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Designing a Book Cover
Illustration by John Hersey

Using gradient mesh in Illustrator to create a simple illustration


From:

Designing a Book Cover

with Nigel French

Video: Using gradient mesh in Illustrator to create a simple illustration

Continuing with our simple illustration what we need to do next is add the hillside. And let's create this on a new layer. So I'm going to create new layer and we'll call it hills. I'll change the color of the layer just so that we can see the selection outlines more easily, and I'm going to lock all other layers. Hold down the Option or Alt key and click in the locking column. To create the hillside shapes, I'm going to use the Pen tool and just click-and-drag to make some graceful curves.
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  1. 2m 42s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 44s
  2. 29m 57s
    1. The project brief
      2m 30s
    2. Doing research
      4m 16s
    3. Setting up a document in InDesign CS5
      5m 4s
    4. Setting up a document in InDesign CS4
      6m 4s
    5. Putting your InDesign CS5 document on a grid
      3m 2s
    6. Putting your InDesign CS4 document on a grid
      4m 31s
    7. Setting up the document in Illustrator and placing it on a grid
      4m 30s
  3. 40m 39s
    1. Creating hand-drawn type with the Blob Brush tool
      4m 13s
    2. Using Live Paint to color type
      3m 40s
    3. Choosing typefaces
      3m 42s
    4. Creating a simple illustration using the Pen and Gradient tools
      8m 43s
    5. Applying type effects
      5m 42s
    6. Manual tracing
      4m 42s
    7. Using the gradient and transparency effects
      9m 57s
  4. 17m 27s
    1. Distressed type
      5m 42s
    2. More distressed type
      3m 35s
    3. Using mirrored type
      3m 34s
    4. Using giant wraparound text
      3m 56s
    5. Starting text on the cover
      40s
  5. 13m 7s
    1. Illustrating concepts with abstract shapes and transparency
      6m 27s
    2. Representing the book content with icons
      6m 40s
  6. 24m 8s
    1. Using historic photography
      6m 21s
    2. Using Illustrator to create a simple illustration
      4m 19s
    3. Using gradient mesh in Illustrator to create a simple illustration
      4m 55s
    4. Using Live Trace on a photograph
      3m 52s
    5. Using black-and-white images creatively
      4m 41s
  7. 25m 30s
    1. Developing a book set
      2m 50s
    2. Designing the back cover
      8m 42s
    3. Designing the flaps
      2m 41s
    4. Designing the spine
      11m 17s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. Using spot varnish
      4m 30s
    2. Preflighting your document
      4m 51s
    3. Preparing the PDF
      3m 35s
  9. 13s
    1. Goodbye
      13s

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Designing a Book Cover
2h 46m Intermediate Aug 26, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join author Nigel French in Designing a Book Cover as he walks through several approaches to creating professional, engaging book covers using Adobe Creative Suite applications. This course covers document setup, composition and layout, illustration, typography essentials, and printing. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Researching the design and brainstorming ideas
  • Setting up a document in InDesign or Illustrator
  • Choosing typefaces, colors, shapes, and imagery
  • Hand-drawing type and using different type treatments
  • Creating illustrations from scratch
  • Using and adapting photographs for illustration
  • Preparing the book covers for printing
Subjects:
Design Print Design Projects Design Skills
Software:
Illustrator InDesign
Author:
Nigel French

Using gradient mesh in Illustrator to create a simple illustration

Continuing with our simple illustration what we need to do next is add the hillside. And let's create this on a new layer. So I'm going to create new layer and we'll call it hills. I'll change the color of the layer just so that we can see the selection outlines more easily, and I'm going to lock all other layers. Hold down the Option or Alt key and click in the locking column. To create the hillside shapes, I'm going to use the Pen tool and just click-and-drag to make some graceful curves.

One like that and then we'll have another one that overlaps it, like so. They both got filled with the last fill color I've used, which was the yellow gradient. So I'm going to select both of those and would apply the green color to them. I want to make sure that this one on the left is at the front, and it's not currently, because I drew it first. So I'm going to come to the Object menu and choose Arrange > Bring to Front.

Now, what I wanted to do with both is apply gradient mesh to them. So I'll select both of these and then from the Object menu choose Create Gradient Mesh. I could use the Gradient Mesh tool and just add mesh points, but this is going to be adequate for the simple needs that we need. I could use the Gradient Mesh tool over here on the Tool panel to create the mesh points, but creating a simple grid of 4 x 4 is going to be adequate for our simple requirements.

Having done that, I'm then going to deselect the two hills. Select just this one here, and so that I don't interfere with, I'm going to lock the item. Object > Lock > Selection or Command+2 or Ctrl+2. Then using my Lasso tool I'm going to drag over the top anchor points, surround them with my lasso, so that those top anchor points become selected and then I can come and apply a lighter color green to those anchor points to just give me some light on the hill.

And I wanted to a little bit more, I could use a lighter green still, but I think I'll play it relatively subtle here. So having done that one, I'm going to lock that one or first of all I'll need to Unlock All. Choose this one, Command+2 or Ctrl+2 to lock that one, and then repeat the process with my Lasso tool. Swipe around the anchor points that I know are there. So I'll select just those and then apply green color to those, maybe a little bit of lighter green on this one.

And then we see the green highlights, the light green highlight on our green hillsides. So we can now turn on the other layers and there is our illustration pretty much finished. We do need to crop it, although I'm not particularly worried about that, because what I'm going to do is when I put it into InDesign, the picture frames that I put it into will crop it anyway. But if we did want to crop it here, if it's looking a little bit untidy, then we could do this.

I'm just particularly worried about the sun flare, not really about the hill, so I'm just going to come and click on that layer and I'll add a bounding rectangle to that layer like so, and then I can come and click on Make or Release Clipping Mask. And then I could repeat that on the hillside, but it's not really necessary, because what we're about to do next is save this.

And I don't want to override the original, so we'll call this simple illustration_done. And then I will switch back to InDesign, where I can delete that one, choose File and Place, turn on my guide so I can see my bleed guide, and click-and-drag, and then you can see that the picture frame is cropping the image anyway.

And there we have it. And of course I'd need to send that behind so that I can see the title of the book and the author name in front of it.

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