Gradient Mesh allows you to create shapes with gradients. And many artist has been able to create photo realistic drawings of people, products and vehicles just by using Gradient Mesh. Here is an example of photorealistic artwork by Halim Ghobane. If you don’t believe your eyes, the gradient mesh line will show the answer.
Here is a quick overview of a gradient mesh object. You can apply colors to Mesh Points and edit them using Direction Selection Tool to control the shapes of the mesh object. The Mesh Line shows the contours of the object.
Method 1: Using Gradient Mesh Tool
To turn an object into a gradient mesh, select the Gradient Mesh Tool and click once on the shape to create a mesh point. Click above the Mesh Line to crate another point.
Select the first mesh point and select a lighter blue for the base of the water droplet. Next add a third point on top and set it to white. Finally, select the middle point and give it a dark blue.
Select all the 3 mesh points with the Direction Selection Tool and drag it down to mimic the contours of a water droplet. And realistic water droplet is done!
Method 2: Using Gradient Mesh Tool
To create a grid of gradient mesh object quickly, you can use the function Object>Create Gradient Mesh. Enter the number of rows or columns you want to create. You can also create a highlight in the middle by setting Appearance to Center.
Gradient mesh can be hard to grasp for beginners as the mesh line starts to mess out when you have a irregular shaped object. To learn more, check out my tutorial on using Gradient Mesh to create curtain effects.