Working With Stroke Gradients in Illustrator 20/10/2015

We all know that a gradient lets us create a transition between two colours – or sometimes two different transparency values. Something similar to the one below…

Illustrator-Strokes-1

In this example, the rectangle has a fill gradient which starts from cyan then blends its way through red, green, blue and finally ends up as magenta.

But what if you wanted to apply that gradient to a stroke? Illustrator makes this otherwise tedious task quite simple.

First, create a line. Any line. In this example, we used the spiral tool with a variable width profile and transformed the shape to achieve this result.

Illustrator-Strokes-2

Then to apply the default gradient to this shape, first press X on your keyboard. This will bring the stroke in front of the fill, so when you apply a colour or a gradient only the stroke will be affected.

To apply the gradient to this stroke, now press the forward slash key (/) and you should see a black and white gradient on the stroke.

Go to the Gradient Panel and create a custom gradient using the editor. Ours looks like the one below:

Illustrator-Strokes-3

This will apply the gradient within the stroke. That means the left side of your stroke will be the first colour, and the right side of it will be the last one.

But what if your stroke isn’t left-to-right? What if it is going around in a circle? For those kinds of situations, you will need to use one of three Stroke options in the gradient panel. These will apply gradients within, along, or across the stroke and the results will look like the ones below respectively.

Illustrator-Strokes-4

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