gradient mesh bag


Happy Clouds in Illustrator

    ●   Learn the Mesh Tool! It can add huge benefits to your composition.

Learn About:

Pathfinder Tool Delete Anchor Point Tool Gradient Tool
Shape Tools Mesh Tool

  •   This tutorial is part of the Shadow Life Project and the Design Your Identity Project.

Other People's Work:

Here are some examples inspired by this tutorial.

 Step #1: Open your Project in Illustrator ~

Open YOUR PROJECT in Illustrator …

… if you're working on a
Picture Perfect Portrait
in Illustrator, open that …

… OR if you need a background for your
Comic Book Project, open that …

… (Remember: all these tutorials are intended to be
applied to YOUR PROJECT) …

Make a New Layer for your clouds.

new layer

Step #2: Ellipse Tool ~

Get the Ellipse Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (L) …

… and draw a perfect circle by holding Shift (⇧)shift key while you drag.

Draw a couple of circles with different sizes …

Step #4: Duplicate the Circles ~

Using the Selection Tool selection tool small hold the Alt (⌥)/Option key alt option key Click-and-Drag to make copies.

Make enough copies to fill the outer shape of the cloud …

Step #5: Pen Tool ~

Take the Pen Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (p) and create a shape that covers up all the open space.

~ OR ~ use more circles if you want to have a puffy bottom.

OR ~ Do Both!…

Step #6: Pathfinder ~

Select all the shapes together.

Now go to: Window > Pathfinder and click “Unite” …


Step #7: Adjust the Shape ~

Get the Delete Anchor Point Tool or hit keyboard shortcut (-)

… and delete some anchor points along the bottom to adjust your shape (if necessary).

Also, you may want to adjust the position of the anchor point by holding

… the goal of course is to create an interesting shape.

Step #8: Compound Path ~

With the cloud selected, go to: Object > Compound Path > Release.

Step #9:  Mesh Tool ~

Now get the Mesh Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut (u) …

mesh tool

… and try to click somewhere in your cloud.

mesh tool cloud

Now change your color to a lighter or darker shade …

… and you've got Mesh Tool gradients on your shape.

mesh tool cloud

Add Mesh Tool Points with different shades all around your cloud to create variations.

Step #10:  Duplicate the Cloud ~

Hold alt key and duplicate the cloud.

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Step #11:  Effects ~

Go to: Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow

… and also go to: Effect > Stylize > Feather.

Last Step: Save and Attach ~

Save your work as -]

Attach it!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects like this:


  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.


  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.

Other Resources: