In the following sections you will see how to create these grainy textures from a couple of different elements within Illustrator. Basically you can create these textures from any element that contains a graded value of color (like a gradient). I’m sure some of you have already figured out this technique by creating some of the past Vectips texture tutorials or on your own, but for those of you that haven’t, you should have fun.
First up is gradients. Gradient are good for creating grainy textures that don’t require any complex contours to the texture. To start, create a simple linear gradient with the default white and black color stops in a rectangle. With the gradient selected, go Effect > Texture > Grain. In the Grain Effects dialog, change the Intensity to 74 (you can experiment with this number to get the grain you desire), Contrast 50, and Grain Type to Sprinkles. That’s really all! The real magic comes when you apply color and blending modes to the texture.
You can change the color stops in your gradient, but I like to place an object or new fill below the grain effect and set the grain’s blending mode to Multiply because of the white space the Grain effect creates. Let’s take a look at doing this with the Appearance panel.
Take your same rectangle and fill it with a solid color. From the pop-up menu of the Appearance panel, select New Fill. Select the top copy and fill it with a linear gradient. Change the first color stop to white and the second to a darker color than your original. With the gradient fill still selected, apply your Grain effect and set the Blending Mode to Multiply from the Opacity item under the gradient fill.
Gradient Meshes are great for creating more complex shapes with grainy textures. To start, draw an abstract shape with a tool of your choosing and fill it with black. You can either go Object > Create Gradient Mesh and set a specific numbers of points or use the Mesh tool (U) to click on your artwork to add mesh point. I’m using the Mesh tool (U), so deselect the artwork, select white from my swatches, and with the Mesh tool (U) click on the artwork to add points. Now, apply the grain effect like before.