Using the New Gradient on a Stroke in Adobe Illustrator CS6
Note: This excerpt is from the forthcoming book Adobe Illustrator CS6 Classroom in a Book, ISBN 9780321822482.
Not only can you apply a gradient to the fill of an object, you can also apply a gradient blend to the stroke of an object. Unlike a gradient applied to the fill of an object, you cannot use the Gradient tool to edit a gradient on the stroke of an object. Next, you will apply a gradient fill and gradient stroke to a rectangle that will become a painting.
- Click the Layers panel icon () to expand the panel. Make sure that the triangle to the left of the Gallery layer is toggled open. Click the visibility column to the left of the painting sublayer to reveal its content.
- With the Selection tool (), click to select the white rectangle that appears on the artboard.
- In the Control panel, change the Fill color to the painting background swatch.
- Select the Gradient tool in the Tools panel and make sure that the Fill box is selected towards the bottom of the Tools panel. Position the pointer over the top of the rectangle and Shift-drag down to the bottom of the rectangle to change the position and direction of the starting and ending colors of the gradient.
- Change the Stroke Weight to 30 pt in the Control panel.
- In the Control panel, change the Stroke color to the White, Black gradient. Press the Escape key to hide the Swatches panel.
- Click the Gradient panel icon () on the right side of the workspace to open the panel.
- Select the Zoom tool () in the Tools panel and drag a marquee across the upper-right corner of the selected painting rectangle to zoom in to it.
- Click the Stroke box in the Gradient panel to edit the gradient applied to the stroke (circled in the figure below).
- Leave the Type as Linear and click the Apply Gradient Across Stroke button ().
- Drag the black color stop to the left, until the Location shows approximately 60%.
- Double-click the white color stop and click the Swatches button to show the swatches. Click to select the frame 1 swatch in the top color group.
- Click below the color ramp, between the two color stops, to add another color stop. When the pointer with a plus () appears, click to add another color stop. Double-click that color stop and, with the swatches showing, click the light yellow swatch at the top of the list.
- Pressing the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key, drag the light yellow color stop to the right, close to the black color stop, and release the mouse button, and then the modifier key. This is an easy way to duplicate a color in a gradient.
- Pressing the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key, drag the leftmost (brown) color stop to the right. Release the mouse button, and then the modifier key, when it is positioned as you see in the figure.
- Click below the color ramp, between the two leftmost color stops, to add a final color stop. Double-click the color stop and, with the swatches showing, click the swatch named frame 2 in the top color group.
- Choose Select > Deselect, and then choose File > Save.
Next, you will use this generic gradient as a starting point for the stroke gradient, and then edit it.
Editing a gradient on a stroke
A gradient on a stroke has more options available than a gradient fill. Next, you will add a series of colors to the stroke gradient to create a frame for a painting.
You can apply a gradient to a stroke in three ways: within a stroke (default), along a stroke, and across a stroke.