As I'm learning and playing with the mesh tool in Illustrator, I've stumbled upon a few tips/tricks that I wish I had realized when I started.
1. Work WITH the Grid. When you first create your simple shape and begin to use the mesh tool to establish your grid lines, be sure to work WITH the grid. Don't fight it and Don't try to work against it. Now, as I was learning a friend kept saying this to me, "Work with the Grid" "Work with the Grid". Unfortunately, what they didnt know was because the initial shape I had selected (a maple leaf) had such a unique outer shape, the grid was automatically SUPER complex and confusing. In order to work WITH the grid, be sure to start out with a SIMPLE shape as you're beginning.
2. Avoid images with lots of details. While you're learning and playing with this tool, be sure to avoid images that contain lots of super details and a wide range of colors. Initially the first flower I attempted was a Tulip. Well, if you're familiar with Tulips, you know that they have multiple petals and can range in several colors within one flower. That didn't work out so well for me. As I get better, I'm sure I'll be able to move into more detailed images, but be careful what you start out with so that you can get a clear grasp on the function of the tool.
3. Soft blends vs. Hard lines. Another significant tip that my friend pointed out as I began learning this illustration technique was to watch the handle bars on my blending points within the mesh grid. (If you're working with this tool you'll understand what I mean).
In order to get a hard blend line, the handle bars should overlap for crisp edges. However, if you're wanting the colors to softly blend into each other, then you will need to simply pull the handle bars back and keep them shorter and separate from each other. I'm sure as I get more experienced and learn more about the tool myself, I will have more tips and techniques. If you are profecient with the Mesh Tool I'd love to hear your feedback! For now, I hope you enjoy today's bookmark:
My first really successful use of the Mesh Tool to create an illustration. Enjoy! You can download your bookmark here.