Adobe Illustrator Mummy Gradient Tutorial

Gradients seem to be one of the most abused features in Adobe Illustrator. With that said, I thought I’d create a gradient demo, so you can abuse them in a whole new way. You might want to look at my 4 Step Gradient tutorial before you read this demo. Enjoy!

Before I start the tutorial, here is a detail of the finished illustration.

I start by placing my sketch in Illustrator. Go to File > Place and choose the sketch. Since I’m going to want to have easy access to the sketch as I refer back to it, I put it on its own layer.

Then I trace around the outline of the sketch and fill it with a solid dark color. I chose a dark brown because I wanted the illustration to have a old classic monster feel.

Next, I start creating the bandages from my sketch. To create the bandages, I draw a long thin curved shape that comes to a point on each end. Then, I take this shape and copy it several times with each shape slightly overlapping. I copy it by holding down option (ALT) and dragging it. I do this until it is the proper height of the individual bandage. Once it is the correct height and any minor tweaking is made, I select all the shapes that belong to the one bandage and Unite them with the pathfinder palette. To open the pathfinder palette go to Window and choose Pathfinder. The Unite is the first button on the top left. With the shapes selected, hit the Unite button and expand.

I draw the other bandage shapes the same way, then add a radial gradient to them. I use the same dark brown I used earlier for the darkest color in my gradient. I also pick a yellowish beige for the lightest color. Finally, I choose a brownish color that is in between my light and dark color. I use the gradient tool to adjust the direction of the light on each piece. The gradient tool is located on the tool bar. Once you have the gradient tool selected, select the piece you want to adjust and then click and drag in the direction you want the light to go.

Next, I draw the shapes for the cheeks and mouth. After those are drawn, I add the same gradient as I used for the bandages. I use the gradient tool to adjust the direction of the light and adjust the gradient if I think it needs to be darker or lighter.

I wanted the cheek bones to pop out a little more and the nose area to recede, so I created additional shapes for those. Again, I used the same gradient for the new shapes, but I lightened the cheek bones 2 lighter colors and darkened the noses 2 lighter colors. Also for the cheek bones, I added another color after my darkest color on my gradient slider. The color was slightly lighter than the darkest color. This gives me a nice half light.

I continue with the same process for the eyes. Again, I lightened my gradient slightly and added a half light.

I draw a circle for the irises of the eyes and create a shape that will be a drop shadow on the eyes. I went with a slightly greener gradient for the irises. For the drop shadow over the eyes I used a flat color that was darker than the eyes.

Next, I draw more circles for the pupils. The pupil gradient has two steps. The dark brown I’ve been using and a lighter color. Using the gradient tool on the pupil, I pull a very short line to get an abrupt contrast between the light and dark color. This gives me a nice highlight dot on the pupil.

Finally I add the nose hole and a few detail like facial creases and liver spots. The facial creases are drawn the same way as the bandages were and the liver spots are just different sized circles.

Well, that is basically it. Hopefully, that helps you create some better gradients.

This post was written on Content copyright 2008 Cory Thoman.

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  1. khan

    nice picutre and very creative

  2. 10/01/12

    UUU Scary! Very nice result and idea!

  3. 11/03/02

    There is apparently a bundle to know about this. I suppose you made certain good points in features also.