Using Textures in a Landscape Illustration

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This tutorial will show you how to use textures to create a desktop wallpaper or other illustration.

Begin by finding a few textures or patterns you like. Choose one for the background of your image and place it in your workspace. If it is too large for your workspace, create a rectangle that is the correct size and place it over your background image. Then select both and go to Object>>Clipping Mark>>Make. That should hide the edges that extend the size you need.

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Now we will create the grass or foreground. Use the pen tool to create the shape of a hill or whatever you want to use. Fill it with a dark color. Copy and paste that shape. Open the pattern you want for the grass and drag it to the swatches panel. Select the second shape (that was the copy) and choose the pattern fill. In the transparency panel, select the blending mode Overlay, and lower the opacity to your liking. The dark color you chose should be in the shape underneath the transparent pattern. This will allow you to make the pattern whatever color you wish. I changed my blending mode from Overlay to Luminosity, because the red of my pattern was not desirable for this piece.

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I shifted my pattern to the left a little so that you can see how it’s done. You may want to create new layers for each step to stay organized. Now we will create the sidewalk. Use the pen tool to draw the shape you want, and fill it with a gray or tan. Then add some lighter and darker lines to the sides like this:

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(For the darker lines, I used the Soft Light blending mode so that I could see the pattern underneath.)
Next, draw a cartoon-y cloud with the pen tool and place different sized ones in the sky.

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Now we will add trees. Start with drawing the trunks with the pen tool and then add the tops. For my tree tops, I used the Ellipse tool to create ovals, then used the Direct Selection tool to change the shape and make it more abstract. Here is what it looks like as I’m working.

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I now decide to add a stroke to my grass layer so that there is a line at the top. Arrange the trees to where to want them. Now we will add a white shadow to the treetops. Copy and paste the round shapes and fill them with white. Arrange them each behind their respective treetops but slightly to the right.

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Add some circles on your treetops. Then draw a couple of little houses with the pen tool.

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I’ve decided to change the pattern of the grass. I copied and pasted the first shape of the hill and then made a clipping mask using the new image. I then changed the blending mode of my new patterned shape to Luminosity and lowered the opacity.

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Now you can keep it a landscape or add whatever you want in the foreground. You now have made your own wallpaper!

About the Author:
Kristen Pace is a current graphic design student and intern with iEntry, Inc.