Quick tip: using gradients to create a vector bug

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In this Vector Quick Tip, you will use various Gradient effects, the Envelope Distort tool and Transparency settings to create a stylized bug illustration.

Step 1

Start by using the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw an oval.

Step 2

Fill the oval with a nice looking radial gradient using the Gradient Tool (G.)

Step 3

Make the gradient work to your advantage by dragging it into an oval shape. Drag the highlighted area upward.

Step 4

Bring the overall size of the gradient down too by dragging the highlighted point inward.

Step 5

Give the bug some texture by first drawing an oval. Fill the oval with a white to transparent linear gradient.

Step 6

Draw several more ovals throughout the bug. We'll use the Align palette to adjust the spacing between the shapes. Select all the oval shapes as shown below and in the Align palette under "Align To" select Align To Selection. Next, click both Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Distribute Center.

Step 7

Create a highlight on the top of the bug by drawing yet another oval and filling it with a radial gradient that fades to transparent. The center-most area of the bug should be white while the edges taper to transparent.

Step 8

To create the legs and antenna use the Star Tool. While you're drawing the star hold the down arrow to adjust the number of points the shape has. Fill the triangle with a linear gradient that is lighter in the center.

Step 9

Go to Effect > Envelope Distort. Select Arc and Vertical. Enter a Bend of about 25%. Click OK.

Step 10

Go to Object > Expand. Uncheck Fill and click OK.

Step 11

Use the Pen Tool to draw the shadow under the legs. Fill the shadow with a linear black to white gradient.

Step 12

Last, draw another oval to act as the shadow for the overall bug. In the Transparency palette set all your shadow shapes (legs and overall bug shadow) to Multiply, so they all blend well with each other.


That's it, you've just learned how to create a vector bug! From here you can try experimenting with shapes, sizes and colors to create an entire army of bugs! Enjoy.

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