Here is a step by step process of how to design a tattoo flash design with spit shading in Illustrator.
You may use your mouse or track pad.
Hopefully after this tutorial you can create your own designs with ease!
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Step 2: Basic Shape
To start with your basic tombstone shape, you'll make a square (M key) and a circle (L key). (Stroke weight: 4px)The square should be a little taller height wise. Next, hold shift as you drag to create perfect circle. Then, place the circle on top of the square, the center of the circle should have a straight line through it from your square.
Step 3: New Shape
Now we will unite our square and circle to make the main shape of our gravestone. In Windows >Pathfinder, or Shift + Ctrl + F9, select both shapes and choose unite.
Step 4: Start to Making the Side View
To start the side view of the grave stone, duplicate your new shape and place it over your other shape slightly; leaving an equal amount of space on each side.
Step 5: Finishing the Side View
Now we will use the Direct selection Tool (A key) or the white arrow. The outline further to the right will have the right top and bottom anchors removed. The top will not be aligned, so drag the anchor point to the cent and pull on the handle until there is a consistent stroke. Group your shape together.
Step 6: Spit Shading With Gradients
Select you gravestone and choose Live Paint (K key). You can choose you color fill by hitting the left and right arrow keys till you get your gradient or the greater than angle bracket ( > ). Next adjust your gradient settings to radial and your angle to -30. Your location should be at 30% to get the perfect shading design.
Step 7: Finishing Shading the Gravestone
In your gradient settings, change the gradient type back to liner. The shading direction should be changed from left to right, black being on the right side, if needed. The gradient slider should be adjusted a bit. It can be changed to your liking, but remember that spit shading has white space, so don't make it to dark.
Step 8: Creating the Leaves
With your eclipse tool (L key), create an oval. Then with your direct selection tool (A key), pool both handles on each end of the oval to the center, creating a pointed tip. Next, draw a path from one tip to the other. Now we have to draw the leafs veins. Draw horizontals lines (stroke weight: 1 px ) from the center line outwards. Make sure that the points at which the 2 lines met are aligned, so that they appear to make a V shape.
Step 9: Shading the Leaves
Next we trace the leaf and fill it with a gradient. Make sure there are no outline strokes.
(Note: The gradient I am using is Blue Sky, which has transparency. This will allow our color to show through to make the appearance of spit shading. I simply changes the colors in the gradient panel. Double clicking the sliders that are blue to black. The last sliders is already transparent by default.)
With the gradient tool (G key), we can change the direction of the gradient. The gradient slider should be in the same direction of the leafs center path. Adjust the slider as you would like. This layer should be behind the leaf outline.
Step 10: Adding Color to Our Leaves
We will trace the leaf again, no outline stroke, and filling it with a green of your choice. I used #00CC00. Make sure this layer is behind your outline and gradient.
Step 11: Placing Our Leaves
We can duplicate our leaf to create more leaves. You may add as many as you want in any arrangement, the amount depends on the size of the design and how many elements there are. Once you have them placed group everything together.
Step 12: Text on Our Gravestone
You may use the Type tool (T key), but using the pen tool (P key) makes the design appear more like a traditional spit shade tattoo design. You may add anything to your grave stone, I choose "MISS YOU" to place on mine. (stroke weight: 4 px )Change your strokes design by either going to Windows > Stroke or Ctrl + F10. One your there, change your Cap to rounded cap and Corner to rounded join. Now join your text and place over the gravestone.
Next we will use the eclipse tool (L key) and hold shift while dragging to create a perfect circle. Next we will fill it with a gradient. Make sure the gradient type is on radial.
(Note: The gradient I am using is Blue Sky, which has transparency. Please go back to step 8 and read the note if you do not know how to change the colors.)
You may choose any red you would like. I used #FF0000. Adjust the gradient sliders so that the red fades evenly, almost appearing airbrushed. Once your satisfied place it behind all your elements.
Step 14: Done!
Congratulations! You created a simple gravestone tattoo design!
I hoped this helped you understand shading and the basic steps of creating a design in Illustrator.