The next part of our landscape project will involve adding a sun to the sky. To accomplish this, we'll use a new shape tool, the Star tool, and add an effect to the shape to make it look a little more like the sun.
Before we add anything to our artboard, let's make sure nothing is selected and temporarily change our colors back to the default Illustrator colors.
Step1. To deselect all objects on our artboard, with the Selection tool active,
Click the artboard
Step2. To change our Fill and Stroke colors back to the default of white and black, on the keyboard, press:
Step3. To activate the Star tool, in the Tools panel,
Press & Hold, Click
Step4. To create our sun shape,
Press & Drag to start creating a shape, then press Up Arrow key on the keyboard to add points 8-14 points to our star
Step5. Ensure that the sun is still selected.
Step6. To add an effect, from the Menu bar,
Click Effect, Point Distort and Transform, Click Pucker and Bloat
Step7. To view our changes as we make them, in the Pucker and Bloat dialog box,
Click the Preview checkbox
Step8. To transform our star shape into a sun,
Press & Drag the slider toward the Pucker option until you achieve your desired result
Step9. To finish adding the effect, in the dialog box,
NOTE: To remove an effect from a shape, select the shape with the Selection tool, then in the Menu bar, Click Window, Click Appearance. The Appearance panel will open, and to remove the effect from the shape, Click on the effect's name in the Appearance panel to select it, and in the bottom of the Appearance panel, click (trash can icon).
Step10. Select the Fill swatch in the Swatches panel, if necessary.
Step11. To add a fill color, in the Swatches panel,
Click a yellow or orange color
Step12. Remove the stroke if desired.
Step13. Save the file.
Adding Depth with Gradients
While solid colors may work for parts of illustrations, sometimes a different fill effect is needed. In these cases, we can use gradients to give our drawings some depth.
Gradients work by blending colors smoothly into one another, thereby giving the object the appearance of either roundness or depth. This way, we can add some visual interest to an object.
In this section, we will apply a gradient to our background to make it appear like a pleasant blue sky. To do this, we will create a custom gradient and apply it to the background.
Designing a Custom Gradient
Illustrator comes with several default gradient effects for us to use, but we may want to use a different gradient than the preset ones Illustrator provides.
The Gradient panelallows us to select the colors in a gradient, as well as the spacing between them, in order to create a custom gradient effect. We also can choose between a radial gradient and a linear gradient. In a linear gradient, one color blends seamlessly into the next in a linear fashion. In a radial gradient, the color starts in the middle, and blends out in a circular pattern to the edges of the shape. The following examples better illustrate the difference between linear and radial gradients:
Let's familiarize ourselves with the Gradient panel, and begin to create our effect. First, we'll want to ensure nothing is selected on our artboard, so we don't inadvertently add the gradient to an existing item.
Step1. To deselect everything, from the Menu bar,
Click Select, Click Deselect
Step2. Ensure the Fill swatch is selected.
Step3. To open the Gradient panel, in the Menu bar,
Click Window, Click Gradient
NOTE: If the default white to black gradient does not appear in the Gradient panel, in the Swatches panel, Click the "Linear Gradient 1" gradient swatch.
Step4. To activate the Gradient Slider, in the Gradient panel,
Step5. To select the color we want to change, under the Gradient Slider,
Using the Color Panel with a Gradient
The Color panel is slightly different from the Swatches panel, though they serve similar purposes. The Swatches panel contains pre-made colors ready for our use, while the Color panel contains a color spectrum and the ability to create colors from scratch. In the Gradient panel, we will work with a smaller version of the Color panel, which gives us the opportunity to change the color of our gradient. It works in the same way that the main Color panel does, and acts as a sub-panel to the Gradient panel. We'll be using this panel to change the color of our far right color stop, the black one, to a sky blue color.
One thing to note about the Gradient panel is that when working with the default black and white gradient, the color mode is set to grayscale, as Illustrator isn't using any colors in this default gradient. We'll need to switch our color mode to one that allows us to work with many colors, rather than just shades of black and white. We'll be using the CMYK color mode, which is optimized for printing.
Step1. To change the color mode to CMYK, in the Color sub-panel,
Click, Click CMYK
Step2. To select the color, in the Color panel,
Click a sky blue color
NOTE: We can also Press & Drag in the color spectrum to find the appropriate shade of blue.
Step3. To activate the Rectangle tool, in the Tools panel,
Press & Hold, Click
Step4. To draw a rectangle around our artboard,
Press & Drag a shape around the entire artboard
Step5. To change the gradient's direction, in the Angle dropdown of the Gradient panel,
Click, Click 90
Step6. To close the Gradient panel, in the Panel dock on the right side of the screen,
In Illustrator, each object is assigned it's own sub-layer. These sub-layers are stacked on top of one another, in the order in which we created our objects. When we create a new object on our artboard, it will always be stacked on top of the older objects. We can control the order of the layers and which object appears on top of other objects through the Arrange option in the Object menu.
There are four ways in which we can arrange our objects:
- Bring Forward - This brings the object selected forward by one step in the object layering.
- Send Backward - This sends the object selected backward by one step in the object layering.
- Bring to Front - This puts the object at the absolute front of the object layering.
- Send to Back - This sends the object to the absolute back of the object layering.
Our sailboat, pond, and sun are lost behind the gradient we created. Let's use our newfound understanding of Illustrator's stacking order to send the sky to the back of our layer stack.
Step1. Ensure the sky rectangle is still selected.
Step2. To move the sky behind the other elements in the design, from the Menu bar,
Click Object, Point Arrange, Click Send to Back
Step3. Save and close the file.