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In this installment of the Illustrator Insider Training series, Mordy Golding shows how to draw vector artwork quickly, precisely, and efficiently—without having to think about technical concepts like anchor points or control handles. The course highlights intuitive drawing techniques using the Pathfinder functions, Live Paint groups, Shape Builder tool, and variable-width strokes. It also describes the sketching workflow and features in Illustrator that use pressure-sensitive drawing tablets, allowing designers to focus more on their creativity.
Earlier in this chapter, we spoke about different kinds of transformations and how they can help us work inside of Illustrator. Well, let's focus on one technique specifically which is actually reflecting or mirroring your artwork. And this could be great because when you are trying to get precise artwork done and you have a shape that you can actually just draw one-half of, it's much easier to simply copy or duplicate that other half to complete your drawing. For example, let's look at Mister Zee's head right here. You have two eyes, you have ears, you have stripes that are on one side of his face, you have nostril, right, you have the actual shape of his head.
So if we just draw one side of his head, we can do half the work and then just simply flip the other side and create a mirror effect and complete the face. So not only does it take us half the time to draw the artwork, it also gives us a much more precise version of artwork as well. Now in the case the head here, let me share one other thing, because you can see that Mister Z is kind of leaning his head a little bit side ways, and when we're using Illustrator, we want to be able to use basic tools and we want to be able to constrain them very easily, so it could be hard to draw the things on an angle.
Many times, I may find that I'll actually take my sketch and I'll rotate the sketch a little bit, so that I can have an easier time drawing it inside of Illustrator. For example, on this file right here I'm simply going to unlock my Sketch layer, which will allow me to actually click and select the image itself. I'm going to zoom in just a little bit more here towards his head and I'm going to use the Rotate tool. I'm going to press the R key on my keyboard and I want to define an origin point. Lets' say right at the top of his head, right about over here. That's going to be the point that where just image is going to rotate around.
Next, I am going to grab the bottom right here of his face, let's say this point right here, and click and drag, and then I'm going to rotate my cursor this way. Notice over here that I now straightened out his head a little bit so that when I'm drawing I have an easier time to match that. I may either copy it and paste this into a different file or I may create a separate artboard in this document and maybe make his head in one location and his body in other location and then bring them together when I'm done, or I may just do this just by using different layers inside of Illustrator as well. But now that I've made this rotation I can go back and relock the Sketch layer, and if I turn on the Artwork layer you can see that I have already created one half of his face right here.
So I've used the tools like the Arc tool for example, and I've used other tools that we had discussed until now to draw the existing shapes that you see right here. And notice that I've only drawn one side of his face. I now want to flip this to now create the complete face. So what I'll do is I'll take my regular Selection tool and I'll select all this artwork. And just as it is easier to see what's happening here let's actually hide from view the Sketch layer, so we can just see the artwork that we're dealing with here. The next thing I am going to do is I am going to switch to my Reflect tool which is the O key on my keyboard, and I need to set my origin point.
I have to tell Illustrator where I want this point to reflect from. By default my origin point is in the center and that's not going to make any sense at all. So what I want to do is I want to find the actual far edge of the artwork which is going to be let's say right over here. So I'm going to click on this anchor point and now I'm going to move my cursor about over here and I'm going to start dragging. I can hold down my Shift key so this way I know that I'm constraining it to basically snap to angles that I need, and I'm also going to hold down the Option key because I don't want to just flip it on its own because that will just create the other half but I'll lose the original half.
By holding down the Option key or if again you're on Windows that will be the Alt key, you can see I now have a double cursor so I'm flipping a copy of my artwork. Now I'm going to release the mouse and then I'm going to release the keys of my keyboard and now if I deselect, you can see that I've now created all the elements I need for the face. It's perfectly symmetrical. It took me half the time to do it and it looks great. Let's turn this Sketch layer back on and now we can see how easy it is to use the Reflect tool inside of illustrator to not only save time but to create extremely precise artwork as well.
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