Blend Without Blending: Fun Gradient Techniques for Flat Illustration | Vinitha Mammen | Skillshare

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Blend Without Blending: Fun Gradient Techniques for Flat Illustration

teacher avatar Vinitha Mammen, Illustrator | Lettering Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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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.

      Class Overview


    • 3.

      Getting Started


    • 4.

      Anatomy of a Gradient


    • 5.

      Blend With Dots


    • 6.

      Blend With Lines


    • 7.

      Blend With Shapes


    • 8.

      Explore Away


    • 9.

      The Bigger Picture


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

In this unique and innovative class, we will explore techniques that allow you to blend two blocks of color without physically mixing the colors  together. These techniques are particularly useful for illustration mediums that are challenging to blend, such as acrylic paint markers (for example, POSCA markers). However, they can be applied to any opaque medium including acrylic paints, acrylic gouache, pen and ink, paper cutting or even digital drawing tools like Procreate or Adobe Fresco.  

Irrespective of your go-to medium, picture this: you have a beautiful flat illustration style that is consistent and unique to your artistic voice. But now, imagine being able to introduce gradient effects without compromising the integrity of your style. With the techniques you'll learn in this class, you can achieve exactly that! The ability to create the illusion of blended colors opens up a world of possibilities, giving your artwork depth, dimension, and a captivating visual appeal.

We will start by delving into the basic concepts that define a gradient and understanding what makes it so appealing. From there, we will dive into the exciting realm of blending without blending, exploring various methods and approaches to hacking ombre effects that will revolutionize your artistic practice.

Join me as we learn to blend without blending!

In this class you will learn:

  • What makes a gradient a gradient and how we can hack these fundamentals to create faux gradients. 
  • Techniques to create color blend illusions using different elements like dots, lines, and geometric shapes.
  • The factors that make or break a faux gradient and how to mindfully place elements to achieve the illusion of a gradient.
  • The fundamentals you need to explore and arrive at your own unique faux blending techniques.

Plus lots of incredibly useful pro tips along the way!

This class is for you if:

  • You’ve often found yourself wanting to incorporate gradients in your flat illustrations, analog or digital, without actually shading or mixing colors. 
  • You work with non-blendable or hard-to-blend mediums and are looking for ways to create gradient effects. 
  • You’re looking for fun and easy ways to enhance your illustration style. 
  • You’re a beginner exploring different art mediums and styles and want to try something creative and exciting.
  • You like to stay away from mixing paints and want to use colours straight out of the tube. 

This class is aimed at All Skill Levels.

Beginners will learn a ton of fundamentals about gradients and different techniques to create gradient effects without blending the colors, while Intermediate to Advance level artists will discover exciting ideas to add personality and style to their illustrations and have their creative bones tickled. 

What you will need:

All you need are any opaque drawing or painting medium of your choice or your favorite digital drawing tools!

Meet Your Teacher

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Vinitha Mammen

Illustrator | Lettering Artist

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Level: All Levels

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1. Trailer: Picture this, you have a beautiful flat illustration style that is consistent and unique to your artistic voice. But now, imagine being able to introduce gradient effects without compromising the integrity of your style. Hey, I'm Vinitha Mammen and I'm a freelance lettering artist, illustrator and muralist and Top Teacher here on Skillshare. And I'm going to teach you how to create fun faux gradients that you can use to enhance your illustrations with most likely nothing more than your usual tools of creation. In this fun class, we will explore techniques that allow you to blend two blocks of color without physically mixing the colors together. The ability to create the illusion of blended colors opens up a world of possibilities, giving your artwork depth, dimension, and a captivating visual appeal. These techniques are particularly useful for illustration mediums that are challenging to blend, like acrylic paint markers for instance. However, they can be applied to any opaque medium, including acrylic paints, pen and ink, acrylic gouache, or even digital drawing tools like Procreate Adobe Fresco Illustrator, you name it. We will start by delving into the basic concepts that define a real gradient. From there, we will dive into the exciting realm of blending without blending, exploring various methods and approaches to creating faux gradients. By the end of this class, you will be left with a ton of new expertise and ideas of fun, innovative creation techniques that you can incorporate in your artistic practice. This class works for artists at any skill level really. I will be demonstrating the techniques using acrylic markers, but you're welcome to follow along with me using any opaque drawing or painting medium of your choice or your favorite digital drawing tools. So what are you waiting for? Join me as we discover how to blend without blending. 2. Class Overview: So you've decided to explore faux gradients with me, and I'm so thrilled to have you! Welcome to Blend Without Blending! Now before we jump into the class, I want to just quickly give you an overview of what you can expect from this class in terms of how it's structured, what the class project will be, and so on. First, I'll take you through some more details on the materials you need to get started on this class. And then we will take a closer look at what makes a gradient a gradient so that we can figure out how to hack them. Once this is done, we jump right into exploring the different techniques. I will demonstrate to you multiple variations of four blending techniques using different elements like dots, lines, and other shapes. Throughout these demo lessons, I will be using acrylic markers to show you the different techniques. But you are of course, welcome to use other opaque mediums or even your favorite digital tools to follow along with me. I'll be giving you more details and ideas on mediums, surfaces and colors you can use in the next lesson. So stay tuned for that. But irrespective of which medium you choose to go with, it is important that you follow along with me and actually try the techniques to really understand and get a hang of what works and what doesn't, okay? So don't just watch, get your supplies and actually do. Cool? As for your class project, there's three parts to it. One: Your recreation of the techniques that I demonstrate using your medium of choice. Two: Four additional variations that you explore and discover on your own. And Three: An illustration or pattern incorporating any of the techniques you tried out in this class. Okay? You will be getting more information and ideas about these later in the class, but for now you have a sense of what to expect. Don't forget to finally share your class projects with your fellow students and myself through our project gallery, so we can all see and enjoy what you come up with. All right? So, shall we go ahead and get started? 3. Getting Started: Now I want to take you through a few things to get yourself set up for the class. A couple of different options you have in terms of drawing mediums, and also give you some tips to make the most of this class. As I said, I will be demonstrating using acrylic markers, specifically from the POSCA brand. These are basically acrylic paints in the form of a marker. But the techniques I show you are not exclusive to POSCAs and you can apply them to a range of mediums like acrylic paints or acrylic gouache paints, pen and ink or even nail art! You can even go digital using drawing programs like Procreate, Adobe Fresco or Adobe Photoshop. And vector based programs like Adobe Illustrator or Affinity Designer. So basically, anything where you can layer colors on top of each other with full or at least almost full opacity and coverage will work. What these techniques will not work very well with, is something like watercolors for instance, because it's a transparent medium. Or traditional gouache because it reactivates the paint underneath when you lay a color over another one. Acrylic gouache is fine, but traditional gouache may not work that well. So, to get the best results and really enjoy the process, my recommendation would be to pick an opaque painting or drawing medium, or go digital with an app or program that you're comfortable with. In fact, you could even try these out using different materials that you have at hand, a mix of traditional and digital even, so you can see how it works on all of them. Quick note about pen and ink: if you're using black, or any colored ink for that matter, on white paper to create the gradient effects, you'll also need a white gel pen to draw over the colored side. Cool? I will be using these POSCA markers. I have them in a couple of sizes. If you choose to go with acrylic markers, you don't need all these different sizes. It's definitely helpful, but it's not required. In fact, I use this big one only to fill in the background colors. So, these three are really what I will be using to create the gradients. If you're going to get just one size, I would suggest you go for one of the smaller sizes, so you can build up the thickness as required. Now moving on to the drawing surface, if you choose to go traditional and not digital, that is. You can use whatever paper or surface that's suitable for your medium of choice. You'll be exploring a lot, so I wouldn't recommend that you pick anything that's very expensive or that you feel precious about. You can also think of ways to upcycle surfaces that are lying around in your homes or studios like pieces of cardboard, for instance. This is what I decided to do. I had a whole set of my business cards that are no longer useful as business cards because I had to update the information on them, and I've been looking for ways to use them. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to repurpose them. I simply painted one half of the surface with one color and the other half with another, to prep them for this class. That's another idea in case you have something similar that could use a new life. And whatever surface you choose to go with, you can either have them as individual cutouts like these for each variation we'll be exploring, or just leave it as a large sheet, where you'll do them side by side. If you choose the latter option, you can just draw some rectangles or squares across your sheet and divide each of them into two halves, each half filled in with a different color. So, just fill each side with two different colors in the same medium that you plan to use throughout this class. This way you're ready to dive in to trying out everything that I show you throughout this class. I will be demoing about 12 different variations, but I would recommend that you leave some extra room for trial and error and exploration. If you're doing this digitally. I even have a file set up for you that you can use straightaway on Procreate or Photoshop. You can download this from the resource section of this class. All you need to do is, pick a basic brush without any texture or size variation, like a monoline brush, and follow along with me. Now when it comes to choosing your colors, you can, of course, choose whatever colors you like. These techniques will work with any two colors. But for it to look like an effective gradient and not just two colors sitting next to each other, for it to actually look like a gradient, a little bit of color theory can help. So, I have this handy color wheel here. And what I recommend is that you pick colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. So, in technical terms that would be called analogous colors. Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel create the best looking gradients, as opposed to something that's opposite to it. Say you take red for instance. The color that's directly opposite to that is green, which is called its complementary color. See if I move this over to red, what is directly opposite to it, which is green in this case, is complementary to red. So, if you put complementary colors next to each other, they contrast too much. And that gradient would not look so effective. Instead, with red if you use an analogous color like orange, or pink, that would be more effective. Similarly, orange and yellow could work well. Or with blue, you can use a dark blue and a light blue, or blue and purple. So, just a little pro-tip for you, because to create effective gradients the color choices also play a part. So go ahead and gather your medium, or mediums of choice, pick your colors and prep the surfaces that you're going to use. And meet me in the next lesson. where we learn about the anatomy of a gradient. 4. Anatomy of a Gradient: Before we go in and try to create a faux gradient, let's do a little breakdown of what makes a gradient a gradient. So what is a gradient? A gradient is a gradual blending from one color to another, right? How do we achieve a gradient? For example, how do we go from this to this? Whether it's done digitally or with paint on paper, the actual methods of achieving a gradient might be different, but at the very core of it, the idea is the same. Both the colors extend into each other to form this sort of gray area in between, for it to look like a gradient. So the red gradually extends into the pink, and the pink gradually extends into the red area. Right? This gray area is what we're interested in trying to recreate. With mediums that are easily blendable, like water colors or even acrylic paints, we can physically get both colors to mix gradually. Either directly on the surface or on a separate palette, which then gets applied on the surface. But with other mediums like acrylic markers, this is a little more challenging. And sometimes, even if you are working with a blendable medium, maybe you want to create in a more flat style or you're not into traditional shading methods. In these situations, we can try and hack that gray area in between by finding ways to get the colors to extend into and interact with each other without physically forming a third color or a series of other colors. It's a visual effect. It just looks like a blend. It's not actually a blend. If you look at it up close, you'll be able to see that, but you're creating an illusion of gradient. Okay? So we'll be trying out different techniques to get these colors to extend into each other using elements like dots, lines, and other shapes. I will show you how to do this in the coming lessons. But irrespective of what elements you use, there are two factors that help us to create the illusion of a gradient. The size of the elements, and the distance between them. Gradually changing the size or the distance or both, is what helps us achieve these gradient effects without actually mixing the colors. Okay? You will see exactly what I mean as I show you the different techniques. So, without further ado, let's jump into the first set of techniques on how to blend with dots. 5. Blend With Dots: All right, so now that we have dissected gradients, let's get to figuring out how we can fake them. I trust you've gathered some supplies that you have at hand to follow along with me. Let's officially begin blending without blending. The first technique I want to show you is the most basic version of this, using dots. Here's where you learn the fundamental idea that we'll be using throughout this class. The rest of the lessons are basically an extension of the same basic concept. So let's see what that is. I'll pick one of these cards I have prepped and ready. And I'll pick these acrylic markers in the same two colors, the light blue and the dark blue. And of course, I have to shake and pump each marker before I use them. Now we start working from this center. This centerline between the two colors is nice and defined right now. And our aim is to undefine it, because we want to slowly extend the dark blue into the light blue area to create that gradient effect. Right? We'll start by adding in some dots here, right around the center line peeking into the light blue side. You can keep it random. It does not have to be evenly spaced out. Okay? And then we'll add more dots here, kind of close to each other, some even touching each other. And slowly, as we go out, we'll increase the distance between the dots. Because we know that varying the distance between the elements helps us create a visual gradient. Right? So that's what we're doing. And eventually, just sprinkling the dots here and there as we get to the outer areas. So here we go! Cool? Now, we'll pick up the light blue pen and do the same thing on the other side. Okay? Start by adding some dots along the center line, but to this side. Then keep continuing with more dots close to each other.. Slightly more spaced out now. And as we go outward slowly, just sprinkle them in here and there. Okay? So that is the basic idea. Now once you have this much done, you can even go in and adjustments. Like where you see a bit too much dark blue, you can go in and add some more light blue dots, and of course, vice versa. The good thing about these markers and any opaque medium for that matter, is that you can go in and fix things to our liking. So make the most of that, and make adjustments so it looks like a nice gradual change in color. It's a visual thing, right? So there's no formula as such. You just go by what you see and tweak as you go. All right, so that's basically it. Let me show you once more so you can have a recap. You start by adding dots along the center line, like this, dipping into the other side. And then you do more dots close to each other. Then slightly further apart, and finally sprinkling them in very spaced out as you move outwards. We start by adding dots in the center to extend some of the yellow into the pink. Then we continue adding dots that are close to each other and gradually space them out more as you go outwards. Then you can take a good look at it and make adjustments if you think you need to. And done. Easy peasy, right? This is the basic idea behind how we will hack the gradient effect. By slowly and gradually extending both colors into each other's spaces. Now so far we used just a single sized marker to create our dots. So the dots were basically all pretty much the same size. We know there are two factors that help us to create the illusion of a gradient. The distance between our elements and the size of the elements. So far we've only played with distance. Now let's look at what we can do with size as well. Let's pick out a couple of different sizes in both colors. Okay? I have these large ones, medium ones and small ones. And I'll start with the biggest size first and we do the same thing basically. Start by adding dots to the center line like this. Try not to create a very straight line with these dots. The more irregularly they are positioned, the more convincing the gradient will be. Keep them a little bit haphazard. Okay? So now with the medium sized pen, continue adding dots, moving outward, and spacing them more as we go. So it's not just the size we're varying here, it's the size and the distance. It's both. Right? Finally we go with the smallest one and sprinkle some tiny dots in. You can go back and forth between these sizes to adjust the gradient effect if you need to. I think this one can actually use a lot more density of dots in general. So I'm adding in some more of each size. Then of course, we do the same thing on the other side. Largest size first as we start from the center. Then with the medium sized pen, we do slightly more spaced out dots. Finally, with the smallest pen, we sprinkle in tiny dots as we move outward. That's it. So this is what varying booth size and distance gives you. Now let me show you one more variation, and this time we will do varying sized dots, but with a single pen. So if you don't have multiple pen sizes, I'll show you how you can still create that size variation. So I'm going to pick just one size of pens, which is the smallest sized POSCA pens I have. You can do this with pretty much any sized pen. The scales of the dots will just vary accordingly. Okay? So yes, let's do this. We'll start from the center again with the bigger dots, and this time we'll actually draw circles and fill them in, instead of just tapping to place a dot. So this is how even with a small tipped pen, you can get dots as big as you like. Right? The downside to this is that it's a little bit less intuitive as opposed to how you were letting your hands just place dots without thinking so much before. Now you have to pause to consciously draw circles and fill them in, which takes away from the randomness that comes from just going for it. It's almost too mindful. Sometimes the result could look less organic and a little bit more forced. But it is definitely a workaround when you want to make it work with what you have at hand. Okay, so now we'll start reducing the sizes of our dots and increasing the distance between them. Now, one good thing about this method is that you can progressively vary the sizes of your dots. You're not just stuck with a small, medium, and large anymore. You can have in between sizes if you want to, which means better control. So that's there. Pros and cons of using this method, right? And somewhere about now, we start making the dots really small. Pretty much just tapping with the pen tip to sprinkle them in. Okay? And now again, you can go back in and make adjustments, if any. And then proceed to doing the same thing on the other side. And there you go! Generally with these, the further they are from you, the more convincing a gradient it will be, and the closer you go, the more you see the details that make it look like a gradient. Right? Awesome! So that's blending with dots for you. We've looked at three different variations of using dots to create a four gradient. One: using only distance between the dots to create the gradient effect. Two: using both distance between and size of the dots using different sized pens. And three: using distance between and size of the dots, but with just a single pen size. Dots are the most basic way to create faux gradients. In traditional pen and ink illustration methods, the technique of using dots to create gradients is called stippling, and this is essentially a variation of that. As I said, these will be the same basic concepts that we will be basing the rest of the lessons in this class on. So, don't skip trying these out and maybe even doing some exploration of your own to see what else you can come up with. Okay? So now let's hop on to the next lesson, where we will learn to blend with lines. 6. Blend With Lines: So we now know the basic concept that we'll be using for all our techniques in this class. Irrespective of what elements we use to create our four gradients, what we'll be doing is finding ways to make that center line less defined and the colors to gradually extend into each other's spaces. Let's explore a couple of different ways in which we can do this using lines. The first one is very similar to how we used dots, but this time with little line segments. Okay? So here's how that looks. I'm using the medium sized pen and I'm just going to draw some little lines along the center like this, with spaces between them that are just about as wide as the lines themselves. Cool? Then here, right next to the spaces, we'll draw another set of lines. And then another next to that. You don't actually need to be so precious about it, you can be more random. This is the result of me trying to slow things down to show you, so it looks less random than ideal in fact. All right, so we'll start spacing them out a bit more. Just little lines randomly like that. And space them out even more as you move outwards. Similar to what we did with the dots. And eventually, just very sparsely sprinkling in some of it. Okay? And then again, you can go back in and add more wherever required. And we do the same thing with the light blue on the other side. In the center, we go in just at the gaps. Okay? Oops, that became a bit too thick, but that's okay. We can fix it later. That's the good thing with using opaque mediums like this. Everything is fixable, which is awesome! So yeah, we'll add more lines next to that and then start spacing them out. Finally, just sprinkle them in. We're using lines of approximately the same length throughout, but you don't need to measure anything. Just eyeball it and keep going. Now, we need to wait for this to dry for a bit so I can show you how I correct that little mistake I made. Cool, so now this is dried. I can go in with my dark blue pen and just paint around these parts that became too thick. Or even just paint over the whole thing. It's like erasing that whole bit. Once that dries as well, I can go in with the light blue and just draw again. That's it. It's like the mess never happened. And there we go. That's one way to use lines to blend without blending. Let's try another one. For this one, we'll need pens in different sizes. I'm going to pick the red and pink markers in three different sizes. Then with the biggest of the markers, I'll draw a vertical line next to the center line, leaving a little bit of a gap. Cool? Then we'll take the medium one, and increase the gap a little bit, and draw another line. Finally, with the thinnest one, and leaving some more space, draw another line like this. Then similarly on the other side, biggest marker first, draw a line next to the center line. It doesn't have to be perfect. As you see, mind goes wonky every now and then too, and that's okay. Then with the medium sized pen, and leaving a little bit more space, draw another line. Finally, with the smallest pen and a slightly bigger gap, one more line just like that. And there we go! We have a nice gradient. Soo? Even though there are distinct lines here, we cannot really see the center line. We've created some confusion as to where the red ends and the pink begins, which is the whole point, right? What we did here is basically using both size and distance to create that gradient effect. Now, what happens if we remove the size factor and just use distance? Can we still create that nice gradient? Let's find out. This time I have both colors in just one size. Okay? We're going to try what we just did, but keeping the pen size and in effect, the thickness of our lines constant. So in this case, we're only playing with the spacing between the lines. Okay? First we'll get very close to the center line and draw a line like that. Then we'll space it out more, and draw our second line. Okay? Then space it out some more, and draw another line. And maybe one more, even further away. Okay? And then we'll do the same thing on the other side. A line very close to the center line first, and then progressively getting more spaced out. Okay? So that's it! This also creates a gradient, but not as effective as the other one, in my opinion. Let's take a look at them side by side. They're both definitely gradients of their own right, but I think the size variation really does help. But of course, if you don't have multiple sizes of markers with you, you know how to hack it, right? You can always draw thicker lines with the thinner markers to still create that size variation. Cool. So moving on, how about we switch things up a little bit and try creating some blends using horizontal lines now? So, I have my medium sized markers here. First I'll start drawing some lines till about three quarters of the width- so three fourths of this pink section. Okay? So somewhere around here, and we'll bring it till about here, roughly. Okay? We don't have to be precise at all. And then the next one, after leaving a bit of a gap like that and keep adding more lines just like that. We're just eyeballing everything. All right? Then in between these, we'll do some shorter lines that are about half the width of this section. Okay? So roughly about that much. Okay? We'll do one here as well. And in between all the other longer lines. Then, in between each of these lines, even shorter lines, so about one quarter of the width. So like that. Okay? Similarly, now we do this exact thing with pink on the other side. This time we'll offset the lines a little bit so that it's in the spaces between the yellow lines, so that it looks like an extension of the pink side. Just below the first long yellow line, we draw our long pink line that reaches till about here. Okay? Again, here, just below this yellow line, so that it looks like the pink is extending into the yellow through this line. That's what we want. Okay? Below or above, doesn't matter. Both work just fine in fact. Just stick to one of the two throughout. That's all. I just went with below. So I'll be starting all of my pink lines below the yellow lines. Cool? Now in between these, we'll do shorter lines that are about half the width. Again, just below the corresponding yellow line. Keep going all the way down. Then finally, the shortest lines. Again in this space is between the other lines. By the way, these three-fourths, halves and one-fourths are really just a guide to make it more straightforward for you as you learn. The lines can actually be any length, so long as there is that gradual variation among the three sets of lines. Okay? Don't think that this is the only way to do it, it is not. You can apply this method in so many different ways depending on the scale of what you're creating. Cool? So, there we go. We have a nice gray area in between the two sides, right? With the closely spaced lines here, then slightly apart, and then even more far away from each other. So that's another fun one. Now let's try another one. This time I've once again picked out different sizes of both my colors, and I'm going to start with the biggest one. But again, remember if you have just one size to work with, you can always build up the thickness into whatever size you want. You don't need the different sizes to achieve these effects. Okay? So we'll start with short and thick lines first. So about one fourth of this width, just like that. Then keep adding more thick lines like that, at roughly even spaces. Okay? Actually I think we can go even closer here. Let's add one more in between each of these lines. Now with the medium pen, we extend these same lines outward. This time about half of the width. Okay? Just like that. Then with the thinnest pen, we extend these lines even more, bring them up to about three-fourth of the width. Yeah? See how the gradient is beginning to show through? Now with the light blue, we do the same thing. Again this time we will do these lines in the gaps between the dark blue lines. So, it looks like we're pulling from the light blue section. All right? So again short and thick lines first.. Then we extend those with a slightly thinner marker. And finally with the thinnest one, extend them a bit further. Just like that. So there we go! Yet another way to use lines to get a faux gradient. For these horizontal lines, what you're essentially doing is taking what is like this to slowly be like this. Okay? So that, there's this interaction between the two that creates an illusion of a gradient. So, try these out if you haven't already and also start thinking about other ways to use lines to create gradients. There's so many different ways you can use this basic idea. So try. And don't be afraid to fail. It's okay if it looks nothing like a gradient in the end. Do you think I just came up with these out of the blue and got them to work right away? Absolutely not. I messed around with so many variations and tweaks till I found what works for me. And I'm sure there's so many more that I haven't yet discovered. All I'm trying to do here is sow some seeds. Okay? I want you to water them and let them grow and make me proud! Cool. So let's go to the next lesson and take this to a whole other level using shapes. 7. Blend With Shapes: All right, so we've learned some techniques to create faux gradients using dots and lines. Now we're going to look at shapes. The concept, of course, remains the same. We're trying to get the two colors to extend into each other progressively, so that it creates an illusion of a blend or a gradient. Let's see how we can apply this concept to pretty much any shape you'd like, starting with squares. So let's draw some squares! Starting along the center line, we'll first draw some partial squares just peeking in from the other side. I'm essentially drawing full squares, but because it's partially against the same color, you can only see parts of them. But this is our way of undefining our center line, right? We just draw some squares randomly along here in different angles, but more or less the same size. We'll leave some spaces in between them so that we can accommodate the peaking light blue squares too when we get to the other side. But we don't need to overthink it at this point. Okay? Just have fun drawing some imperfect squares. Cool? And then we'll draw more squares next to these partial ones. Some of them can be touching each other and some well, not touching, but we'll keep them fairly close to each other at this point. And then we'll start spacing them out a little bit more gradually, still keeping them all in different angles. Okay? Then we just sprinkle a few more as we get to the outer areas. All right? So that's that. And we do the same thing on the other side. Start with peeking squares along the center line in random angles. Draw more full squares next to those partial ones. Gradually start spacing them out more. Finally, sprinkle. There you have it. It looks like the two colors just exploded into each other in little squares. Right? I think this creates a very cool visual effect. And what's awesome about this is that you can do it with pretty much any shape. Don't believe me? Let me show you some. I think you get the drift, don't you? Different shapes, same exact method. So it's just a matter of how creative you get with the shapes. Now I want to show you one more variation of what you could do with shapes, and this is one of my favorites. So what we did so far are all just throwing these shapes in random angles and random positions, right? What if we got crazy organized instead, and did a checkerboard? Let's see, shall we? I'm using the smallest sized markers that I have. And we're going to start from the center again. And we're doing a checkerboard, right? So it's a pattern of squares. But we will start our first row with half squares, so essentially rectangles. You'll see why very soon. It will all make sense, I promise. So we'll start with a tiny little rectangle like that, that's roughly about half as tall as it is wide, so something like that. We'll leave a gap of the same width and do another similar rectangle then keep adding more just like that. We're just eyeballing it. It does not need to be perfect at all. But if this scares you, you can always use a pencil and ruler to draw a square grid to guide you before you go in with your paints or ink or whatever medium you're using. Okay? No stress. So now we'll draw a square here, right next to where our first pink space was, and this time it'll be a full square. Okay? And like that, we do a full row of alternating squares. Now for the next row, we will start breaking up the pattern a little bit. So we'll do this one. We will not do this one. And instead, we jump to the next position. So here. Because we want to gradually fade into just pink, right? So again, we skip this and we'll do this. Then the next row, we'll do directly above the squares that we just skipped. So one right here. We are messing up the basic checkerboard by doing this. But that's okay, because that's what we want to create our gradient effect. Right? And then one here, just above where we skipped a square. And then at this point we will not care about the pattern and just sprinkle in some random squares like this. Still in roughly the same angle though we're not going fully rogue. So just like this, a few here and there to taper it out. And of course the same on the other side with pink. Again, we start with a row of rectangles first and now you'll see why. As you draw these rectangles, you'll notice that you're completing both the pink squares and the red squares in between them. See? Now you see why we did just half of the squares initially? If we did full squares instead, these two rows would form rectangles instead of squares and then it will not look like a checkerboard anymore. Right? Moving on, we do full alternate squares in the next row. And then we start breaking up the pattern by skipping every other square in what should have been an alternating pattern. So one more here. And then right above where we skipped a square. Here again, and we can do a partial one right here. Now, time for some random sprinkling. And done! So see? Even though my squares were far from perfect, it still looks like a nice handmade checkerboard gradient, which is exactly what we want. So there you have it. Some ideas on how to use different shapes to get faux gradient effects. If you haven't been following along with me, pause and take a shot at these. I'm sure you'll have a fun time just messing around with these ideas. In the next lesson, we're going to look at ways to take these ideas further through playful exploration for your class projects. 8. Explore Away: So there you have it. We now know some cool ways to hack a gradient even with difficult to blend mediums. I trust that you've been trying out the techniques I've been showing you. But if you haven't, now would be a great time to pause and catch up on that. Because it is by doing that you'll find yourself inspired to explore more. There is so much to explore with something like this. So many variations and endless possibilities. And for you to be able to actually incorporate these techniques in your artistic practice, you'll need to be able to find ways to make it your own. You know, in ways that work for you. So that's why I want to encourage you to explore and discover some techniques on your own as part of your project for this class. I would love to see you come up with four new faux gradient effects based on the techniques I showed you. Or even something totally new if the idea hits you. You can also of course, let yourself go wild and come up with more than four. Now, I don't want you to be intimidated by this, okay? When I say come up with your own gradient effects, they don't have to be phenomenal, or groundbreaking, or drastically different from what we did together. The goal is to tickle your creativity and to stretch your new found knowledge even a tiny little bit. To show you that the possibilities are endless if you just spend some mindful time on it. I'll let you in on something. I hadn't discovered some of the variations I taught you in this class until all the exploration I did when I sat down to develop a curriculum for the class. So sometimes it really is just about taking some time to let yourself try different things. Whether they work or not is not the point. I'm telling you, there were several failed attempts too when I did my exploration. And chances are there will be some in your case as well. And that's okay, because it's those failed ones that lead you to successful ones. Right? So explore! Here are some ideas to get you started in case you feel stuck. You could try using dots in a more organized pattern and see what you end up with. You could see what happens if you use tiny, scattered, horizontal lines instead of vertical lines to create your gradient effect. Another thing you can try is organizing other shapes, like hearts or triangles into the checkerboard approach. Or you could try the shape technique with other shapes altogether, like stars or leaves or whatever else you can come up with. You could even see how you can doodle to create faux gradients, if that's your jam. So, lots of options. Lots of possibilities. So don't be afraid to mess up. Just explore away and show us what you discovered along the way. Okay? In the next lesson, we'll talk about incorporating these techniques in your artwork. 9. The Bigger Picture: Did you have fun exploring and discovering your own twists to what we learned? Now before you leave this class, I also want you to try and use what you learned in a way that's relevant to your unique art journey. So I want you to incorporate any of the techniques that I showed you or that you came up with on your own in a piece of artwork. It can be an illustration, a pattern, or anything you want it to be as long as you find a way to use a gradient effect somewhere in it. Think along the lines of what you normally do. But now reimagine it with some gradients. Okay? And see what you end up with. Again, the goal is not to create a masterpiece. But unless you try, there's going to be no masterpieces, like ever. Right? So try. Okay? Again, you can use any suitable medium of your choice, any size, any colors. I would love to see how these techniques I taught you come together in the context of your work. Now if you're a beginner or if you don't feel like you've discovered your style, then just create something. No need to overthink. Just start by drawing anything that you feel like. And as you add color to it, think of how you can incorporate some blending without blending. Cool? Deal? Now when you're done, don't forget to upload everything you did in this class to our project gallery. So that's your recreation of the techniques I showed you, what you explored on your own, and finally, your piece of art incorporating any of these techniques. I would also love to know which of the techniques that you tried was your favorite because there's always that one variation that really excites you, isn't there? So let us know through your class projects. I cannot wait to see what you come up with. And I'm sure you'd be curious to see each other's creations too. So make sure you check out what your fellow students have created and show them some love by commenting on their projects. Okay? Make the most of this fabulous global creative community that you have access to right here and connect with each other. Also, if you share your work from this class on Instagram, don't forget to tag me in your post so that I don't miss it. I definitely want to see everything, all of it. Because seeing you apply, what you learn from me is what keeps me going. Right? So I will let you get on with your projects and wait very eagerly to see what you come up with. 10. Final Thoughts: So we've arrived at the end of this class! We've learned so much from what defines a gradient to different ways in which you can create an illusion of a blend using dots, lines, and pretty much any shape you want. You also used these techniques to come up with your own variations and then incorporated what you learned with me on this class into a piece of artwork. I hope you're mega proud of yourself because I definitely am. Irrespective of what skill level we're at, investing the time to explore something new and making it our own is what takes us forward in our art journeys. And that's exactly what you've done today. Congrats on making that happen! I hope you've picked up a lot of little ideas throughout this class and you're feeling inspired to come up with new and exciting ways to blend without blending. You can apply these techniques in a lot of different ways to enhance your illustrations or patterns, with depth and dimension, and eye catching visual appeal. So please never stop exploring. If you enjoyed this class, please do take a moment to leave a written review. It would mean so much to me and my class to get your feedback on how we're doing. And don't forget to follow me here on Skillshare to be notified right away when I publish a new class. In the meantime, a whole collection of classes that you can check out, ranging from lettering and procreate illustration to watercolor techniques. I also share new work as well as behind the scenes, process videos and tutorials on my Instagram. If you want to be in on what I'm up to, that would be the place. Thank you so much for sticking with me and for doing the work. It's been an absolute pleasure! So until next time, bubye and happy creating!