Apply a grainy texture to give your drawing shades of light and dark.

Now try it yourself

1. Download the practice files and open "make-mezzotint-grain.ai" in Illustrator.

Apply a gradient

2. Choose the Selection Tool (V) from the toolbar on the left and select the moon in the artwork.

 

3. Go to Window > Appearance to open the Appearance panel. Click the Fill layer, then click the + icon at the bottom of the panel to duplicate the selected layer.

Side by side graphic of a rocket ship in vector on the left and a blurry raster version of the same image on the right

4. Drag the new Fill layer above the Stroke layer.

Rectangle Tool selected in the tool bar, a vector owl graphic is shown in the Illustrator workspace with all points selected

5. With the new Fill layer selected, click the down arrow next to the orange square and choose the White, Black gradient from the color swatches.

A text box that says "Owl Preserve of Oregon" is selected, the Character panel is open showing Font selections

Adjust the gradient properties

6. Go to Window > Gradient to open the Gradient panel. Double-click the black Gradient Slider on the right side below the gradient preview. Then click the Swatches icon (grid) below the Color palette (easel icon) to show the color swatches. Select a red-orange.

A text box that says "Owl Preserve of Oregon" is selected, the Character panel is open showing Font selections

7. Now double-click the white Gradient Slider on the left and change its Opacity to 0%. Also set the angle to 90 degrees.

A text box that says "Owl Preserve of Oregon" is selected, the Character panel is open showing Font selections

Apply a grain effect

8. Next apply a grainy texture. For that, go to the Appearance panel again and with the gradient Fill layer selected, click the fx icon at the bottom of the panel. Choose Texture > Grain and adjust the grain in the new opened workspace.

A text box that says "Owl Preserve of Oregon" is selected, the Character panel is open showing Font selections

9. Increase Intensity to 75 and Contrast to 75 and set the Grain Types to Enlarged. Click OK.

A text box that says "Owl Preserve of Oregon" is selected, the Character panel is open showing Font selections

10. Click the drop down arrow to expand the gradient Fill layer. Then click the Opacity label and switch from Normal to Multiply in the panel settings.

A text box that says "Owl Preserve of Oregon" is selected, the Character panel is open showing Font selections

Reuse the new style

11. To apply the effect to another part of the drawing, you have to create a new Graphic style. For that, go to Window > Graphic Styles. Click the +icon at the bottom of the panel to adda new Graphic Style.

A text box that says "Owl Preserve of Oregon" is selected, the Character panel is open showing Font selections

12. Finally choose another part of the drawing with the Selection tool (V) and click the style you just added to apply the grainy texture effect.

A text box that says "Owl Preserve of Oregon" is selected, the Character panel is open showing Font selections

That's it! Now it's your turn to create the mezzotint grain effect in Illustrator. Download the assets or use your own and share your result on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #MadewithIllustrator to get feedback and connect with other creative minds.

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