Start with sketches…
Play with the goodies…
Add ‘em to the set!
I was working away on a logo/illustration hypertiny (check them out, they do cool things) and it occurred to me that this would be a great example to take a walk through in converting a sketch to digital art. Here we go.
Okay, so maybe the first step is a bit tricky, but if you can get through this part on your own, I’ll walk you through the rest…
Take out your sketch book and draw something awesome.
Got it? Good. Me too - I’m using HyperTiny’s baby monkey.
Place it into illustrator.
(That’s file > place)
Your screen should look something like this:
That is, you’ll need your tools (to the left), you’ll need your sketch (center) and you’ll need the pallets to the right. (If you can’t find all of those pallets, just go to the window menu, and they will all be listed there)
Select your illustration, and open the layers pallet.
Make a second layer, and move the one with your illustration to the top.
(The new layer button is that little folded paper icon on the bottom of the layers pallet)
(Just click & drag to move layers)
Your layers should look something like this:
Keep that layer (layer 1 with the sketch) selected. Open your transparency pallet.
Change the blending mode to multiply, and the opacity to ~60%.
It should look something like this:
Go back to your layers pallet, and click the lock button on Layer one.
(It’s the empty box by the eye)
Awesome. Guess what you can do now? Trace your sketch. This is a big step, too. Break out your pen tool, and just trace all of the basic shapes.
I know it’s a little intimidating to try to draw an entire sketch with the pen tool, but if you just look at it as one simple shape at a time, it’s not so bad.
Here’s the first two shapes that I started with - I used the elipse tool (L) for the circle, and pen tool for the flag. Just two solid shapes. No problem.
While you’re working on that, I’ve also got a couple of (pro?) tips that might be handy.
- Remember that the sketch on top is on multiply, so if you use the eye dropper to select colours, you’re going to get the multiplied version.
• Instead, toggle the eye on the layers pallet, and hide your sketch when you use the eye dropper.
• Alternatively, you can just select, then unselect the shape with the colour you want, then the next shape you draw will be that colour.
- Remember the move-to-front/move-to-back & move-forward/move-backwards hot keys (I’ll list them below). Instead of trying to match the edges perfectly, just make your shapes overlap, then send one to the back or front. If you master this, drawing gets much faster.
• Move forward one object: ⌘ + ]
• Move backward one object: ⌘ + [
• Move to front: ⌘ + shift + ]
• Move to back: ⌘ + shift + [
- If you want to copy the edge of any object, use your direct selector (A) to select the points of the edge that you want, but leave the last end points that you want out (AI will always grab one more end point on each side). Copy. Paste.
- If you’re drawing a shadow, don’t come up with a whole new colour, just add a bit of black.
Make it through? Me too. So this is how mine looks after I’ve traced all of the basic shapes.
Not that different, but when you take away the sketch… Voila! you have simple, digital illustration! (I added some tufts of hair).
You can stop here, if you want. Or, you can go back in and clean it up, and add shadows. Another daunting task, I know. But maybe it’s not so bad… Enter: pathfinder pallet.
Let’s take the same starting point, at the very top of the boat.
Right now, not that interesting…
Select a single shape (in my case, the top circle), and duplicate it.
Duplicate it again. This time, strategically just a slightly downwards & to the right.
Open your pathfinder tool, and click “minus front” (That’s the second one from the left). It should look something like this:
Open your colours pallet, and drag the black out about 15%. (ie. less black)
(if you don’t have any black in your colour, hold shift while you drag any other slider, and it will give you a lighter version of what ever colour you had)
Drag the object back over the original object. Voila! Highlight! And you didn’t have to draw any of it.
If you have the patience to do that for all of your elements, you come out with a decent illustration. Have a look at how my monkey turned out after just adding shadows and highlights with the path finder tool.
It looks complicated, but it’s all just basic shapes, with a little black or white added to them to make the shadows and highlights.
Now, you can start really having some fun…
Well guys. I covered a lot there. I would love to hear if you’re trying this out, and I am always around twitter if you get stuck, or have any questions! @megrobichaud
Guys. I can’t decide what’s more important about finding people, the Finding of them, or the people? ie. is it *FIND* people, or is it find *PEOPLE*
I’m working on an icon to fit with this set.
So. Here’s what I’ve got…
Close up of the contenders…
Thoughts? Comments? Concerns?
First, you sketch …
Then you digitize…
Then you give them a home :)
My creepiness has manifested itself in the form of a third blog: peopleofvancouver .. I’ve started drawing people who I see and putting it on the internet. It’s actually quite fun for me - I’m not sure how the people of Vancouver feel about it.
One of my latest projects is to design the cover and assets for the Saint John Telegraph Journal’s Arts & Culture section, Salon. The topic for this weeks issue, is a series of artists writing letters about their favourite/most influential art teachers.
As always, I started with a series of quick sketches. With a cover like this, it’s important to incorporate the masthead, and a natural space for text. So naturally, that makes an appearance in the initial sketches.
I decided that the one that was working the best was the second sketch, an apple with the hand print on it. It fit the “Grade school” feel that the client was looking for, and had a simple, symbolic element to it, which is why he sought me out in the first place. So the next thing to do is a proper sketch, working out all of the little details. Again, it is important to consider the masthead and natural space for text, so that made an appearance in the sketch. Since this is for a newspaper, it’s also important to consider the fold, and how the top half if the image is going to look.
Next up: how am I going to make this? I have quite a few illustration styles up my sleeve, watercolour, ink, vector, sculpy, crayon, cut out .. ect. Since this supposed to have a grade school look and feel, playdough seemed like a natural texture to emphasize, so I went with sculpy.
And then you’re done! (Actually, this isn’t the final cover, at all, wrong mast head, wrong info ect. I just threw it together to give you an idea of what it would look like.
Next book cover: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
This one was tricky, because it’s got a lot of layers. The story is about a man who is set to marry one woman, but falls in love with another, and lives his life in a loveless marriage. But more importantly, it illustrates life in the upper class in the 19th century, and what the pressures and expectations were. But, more important then that, it illustrates life in New York in the 19th century.
So this is what I came up with. I’m not sure which one I’m going to go with - input would be very helpful!
1. The apple is a twofold symbol for the story: Big apple = New York, & Apple = temptation (adam & eve). There’s a bite out of it because he gives into temptation, and he gives into the pressures of New York life, unfortunately, he ultimately has to pick one or the other.
2. Again, the apple is a twofold symbol for the story: Big apple = New York, & Apple = temptation (adam & eve). But rather then take a bite out of it, it’s wilted/rotted to represent the corruption in New York, and in the marriage institution.
3. A More litteral interpretation of the book: he asks May to marry him, but he doesn’t really mean it. I think this one might be a bit too complicated for the look that the client is after. Perhaps just the crossed fingers with a ring on it?
4. Symbols again. When you boil the story down, it’s about 19th century New York. What’s more New York then high fashion shoes. What’s more 19th century then their fashion (visually, anyway). And there is so much symbolism around a single womens shoe (see: cinderella) that it also captures the surface story of unrequited love. Further to that, it also reflects Ellens character.
5. I’m not telling you anything about 5
6. One last time, rife with symbolism. New York is the center of fashion, ergo: Hats to represent the characters, specifically, 19th century hats. Newmans character is between the two women. The conventional, practical choice: Bonnet, or the gaudy, big but beautiful feather hat.
What do you think? I am so stuck!
I’m back to the book covers today! Starting with Dracula, by Bram Stoker.
Since I am filling an entire library of books, they’ve asked for something that can be done quickly, but have a very distinct style. Luckily, I’ve got a pretty distinct style, so I’m just aiming for minimalist, and hoping that my style shows through.
I’ve got 6 initial directions.
- Just straight up dracula & his creepy house
- Stake through the heart - how he eventually dies
- Dracula doesn’t actually eat any garlic, but the first vampire they kill, they decapitate & fill her mouth with garlic
- Lady with vampire bites - only women are attacked by Dracula, and it’s a major plot driving force
- The story is told through journal entries & news paper clippings, so it’s more like a stake through the story (& the story is dracula)
- modern take on the two main characters: Dracula on the left & Lawyer on the right (the story is initiated because the protagonist goes to lawyer for Dracula)
Which do you think I should go with? I think I’m between 4 & 5 …