Illustrating a summer field landscape

In this Illustrator tutorial I will show you how to draw a summer outdoor landscape environment.
Final image:

Here's how you do it: 1. First we will create a border for the image that will keep everything we draw within a nice clean shape. Start by drawing two rectangles with the Rounded Rectangle Tool. You can use the Pathfinder Palette like in step 2 to make a traditional matte or the more simple technique is to make just one rectangle with a really thick stroke.

2. Select both rectangles and then in the Pathfinder Palette click on "Substract from Shape area" and then click on expand. Now make the new shape white and place it on it's own layer and keep all other layers below it. As we continue throughout the tutorial you can make new layers as you see fit to place your different objects on. I will leave that up to your discretion; as such, I won't be pointing out when we make new layers.

3. Draw a new rectangle and apply to it a blue gradient. This is the basis of what will become the sky. Note that this looks like a rounded corner rectangle because it is behind the matte layer.

4.Using the Pen Tool (P) draw some wavy shapes on the scene that will become the grass.

5. Now to make the bushes. Using the Pen Tool draw an abstract shape like below.

6. Select the new shape and go to Effects -> Distort & Transform -> Zig Zag and put in the settings below or you can experiment to get something different.

7. Next we will make a few variations of the bush shape. First copy it two times and then fill the copies with slightly different gradients. Finally double-click on Zig Zag in the Appearance palette and play with the settings a bit to vary each shape.

8. Select the 3 shapes and go to Object -> Expand Appearance. This will lock the Zig Zag effect we applied. 9. Now place the 3 shapes on a new layer behind the grass field and scatter them

arround however you would like them to look. A simple way to copy them arround is to hold down the Alt key while dragging the shape. This will make a copy of it in the release spot.

10. Next we will create the sun rays. Start by drawing a hourglass shape like below.

11. Press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+D to open the Transform window, put in the settings as below and press Copy.

12. Repeat the previous step until you get a full circle.

13. Go to Object -> Envelope Distort -> Make with Warp (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+W), select Twist and set Bend to 100%.

14. Move this shape over the scene, go to Object -> Expand Appearance and click OK.

15. Set the fill color to white and Opacity to 10%.

16. Now to make the Sun: draw a circle and apply a Radial gradient to it.

17. Duplicate the Sun (press Ctrl+C to copy and Ctrl+F to paste in front) 18. Set the fill color to yellow and then go to Effect - > Blur -> Gaussian Blur.


You should now have a better insight into what it takes to use simple shapes, color, and gradients to create a summer landscape environment. A pleasing illustration is not always about intricacy, one of the most rudimentary factors is composition. Keep practicing, learning, and continue to have fun.