I am rather new to Illustrator and only have the CS3 version.
I am working on making some map illustrations for a publication. The land mass delineated with a black stroke will be filled with a light brown color. For the water around to land mass, I want to have a slight blur of light blue right along the coast fading into a white or even an empty swatch color further away from the land mass. I don’t necessarily have a border around the entire map, but I guess I could if that was necessary.