In today’s Adobe Illustrator tutorial I’ll show you how to create a colorful landscape scene, similar to the style of those trendy illustrated travel posters I recently featured in a showcase. We’ll make the entire illustration out of simple vector shapes, then bring it to life with vibrant gradients to give the scene a tranquil sunset vibe. My example features an old wild west desert with mountains that extend to the horizon, but these same techniques could be used to create a landscape scene for any fictional or non-fictional place.
A large setting sun provides a red, orange and yellow colour scheme in my artwork, which is applied to all the element to help determine the depth of the scene. The colour of the mountains darken as they approach the silhouettes in the foreground, while the sky spans from warm to cool as the it turns from day to night.
Begin by creating a new document in Adobe Illustrator. I’m creating a long, thin portrait artboard of 1000x1500px. Change the Color Mode to RGB to give us a full spectrum of vibrant colours to play with, then change the Raster Effects to High (300ppi).
Select the Rectangle tool and draw a shape that covers the artboard. Use Smart Guides (CMD+U) to easily snap to the artboard edges. Remove the stroke, then add a linear gradient fill from under the Gradient panel. Add a series of handles to the gradient bar and carefully tweak the RGB sliders to produce a vibrant range of colours that seamlessly transition. I’m using the colours #fdb983, #ff6655, #7b0f3b and #310045.
Select the Pen tool and randomly click and drag points across the width of the artboard to create the outline of a series of mountains. Start and end the path beyond the edge of the artboard and close the path back at the starting point.
Give the shape a gradient fill and adjust the angle to 90°. Use the Eyedropper tool to shift-click two colours from the background gradient, I’m using #e05f4d and #bc0e40. Move the gradient slider towards the darker end of the spectrum to allow the darker colour to appear just at the tip of the mountains.
Use the Pen tool to draw another mountainscape outline. Copy the gradient fill from the previous shape with the Eyedropper tool, then double click each colour and move the RGB sliders to darken it. I ended up with #d9263d and #7d053d.
Repeat the process of drawing a random mountain shape and adding a darker gradient each time. I used #ad0536 to #5f001e in my third shape, and #5f001e to #430018 in my fourth shape.
Draw one more shape near the bottom of the artboard. This time create a smoother outline and give it a solid fill using a darker shade of red, such as #320115.
The transition between the colour gradients can be eased by reducing the transparency. Select the 2nd, 3rd & 4th shapes and reduce the opacity to 70%.
Grab the Ellipse tool and hold Shift to draw a perfect circle to represent the sun. Give the shape a gradient fill with warm orangey reds like #ff814d and #d92940. Change the gradient type to Radial and move the gradient slider towards the darker end of the spectrum.
Move the sun into place over the mountains, then repeatedly press the shortcut CMD+