Advanced Techniques in Adobe Illustrator: Adding Texture in Graphic Design | Sophia Yeshi | Skillshare

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Advanced Techniques in Adobe Illustrator: Adding Texture in Graphic Design

teacher avatar Sophia Yeshi, Graphic Designer and Illustrator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Technique 1: Creating Custom Brushes


    • 3.

      Technique 2: New Repeat Tool


    • 4.

      Technique 3: Opacity Masks


    • 5.

      Technique 4: Blend Tool


    • 6.

      Technique 5: Drawing Modes


    • 7.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Level up your design skills and explore new ways to elevate your artwork with designer Sophia Yeshi!

Join Sophia in this informative class that breaks down several advanced illustrator techniques for adding texture to your graphic design project and sets your work apart from others!  Sophia’s art is bold, dynamic, colorful, and gorgeous to look at — and much of the time her inspiration comes from her own feelings and her interest in the world around her.

Alongside Sophia, you’ll learn techniques that will save you a ton of time while making your work feel original and custom.  She’ll also walk you through a few underrated tools in Illustrator, like the new repeat tool and blend tool, and how to use them effectively and efficiently to really make your art pop!

By the end of the class, you’ll have applied these techniques to your own artwork and will feel invigorated to continue to take your work to a whole new level.


Sophia’s class is tailored to intermediate and advanced designers who use Adobe Illustrator on a daily basis, but students of any level are welcome to participate and enjoy.

Meet Your Teacher

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Sophia Yeshi

Graphic Designer and Illustrator


Sophia Yeshi is a queer Black & South Asian illustrator and graphic designer in Brooklyn, NY. She’s a digital native that discovered Photoshop at 12 years old while growing up in Baltimore, Maryland. She created Yeshi Designs to shine a light on Black women, women of color and folks in the LGBTQ+ community of all shapes and sizes that are bold, dynamic, and demand attention.

After graduating from the University of Baltimore, she spent several years cultivating social media strategy, growing brand awareness, and designing collateral for corporate brands. Now she works with beauty, fashion, lifestyle, tech, and media brands like Instagram and Refinery29 to create culturally-relevant work centered around topics she’s passionate about like climate change, mental health, b... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: I'm Sophia Yeshi. I'm an illustrator and graphic designer, and I create work that is bold, that demands attention, typically featuring women of color and the LGBTQ community. Today's class is all about advanced techniques in Illustrator. I tried to pull from a lot of things that I use that maybe you wouldn't think to use right away in Illustrator. Maybe it's something that I discovered a little bit later on, but I think that you all will really enjoy and may help with your process as well. We're going to be going over a lot of really great techniques using blending mode, using the new repeat tool that they introduced in Illustrator on iPad, creating custom calligraphic brushes and exploring other types of brushes, and a few other tips and tricks. But I think that you will really gain a lot from it. I would say this class is for someone who is already pretty well-versed in Illustrator. So I'm going to assume that you know the basics and really going to be focusing on techniques that are a little bit more advanced. While I think that these techniques really add a lot to your work, to me, I feel like it took my work to the next level and elevated my work. So whether it's adding texture with the custom brushes or using the repeat tool, I think it's something that, one can save you a lot of time, but also can add a really custom feel to your work. No matter how long you've been using Illustrator or just any program in general, there are always ways that you can learn new skills and refine your techniques. I'm really excited to see how these techniques are going to elevate your illustrations. If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them in the discussion board and please share your finished work in the gallery so that I can see what you've made. Let's get started. 2. Technique 1: Creating Custom Brushes: This lesson is all about creating custom brushes. Custom brushes are a really great way to add a unique look to your work. I'm going to show you the brushes that I use the most often, which would be the calligraphic brush, the pattern brush, as well as the scatter brush. The brush that I use the most often is definitely the calligraphic brush. I often use this in conjunction with my Wacom tablet. The reason for that is because once you create a custom brush, you can create it so that it's pressure sensitive to your pen. That way, it's almost like you're drawing with a pen because of the sensitivity and you're going to get a lot of variability in your lines. The first thing to do is you'll have your brush up here where you can select your brush. You'll click the plus icon to create a new brush and select calligraphic brush, hit "Okay." You can name your brushes if you want to. Maybe we can call this like calligraphy wide. I'll make the size at 15 points, and you can see right here, a preview of what the brush will look like, as well as if you're using any kind of rotation or angle, you can see that changed here. But I typically just stick with the basics. You can change the roundness if you want it to be a little bit more oval and this will all affect how it looks when you draw. We have our size at 15 and instead of fixed, I'll go down to pressure. Important to note, you do have to have a tablet installed and plugged in in order for you to see these options. Otherwise, you'll only be able to see fixed and random. In order for you to see the variation, we have to increase the variation here and you can create the variation as high as the size. If you have a 15-point brush, the maximum amount of variation you can do is 15 points, meaning that the less amount of pressure that you use with your pen, that's going to make the brush smaller. If you press down really hard the brush will be the widest, 15 points. I'll go ahead and click "Okay," and it will create the brush here and it's already selected. I have my brush selected and we can start drawing. Make sure you have the brush tool selected, your brush is selected as well. If I super, super light, like right now, I'm barely even pressing down, you can see it's very skinny, but if I press down, if you can see, really hard, I'm going to get the full 15 points. This is really great. I use this a lot when I'm drawing. If I'm drawing maybe details, or an eye or whatever, right now, I'm just playing around and doodling, but it allows you to have a lot of variability with your line widths. I'm just drawing some shapes right now, maybe a nose, and if I want it to be really thick, I can. But I think for a long time, I wonder like how did people get these custom brush look in Illustrator? It almost looks like they're using Photoshop or some other type of program, but it's actually really super easy. If you don't have a tablet and you still want to get the look like you are using a custom brush and like you do have a little bit of variability in your line width, there's an easy way to recreate it. Instead of using a calligraphy brush, you'll just use the basic line, which is going to be super thin and you can draw anything you want with it, we'll make sure that is selected. Sometimes it reverts back to it and all I have to do is make sure my stroke is selected and select basic ones again. That can happen if it reverts back to the appearance that was previously selected. I have a basic line and I'll use my variable width profiles. I'll use this one right here, and I'm going to zoom in so you can really see it and even increase this stroke. There are a couple of different profiles and you can see right now, this gets a little bit thinner in the middle and wider at the end. Anything that's selected is going to do the same exact thing. But maybe you want to change it up a little bit more. You don't necessarily want to use the width profile that Illustrator created because you want it to be a little bit more custom, be able to control it. You can use the width tool, which you can find with Shift W on your keyboard. It works by, if you go to a point, any point in your line, all you have to do is hover your mouse over that line and drag to expand or you'll pull in to shrink. You can see right now, I'm changing the width and the fitted thickness, and it's similar to the custom calligraphic brush that I created just a minute ago. You can even save your own width profiles actually. But you can play around with it and create a really interesting width profile. Maybe it's a type of line that you want to consistently use. You can save that and use that in your artwork. If you already have your calligraphic brush, but you want to make some edits to it, all you have to do is double-click on the brush that you already made and make sure that this preview box is checked. You can make edits to the angle, you can change the roundness if you want to make it a little thinner, and this almost looks like a taper brush. A lot of people use these custom calligraphic brushes for calligraphy, write name. If you're drawing letters, this can be a really great way it looks like script, like one of those old time brushes. If I go ahead and click "Okay," I can select "Apply to Strokes" and then it will edit the brush that I made. Now I'm going to be showing you how to make a pattern brush. I have an example here of a pattern brush that I created. I knew I wanted this arch and I wanted to create almost like a tile pattern. But because it's repeating around an arch, it could be difficult to get that exact shape. It was really easy to make it. It only took me a few minutes. I'm going to show you how now. As you can see, this is actually just 100 percent comprised of rectangles, and all I have to do is create a few rectangles and overlap them, and we'll create our brush. I'm going to start off, and I have it as blue with pink outline. I'm going to pick pink color for the stroke and I'm going to use all on my keyboard and drag with Shift to keep it perfectly aligned, to create a copy. We can really just do it with two, so let's see what it would look like with two. I think I actually had it going vertically, so let me try it out that way. Next with your two objects selected, you'll go back down to your brush menu and select "New Brush", and you'll click "Pattern Brush". A pattern brush is going to repeat whatever is selected along that path, and really great thing about pattern brushes is that you can define what the corners will look like, and Illustrator also can come up with what it thinks it should look like, so it'll have some different options here. You have options between auto centered, auto between, auto slice, and then you can see an example of what it looks like. Auto overlap, or you can even select a pattern swatch that you already have created. Let's try auto overlap, and you can see right here it's missing the corner, so I'll select "Auto overlap" again, and we can see what that looks like. It's a little bit different from the one that I created, but that's okay. You can name your pattern brush so I can call this tile pattern the scale, similar to the calligraphic brush, you can use your pressure to change the scale, so the harder you'd press down on your Tablet, the larger or smaller it would get. But I don't need that for this one. But you can see a couple of their different options. I'll click on "Fixed". You can change the angle of your tile if you want to, but for now I'm just going to leave it at a 100, and you can flip it, it's a rectangle so it would be the same. The other thing, you can stretch it to fit across the line, or you can add spacing, so it would automatically add an even amount of spacing between each of your tiles, or it can approximate it. So it may not be a perfectly even amount of space. It may be a little smaller or bigger depending on what it needs to to fit, so we'll do stretch to fit. If you want to colorize your pattern later, you can select these different colorization options, so if you select none, if you try to change your color, your swatch of your pattern at a later time, it wouldn't change. But if you select "Tints", it would change it tints of that tone. If you select "Tints and Shades", you can use different tints and shades and then hue shift, would just change the hue. It's easier to see that explain, but for now we'll leave it as none, and I'm going to leave the key color as blue because I know that's the color I want for now. I'll go ahead and select "Okay", and then in order to create this arch, I just made a square, and then I selected the two top points and I rounded them like this. I'm going to use the scale tool to make it the shape that I want. Then, I actually don't need this filled in, so I'll just leave it as a stroke. I'll go down to my brush and I'll select the new brush that I made. It's a little bit large right now, and it's because I created these tiles, would be large if I had made them smaller, it would be smaller, and you can see I made this pattern really quickly. Otherwise you would have to sit here and try to move them around this arch and it would take you a lot of time. The only difference is, the stroke is a little bit thinner than here, but easily just increase that stroke width and you have the same exact pattern. If I make it smaller, you can see that it's still keeping the pattern tiles the same size, and I want to just make sure this is still rounded, done. That's how you create a pattern brush. Now let's move on to a scatter brush. Just like the name indicates, a scatter brush, it's going to scatter whatever that brush is along your artboard. The difference between scatter brushes and regular brushes, regular brushes are going to essentially drag that brush along your stroke, whereas a scatter brush is going to create new instances on the artboard. So you can think of like stippled textures, you're not just going to see a long drawn out a line of dots, you're actually going to see it repeating over and over again. So this is a really great way again, go and tying back into texture, just to add some interest into your artwork. If you create it yourself, then you have your own custom brush for whatever purpose you need it for. I'm going to start off by just creating a super simple stipple pattern, and I'm just using some of these brushes to repeat. Want some smaller and a little bit bigger, so they don't all look the same. So I'm just creating a few dots here, and it doesn't have to look like anything in particular, we just want it to be varied, so a few larger and a few smaller. Now that that's selected, I will go back to my brush panel and click the "Plus" to create a new brush and select "Scatter Brush". You'll have a bunch of different options here, you can name your brush if you want, you can change the size and if I want to increase it, I can. Because I have my Tablet, I can also change the variability, so if I increase this here, and make it up to 300 percent or whatever percentage you want it on. Depending on the pressure that I press down with my Tablet pen, that's going to change the size. I don't want it to be too high, but we'll make it maybe a 108. Another thing you can do if you don't want to use your Tablet is do random, so what that means is it could be up to a 176 percent higher or larger than the size that you already have it created. So you don't want anything too crazy, going to be huge, so maybe we'll say like a 110. Just to have a little bit of variability. Your spacing, let's go ahead and try random as well. Scatter will make that random, I just want to see what this is going to look like and I can always change it later. I have my scatter brush selected, and you can see it's making it super random. But maybe we want to change the size a little bit. We'll go back into our settings, and now that I have the brush already created, you can see a preview. This is a really great way, you can now change it around, and you'll be able to see your changes as you are making them. Maybe I want this size, and because it's random, you can't control it too much, but you can control how random it is. We want to allow it to rotate, then make that random. I'm just increasing it because I want to see what we can do. It's a little large, so I'm going to turn that down a bit, and I think the spacing is probably a little too wide. The scatter is going to be how far apart they are from one another, so if you want them super close, you could decrease it. I'm just turning the spacing, let me see making them smaller. That's starting to look a little bit better. Apply to strokes, I want to apply what I just created. Now if I'm drawing, you can see it's creating a few instances, so if I drag, I make a really long stroke, it's going to apply based on the characteristics that I selected apply to that line. So once again, if you had a regular brush, you can see the difference, if I have a regular calligraphic brush, it's just going to draw in a straight line. But with scatter, it will create multiple instances, and right now everything is pretty much random, so it's not just going to look like you are applying one brush over and over. It looks really custom. This concludes the section on custom brushes. Now it's your turn to create your own custom brush and post your work in the student gallery. 3. Technique 2: New Repeat Tool: In this lesson, I'm going to be showing you Illustrator's new repeat tool. They recently debuted on Illustrator for iPad, and I really grown to incorporate it in a lot of my work. There are three different repeats. There is the radial, the grade, and the mirror repeat. It's a great way to add symmetry to your work, whether you're trying to create a pattern or you want to create a face as perfectly symmetrical. There are a ton of uses for this new tool. First, I'll be showing you the grid repeat tool. Next, I'll be showing you the radial repeat tool and lastly, we'll be going over the mirror repeat tool. I'm really excited to show you all the repeat tools. This is the artwork that I'm going to be demoing today. This is a piece I made previously and it was really easy to make this pattern in the back with the grid repeat tool. The first thing that I'm going to do is to draw these flower shapes. I just did them super freehand with the pencil tool. They didn't have to be perfect and I have the pencil tool turned up to the smoothest setting. Already I can see it's a little rough. I'm just going to go ahead and refine this a little bit. It's not really too important that it looks perfect because it's going to be a pattern. I want it to look on a hand-drawn anyway. But I'm just going to make sure there's no weird rough edges. We can see we have a flower shape and all I did was just draw a little circle in the middle. I'm just going to go ahead and swatch the colors. I already have. Some of them I wanted to add leaves. I'm going to add a few leaves and put those in the background. We'll drag those in the back. For the sake of the lesson, I don't want to draw too many flowers, so I'm just going to go ahead and duplicate the ones that I already made and rotate it a little bit. We'll scale it down. Maybe this one won't have the leaves. I'm going to do three because we can always edit it once we have our repeat. But just to start off with, let's do three. I'm working off the artboard for now just to show you since I already have my finished artwork here. Now that you have your objects selected that you want to repeat, you'll go to Object, Repeat, and then we're going to be going to Grid because we want them to be even integrated. There are a lot of different ways that you can repeat. If you drag this down, you'll continue your repeat. If you drag it to the right, you'll continue it this way. You can change the spacing and how far away they are, as well as the vertical distance. I'm going to go ahead and make it a little bit tighter. Then this looks a little odd, like this doesn't look like it's perfectly repeating. If I change the grid type, you can see you can change it to brick by column, brick by row. Already this is starting to look a little bit more cohesive and a little bit more like a seamless pattern. I typically like to play around. You can flip the row or flip the column, and I'm starting to like it here and then, as you can see it's not perfect. What I'll do is you can go ahead and double-click to select any of your objects and just double-click again to get into a direct selection. I want to move around this flower. What I'm going to do is make sure this is group so that I can move this flower with this little center part as well as the petals itself. I want that to affect the entire illustration. I'm going to do the same thing here. I'm going to select the center in the petals and just move it around until this feels right. I don't really want these edges touching. I want it to just repeat super seamlessly. It looks like maybe I'm going to need another flower in here. Maybe this one's a little smaller and it's rotated and maybe one more over here. I think now at this point I'm almost done. I'm pretty much just going to make sure that we have enough spacing. You can increase that a little bit. Let me see how we like that. You can keep tweaking this, but this is pretty much done, I mean, in about three minutes. I made a pretty seamless pattern. I just want to move this one a little bit. Once again, if you want to fill in these little spots, you can, you can put little circles there. I think I put you in smaller flowers to fill those spaces in. But yeah, you made a pattern. I'm going to go ahead and just create another artboard. I can show you the next one. I'm going to be showing you a simple radial repeat. I'm going to keep with the flower theme because we already are making flowers. I have a petal here. Instead of just hand-drawing it, I want to create a super simple flower. I'm going to start with one petal at the top and I'll go to Object, Repeat, and Radial. It's going to give me instances in a circle, and it's really cool because I can control how many there are. I can increase this or decrease it. I think I like them a little bit more spaced apart. It feels a little bit more like a pattern. I just feel it looks really cool. You can also increase or decrease the radius so that'd be the distance apart. I like it a little bit closer together. If you do reverse overlap, if they are overlapping, it would just reverse it so that the object in the back is in the front and vice versa. You can also decrease or increase the radius right here, so you don't have to do it in the options in the Properties panel, and you can change the instances here as well. I feel like this looks really cool. I can go ahead and finish it off and just add in this middle. Then if I want to put a background, we'll just change that fill color. Super, super simple. Next, to show you the mirror repeat, we're going to be drawing a face. Super simple. But it's a really great way to have perfect symmetry. I'll start off with this eye that I just made. It took me three seconds to make it. Just making sure I like this brush here. I have my eye I have my eyebrow. I'll select both of those and go to Object, Repeat, and Mirror. You can see, is automatically going to put it to the right, but we can play around with it and put this exactly where we want it to be. Right there is pretty good, and then just like the other one, there's going to be plenty of options that we can play with. We can rotate it a bit. If it wasn't an eye and it wasn't a face, then you were going for something that you didn't want to be perfectly symmetrical. You can play around with this, which is really fun. But I think the really fun part is that you can draw this way. If I wanted to go ahead and draw a mouth, I could start here and you want to make sure you're keeping it on the same side. I think I'm crossing over a little bit. There we go. But again, normally would draw on this side. Just to show you once again, if you want to draw a mouth, it's super easy. I'm just going in and refining this a little bit and it probably looks weird because they don't have a nose. We have a semi-face. I'm going to add a quick nose. You can't let it cross over because it's going to mess it up. Just make sure you're going right to that edge. Look at that five-minute face. Move it down a little bit. I'm going to go on another layer, and I'm going to add a background. Now I'm going to show you after you're finished with your face or whatever it is that you're drawing, and you want to continue to edit it, but you don't necessarily want to keep tweaking it within the repeat tool. You can go to Object, Expand, you can expand the object and the fill. That way you can continue to make edits and it's not going to interfere with the repeat or keep adding things. If you maybe want some of these strokes, maybe I want to combine those right here. Because maybe I want to make this a complete shape. Just want to add a little bit more to it or maybe fill it in. You're able to do that once it's expanded. Maybe want to give them a different eye color. That was a really quick way to show you the mirror repeat. I would love for you to test these tools out for yourself. Next, I think you should make one and each repeat and post it in the gallery. 4. Technique 3: Opacity Masks: In this lesson, we're going to be going over opacity masks. Opacity masks are a great way to use transparency in your artwork to knock out what's behind it and allow the artwork to show through. A lot of times I'll use opacity masks for grain textures when I just want to add a little bit more dimension to my artwork. You'll see in this lesson what we're going to be doing with them, two really great ways to use opacity masks in your work. Today I'll be showing you two different techniques for opacity mask. The first one is using it to show texture. I'm just going to use a halftone pattern and you'll be able to see the texture in the background, and the second one, I'm going to use the mask to mask out some text and you'll be able to see the colorful blend in the background show through the text. First, I'm going to be demoing how to use texture in your artwork. I have this halftone pattern and we'll just be making this image on the left and we can be doing it over here, recreating it for you. The first thing I'm going to do is going to go ahead and draw a square and just spit it to your artboard. I like to get exact sometimes. We'll just go ahead and make that 1000 by 1000 pixels and center it. Then I want to make this yellow. I'm going to make it yellow and I'm going to lock it. Next, I'm going to bring in my texture. I have this really great halftone texture here. It's a vector. That's going to be important for creating your opacity mask. I'm going to open up this vector and I'm going to copy it. Just Command C and then I'll close it with Command W. I will go ahead and create another square on top. I'm actually just going to unlock this one really quickly so I can easily duplicate it. Then I will lock it again. I have a square selected and whatever is on the top, that's what is going to be masked. I'm going to change this to a different color, because I want the yellow in the background to still show through. If this is orange or pink, then obviously you're not going to see the yellow in the background, but I want to be able to see both. I'm going to go ahead, I have my pink square selected. You will be using the transparency panel. You're not going to change the transparency settings, but you're actually going to use this Make Mask to make your opacity mask. You'll go ahead and click " Make Mask", and as soon as you do that, you'll be entered into this masking mode. Once you are in that mode, if you try to do something else on your artboard, it's not going to work because you're still in mode. I'm going to paste my selection. If you make your vector black, you're not going to be able to see it. We're going to make that 100 percent black and it's not inverted, meaning we didn't change it to white. As you can see, you can barely see and that's because it's all the way black. You can just barely see it peeking through rather than when it was white, you could still see the pink. As you can see, you can see the pink in the front and the yellow in the background. If you invert it, you're not going to see it anymore because it's changing it to black. Remember, black means that it has zero transparency and you can't see through it. If I go ahead and lower the opacity and make sure that my mask is selected, I think it just takes a second to show up. Because as I'm lowering my opacity, I'm just going to go ahead and click "Invert Mask" and release it so that you can see the changes that I'm making. In order to stop editing your opacity mask, you have to make sure you click back on your original artwork, which is going to be in the square on the left. If you don't do that, you'll be stuck in you're editing mode forever and you're not going to be able to get out of it. Now we're going to be moving on. I'm going to show you another way to use an opacity masks. This time, I want to use the text to show a little bit of the gradient in the background peeking through. Let's just jump straight into it. I'm going to be recreating this demo on the left. We will select "Navy" and center that to the artboard. Then I'll just make sure it's the same size. You don't see any of the white of the artboard peeking through. I'll center that. I'm going to copy and place in front another maybe square, and I'm going to change that one to the gradient that we're creating. I'm going to use my gradient tool. I think I want to create just a regular linear gradient. I have some colors in my swatches, so I'm going to use those. Let's say we'll do about three different stops. I think from yellow to pink and maybe some orange, just keeping similar colors to the first one. I'll just go ahead and change the angle. I think going from yellow here will be nice. We have our gradient. The next thing I'm going to do is create the text that we're going to use to knock out the gradient. I'm just using this as a demo, but you could do some really cool quo. I love a great typographic quo and we'll make it angular 200. I want it to fill up the artboard a little bit. I'll go ahead and center that and just choose a nice font using belly display. I'm going to go to my properties panel and just make this how I wanted. If you remember from the first example, anything that is white is going to show through and anything that is black, you will not be able to see it. I'm going to make sure that it's white. The next thing I'm going to do is I'm going to expand the text so that it's not editable as text anymore. We're going to make it a vector object. Command Shift O on the keyboard will expand it. Then once you have that selected, you can cut it on your keyboard and select your gradient. We're going to do the same process that we did with the first example. We're going to go over to the transparency panel and select make mask. Now that you have your mask, you can't see anything and you're going to paste what you want to be masked. If you notice sometimes even though you enter into the editing mode, it doesn't always go right away. I usually just undo and repeat the process just to make sure that it does paste as a mask. You can see the outline, but you don't see the text quite yet. If I go ahead and just click "Invert Mask" and then de-selected it, you can see the gradient is showing through. If you wanted to change around the opacity, you can. I don't know if it's going to be on your machine, but right now it's not updating right away. I'm going to go ahead and clip and unclip so that you can see the changes that I'm making and maybe we want to turn that down to 37. You can see. Because this is lowering the opacity, it's making it closer to black. If I were to put that opacity all the way down, you're not going to see it at all. I'm going to raise that backup and I'll select and deselect, and you can see the text once again. In order to exit out of my opacity mask, I'll go ahead and re-select the original gradient, you created a really simple and quick text gradient with the text showing through. Next, go ahead and create your own opacity mask using either one or both of the techniques that I've shown you today and post it in the gallery. 5. Technique 4: Blend Tool: In this lesson, we're going to be diving into blend modes. I think that blend modes are one of the most underrated tools in Illustrator. You can use them to mix or distribute objects between one another. In my last Skillshare class, you saw that we used blend modes to create a tech shadow, and today I'll be showing you a little bit of a different technique; how to connect colors to create a really smooth and seamless blend. We can just dive right into it. This is the example on the left. It's not a specific shape, but maybe it's a bit like a backwards N, but you can really create a lot of things with this. I see people use them all the time in posters. You could even create letters or just fun shapes to add some interests to your designs. The first thing we're going to do, I always like to have a background color just as a bit of a base for my work so you can see I have some swatches over here. I'm just going to select this beige color. I will lock that so that it doesn't get in the way. Most people probably go to Blend and go to Blend Make in order to make their blends. But we're actually going to be using the blend tool that's on the tool panel on the left today in doing something a little bit different. In order to create this seamless blend, we're actually just going to create a few circles using the ellipse tool. I'm going to think about how I want them to merge from one color to the next. Maybe I'll start with this yellow orange color. You don't have to do anything specific right now, we're just playing around. So we'll just add a couple of different colors that I think complement one another. Maybe that nice purple and maybe blue. Let's do something a little bit brighter, so this blue. As you can see, we have five colors selected and now you'll select all of the objects that you want to be in your blend. You'll go over to the blend tool, which you can also access with W on your keyboard. All you have to do is click where you want to start your blend and then you click on the shape that you want to blend into. It's literally blending one color to the next. Sometimes you're not always blending colors. Sometimes you could be blending objects and you don't always want that smooth transition, but right now that's what we're looking for. As you can see, it created a really amazing blend. I'm an M, not a backwards M, so we can edit this a little bit. You can move this around and make a house if you want to. It's really super fun. I can show you a couple other options as well that we can tweak this blend that we made. I'm just enjoying moving this around and playing with it. I'm going to select my blend again and go to object blend, and we can reverse the spine. What that's going to do is this going to reverse the order of the colors. So instead of it going from this way down, which is the way that I clicked, it's actually going to reverse it. We have the blue on this side now going into the pink. If we select it again, go to object, blend, reverse front to back, so instead of the order that I clicked and those being in the front, it's going to reverse that. So what was in the front is in the back and vice versa. The other thing you can do is you can play around with your blend options and you can change your specified steps. Let's try two. In between each blend, it's only going to add two steps or two smaller blends in order to get to that color. So we're going from blue to purple. The program is going to decide, okay, well, what two colors are going to get us there. But if you want it to be seamless, you're going to add more steps. The more steps you add, the more seamless it is and you start to lose that steps and it just looks like it blends. If I add 20, you can start to see these a little bit. You can play around with it. Sometimes you may want to see them and sometimes you may just want it to look really seamless. I'm going to go back to it being seamless. Then the other thing you can do is change the distance. This is going to change the distance between each step. The smaller the distance is going to mean, the closer together each step or each instance is. If I have one pixel, that means that there's going to be a new step, one pixel part. If it's a 100 pixels apart, you're really going to be able to see how far they are. It's really versatile tools. You can see 200, you see these really obvious big dots and the more you add, the further distance it gets. Let's just go back to smooth color because I feel like I really like how that smooth gradient looks. Another really fun thing you can do is you can replace the spine. What that means is basically the path that your blend is going to follow, you can just make it follow something completely different. Maybe we want this blend to go around in a circle. What I could do is I'll create a circle and I don't need to have any fill or stroke selected. You'll go ahead and make sure that your spine is at the top in front of your blend. You'll go to object, blend, and then replace spine. It's going to distribute your blend around whatever it is that you've created. In this case, maybe it wasn't long enough in order to fill the entire circle, but you can play around with it until you get the settings that you want. But this looks really cool already. You just created are really easy blend. Next, go ahead and make your own blend. You could use any of the tools that I showed you. You could use the blend tool that's on the left here or go into the blend panel. Yeah, just make something fun and make sure you post it in the gallery. 6. Technique 5: Drawing Modes: In this lesson we're going to be going into drawing modes. Drawing modes are really great way to add content behind or inside of a shape. I use them really often when I'm drawing, so when I'm creating an illustration a lot of times I may want a texture or a pattern only maybe inside of a shirt or a leg or hair, and it creates an instant clipping mask for your work. I'm going to be showing you how I created this artwork here and I used drawing modes to add the texture to the shirt, the stippling to the legs. I have the same illustration but I don't have any texture inside of the shirt or any patterns. With the object selected, I'm going to go over here to my toolbar and click on this little icon, it looks like a circle with a square in front of it. The normal or the standard selection is draw normal, which means that it's not going to create any kind of clipping mask in front or behind, it's just going to draw on top of the art board or whatever is selected. I'm going to select Draw Inside and it's going to instantly create a clipping mask, so anything that's within this shape right here, you're only going to be able to see what is inside of it. I'm going to select my brush and go ahead and change my brush. I'm going to grab one of my texture brushes so that I can show you how I made these stripes. Let me go ahead. I'm going to find a brush that I can use for these stripes and it may not be the same one I made before, so maybe these pastel brushes. I want to choose one that's a little bit rough, so maybe we'll make it two points. The first thing that you're going to do, you have this selected and you can literally just start drawing and it's going to make a clipping mask and only what's inside will be shown and everything else will be outside. If I want to edit this, I can just go ahead into my Direct Selection mode and move this around, move my points around and I want to refine a little bit and already I didn't have to make an extra clipping mask, it was just really easy to use the drawing modes. Another thing that I did that you'll see here is that I used a stippling texture. I'm going to go grab a stipple brush and I want to use a darker green so that it looks a little bit like a shadow. If you accidentally select out of your drawing mode, all you have to do is use your Direct Selection tool to click on any edge of your objects and you can go ahead and select Draw Inside once again to enter back into that mode. I have my stipple brush selected and I'm in my drawing mode and I'm going to go ahead and just draw. I think we need to be a little bit darker except that's the same color. I'll select a darker green and I'm just adding some really nice stippling around the arm, just in natural places that you would have shadow. If you didn't create this as a drawing mode, all of these parts and all of these brushes would be on top of your artwork and you'd have to individually select them, which it can be hard, sometimes you miss them and it could be a lot of objects. This, I feel like saves me a ton of time. Maybe I want it a little bit thicker down here, awesome and that's how you draw inside. The next drawing mode is draw behind. This allows you to draw behind whatever object is selected. You can draw regularly and select all of your parts and move them to the back, but it can get confusing when you have a bunch of layers trying to figure out what's in front of what. The important thing to remember is making sure that whatever it is that you want to draw, that the background is on another layer because it's going to draw behind everything else under it. I went ahead and put that on a separate layer so that way when I draw, you can see them behind this square right here. I think this will be fun just to add a little bit of texture around the edge. I'm going to make this brush a little bit bigger and I think select a scatter brush that's a little wider. I'm going to go ahead and make my brushstrokes. As you can see if I zoom in, this is behind everything else on the art board without even having to select anything. Remember, if I did this normally, these would all be on top and I would have to select all of these strokes individually. Maybe I want to make it a little bit darker so you can see it better and I'll make this larger. It's even drawing behind the strokes that I just made, so I feel like this is really cool. If I want to add even more depth, I could keep going. Maybe I want to add a little bit more texture in the background, maybe we're going texture crazy now, but I feel like the possibilities are endless. It's continuing to draw behind. I feel like this is such a simple tool, it's like not even that much to show but I think it's super underrated and a lot of people don't know about it, so I'm hoping this saves you a lot of time in your workflow. You may think you only can use these drawing modes for actual drawing, but you can actually use them to paste as well. Let's say I have a texture or anything, I want to place it behind everything else on my artwork. If drawing behind is selected, if I paste what's copied, it will paste it behind everything else as well. I have another halftone texture and I'll just paste it on my art board, I move that in place, and it automatically went to the back. I'm going to change this color a little bit because it's hard to see and I created a super quick texture. It's looking a little busy but I just wanted to show you everything that you can create with this mode. Now it's your turn. Play around with drawing modes and create something where you're drawing behind as well as drawing inside of a shape and make sure you post your work in the gallery so I can check it out. 7. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for taking this class. I can't wait to see how the advanced techniques that I taught you today are going to elevate your illustration style. Please share your finished work in the gallery. I'm really excited to see what you made.