Curtains using the Gradient Mesh Tool in Illustrator

    ●  Even if you don't have curtains in your composition, you can use the techniques learned in this tutorial elsewhere, like on some fabric or pillows, bead spreads, furniture, carpets or a rug or something.

    ●  The Mesh Tool is one of the most valuable tools Illustrator has! Live it! Learn it! Love it!

Learn About:

Gradient Mesh Tool Direct Selection Tool Warp Tool

  •   This tutorial is part of the Make a "Zeen" Project.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.

Step #1: Open Illustrator ~

Open a new blank document in Illustrator with approximately these dimentions:

Step #2: The Rectangle Tool ~

Get the Rectangle Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (m) …

… and create a rectangle shape where you want some curtains to be.

Turn the Stroke Off and pick a Fill color that matches your theme.

Step #3: The Gradient Mesh Tool ~

Select the Gradient Mesh Tool

… add a row of Mesh Points on the upper part …

… some in the middle and a few down below.

If you add too many mesh points, you can always remove them
by holding and clicking with the Mesh Tool …

Step #4: Darken the Color of the Mesh Points ~

Select an anchor point and pick a darker color.

Select a point and darken it …

Note: Selecting Multiple Items ~

Use the Direct Selection Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (a) …

… and, holding the Shift key, select multiple anchor points along a path and you can darken them all at once …

… and darken multiple mesh points simultaneously.

Step #5: Lighten the Mesh Points ~

Now lighten the mesh points in between using the same techniques!

Step #6:  Warp Tool ~

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

… squeeze and stretch the shape to your liking.

You can also shrink the size of the Warp Tool by double-clicking on the tool itself in the tool bar and warp the hem of the curtain …

Step #7:  Paintbrush Tool ~

With the Paintbrush Tool

… paint a rope around the center.

Step #8: Drop Shadow ~

Select the entire thing by hitting the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+A, go to: Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and add any other Effects you want.

Step #9: Save as .ai ~

Then go to: File > Save as ... and save the document as an .ai file.

Step #10: Open your Current Project ~


… if it's the Drag and Drop Game, open your interior in Photoshop

Click to view the project database

Click to view the project database


… if you're working on the Make a Scene, open that …



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



Step #11: Place your Curtains ~

Now go to: File > Place … and place the .ai curtains you saved.

Step #12: Rasterize the New Layer ~

You may need to Rasterize the layer. Go to: Layer > Rasterize > Smart Object … 




… OR - Right-Click the layer and hit Rasterize Layer.   

Step #13: Cmd(⌘)+T ~

Hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+T, hold down the cmd key key and squeeze the corners to fit the available space.

Step #14: Alt(⌘) Key ~

Using the Selection Tool , hold the the keyboard shortcut: Alt(⌘) Key and duplicate the curtain to the other side.

Step #15: Cmd(⌘)+T ~

Hit Cmd(⌘)+T again, flip the curtian around and make it a little bigger.

Last Step: Save and Attach ~


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.