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Adobe Illustrator Tutorial: How to Illustrate a Vector Tomato Using Gradient Mesh Tool

posted by: Oleksandr Iegupov, in Illustrator Tutorials / Illustration/ Comments: 42
Final Image Preview

You will use Meshes, Gradients and Blends for creating the resulted picture. The skills you will learn here can easily be transferred to creating various objects. So let’s get started!

You can download the source vector file for this tutorial

Tutorial Details:

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS3 – CS5
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Estimated Completion Time: 2 hours

Step 1

Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and create the following path.

Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and change the path. You should have a picture the same as below.

Step 2

Take the Pen Tool (P), add the anchor point, and transform the path to the following form.

Fill this path with dark red.

Step 3

Let's now make the Mesh. Grab the Mesh Tool (U) and add the mesh anchor point in the center of the tomato form. See the diagram below for reference.

Then move this anchor point downwards.

Add the next mesh anchor points.

Step 4

Then convert the anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool (A) to the following form in order to represent a globular shape of the tomato.

Repeat these actions for both: the top part and the lower part of the tomato.

Add more mesh anchor points.

Step 5

Select one of the anchor points and change the color of it.

Change the color of the close anchor point.

Add the distribution of light to the surface of the tomato.

Step 6

Continue to change the colors of the anchor points. See the diagram for reference.

Step 7

Illustrate now two concentric elliptical paths in the lower part of the tomato. The big ellipse is filled with white and is located under the small ellipse.

Change the Opacity of the white ellipse to zero.

Then go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and set the Spacing to "Specified steps" and the quantity of steps to 100.

Select both concentric ellipses and go to Object > Blend > Make (Command + Alt + B). Send this blend to back. It will represent shadow.

Step 8

Complicate the mesh in order to show the photo-realism of the tomato's surface.

Step 9

Let's now create a stem of the tomato. Draw the first leaf. And fill it with any color.

Draw other leaves.

Step 10

Illustrate the central branch.

Make a lateral surface of the leaf.

Repeat these actions for the other leaves.

Step 11

Fill a lateral surface of the leaf with a Linear gradient. You need to achieve the following result.

Do the same with the other leaves.

Step 12

Fill the cut section of the branch with the Linear gradients.

Step 13

Draw a triangular path.

Drag and drop it into the Brushes palette. Select the Art Brush option in the dialog box.

Set the items for the brush as you can see them on the diagram below.

Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw the next path. Then apply the Art brush to it. Change the color of the path and change the Stroke Weight, if necessary.

Create another similar path.

Step 14

Then draw the following path.

Step 15

Select the first red path drawn one step earlier, and go to Object > Expand Appearance, then go to Object > Ungroup. And fill the path with the Linear gradient.

Fill the other red paths with the Linear gradients.

Step 16

Select the wine red stem, take the Mesh Tool (U) and convert it to mesh. See the diagram below.

Paint it with green hues.

Add dark green colors to the stem.

Step 17

Place the tail over the tomato. Change the dimensions of the tail, if it is necessary.

Make an Art brush which is shown in the diagram below.

Then draw the next path in the top part of the tail using this Art brush and fill it with the Linear gradient.

Illustrate the shown below elliptical path filled with the Linear gradient too.

Step 18

Let's illustrate shadow from the leaves. Draw the path filled with the following Linear gradient.

Repeat this step for the other leaves of the tomato.

Step 19

Draw the next small path looking like a tangerine segment. Fill it with tangerine. Its size in across-track direction must be several pixels only.

Then drag and drop it into the Brushes palette. Select the Scatter Brush option in the dialog box. Set the items for the brush as you can see them on the diagram below.

Step 20

Illustrate two paths shown below on the surface of the tomato.

Apply just created Scatter brush to them.

Step 21

Produce the next scatter brush filled with dark olive green.

Sketch the paths over the tomato tail.

And apply the new scatter brush to them.

Step 22

Let's illustrate drops on the tomato. First, outline the next path under the tail on the red surface of the tomato.

Repeat this.

And now create the path filled with the Radial gradient.

Sketch the following contour filled with the Radial gradient where the second color-stop (pointed by an arrow on the diagram) has the zero opacity.

Repeat this action for another path.

And repeat again.

Step 23

Illustrate as many drops as you want.


Bon appetit!

You can download the source vector file for this tutorial

Final Image

If you're looking for fantasy photoshop tutorial or artworks, check this link to get more inspiration.

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Total comments: 42 1 2 »
0   Spam
1 Luigi   (2011 Oct 31 15:14)
That's one seriously good looking tomato!! tongue

0   Spam
2 jaroslav   (2011 Oct 31 15:16)
Thank you

0   Spam
3 Orion   (2011 Oct 31 19:56)
Dude, this is waaay to awesome :)) cool

0   Spam
4 kalimna   (2011 Nov 01 06:17)
Beautiful tomato! I enjoyed doing your tute. Thank you. biggrin

0   Spam
5 jaroslav   (2011 Nov 01 06:20)
I am happy biggrin

0   Spam
6 Ma Conin   (2011 Nov 05 01:31)
Good. Very good!

0   Spam
7 heromind   (2011 Nov 08 11:50)
Awesome! very nice smile

0   Spam
8 Hemza Benyoucef   (2011 Nov 10 12:36)
ThnX 4 This happy

0   Spam
9 Samtha   (2011 Nov 23 00:05)
Hi, awesome tutorial and easy to learn Thank you so much

0   Spam
10 Elena   (2011 Nov 29 14:56)
This is great! Shared this with fellow Illustrator enthusiasts. Much appreciated!

0   Spam
11 len   (2011 Dec 10 19:23)

0   Spam
12 99designs reviews   (2011 Dec 12 04:08)
Brilliant tutorial, its well defined steps and techniques to make a awful vectors.

0   Spam
13 rohit   (2012 Jan 01 21:01)
tutorial!! Learnt some important points, thank u so much smile

0   Spam
14 yoga   (2012 Jan 03 03:00)
[color=orange]cooollll smile cool

0   Spam
15 Paul   (2012 Jan 25 13:39)
Thanks, this I wish I knew when I had to replicate some bandit wheel images... cherries, melons etc. Very useful!

0   Spam
16 Isaac Gamble hunts gays   (2012 Feb 02 07:46)
hes a batty boy

0   Spam
17 FMYLIFE   (2012 Feb 03 15:18)

0   Spam
18 Michael   (2012 Feb 07 13:54)
Great tutorial but it might be worth adding a stage showing how to create the leaf shapes as I found this a difficult part of the design. I also use Xara Design Pro 7 and it's handling of shapes and curves is much more intuitive that AI.


0   Spam
19 Mizanur Rahman   (2012 Feb 22 02:48)
Wonder full, excellent, one more...........

0   Spam
20 Snehangshu ShekharGhosh   (2012 Feb 23 03:28)
Awesome, Wonderful...

0   Spam
21 Paul   (2012 Mar 09 09:07)
This is not a good tutorial, the person explaining it had not put proper details and on for the mesh part of the tomatoes, avoid it if you don't wanna waste 3.30 hour of your time on one simple concept.......

0   Spam
22 martins kush   (2012 Mar 13 08:58)
thanks na d thanks again 4 tha nice tute,l enjoyed using it.very good

0   Spam
23 Ajay V. Shevade   (2012 Apr 10 00:16)
Excellent Work.....!

0   Spam
24 Nenad Vasic   (2012 Apr 12 13:02)
This is one very nice tomato, this will keep me occupied for a while smile

0   Spam
25 masume   (2012 Apr 23 00:39)
great tutorial!

0   Spam
26 cool   (2012 Apr 28 04:35)
smile that's cool, great tutorial, i love it.

0   Spam
27 jaroslav   (2012 Apr 28 04:40)
Thank you all!

0   Spam
28 krishna   (2012 May 18 10:45)
really wonderful............... smile

0   Spam
29 yen   (2012 Jun 18 03:34)
really real

0   Spam
30 jimmy   (2012 Jul 21 03:08)
This such a wonderful Photoshop tutorial..You explain it very well to understand easily..This really a helpful tutorial for the newbies...

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