Creative Layers

Illustration + Design + Craft

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Using Gradients when making Illustrator Brushes



Building upon the last post where I created an Illustrator brush from a simple illustration of a Cosmos flower, I think I’d like to make the image a little nicer. So I’m going to add some gradients to my petals to give them a little extra dimension and some separation from each other. I’m using a simple linear gradient that goes from deep pink to nearly white in the center.  I adjusted the colors until I like them, then added some stroked lines over the top in a deeper pink. As before, I expanded the strokes to make them solid shapes. I also changed the stem from three colors to a gradient of green tones. You can see the progression in the images below.

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Making Floral Brushes in Illustrator

Brushes at work: snapdragons, daisies and leaves.


It’s springtime and with it, flowers are in bloom everywhere – including in my designs. For past illustrations, I’ve made custom brushes in Illustrator to make repetitive designs easier: tulip brushes to create a field of tulips, blueberry brushes to create a mountain full of blueberry bushes, leafy brushes to create a backdrop of trees, etc.

The floral designs I wanted to create this spring required something not quite so simplistic in design as the bushes in the picture below; not exactly photo-realistic — still illustrations — but not strictly cartoonish either. I thought it would be fun to create a set of floral brushes to design with. I learned a few things along the way, some more “do’s” and “don’ts”, and places where choices need to be made, trade-off’s evaluated. I’m going to talk what works for me in this post.

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Create a Repeating Word Design in Illustrator

Word Cloud or Word Collage patterns are popular for a variety of uses. I thought I might try my hand at creating my own seamless word collage pattern using Adobe Illustrator — I’ll be using it to make Holiday cards, craft projects, wrapping paper and more. Since the bows I drew are bright, I decided a dark background would show them to their best advantage. I chose a nice pine-tree green as my base color, and a theme of Christmas words.

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Popcorn Boxes in Three Sizes: Tutorial + Template

Downloadable template at the end of the post.

I love pretty little boxes. So when my husband brought home a gift package of four different popcorn types, all wrapped individually and presented inside a custom-sized popcorn box, it sparked some new ideas. First I ate all the popcorn, and then I was left with a cute little box, wondering what I could use it for. Instead of directly re-purposing it, I decided to pull it apart, lay it out flat, and use it to create a template to make my own versions of the box using my own designs.

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Greeting Card or Gift Box: Tutorial + Template

With downloadable template at the end of the post.

Recently I created a set of greeting cards from photos of my mother’s paintings and I wanted to put them in a nice presentation box to send to her. There are several online sources for plain white card boxes, but I decided to create my own box for a personal touch. This is the process I used.

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