In this tutorial we are going to learn how to create a Winter Blurred Background with the use of the Mesh Tool and we will learn how to create brushes for light and snow effects.

Create a new document

The first step is to create a new document on Adobe Illustrator (File>Bew) with the next parameters:

• Dimensions: 800x800px

• Color mode: RGB

• Resolution: 72 ppp

2. Create the background

Step 1

With the rectangular tool we create a square that covers the whole artboard with a bluish gray color (#E3E8EE) and we aligned to the artboard.

Step 2

With the mesh tool we create a couple of anchor points inside of our square, like you see in the images below.

Once we have our points created, let’s add some color. We will start creating our color palette which will make the task of coloring way easier. We are going to use a cold palette. Create 6 small squares (70x70px aprox) and give them each a different color.

Place your squares next to our artboard were we have the mesh.

Now color each point of the mesh. To do this, grab each point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and with the Eyedropper Tool we select the color in our palette.

You need to get something similar to this:

Now we can delete the color palette. Open the Layer panel (Windows>Layers), put your mesh in it and block the layer. Create a new layer which we will call “Lights and objects” which will contain our lights and snowflakes.

3. Create the snowflakes

Step 1

With the Segment Tool, create an horizontal line and another vertical line that’s 120px long and a 5px widht. We center everything. Open the Stroke panel (Window>Stroke) and select the option “Round caps”.

We copy both layers and paste on top (Ctrl c+ Ctrl F). We rotate it 45º (Object>Transform>Rotate 45º).

With the Start Tool we create a 16 points with a whit the 5px stroke and no fill color, with the next parameters.

Center everything.

Select the star and paste it on top. Make it bigger, up to 86x86px. We copy and paste in front and again enlarge it up to 138x138px.

We make a little 5px width, white line as you see in the image. We select it and we copy and paste in front. Now go up to transform (Transform>Reflect vertical 90º) and we move this copy to the right. Group both lines (Object>Group). We center horizontally. Copy and paste in front the lines and we flip the horizontal 0º.

Select the lines we just created and group them. Copy and paste on top and rotate a 90º angle. Select and group with the previous lines. We center them and you should get something like this.

We select the whole snow flake; we group it and expand it. So we already have our first snow flake!

Step 2

To create the second flake, copy the first one and paste it next to it. Ungroup the selection and delete the big and small star. Group our second snowflake.

Step 3

Add as many snowflakes over our background. You don’t need to add much, because we will add the lights. Then select everything and change the blending mode to Soft Light and we group them. We block the flakes group so it won’t bother us when we create the lights (Object>Lock>Selection)

4. Create the lights

Create 3 objects, transform to symbols so we can add effects to enhance our background.

Step 1

With the Ellipse tool we create a circle that’s 54x54px with a radial gradient that goes from light blue to black as you see here.

Step 2

Create another ellipse with the same gradient but bigger (225x225px) and we change the blending mode to Screen.

Step 3

We make another ellipse (10x12px) with a gradient that goes from dark gray to black. Change the blending mode to Color Dogde.

Step 4

Create an ellipse that’s 10x12px with a gradient that goes from dark gray to black. Change blending mode to Color Dodge. 

Step 5

Create an ellipse that’s 7x6px with a radial gradient that goes from blue to black. Change the blending mode to Color Dodge.

Step 6

Create an ellipse that’s 21x21px with a radial gradient from white to black and chad the blending mode to Screen.

Step 7

Create the last element that we will use as a symbol for the lights. With the Star tool, create a 5 points star that’s 20x20px with a radial gradient from blue to black and blending mode: Color Dodge.

Step 8

Create the symbols. Open the Symbol panel (windows>Symbol) and to it each ellipse and star we have created. We have to make sure that the at the Symbol Options panel we have in “Type” Graphic.

Your Symbol panel must look something like this.

Step 9

It’s time now to add the lights to our background. To do this grab the Symbol Sprayer Tool and then the first symbol we’ve created. Start painting with the light. Don’t worry if they end out of the artboard.

Repeat the operation with the other symbols, this way we will get different sizes and opacities.

Under the Symbols Sprayer tool we have other tools related with the look of the symbols: Size, disposition, opacity…Experiment and see what other results it offers.

5. Masking the lights

Step 1

Select all the lights, go to the Symbols panel and click on Break link to Symbol. This way we can edit every element separately. 

Step 2

We create a square the same size as the artboard (880x800px) and we aligned to the artboard. We select everything and go to Object>Clipping Mask>Mask. This way, the square will mask the lights.

6. Creating the snow brushes

Step 1

Make a white ellipse that’s 5x6px and we open the brush panel (Window>Brushes) and we drag to it the ellipse we just created. Select Scatter Brush and apply the following parameters:

Son now our brush is created. Let’s create another one with little white irregular shapes no bigger than 5px, as you see in the image.

Drag all this shapes to the Brush panel and apply the same parameters as we did before.

Step 2

Now, with the Paint Brush Tool (B) we paint with the ones you have just created to give a snowy effect to our background.

And now we have our Winter Background ready to use!

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