What you'll need
Open the practice file "make_magic_with_gradients_download.ai".
1. Select the Direct Selection Tool from the tool bar. Then click on the bird's neck.
2. Use the combination Control+F9 to open the Gradient tool.
3. Select Freeform Gradient from the Type section.
4. Close the Gradient tool. Double click on one of the circles on the neck of the bird. The Fill color pop-up window will appear, then select the Swatches icon. Select your preferred color.
5. Repeat the Fill color selection with the other circles.
Tip: You can also change the position of the circles by dragging them with your mouse. Increase or decrease the size of the circles by dragging the outer dotted circle.
6. Use the combination Control+F9 to open the Gradient tool again. Select the Freeform Gradient icon, then select Lines from the Draw section. Create some points on the bird's wing, where you want the gradient to go along. Press Esc on your keyboard when you’re finished.
7. Double-click on the points you just created and add colors to different points along the path from the Fill color pop-up menu.
8. Repeat the steps form above for the other parts of the bird to achieve similar results like in the picture below.
That's it! Now it's your turn to design complex gradients with Illustrator. Download the assets or use your own and share your image on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #MadewithIllustrator to get feedback and connect with other creative minds.
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