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I've been seeing this shading technique a lot lately, this is possibly not the best example of it but it's the only one I can find at the moment. How do you achieve this sort of shading in Adobe Illustrator? It's hard to describe so I haven't been able to google it... thanks very much in advance :)

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It's texture. Typically done by scanning in whatever appeals to you (paint splotches, paper, metal, etc.) and then converting to a mask layer to apply over your color. You can do it in AI, though many folks do it as a final step in PS instead.

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What DA01 said. Here's a tutorial that gives a good step-by-step example.

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