Illustrating a chili pepper with illustrator’s envelope distort tool

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Illustrator's Envelope Distort is an editing tool that not only creates distortions in an object or image, it can also be used for modeling interesting forms, like this pepper. Beginners will get to know Illustrator a little better by using the Blur, Envelop Distort, Gradient Mesh and Pathfinder tools in this easy to follow tutorial. Let's get started!

Step 1

Open a new document. Select the Rectangle tool (M) and create a rectangle. Fill it with a red color.

Step 2

Duplicate this rectangle and move the new shape beside the original.

Step 3

With the Pen tool (P) create a sinuous path over the duplication, like the drawing of a wave.

Step 4

Select the sinuous path and the shape below it then click on the Divide button from the Pathfinder palette. The rectangle is now divided in two fragments.

Step 5

Delete the top fragment of the duplication. Move the remaining fragment above the first rectangle and align it with the bottom.

Step 6

Select the Gradient tool (G). Choose the transparent transition from the Swatches Palette (Black to Transparent). Use the Gradient tool on the new curly shape above the red rectangle.

Step 7

Now click over the black fill arrow of the gradient slider and change the color to white.

Step 8

Select the Gradient Tool (G) to alter the transition’s angle. Create a vertical transition by moving the cursor slightly down and to the right while applying the gradient.

Step 9

Now select the red rectangle then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. This effect will create a foggy border on the inner sides of the rectangle. Change the effect configurations by altering the fill color to black and the Mode option to Multiply. Also make adjustments on the Opacity and Blur options to create the illusion of depth, as shown in the example below.

Step 10

Select all the objects and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make With Warp. Choose the Inflate Style. Drag the Bend slider all the way to the right. This will change the rectangle into an oval form.

Step 11

At the Distortion options drag the Horizontal slider all the way to the left and click Ok. This will create a point at the right side of the shape.

Step 12

Now you can make distortions manually. Start by flattening the shape vertically.

Step 13

Select the Direct Select tool (A) and model the shape of the pepper through the handles of the effect mesh until you create a pepper shaped object.

Step 14

Complete the illustration by creating a pepper stalk. Create a new layer then draw the stalk shape and fill it with a brown color. The stalk above uses the hexadecimal color: # 7C4412.

Step 15

Select the stalk and go to Object > Create Gradient Mesh. Choose 10 rows and 10 column divisions. Click OK.

Step 16

Create four, or more, different green tones. Here are the hexadecimal colors that I used: # 008D36 , # 175026, # 519330 and # 00260A. Select the mesh handles with the Direct Select tool (A) and with the Color Palette apply the green tones at the mesh handles. Model the mesh until you create a wrinkled surface like the example below.

Step 17

Juxtapose the stalk with the pepper shaped object, as shown in the image below.

Step 18

Let’s conclude the drawing by adding a shadow to the floor. Create a copy of the pepper shape and position it below the original illustration.

Step 19

Select the copy, go to Object > Expand. With the copy still selected fill it with black. Distort the copy to give it a flattened form. Position the shadow below the original pepper illustration.

Step 20

Apply a black and white gradient to the new shape, creating the illustration of a shadow. To make the shadow more realistic apply a blur filter. Go to Effect > Blur Gaussian Blur. Here’s our hot pepper!


There you have it, a quick and easy way to make a great looking Chili. Using the direct selection tool you can alter the shape and color of your Chili to make different varieties. I hope you've enjoyed this tut.

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