I am working on a video tutorial with a gradient mesh. I'm trying to color it realistically according to an image file.

My bottommost layer is a template layer with a JPG picture to trace or sample color from. My topmost layers contain the mesh art.

As per the tutorial instruction, my eyedropper is supposed to sample color from the template upon clicking on an anchor point of the mesh in outline mode (cmd+y). The mesh layer is active and we are coloring each anchor point in the grid. Instead, my eyedropper selects the blue color of the anchor point/mesh selection display color.

Any suggestions on how to make the eyedropper select objects/attributes in the background behind the selection marks?

2 Answers 2


When you set up the shape, and apply the gradient mesh, arrange it so that the image layer you are sampling is above the mesh layer. Make sure the eyedropper settings are set to "Point Sample" - you can change the settings by double clicking the Eyedropper tool.

When colouring the mesh remember the shortcut keys - U (Mesh Tool), and I (Eyedropper).

Zoom into the image close enough, so you can see through the mesh. Press U, then select a point on the mesh, then I to switch to the Eyedropper. When using the eyedropper don't sample directly on the anchors of the mesh, sample just off to the side.

If you proceed like that for each point on the mesh, then it will work. If some parts are trickier, zoom in more.

Example set up, showing layers, and enough zoom to see through the mesh closely.

enter image description here

Example gradient mesh with sampling layer (photo) turned off.

enter image description here

  • Is there a way to activate outline mode just for the selected object, so that I can pick the colors with the eyedropper from other objects that are behind the selected one but within the same layer.
    – rraallvv
    Sep 22, 2017 at 17:06
  • The technique I described has the raster image on the top layer, not underneath. I suggest you try it that way - although it seems counter-intuitive, it works.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 22, 2017 at 17:17
  • Got it! then I can select the object from the layers panel if it's smaller then the guide or lock the guide if needed, thanks a lot.
    – rraallvv
    Sep 22, 2017 at 17:29

I usually restart Illustrator at that point or my computer, if necessary. If you get stuck, you could just shut off the view of the mesh grid by hitting CMD+H before selecting a color with the dropper.

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