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Animated Character Design with Illustrator
Illustration by John Hersey

Drawing using shapes


From:

Animated Character Design with Illustrator

with Angie Taylor

Video: Drawing using shapes

Now there are times when the easiest way to draw something is just to use a primitive shape. And there are lot's of primitive shapes available to you in illustrator, including the rectangle tool, rendered rectangle tool, ellipse, polygon, star, and flare. We're going to use the ellipse tool and all I'm going to do is just move to the center where I want the eye hold down the Alt key to draw from the center and then hold down Shift to constrain it so that it becomes a perfect circle. Okay, and that places it over the eye, I can just nudge it into position using the arrow keys on the keyboard. Now it's a little bit too perfect for my liking.

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Animated Character Design with Illustrator
2h 33m Intermediate Jan 14, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This workshop from author and animator Angie Taylor teaches how to use Illustrator's tools and features to prepare 2D files for animation in Adobe After Effects. Discover how to make the most of Illustrator's drawing tools and Autotrace feature, and to how use Live Paint and Kuler to recolor artwork. Plus, get a ton of tips and tricks for giving artwork a hand-drawn look and find out how to set up layers, aspect ratios, and transparency options for importing into After Effects. The lessons are focused and solution-oriented, and all the project files are included.

Topics include:
  • Setting up the work area
  • Bringing artwork into Illustrator
  • Tracing artwork manually
  • Creating complex shapes
  • Working with paths
  • Using Live Trace
  • Coloring artwork
  • Applying 3D effects
  • Exporting artboards
  • Options for saving files
Subjects:
3D + Animation Design Illustration Character Animation video2brain
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Angie Taylor

Drawing using shapes

Now there are times when the easiest way to draw something is just to use a primitive shape. And there are lot's of primitive shapes available to you in illustrator, including the rectangle tool, rendered rectangle tool, ellipse, polygon, star, and flare. We're going to use the ellipse tool and all I'm going to do is just move to the center where I want the eye hold down the Alt key to draw from the center and then hold down Shift to constrain it so that it becomes a perfect circle. Okay, and that places it over the eye, I can just nudge it into position using the arrow keys on the keyboard. Now it's a little bit too perfect for my liking.

So what I'm going to do is apply this nice artistic dry brush stroke to it. It's a little bit too big now I could double-click the brush and edit it that way just that with just the with commander, but really the quickest way is to just go into my strokes settings and to bring that down to about 0.2 should do it. And once I have that, go back to the selection tool, hold down the Alt key and click and drag to make a copy. Now that should be a little bit smaller then the other eye so what I'm going to do is just select that.

And we can either use the scale tool or the free transform tool. Free transform I quite like to use to just adjust that in size. Okay, and then we need to create the circles inside. So I'm going to reverse the fill in the stroke after deselecting. So I'm going to toggle to the selection tool, deselect, swap the fill in stroke, and now I'm going to draw the pupils. And I'll just draw one, select the selection tool and drag a copy over to here, and again I can make that a little bit bigger if I want to, using the free transform tool.

Okay, so there we have the eyes. The other primitives that you can use are the line segments tools. So you've got the line segment tool which will create straight lines. You've got the arc tool, the spiral tool, and the grid tools. Now with the line tool What I'm going to do is just click and drag to create a line. Now you'll notice that it has no stroke or fill which is a bit odd so the first thing that we want to do is first of all choose a stroke and then draw the line and now we get a line represented by the stroke.

It's a bit odd that that happens, not sure if it's a bug but if you reverse the stroke and fill you'll get a line. It's because the line tool relies on having a stroke value. But instead of just giving you a warning it just kind of removes it completely. And I'm also going to adjust the weights of that a couple of notches. Now, again with the line tool you can apply a brush stroke if you want to, that's perfectly feasible as well. We're going to draw another line that intersects with that one. Now, I'm drawing this as a separate line cause I want this to be slightly fatter.

So let's do that up to value of four and then let's deselect that and then go back down to value of two and draw this line. Okay, so the line draws really nice instead of clicking to create one point, clicking to create another. You just click and drag to create your point. And then finally, what we're going to do is just again hold down the command key, quickly deselect, change it to one point, and then draw around the frame of the glasses. That one's going to end there and then we'll start here, just draw a few lines to represent the frames. Okay, so there we have the glasses.

Now, you'll notice I've accidentally reversed the eye at some point I must have swapped these around with that selected. These kinds of things are going to happen to you over and over again in illustrator. You've got to learn from your mistakes and move on. So there we go, using the primitive tools to create basic shapes and then using brush strokes to randomize them a little bit. There are also facts that you can use to make them look a little bit more hand drawn. Things like roughing will allow you to create much rougher circular shape. If I just say smooth and then bring the size down a little bit and put the detail up a little bit, you'll see we just get a more wobbly path.

Once you've applied that, you can select the second one and just apply it straight from the effect menu again, just to give you a slightly more random shape on the eyes. So, there we have it, using primitive shapes but creating a hand drawn effect from them.

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