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The Japanese-inspired lifestyle brand tokidoki, created by Italian artist and designer Simone Legno, started as a set of characters on a personal website and has since exploded into a wildly successful, and internationally recognized collection. tokidoki, Character Illustrator, Creative Inspirations explores Simone's techniques and methods for building some of his popular tokidoki characters using Adobe Illustrator. Take a peek into his sketchbook, and learn how he creates one of his popular skatedecks from start to finish.
(Music playing.) Simone Legno: The first character that I am going to draw is going to be Mozzarella. It's one of the most popular of the Tokidoki set and Mozzarella is a girl dressed up like a cow and she is holding like a machine gun. Generally I like to try to put dualistic things in my design, something good, something bad, something mature, something childish, all together.
So like the cow is a very weak animal somehow and so she needed some protection, so I put a machine gun. I choose this style of machine gun, a tommy, because it's like the one the mafia used to have in the 30s. So I wanted to have a bit fun of fun at some of the stereotypes of my country. I am Italian. And the Mozzarella is a story, like she is a good girl and she goes and steal the milk from the bully's lunch box and gives it to the good kids, the child who got beaten by the bullies.
And now I will show you how I design. First I sketch it on my sketchbook. Then I scan it with my iPhone. I just take a picture and I send it on my computer and from there I start to trace it using Illustrator and now I am going to show you how to do it. So now I drag the photo straight on Illustrator and I copy the image.
I put it on my file. I block it. So like it's not going to move and I am free like to trace it. I generally like to start with a bright trace. Generally, I put a bright color, so I can see it very easy and then just later on I am going to put the colors I want. I only use the Pen tool with my mouse and I don't use like the tablet, as lots of people think. It's just a bit of patience and I use the Bezier curves.
Yeah, this is just like the basic way of tracing something in Illustrator. I use the iPhone to sketch my image, just because it's faster and I generally like to work with my laptop and I travel a lot for my work. I have appearances, I have different kind of stuff, of business trips, trade shows. The phone generally it's a very little scan to carry with you.
And then it's quicker for sure. And then, I don't need like a very high definition or high quality. For me it's just enough to see like the main lines. Sometimes I don't even put that many details, because the little details I just build them straight on Illustrator. Cute characters can be designed simply straight on Illustrator without using a sketch. But the reason why I use a sketch especially when I draw more complex characters, like the Asian woman, like doing it first with the pencil gives it like something more instinctual, which is like the real drawing.
So you can have like softer lines, that only the hand I think can give. I tried to use the Wacom tablet. But I think for Illustrator is better with the mouse. It's more precise. And then I think the tablet, it's more done for working with pixels and use it as a brush or as a pencil or any other design drawing tool. So now what I do is just I draw the basic vectors one-by-one and then later on I will put the colors and I will put them on the right layer or in the right position.
The way I do these characters, I think that the stylized characters are , since they are like actually stylized and simple it's easier to do, to communicate something than let's say like a normal more like description style. Like with a with a cute character or a cartoon character, it's easier to make expressions stronger like anger, happiness and they are not like humans that-- there is more complicated expressions and feelings behind it.
They are like more instinctive. Before I drew Mozzarella there were like lots of years of designing characters and at the beginning they were like not-- I was not very happy about it, because I had to find my exact style after I left the design school and between all the styles that I developed for different clients as a freelancer, at the end I could finally find what exact I wanted.
So before Mozzarella, there were lots of characters and they were in a style different from how it looks right now.
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