Gradient Mess (um, I mean Mesh)

Inspired by a posting at “Veerle’s”: blog, I bring you my short hand method for working with gradient meshes, those nasty bastards of the Illustrator world.

_You may want to begin by clicking on the image above to open a larger view in a new window._

It may also help to read “Veerle’s”: excellent tutorial first, as I’m not going to go into much detail here (too much work to do today).

So, without further ado, I present Peter’s Amazing Time Saving Approach to Gradient Messes (aka PATSAGramM):

First I drew the outlines of the clothing (each on a separate layer), then duplicated each layer.

On the duplicates, I converted each object to a gradient mesh using *Object/Create Gradient Mesh*, and set the number of rows to something quite high (I think around 15 by 15, can’t quite remember).

Next, I selected the *warp tool*, and used it to push the mesh to mimic the movement and creases of the fabric (double click on the tool icon on the toolbar to change tool settings).

After that, I shaded the objects using the eyedropper and direct selection arrow using only shades of grey (this allowed me to concentrate on values, rather than colour). The quickest way to do this is to select the direct select arrow (*shortcut key A*), the nselect the eyedropper (*shortcut key I*). Now, when you hold down the command key (aka apple key) or control key for you pc users, the tool switches back to the direct select arrow. Cool, huh?

I then returned to my original layers, and coloured the object with the appropriate solid fills.

The magic step was putting each gradient object on top of its solid coloured match, then changing the transperancy to multiply.

I had always intended to go back and finish this image, but now it looks like I’ve lost the original file… Back to the drawing board I guess.