Life & Style tutorial: Master painting in Illustrator

03. Now you have your basic items outlined, make your scanned layer invisible (click on the eye symbol in the Layers palette) and bring your other layers up to full transparency. Next, start playing around with gradients. Linear and Radial gradients will give your artwork a slickness that you can start building on when you begin your shading. Make sure each item has a stroke – this is essential to your finished illustration.

04. To create the illusion of depth of field, add a Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) of around 6.5 to the flames layer. This will blur the edges of the flames, giving them a more stylized look.

05. Add some basic abstract transparent shapes over the flames: this will start to add complexity to your illustration, as using contrasting dark and light shades will give your art depth. You may find it helpful to assemble reference photos of some of the items in your illustration, to help you render your illustration correctly – particularly the lighting and shadows.

06. Start adding surface textures by drawing worm-like paths on the foreground, then add a custom stroke brush. Open the Brush library, then select one of the artistic brushes from the menu. Changing the point size of the path will have a big effect on the overall appearance.

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