Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the Mesh Tool and Warp Effects in Adobe Illustrator to create a beautiful pair of heart-shaped daisies!

If you want to skip the tutorial and just use these flowers in your work, you can purchase the Two Daisies with Heart Shaped Middles from GraphicRiver!

 Two Daisies with Heart Shaped Middles
Two Daisies with Heart Shaped Middles

1. How to Create a Gradient Mesh Background With Transparent Hearts

Step 1

Let’s learn how to use the Mesh Tool while creating this background!

First, draw a rectangle, filling it with the color #53A1FF. Grab the Mesh Tool (U) and create a Mesh Grid like the one in the screenshot below by clicking where the nodes are supposed to be.

Next, select the six bottom nodes as
indicated in the second step of the image, and color them with #FFFFFF.

Continue in a similar fashion, first coloring the top middle row of nodes, now with #A8D9FF, and then three more nodes on the top with #89C6F7.

mesh sky

Step 2

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw a white-filled heart. Create two smaller copies of it.

white hearts

Step 3

Next, change the Opacity of the biggest heart to 50%, of the middle heart to 70%, and of the smallest one to 30%.

different opacity

Step 4

Place them onto the blue background like this:

add to sky

Step 5

You can also add clouds. Find out how to create those in this tutorial!


2. How to Draw the Daisy

Step 1

Now that our background is all done, let’s move on to the harder part of the tutorial: drawing the daisy with Mesh!

Draw the first petal out of an ellipse, which you need to add Mesh nodes to and shape as shown in the screenshot below.

Use the Mesh Tool (U) and follow the steps below, coloring the selected nodes.

You will need these colors:

  1. #FDFEF9
  2. #F6F0E4
  3. #E8DDD0
  4. #B59F89
mesh petal

Step 2

To make the second petal, create a copy of the first one and proceed to Effect > Warp > Squeeze, using a 34% Bend with 1% Horizontal and 3% Vertical Distortion.

After you apply this effect, use Object > Expand Appearance. Then manually resize the petal to make it a bit smaller.

We will be making a lot of different petals, so I recommend that you keep track of the numbers assigned to them! You will be needing those in the future.

warp petal

Step 3

Return to Mesh for the creation of the third petal. Follow the steps below.

  1. #FDFEF9
  2. #F4EDE4
  3. #CBBBA9
gradient mesh petal

Step 4

Draw the fourth petal with mesh.

  1. #FDFEF9
  2. #F2EBE0
  3. #CFC1B1

Step 5

To create the fifth petal, grab a copy of the one we made in Step 2.

Go to Effect > Warp > Arc, using the following settings:

  • Bend: 14%
  • Horizontal: 3%
  • Vertical: 19%

Don’t forget to apply Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 6

To get the sixth petal, simply stretch a copy of number 5.

copy petal

Step 7

Draw this one with Mesh.

  1. #FDFEF9
  2. #ECE3D9
  3. #F4EFE7
  4. #CFC1B1
gradient mesh

Step 8

For petal number 8, flatten a copy of the seventh petal, and then move to Effect > Warp > Arc, applying these settings:

  • Bend: 8%
  • Horizontal: 14%
  • Vertical: 11%

Object > Expand Appearance.

warp mesh

Step 9

For this one, also grab a copy of 7, this time using Effect > Warp > Squeeze.

  • Bend: 35%
  • Horizontal: -4%
  • Vertical: -14%

Don’t forget to apply Object > Expand Appearance.

squeeze petal

Step 10

For the tenth petal, return to a copy of the first petal we made and apply Squeeze.

  • Bend: 47%
  • Horizontal: -3%
  • Vertical: 9%

Expand Appearance of the object.

warp petal

Step 11

Make this one with Mesh.

  1. #E9DFD4
  2. #DACFC1
  3. #FDFCFB
gradient mesh

Step 12

  1. #F4EDE4
  2. #E5DCD0
  3. #EBE3D7
daisy flower petal

Step 13

Draw the final petal.

  1. #F3ECE3
  2. #FEFDFD
  3. #E1D7CB
  4. #EAE1D6
mesh tool

Step 14

Using the numbers as reference, assemble the daisy.

assemble daisy

3. How to Finish the Daisy

Step 1

The one element we are missing is the middle of the sunflower. As it
is very difficult to draw such a complex thing from scratch, I’d like to
turn to Image Trace.

In the sidebar of this tutorial, you will find the Download Attachment button. Press it and, when the zip file downloads, unzip the archive. One of the files, full_daisy.jpg, is a photo (taken by me) that we will be using in this step.

For the next couple steps, you will be needing Adobe Photoshop. If you don’t have this software, feel free to skip ahead to Step 4.

First, open the .jpg file in Adobe Photoshop. Zoom in on the daisy in the middle and crop out the middle of it; next, isolate it in white as shown on the right.

If you encounter difficulties while isolating the middle, use daisy_cropped.jpg for the next step.

photoshop daisy

Step 2

Go to Filter > Liquify and there, select the first tool on the toolbar. With this, shape the daisy middle into a heart.

shape heart

Step 3

It should turn out like this; however, this process is quite difficult and requires great attention to detail. Because of that, you can instead use the file I have made (daisy_heart.jpg) for the next step if you find it necessary.

daisy heart

Step 4

Open the file you made in Photoshop (or daisy_heart.jpg) in Adobe Illustrator.

Tweak the color a little bit with Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors to make it brighter.


Step 5

Go into Window > Image Trace and in that panel, input the settings you can see below:

  • Mode: Color
  • Palette: Full Tone
  • Colors: 100
  • Paths: 50%
  • Corners: 50%
  • Noise: 5 px

Click Trace.


Step 6

Take the resulting vector and use Effect > Distort & Transform > Free Distort to lay it in perspective. Expand Appearance of the object.

free distort

Step 7

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw an outline for the heart. Next, apply a Radial Gradient  (#D2A451#FFFFFF) to the Stroke.


Step 8

Change the Transparency Mode of the heart to Multiply and its Opacity to 60%.


Step 9

Place the outline on top of the heart.


Step 10

Draw two hearts. Fill the smaller one with #92621E and the bigger one with #E8DCC8.

two hearts

Step 11

Place the brown heart on top of the white heart and make the white heart completely transparent.

transparent heart

Step 12

Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options, select Specified Steps, and input 30.

Then, select both hearts and apply Object > Blend > Make.


Step 13

Set the heart to Multiply with 30% Opacity.


Step 14

Place it behind the heart.

behind the heart

Step 15

Place the middle on top of the daisy petals.

add to daisy

Step 16

Draw the stem for the flowers with Mesh.

  1. #94A040
  2. #597418
  3. #FFFFFF

Step 17

Warp the stem with Arc.

  • Bend: 14%
  • Horizontal: 2%
  • Vertical: 0%

Expand Appearance of the object.

bend stem

Step 18

Attach stems to the two daisies.

attach stems

Step 19

Place the daisies onto the background.

place daisies

Awesome Work, You’re Done!

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 beautiful photo-realistic daisies using the Mesh Tool.

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 these flowers as well as other similar designs in my portfolio on GraphicRiver.

 Two Daisies with Heart Shaped Middles
Two Daisies with Heart Shaped Middles