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Designs dekeConstructed is a new series that breaks down the creation of cool designs so you can build them on your own. This installment is for everyone who needs an online avatar—that tiny image that has to communicate a thousand words about who you are in less than a square inch. Start by taking a photo of yourself facing forward—the traditional passport style. From there Deke McClelland takes you through the steps to transforming your photo into a cartoon avatar with Illustrator: tracing your features, refining and exaggerating the strokes, adding color and shading, and using gradients and patterns to fill in details like hair. Plus, learn some tricks for infusing your drawing with an extra bit of personality and exporting your final image in the best format for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
In this movie we're going to trace the nostrils, which might seem a little bit gross but it's an essential thing to do because, after all, your nose is probably the most identifiable feature of your face right after your eyes. Now also I want you to notice that where this final cartoon is concerned. The nostrils are one of the few attributes that are not symmetrical. So I'll go ahead and switch over to my document of progress here. And I am going to zoom in, disturbing as it might be. And I'll go ahead and grab my pen tool once again.
Which, once again, you can get by pressing the p key. And I'm going to kind of round things off here by starting at this location. Everything's a smooth point. So I'll go ahead and drag to start the path outline. And then I'll drag it this location here to continue it. And I'll drag right about there in order to create the final point in that little ridge right there. And I might press the Ctrl key or the Cmd key on a Mac in order to gain temporary access to my white arrow tool. And go ahead and drag on that control handle a little bit.
And now I'll Ctrl+click or Cmd+click off the path outline to deselect it so I can start the other all important nostril. And I'll go ahead and drag from this location. And then I'll drag across the top like so. And that's not really a very good location for that point. So I'll press the space bar. In order to move it on the fly and then I'll drag right about here in order to finish things of. For now I've got too much control handle pulling at this and remember your rules by the way those of you who have been working with the pen tool for a while.
If you want to keep things nice and smooth then you want to make sure that you have two control handles devoted to each segment. And you want to make sure that, combined, those two control handles consume about 2 3rds the length of the segment. Alright, now, I'll go and switch to my ellipse tool, here, and I'll draw a little ellipse right about here. I'm using the space bar in order to move it into a better position, like so. And with this path outline is concerned, I don't really want it to have a stroke, I just wanted to have a black fill.
So I'll press shift+X in order to swap the fill and stroke like so. And then I'll go ahead and switch to my rotate tool, this is about mid-way down inside the tool box. And I'll drag just a little bit, like so. In order to rotate that black circle which of course is the hole into my nose. Into about this location here. And now I'll grab the ellipse tool once again and I'll draw another ellipse right about there. Let's say.
Make it a little bit bigger perhaps. And we want them to be a little bit different from each other of course. And then I'll go ahead and switch back to the rotate tool and I'll drag like so in order to rotate the nostril into this location which looks to me like a pretty good match. And if you ever want to get a better view of your photograph in the background, you can press Ctrl+Y or Cmd+Y y on a Mac in order to switch to the preview mode and because. We have this photo layer set up as a tracing template. We can still see that photograph in the background and now I can see that this hole doesn't really look all that sharp.
So I'm going to Ctrl+Alt+ click on it that would be a Cmd option click that way I select the entire path outline. And then when I release the keys, I go back to my rotate tool. I think I'll drag it this direction. So it's rotated at the opposite direction of the opposite nostril, then I'll press Ctrl+Y, Cmd+Y in a Mac to switch back to the preview mode, and we have, well, a half-way complete nose anyway. Thanks to the addition of these two nostrils. Your results will vary because your nose is undoubtedly smaller than mine.
In any event we now have two asymmetrical nostrils to work with here. In the next movie we're going to draw the edges of the cheek, jaw and neck.
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