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Building base vector shapes: Part two


Artist at Work: From Sketch to Finished Vector Illustration

with Von Glitschka

Video: Building base vector shapes: Part two

I'm going to try to go as fast as I can and only talk when I really think I need to cover something. Ok here's, here's one where I know what I want but it's easier to do a 90 degree.
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Watch the Online Video Course Artist at Work: From Sketch to Finished Vector Illustration
1h 18m Intermediate Feb 18, 2014

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Von Glitschka is known for his witty, colorful illustrations, logos, and design work. But how do his drawings make it from refined sketches to polished pieces? This installment of Artist at Work enables you to follow along with Von's coloring and shading process, as he transforms this vector-based graphic in Adobe Illustrator. He starts with a scanned sketch and builds out the basic vector shapes. He then adds shading, highlights, and color—the finishing details that make his illustrations so extraordinary. Von's methods are simple to follow and will help create a new level of depth and richness in your own vector creations.

Von Glitschka

Building base vector shapes: Part two

I'm going to try to go as fast as I can and only talk when I really think I need to cover something. Ok here's, here's one where I know what I want but it's easier to do a 90 degree. So I'm going to go. Cloned. And see Cmd+F. I'm going to slide this over. Grab the Rectangle tool. Snap it to this one. Add these points. Drag it down. Snap it to that. Select this.

Fuse them together using Pathfinder. Select this circle Cmd+C Cmd+F, make sure it's not in front, select it with that shape and punch that out. So, what I end up with is the shape and it's just easier to do 90 degrees rather than trying to do it at an angle. I'll group this. I'll bring it down, I'm going to take this anchor point and I'm going to snap it right. Doesn't look like it's snapping right, let me zoom in on that. Okay, so we're going to take this we're going to snap it right to there and then.

Zoom out so you can see what I'm doing now. Now we're going to take the Rotate tool, snap on that, and then kind of rotate it to align to where our artwork was. Now obviously it's not perfectly aligned with our artwork. That's okay. I don't try to draw perfect circles because I know when I go to Illustrator, I can create a perfect circle, so it kind of contradicts the whole point of drawing it out perfectly like that when it comes to a circle. The same goes with the spots on the back of his leg because there's an elliptical tool.

I don't worry too much about getting those identical to my drawing. I this case, though, because they're spots, I don't want them to look like, just perfect round cylinders so I don't mind distorting some of these shapes a little more just so they don't look so precise and perfect. So this is where I'll go in, I'll just move some anchor points around, just to make it a little lopsided and a little imperfect. Okay, we're going to select these. Fuse them together.

Now they're one compound path. We're going to select this background shape of the dog, clone it, Cmd+C, Cmd+F. Select this shape. Do the cookie cutter and now, we have our spots done. We're going to do this back leg now. So, as I was building this, I decided to just make this all part of the same thing but when I color it, I know I'm going to want to have control over the coloring, so I can make this area darker and this area lighter. And the only way to do that is I have to have an independent shape that will make up his leg.

So that's kind of what I'm going to create now. So going to use my underlying drawing as my guide. To create the base shape, and this outside doesn't matter. You'll see why. So I'll zoom in here now. Now this is where the critical shaping is going to happen. We'll just make sure, make sure that's around.

Oops. So, like I said, I'll spend a lot of time on a curve sometimes just until it feels right, and I literally mean that. Until I can look at it and it just feels the way I think it should, it's, I don't know how else to describe it other than that, and that one looks good. So now that we have that shape built, we're going to clone this shape, so Cmd+C, Cmd+F. And select the shape we just built, now we're just going to use the cookie cutter, which is intersect, so where they overlap will create a new shape, and that's how we get the leg.

So now, we have an independent shape that is just this leg and that's what we want. We're going to go ahead and finish. Little aspects on his feet here. And once again we're going to use shape building to do this. And punch those out. We're going to clone this. You don't always have to build everything from scratch. Especially this kind of detail. You can get away with cloning it. Okay.

And then we'll take a copy of the foot. Cmd+C, Cmd+F. And we'll punch those out, make sure they're, there. Okay, now this detail right here, to give the depth on the top of his foot, this is why I use smart guides. Now I know I'm over the anchor point so I'm going to click there, put another anchor point at the tip Then go back to the original one. So we're creating another wedge shape kind of like how we did on his lip, we're just doing it a little differently.

Now, this is where when you shape this curve, you want to kind of match the arc of the top of his foot. Let me zoom out a little bit. So you want to match this arc coming around as it continues on, so, let me zoom back in to show you that. So now we're going to pull our anchor points out and this is where I'll pull it out far enough that the other handle will kind of go where I think it should then once I know I have this side okay.

I'll click that to retract it and then we're going to get the other handle. Click that to retract it. And then pull this one out to create the wedge. Okay so that's how we create that little detail. Now one thing I'll point out is now that I'm looking at it I really think we need to, this one we don't need so you can just click it and it'll disappear. This one we do, I just think it's getting a little too fine at that end so we want it a little beefier. So that looks good. Now we can select this shape for the leg.

Clone it, Cmd+C, Cmd+F. . Select that and then we're going to intersect it so we have our wedge shapes. So I do the clone thing a lot. That's why I set up an f key which is F3. And, all that does is it runs the two commands. Cmd+C and Cmd+F on whatever I have selected. So, that's why I do that. Now we're going to build his legs. These are pretty simple shapes. So that leg looks pretty good. I think I'm going to try to be lazy here and go Cmd+C, Cmd+F.

We'll see how successful I am, because I want to match these paws as close as I can, so. I should point out, and this has nothing to do with the dog illustration but it does have to do with vector illustration in general, is when you illustrate something, and I was like to use the analogy of the forest. Let's say, you're doing some little illustration and you have to have a forest in it, well, don't just draw one tree then clone it 500 times to create the forest you know. Create like 15 trees and then rotate em and flip em to give the illusion of a forest.

So I think that said we can get away with cloning one foot. I mean the top of the leg is kind of positioned different and looks different so nobody's ever going to notice. For the most part, my rule of thumb is always just draw it from scratch. Don't clone it. But in this case, I think it's a little more forgivable. You can get a way with it. Okay, we're going to punch that. So we have that shape. For his foot, and I'm not going to do the detail on the feet until the last thing because, once again, I'm going to just pick up the one I do here, slide it over to this one, and I might use it again on this other back leg and just scale it up a little bit.

So we're almost there, we're just several minutes away from having the base vector art done. For this design, actually, you know what, I'm going to start off here, just so I can match that. So we'll do this, and then, we'll slide that over. You know, normally, I'll be honest with you guys, normally, the only person that ever really sits around and watches me build my artwork is my cat, or my daughter. My daughter has come in to my studio and she hangs out and watches me work and asks me questions and stuff, so that's kind of fun, but.

You know, my cat's never critical about my artwork. My daughter, on the other hand, she'll point out when she thinks something looks stupid, so, she's getting pretty good at it, though. I do ask her for her opinion time to time. Okay, so, we've got the back looking good. We'll just clone the shape of the body. Make sure it's on top. Select the back leg, and we're going to punch that. So we have that built. The only thing we have left to do, is this tail. So, we're going to crank that out. Do the claws on the feet.

And we'll have the core based vector shapes for this artwork all done. And then we'll discuss what we're going to do next. Aah! I always do that. See, I'm spoiled, I'm kind of used to using my plugin. And when I'm forced to go back and do it from scratch, I always click the wrong things. So, you're going to see those dialog boxes come up.

Okay, that looks good. That will be the back, pull this one out. And this might be the case where, no let me zoom out. because that is hard to tell at this ratio. I think that's looking fine, just got to adjust this curve a little bit. Make sure that's smoo, oops, that's what was bugging me, it wasn't smooth.

So, you want to watch that. And if something doesn't feel right, at least for me, most of the time, it means something isn't right. In that case, it didn't feel right and it was because this wasn't a smooth anchor point. So, these weren't perfectly transitional from one side to the next. So, you want to be careful with that. So, this is his tail. The tail looks, I think that looks good, so we're going to select this back shape, Cmd+C, Cmd+F, make sure it's on front, select the tail, we're going to punch that off, now his tail's ready.

Oh, I just noticed, we don't have the little motion lines, so instead of building those with shapes, we can just go click, click. So three clicks for each one, three clicks for each one, select this. You know what? That looks bad. So I'm not going to do it that way That happens at times. See, I'm, I tried to build that the way I build it with the plugin, and actually, that works great with the plugin because it gives you a little more control.

But it didn't look very elegant. And I don't want these to look clunky. I want em to look, I don't want people to even think about it. You know, they're just motion lines. So, okay, I think that looks better. Make sure that's on top. And we'll get rid of that one. We don't need it. I'll take this right now. There I think that'll work. Now the last thing we're going to do is we're going to build the claws and then we're done with our base vector building. So on these claws, these will go pretty quick because we're going to do nothing but shape building with it.

So oriented my center of these elliptical shapes, based off of the bottom line of his claw. That gives me kind of my point of origin. Now I'm going to clone those. Cmd+C, Cmd+F. I'm going to slide it over, and I think, I'll do that. And then Make sure this one's on top, select then punch it out. Clone that shape, slide it over. And so we have these two claws Cmd+C, Cmd+F, to clone them, and.

Bring those over here, go back to this one, select the leg, make a copy of that, select the claws, cookie cutter em so now you know they're ready to go. Now I'm going to clone this, Cmd+C, Cmd+F. And we're going to put this over here and I'm going to blow these up just a little bit because back legs tend to be bigger than front legs on dogs. So that detaial will be a little bigger. I'm going to clone this front leg.

And get this one all working, now we're going to select this back leg, Cmd+C, Cmd+F to clone it, select the claws. Get what we need there and now we have all of our base vector shapes built for this design. And the next phase of this design is going to involve coloring these base shapes and establishing our base coloring. And then from there we'll detail it.

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