Master the gradient mesh tool

14. We’ll need to create an individual mesh for each tooth. Once you’ve drawn each shape, add a base colour – use white for most teeth, adding a hint of yellow for some. Next, add light and shadow areas. For the darkest shadow, use 32% black and 26% yellow. For some teeth add a strong yellow up to 50%. For speed, create basic teeth, duplicate them, scale them, and reuse them to fill the mouth with teeth.

15. Handle the tongue, gums, and mouth lining in a similar manner to the skin, except use a base colour of C = 10, M = 36.5, Y = 22.3, K = 0, with a highlight of C = 10, M = 99, Y = 76.2, K = 88.7. For the crease that runs down the center of the tongue, first create a mesh, then add shadow and highlights, as before.

16. The final area is the part that connects the upper jaw to the lower jaw. We’re creating this separately to keep it simple, as complex shapes are difficult to mesh, and sometimes the Gradient Mesh tool just won’t work on a path that is too complex.

Who: With over 13 years’ experience, Stephen Freeman is a senior designer in a small graphic design studio in Barbados. His specialist areas include animation, video postproduction, and illustration. In his free time, he enjoys island life with his son and fiancée.
Software: Illustrator CS3/4
Time to complete: 5 hours
On the CD: All files for this tutorial can be found on the cover CD

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