Drawing Vector Graphics: Linear Line Illustration
Illustration by John Hersey

Neon effects for linear line illustrations


Drawing Vector Graphics: Linear Line Illustration

with Von Glitschka

Video: Neon effects for linear line illustrations

Now this last method I want to show you

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Watch the Online Video Course Drawing Vector Graphics: Linear Line Illustration
2h 3m Intermediate Jul 10, 2014

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Linear line illustration (LLI), or continuous line drawing, is an adaptable and fun style to work in, resulting in clean, clear designs that are suitable for print or animation. In this course Von takes you through the process of creating a linear line illustration using Adobe Illustrator. While showing how to build an LLI digitally, he explains the aesthetic rules, the tricks to getting more depth out of it, and tips for adding color, motion, and a sense of life to your drawings. Members will also be offered a challenge to get their feet wet.

Topics include:
  • Drawing freestyle and photo-based LLIs
  • Building simple and more complex illustrations
  • Shape building
  • Vector welding
  • Introducing color, symmetry, and motion in linear drawings
Von Glitschka

Neon effects for linear line illustrations

Now this last method I want to show you of how you can approach your linear line artwork and colorize it in a unique way, is kind of an effects-driven methodology, and I don't really focus on that type of approach a lot, because I don't like depending on effects but in this case, I think it's appropriate for the specific content and in this case, the specific content is creating a design motif that has a neon light effect.

Now I love neon. Neon's great and continuous line artwork could actually be formed into neon art really, really well. So if you ever have to develop signage for a client, for a bar and grill or a restaurant or whatever else type of business, in this case, it might be a travel agency. You could use a linear approach to create the overall graphic motif, and then that could be translated into a sign that's formed into neon, in that respect.

Now, if you're illustrating it, in this case I'm going to zoom in on this artwork here, on this plane. And if I select this, you can see going to keyline view, once again, this is just a stroke path, and this specific stroke, is seven points. Now, the unique attributes about this path is that, the stroke is filled with this teal color, but I also have two strokes here. If you go to the Appearance palette, you can look through the layering on the Appearance palette, and I'm going to turn off, my inner stroke here.

So, if you look at the base stroke, the seven point line. And then I have an inner stroke on that, and that is based off of four points and on that inner stroke, if I go click in deeper to that, I have a Gaussian blur applied to it, so it's not a crisp line. It gives the illusions of being a tube. And that's how I pulled off, that neon tube effect to form what I'm considering the base art for this design, to get that tube. Now, there's more aspects to this illustration if we go to layers here.

I'm going to turn on a glow effect, so you can see how now it gives the illusion that it's glowing. And I actually did a couple of those, just to get the exact density I wanted, that I couldn't achieve with one. And sometimes that's the easiest way to do that, rather than trying to really work with the color and manipulate, sometimes it's easier, just to make a clone of the same layer and put it on top. Now, I'm going to zoom in again, because the next part is key. And, that is adding a drop shadow. All the drop shadow is, is my base linear line artwork colorized and shifted just a little bit.

Now, if I go into this, and I select it, I'm going to turn off the glow and I'm going to go in on to, we'll turn off the background really quick. So, here's the drop shadow on this. And this is simply, once again, the seven point line. It's set to Multiply and it's colored a tint of the black. Now, it doesn't show up on the black background. It only shows up because I have it on top of the glow. So, even though neon glows, there's still going to be a cache shadow, because it's sitting on a surface and it's always up from the surface.

So, that's where, you have to pay attention to those type of details when you illustrate because a lot of people would think, well, it's lighting up. You won't really see any shadows, unless it's casting light on to something else. Well, in this case, you actually do see some shadows, even though it's glowing. So, we're going to continue to, go ahead and work this out, so when you deselect, and we'll go to the Highlight Glow. Now, this is another Glow element and it's based off of the linear line artwork but what I've done in this case, if I go to keyline view, is you can see that I've selected these shapes and I cut them into pieces.

So if you look here, if I zoom out, on this, you can see that it's the same linear shape as the rest of the art work, but the stroke has been set to only two. So it's not as thick and I've ever so slightly shifted it, to create the illusion that it's a highlight on the top edge of the tube going around. And, then on the very last part of this, is I punched it out, with some hotspots. And, those hotspots, don't cover the whole length of the linear artwork.

It's just in the key areas, such as, the top of the cloud, to the left and everywhere else you see it show up. So, if you want to drill down through the layering on this file and deconstruct it, and check out the appearance panel, you can see, how I set all the different effects, what opacities I set them to. What blend modes on the layers I set them to, so they interact with the colors below it, to pull off the full illusion of a neon look, for this linear line illustration.

So, experimentation is always the key when you're working with effects like this. It all comes down to playing with it until you get that illusion you're looking for.

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