How to create Gradient Line Art in Adobe Illustrator

We have shown you a thing or two about gradients and other line art techniques in the past. However this time, we are going to use a bit of a different process. In this tutorial we will show you how to utilize the gradient panel, the geometric shape tool and the transform function within Adobe Illustrator.

As mentioned above, the geometric shape tools combined with a few tweaks of the transform function can produce some pretty spectacular line art elements for your next layout. Let us begin the process.




Before we get started, download the project file below.

Gradient Line Art Working File


Step One: 


First off, we need a good gradient to get us started. I chose a yellow to orange gradient for this, as it plays well off of the dark background in my document. But feel free to use whatever colors you like. 


Creating a gradient is as easy as dropping down the “Window” tab, scrolling down and selecting the “Gradient” function. Upon doing so a whole new action box should appear where you can choose your specific colors for their respective ends of the gradient. Once you’ve got your colors in your gradient it’s time to save it to your Swatches. Do this by clicking the hamburger menu on the top right of the swatches panel and clicking “Save new gradient”. Now give it a name and you’re all set.


Step Two:


Now we’re going to draw our shape. I personally chose a triangle, however this technique works for just about any shape you can think of. To create a triangle you must first select the “Star Tool” from your toolbar, click on your canvas and drag. Once you see points start to form you can then use the arrow keys on your keyboard to increase or decrease the number of points that are now on your star. Make sure the fill of your new shape is set to none, and your gradient is now your stroke color.


Step Three:

Here is where the fun begins. With your shape selected now go to the “Effect” tab at the top of your screen, hover down to “Distort and Transform”, move your mouse over and click “Transform”. This will bring up a new dialogue box for the transformation. Leave this open and we can move on to the next step.


Step Four: 


With your transformation dialogue box still open begin to enter these settings:

  • Horizontal: 95%
  • Vertical: 95%
  • Angle: 2 Degrees
  • Copies: 30

With the “Preview” box checked at the bottom left of the dialogue box you’ll be able to see what each change does to your shape. It may be useful to tune these settings so that they work better for your composition. The settings I mentioned above don’t always work perfectly every time.


Step Five:


Now on to our last and final step. After closing the Transform dialogue box you’ll now be able to freely grab, rotate, stretch and scale your line art shape. We’re going to take it a step further by selecting our “Direct Select Tool” , or (A) on your keyboard, then hover over our triangle til we see the “Round Corner” nodes appear within the shape. By clicking and dragging on one of these points you will then be able to round those sharp corners of your shapes off and give it a more uniform finish.


And that’s all there is to it! Give it a try and let us know what you think. If you happen to use it, tag us in the result! We love to see what you all can do and how creative you can be. If you found this tutorial helpful please visit our YouTube channel and give the video a thumbs up. Subscribe for more content like this and let us know what you’d like to see next!



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