Landscape Backgrounds in Illustrator

    ●  Create a Bucolic Background using Illustrator's Vector Tools.

Learn About:

Warp Tool Gradient Color Picker Send to BackFiltersPaintbrush Tool

  •   This tutorial is part of the Monster Mesh Movie Poster and We Can Be Heroes! Projects.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.

landscape example       landscape example   landscape example     landscape   landscape example      

Step #1: Open your Project in Illustrator ~

Open YOUR PROJECT in Illustrator

movie poster drawing example


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


… make a New Layer, and lock lock your other layers.

new layer


If you haven't started your Movie Poster yet, open a New Document in Illustrator 18 x 24 inches …

Step #2: Make some Grass ~

Drag the New Layer below all your other layers.

Step #3: Make some Grass ~

Set your fill color to green and stroke color to none.

Use the Rectangle Tool (M) and create some green grass or brown dirt or red lava, whatever you need.

Step #4: Make some Grass ~

Get the Warp Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letters (Shift⇧+r)

warp tool

… click and drag to raise the horizon line.

Step #5: Mesh Tool ~

Get the Mesh Tool by hitting the keyboard shortcut letter (u) …

mesh tool

… click on your grass and create rows growing further apart as they reach the foreground to simulate distance.

Step #6: Select Multiple Points ~

Now, get the Direct Selection Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (a) …

… hold shift, and select each point along the top row.

Step #7: Double-Click Colors ~

After selecting several points, Double-click your fill color …

… and make it slightly darker.

Step #8: Continue Changing Colors ~

Continue darkening and/or lightening each mesh point all the way around to create an interesting image.

Step #9: Background ~

Select the Rectangle Tool again …

… and create a rectangle covering your artboard.

Right-Click and send to back.

send to back

Step #10: Gradient Palette~

Now click the Gradient icon or hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+F9 and select Radial as the Type …

… and make sure "Fill" is selected as the foreground color.

Step #11: Gradients ~

Drag a color from from the Swatches menu to your gradient …

… do the other side too …

… drag OFF any stops you don't need …

Now get the Gradient Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (G) …

… and adjust the gradient properties.

Step #12: Sun Spots ~

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

… create a white circle near your grass …

Right-Click and select "Send backward" and put it halfway behind the grass.

Step #13: Clouds ~

Get the Pencil Tool, or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (n) …

… sketch some a clouds.

Step #14: Duplicate your Cloud ~

Select the cloud with the Selection Tool selection tool while holding Alt (⌥)/Option, drag the cloud shape to make a duplicate of it.

Repeat this several times. Bring some of the clouds in front of the other two and change the coloring of the front clouds to another color that compliments the sky.

Also add Drop Shadow to the clouds.
Go to: Effects > Stylize > Drop Shadow.

Step #15: Trees ~

Use the Pencil Tool again and draw a tree shape.

Draw a brown gradient for a trunk and add a green gradient similar to the hills on the tree.

Send the Tree Trunk behind the branches by right-clicking on it and Send Backward.

Step #16: Group the Tree ~

Select both the trunk and the tree, group them together by going to: Object > Group or hitting the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+G, select it, hold Alt (⌥)/Option, and make copies the trees over the landscape. Use the Transform > Reflect option on some of the trees too.

Step #17: River Flowing ~

Draw a river going off into the horizon with the Paintbrush Tool. Then apply a gradient to that.

Last Step: Save and Attach ~

Save your work as -]

Attach it!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects using the following naming convention:

  •   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.

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