How to Make a Beautiful Mesh Rose From Scratch in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating
In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the Mesh Tool and Gradient Tool in Adobe Illustrator to create a beautiful red rose, and you'll also learn how to recolor it!
If you want to skip the tutorial and just use this rose in your work, you can purchase the Happy Valentines Day Background Single Red Rose Vector from GraphicRiver!
Vector rose
Single Red Rose Vector
Let's start by creating leaves around the rose! This will make it easier to create the rose afterwards.
Create a dark green #415414 rectangle, and then delete its right upper node to create a triangle. Take the Mesh Tool (U) and place a node in the middle of the shape, and then bend the other nodes to resemble the leaf in the picture below.
We will be using the Mesh Tool a lot because it makes the shaping and coloring of different elements so much easier!
see above
With the Lasso Tool (Q) or the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the tip and the left side of the leaf, and color it with #A8B060.
see above
Select the top middle node of the leaf and color it with #6C7A33. Make a copy of this part, reflect it vertically, and put it aside for a while.
see above
With the Mesh Tool (U), add a node on the left side of the leaf, and then shape the rest of it so it looks more natural.
see above
Continue coloring the leaf with the instructions below.
tip brownish left side lighter
Grab the copy you made in Step 3, and continue coloring it according to the picture below.
tip brownish top light
Move on to creating another leaf. This one involves just making a long rectangle, coloring its top part a darker color, and then shaping it with the help of the Mesh Tool.
see above
Move on to coloring the leaf shape.
right side darker
Create a copy of the shape we made in the last step, and then right-click and Transform > Reflect it Horizontally.
see above
Use Effect > Warp > Flag on the reflected copy with 20% Bend.
Select the shape and go to Object > Expand Appearance.
see above
Bend the expanded shape to make it look like the second step in the image below.
bend a bit upwards
Put all the parts together! It's already starting to look good!
all parts vertical connected at the bottom edges
We are done with the leaves!
Out of a red rectangle, create a petal shape. Using the Mesh Tool, create a lot of nodes in the middle of the petal and shape it accordingly.
shape it like a petal
Continue by coloring the petal.
dark on the bottom and the edges
Create a dark red rectangle and shape it with the Mesh Tool
shape it like a petal
Color the petal, following the steps below.
dark on the sides
Just three petals remain! Try to shape this one as accurately as possible.
narrow rugged petal
Color the resulting shape.
dark on the bottom
Bend this rectangle as accurately as possible.
wavy on the top
Then, color it.
dark on the right
Finally, bend and color one final petal and you're done!
rugged petal shape
Assemble the rose under the leaves!
assemble the rose
Create the stalk, following the steps below.
stalk with two thorns
Similarly, make the shape that will be connecting the leaves to the stalk.
little branch
Let's move on to creating the mesh for the leaf.
dark in the middle
For the rest of the leaf, head on to my tutorial on creating spring flowers.
Follow Steps 3-6 in Section 3 of the tutorial, using the mesh we created above.
see above
Add your finished leaves to the shape we made before!
three leaves to one branch
And now assemble the whole rose! We're almost done!
see above
Let's create the shadow for the rose! Draw two narrow rectangles, the lighter rectangle a bit wider than the second one.
see above
Turn the lighter rectangle completely transparent by going to the Transparency options and setting the Opacity to 0%.
see above
Move the brown shape on top of the transparent one, and then go to Object > Blend > Blend Options, setting the mode to Specified Steps and its amount to 30.
After confirming the setting, select both objects and proceed to Object > Blend > Make.
see above
Set the transparency mode of the resulting object to Multiply.
see above
Add the shadow to the rose, just under and to the right of its stalk.
see above
Create another type of shadow by applying a beige to white Radial Gradient to an ellipse.
Modify its shape by dragging the gradient with the Gradient Tool (G) to follow the shape of the ellipse.
see above
Create lots of copies of the result and add them together to mirror the shape of the actual rose.
see above
Now, add them behind the flower!
see above
Quickly create the paper background for the rose.
old yellow paper background
Place the rose with the shadow onto the new background! We're done!!
see above
In this final section, I'll teach you how to recolor our finished rose and show you a few sample variants.
First, select the petals of the flower and turn them into black and white by going to Edit > Edit Colors > Convert to Grayscale.
see above
Lighten the rose by going to Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors and setting the Black slider to -55%.
see above
Now, after going to Edit > Edit Colors > Saturate, set the Intensity to 78%.
see above
Create six copies of this rose. If you want to try all of the colors, I'm going to show you. Alternatively, you can try making your own colors by experimenting with Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors. In the window, switch to the RGB tab and tick Convert.
Bright pink:
  • Red: 24%
  • Green: -35%
  • Blue: -22%
see above
Light pink:
  • Red: 43%
  • Green: 5%
  • Blue: 10%
see above
  • Red: 31%
  • Green: 14%
  • Blue: -64%
see above
  • Red: 35%
  • Green: 29%
  • Blue: 23%
see above
  • Red: 26%
  • Green: -23%
  • Blue: -31%
see above
Dark Red:
  • Black: 30%
see above
  • Red: 43%
  • Green: 5%
  • Blue: 10%

see above
Now that we have all the different colors, we can create a beautiful bouquet of roses just like this:
bouquet of colored roses
Thank you for following along, and please feel welcome to post your result in the comments. I'll be looking forward to seeing it!
In this tutorial, you learned how to create a beautiful photo-realistic rose from scratch, using the Mesh Tool and the Gradient Tool.
I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and learned how to use some useful tools for the future! Check out some of my other vector tutorials on my instructor profile.
You can purchase this rose as well as other similar designs in my portfolio on GraphicRiver.
Vector rose
Single Red Rose Vector


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