Lesson 7 – Illustrator Essentials

In Lesson 7 I worked with fills and strokes by first learning about how to create gradients as fills. I’ve learned a little about gradients in earlier lessons, but this was a little more involved by adding a gradient as a fill for a logo.

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In the above picture, you can see that there has already been some gradients added to the photo, as well as a drop shadow, to give the logo some definition. What I want to do is add a gradient fill to the banner to give it more depth.

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I first used the selection tool, to select the banner before going to the gradient panel and adding a linear type gradient, which I will edit it some more to create a unique gradient for it.

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Above, you can see that I’ve added to more gradient stops to give me more flexibility to create gradients. Double-clicking on the gradient tabs I made the two outside tabs a darker red while the inner ones were slightly lighters. I created one more tab and made it lighter to give the banner a highlight in the center of the banner.

I then added this gradient to the ends of the banner and changed the angle on the left one to 30 degrees and the right one to 150 degrees so that the highlight goes with the angle of the banner.

In my next video, I learned how to add strokes to my artwork. At first it looks like a blank sheet, but I can see the artwork by checking out the wireframe with command+Y.

By pressing command+A, I can select the entire artwork, then add a stroke to it by going to the control panel, and where it says none, fill it with a black stroke.

I increased the stroke size to 4 pt to see the entire artwork, but later I can go and click on individual paths to decrease the stroke lines.

After working with both strokes and gradients, I incorporated what I learned from both in this next video, by adding a gradient to the stroke of the clock, which is a 30 pt. red stroke.

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First I changed the alignment of the stroke from outside to center so that I could change the application of the gradient from “Within the stroke” to “Across the stroke.”

I then added one more tab to the gradient, so that there would be a highlight through the middle of the clock’s stroke to give it more definition, or a 3D effect. I made the center a lighter shade of red then darkened the two outsides.

Finally, in the previous video where I learned how to add strokes to artwork, in this one I learned how to make those strokes look more like drawings with the Width Tool.

In the image to the left, you see that the strokes are very straight-edged, but I want them to look as if those strokes were made by a pencil or pen, and I can do that with the width tool on the left panel.

By clicking on the width tool and then clicking and dragging on the edge of the mouth, can thin that to taper off each side of the mouth to give a pen stroke look.

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Using the pen tool, and option+clicking the center of the mouth, I could drag the mouth down to give the character a slight smile.

I went on to adjust various strokes on the artwork, by widening the strokes or thinning them to make it look like it was actually drawn.

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