step 3

Now you can use the Gradient Tool. However, you'll find that it applies the gradient to each individual letter.

apply gradient on lettersapply gradient on lettersapply gradient on letters

Step 4

If you want to apply the gradient across all the letters, go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Now the gradient will appear across all the letters.

make compound pathmake compound pathmake compound path

Awesome! You're Finished!

gradient tool illustratorgradient tool illustratorgradient tool illustrator

Congratulations! And that's how to how to use the Illustrator Gradient Tool to apply and adjust the look of your colours and gradients. I hope you found this tutorial helpful and that you've learned some new tips and tricks that you can use for your own projects. See you next time!

Top 5 Gradient Templates From Envato Elements

Want to add some Gradient Tool Illustrator techniques to your projects, but short on time? Then head on over to Envato Elements, where you can download many different illustration and designs that you can use. Here are five of my favourites.

Wolf Gradient Logo (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG)

Wolf Gradient LogoWolf Gradient LogoWolf Gradient Logo

Here's the graphic template we used for the tutorial above. This unique and colourful wolf logo will really make your brand stand out! This vector illustration is easily customisable and well organised so that you can use the elements for your own projects and designs. Gradients are easily editable with the use of the Gradient Tool in Illustrator.

Gradient Transparent Business Card Mockup (PSD)

Gradient Transparent Business Card MockupGradient Transparent Business Card MockupGradient Transparent Business Card Mockup

If you're looking for some ready-made gradient colours for your business card designs and mockups, look no further! Use this gradient template to create your business card quickly and easily within minutes. Easily editable with a 3000 x 2000 resolution in 300 dpi.

Mythology Gradient Colorful LogoMythology Gradient Colorful LogoMythology Gradient Colorful Logo

Here's another colourful gradient logo that you can use for your branding projects and designs! This vector based logo is fully editable and scalable without the loss of resolution. 

Gradients Pack x10 (AI, EPS, JPG)

Gradients Pack x10Gradients Pack x10Gradients Pack x10

Looking for ready made gradients for you to use? Here's a pack which contains a collection of 10 colourful gradients that you can use for your projects and designs. Perfect for your branding projects, illustrations, websites and more!

Grizzly Gradient LogoGrizzly Gradient LogoGrizzly Gradient Logo

Here's another colourful animal gradient logo that you can use for your projects and designs! This modern grizzly bear logo is fully editable and easily editable with the use of the gradient tool in Illustrator.

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial on how to use the gradient tool in Illustrator. If you'd like to learn more cool Illustrator skills, we've got more tutorials for you:

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