I'm attempting to recreate these paintings digitally, but having a very difficult time achieving a similar gradient. I'm pretty new to illustrator, so I'm not sure if it's meant to be a gradient stretched across a grid, or if there are opacity masks involved. I know it's not possible to completely replicate the touches of a real life painting, but I would love some guidance, or if there are any resources that touch upon the techniques used to create something like this.enter image description here. enter image description hereenter image description here

2 Answers 2


In your first example, there is no gradient in those fills, it's an optical illusion. If you take just one of these pieces in isolation, you will see there is no gradient in it.

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Anyway, I would use blends to create such designs, rather than gradients.

Here's a very rough example below, showing some elements. Although, I'm sure you will get the general idea, adjusting these into a repeating pattern may be quite complex.

enter image description here

Another simple blend example showing the optical illusion

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  • Hi Billy, thank you so much, this worked amazingly. I didn't even think to use the blend tool to build a gradient. I did want to ask- creating this effect with squares on a linear path was fine, but if I wanted to use polygon shapes, or build a honeycomb pattern, do you think that would be possible?
    – Kmo
    Dec 6, 2022 at 23:03
  • 1
    @Kmo - I don't see why not. If you have shapes that can tile, it should be possible. Might be a bit more complicated to set up. I'm thinking you might need to expand them, ungroup and reposition each tile.
    – Billy Kerr
    Dec 6, 2022 at 23:29
  • Hi @Billy Kerr, I'm sorry if this is a silly follow-up, but I've been practicing using the blend method, but for some reason, I cannot seem to achieve the more complex grid effect where the color changes as it moves towards the interior. At best, I can create a center cross & the outer most layer of the grid, but the space in-between those are a mess. Do you have any insight on what I could do?
    – Kmo
    Dec 11, 2022 at 5:10

Here I suggest this method:

  • This method is non-destructive.
  • For such design, you better stay neat and precise at first.
  • Here I prefer a main file with resolution of 1000px square, a symbol object with size of 100px square as those gradient tiles, and another file as texture Gradient background with resolution of 10px square.

1. Create a file with an artboard sized 10 x 10px.

1.1. Create a rectangle in middle of artboard same size as it, and start gradient it as you like, to get exact square/pixels for that gradient, change the DPI of the raster effects from -> Effect/Document Raster Effect Setting to 72 dpi.

1.2. Save this file somewhere.

2. Create a file with an artboard sized 1000 x 1000px.

2.1. From -> File/Place add that file with gradient you've drawn and resize it to fit the 1000 pixels in width and length; Now you see that tiley-gradient you wanted is formed here.

2.2. Now create a new layer above current one and into that, add a rectangle with size 100x100px and place it in very top-left corner of the artboard.

2.3. Add a favorite gradient to that.

2.4. Open Symbols Panel from-> window/symbols - in symbols panel right top corner press three-line options and press "New Symbol" while tile rectangle selected to save it as symbol.

2.5. Now alt-drag it to right to duplicate it and align new one edge-to-edge with original, while you selected new one start pressing ctrl-D to repeat that duplicate until you reach to the right edge of the artboard.

2.6. Select row of the gradient tiles you created and duplicate them down and repeat the copy with same method before to reach the bottom edge of the artboard.

Now you have a 1000x1000px artboard, with two layers, below one contains the placed pixelated gradient from another file, and above layer contains 10 by 10 symbols sized 100x100px (rectangles with a gradient applied to) which fits whole of height and width of the artboard. Now you can change blend mode of all gradient tiles by selecting them from top layer and change it from -> window/Transparency.

** You can change the Background gradient by opening that file you created first, change it and save it and back to the main file.

  • You can change the gradient tile by double click one of tiles and inside edit mode of symbol, change the gradient to your desire.
  • You can add that noises by creating a new layer on top off all, create a rectangle sized the artboard make it white, add effect from -> effect/[photoshop effect section]/texture/grain - then change the blend mode of this noise effect as you like.*

Comment me if any more helps required.

  • Hi Roozbeh, unfortunately I think because I need to keep the design as vector, I'm not sure if this will work for me.
    – Kmo
    Dec 6, 2022 at 23:08
  • You may can, Trace image is a non-destructive effect you can apply to your placed image, it will converts the Bitmap into Vector, and what remains for you is that noise effect which you can achieve with some kind of brush effects or hand-drawn bubble brush
    – Roozbeh E
    Dec 7, 2022 at 6:27
  • Also, you can use Image Trace on that noise effect as well, makes it a bit heavy, but may work good. * Don't forget that if you use image trace on gradient background, use Full color and Full tone settings in it with most colors you can pick on colors slider.
    – Roozbeh E
    Dec 7, 2022 at 6:33

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