How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

In this simple tutorial, you will learn how to use the Mesh Tool in Adobe Illustrator to create a bunch of autumn leaves!

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

If you want to skip the tutorial and just use these leaves in your work, you can purchase the Autumn background with colorful leaves from GraphicRiver!

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

1. How to Draw a Leaf

Let’s begin by drawing a red leaf with Gradient Mesh.

Step 1

Start by drawing a shape similar to the one in the screenshot below. You can use the Pen Tool (P).

Color the whole shape with #E54F2A and then grab the Mesh Tool (U)! Using the Mesh Tool, place nodes as indicated in the screenshot to create a Mesh Grid.

Next, add more nodes and drag them around to create a shape that resembles a half of a leaf. Then select the bottom row of mesh nodes and color them with #CF3A25!

Next, add a thin colored line by adding more mesh nodes and coloring the selected middle row with #931B23.

Continue by coloring the nodes that are selected in each part of the screenshot. You will need these colors:

  1. #E54F2A
  2. #CF3A25
  3. #931B23
  4. #B9B23
  5. #D03E26
  6. #D44127

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Continue similarly—look for the selected nodes and color them!

You will need these colors:

  1. #5B0922
  2. #DD4A29
  3. #D03D25
  4. #D74327
  5. #B82E24
  6. #ED5D2F

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Let’s draw the left part of the leaf in the same fashion! Use these colors:

  1. #D74327
  2. #9A1B23
  3. #C03023
  4. #C12F23
  5. #ED5A2E
  6. #861322

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4

Grab both parts of the leaf and align them together. This creates Leaf 1.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 5

To create Leaf 2, simply create a vertically reflected copy of Leaf 1 (Object > Transform > Reflect).

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 6

For Leaf 3, grab a copy of Leaf 2 and modify its left side by bringing in its edges a bit.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 7

Put Leaf 1 and 2 together, as indicated below.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 8

Finally, add Leaf 3!

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

2. How to Draw the Stem

Step 1

Now that we’re done with the leaf, draw a stem for it.

Begin by drawing a long and narrow rectangle, coloring it with #CE3125 and adding a 5×4 Mesh Grid to it.

Color the second from the top row with #F79487 and the fourth from the top with #BC2B23.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Zoom in on the left side of the stem and stretch the Mesh there a bit. Continue by coloring the indicated nodes with the indicated colors:

  1. #861F36
  2. #4E0924
  3. #5D0F27

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Continue on the right side of the step in a similar fashion. Use these colors:

  1. #E5643F
  2. #510B2A
  3. #8C1E29
  4. #AB2929

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4

Grab the Warp Tool (Shift-R), and, using the following settings, bend the stem to make it more realistic:

  • Width: 90 px
  • Height: 90 px
  • Angle: 0°
  • Intensity: 20%
  • Detail: 7
  • Simplify: 13

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 5

Finally, change the right edge’s Opacity to 0%.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 6

Attach the stem to the leaf!

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

3. How to Recolor the Leaves

Step 1

Make a copy of the red leaf and start by turning our leaf black and white by going to Edit > Edit Colors > Convert to Grayscale.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Turn that grey leaf yellow by going to Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors, selecting RGB Color Mode in the dropdown menu on the top, ticking Convert,and applying these settings:

  • Red: 49%
  • Green: 16%
  • Blue: -64%

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Make a copy of the yellow leaf and turn it orange with the following settings:

  • Red: -5%
  • Green: -12%
  • Blue: 0%

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

4. How to Create the Background

Step 1

For this final part, draw a background by simply adding a colored Mesh node (#FFA83F) to a white rectangle.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Now create a shadow for the leaves! Draw an ellipse with a Radial gradient (#CAA27C to white) and change its Transparency mode to Multiply.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Add a cluster of these ellipses to create a shadow under the orange leaf.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4

Similarly, apply the shadows to the yellow leaf and place it on top of the orange one.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 5

Finally, add the red leaf with its own shadows.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 6

If you want to add more depth to the picture, learn how to create this sort of highlight in the last section of my window frame tutorial.

Then, create a smaller copy of it and place it in the middle of the original.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 7

Turn the Opacity of both shapes down to 60% and change their Transparency mode to Overlay.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 8

Create some copies of the highlight like so:

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 9

And place them on top of the leaves!

Put the background we made in Step 1 under the leaves.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Step 10

We’re done! For a final improvement, you can learn how to draw bokeh lights in mysunflower tutorial (the first section of the tutorial).

Add them if you feel like it!

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator

Awesome Work, You’re Now 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 autumn leaves using theMesh 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 myinstructor profile.

You can purchase these leaves as well as other similar designs in my portfolio on GraphicRiver.

How to Draw a Colorful Autumn Background With Leaves in Adobe Illustrator