Drawing Vector Graphics: Linear Line Illustration
Illustration by John Hersey
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Thick and thin linears


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Drawing Vector Graphics: Linear Line Illustration

with Von Glitschka

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Video: Thick and thin linears

A linear line illustration is just that, a line. Of course, it can be any color you want, and be shaped however you decide but, in the end, it's just a line. A stroke, if you will. But it doesn't have to remain as such. A great way to infuse even more flair and character. Into linear artwork is to add thick and thin detailing to your continuous line. Thankfully, Illustrator makes this process very easy.
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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
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Von Glitschka

Thick and thin linears

A linear line illustration is just that, a line. Of course, it can be any color you want, and be shaped however you decide but, in the end, it's just a line. A stroke, if you will. But it doesn't have to remain as such. A great way to infuse even more flair and character. Into linear artwork is to add thick and thin detailing to your continuous line. Thankfully, Illustrator makes this process very easy.

So let me show you how this is done. So in a previous movie you saw this linear artwork that I ended up with. And once again it's based off of my nice tight refined sketch. So there's no guess work in terms of building it. And this is how the final form came out. As stated, it's a linear line drawing. Meaning it's one continuous line that makes up the artwork. And this specific stroke that makes up the vector path in this art. Is just a simple five point stroke.

And this looks fine as is. It has a subtle drop shadow to it to add to the overall aesthetic. But, I think we can improve on it, and we can improve on it using a tool that Adobe provides called the Width Tool. Over here you can see that highlighted in the tool palette. And we're going to apply it to this base art. But, before we do that, we want to work with a version of the art that doesn't have the drop shadow on it. So, I have that here. You can, actually use the Width Tool and adjust art with the drop shadow already applied to it.

Such as this, like that. But, it will just slow down the process a little bit because it will have to crunch all of those numbers to, display the rasterized drop shadow and we don't want to deal with that. So we're going to go to just, the base vector shape path that we're working with here and we're going to simply go through this entire path from. Start to finish, we'll zoom in so we can see what we're doing, and it's always good to zoom in and not try to work on your artwork like you're standing across a room looking at it. It's going to make precision building a lot better if you, zoom in when necessary.

The way the Width Tool works is we select it. You can select it anywhere on a path. And pull it out, and it will expand it or contract it in terms of its thick and thins. Most of the time a good rule of thumb is to, do the width adjustments based off your anchor point locations. So, this first one I'm going to do, I'll pull it out. And that's all I do is I just click on the path and pull it out. Now if you hold option down,. You can retract one side, and just do it from one side or the other, like that.

And if you just pull out, in general it'll do it from both sides. So, you can, choose however you want to, thicken the path. Either one side or the other. In this case, we want it just to be, thicker in the medium part of this segment and it deals with one segment at a time. And it'll, adjust the whole path but in this case we're just adjusting this one segment. Now we'll continue and this is a good example. You can, grab anywhere on a path. So, I'm going to grab right about here and I'm going to adjust it like that.

That looks good. Go ahead and move the screen over. And I'm going to jump ahead just a little bit and, adjust this, I don't want to leave this the exact thickness of stroke that I want it to be just a hair thicker so, I'll do that, think I might make this, just from one side going out, so I'm holding the. Option key to do that, just to pull it out on that one side to make it thicker.

Let me think. That looks pretty good. Since this is a quill tip, I'm going to leave that segment the same thickness I had it originally. And now I will go ahead, and make the other adjustments, so it's very. Easy to work with this tool. You just simply click, drag and, then it's just visually, adjusted in terms of the static you want to achieve. You just pull it out as far or as little as you want to achieve the look you're intending and going for it. Now, on this specific.

Artwork. The whole reason I'm using the Width Tool, is it's also going to lend itself, conceptually, to my overall concept that I'm going to show you in terms of how I use this, specific piece of artwork. Now, at times, when you use the Width Tool, you're going to run into this little, issue. And it's okay. We're going to go back after we expand this path, and, fix that. So, in the final form, you'll see how I fixed that. Now everything's going to be able to be pulled off with an algorithm, within any program, Illustrator or otherwise.

So you're always going to have to pay attention to, when you're building stuff to make sure it looks, the way you've intended it to. So. I've gone through the entire art, and you can see how I've now adjusted it. Now, it lends itself conceptually to my design, because it now has that, kind of look that I drew it with an ink pen. Where it's thin because I'm just laying it on the paper and drawing the line out. And as the ink flows out it's getting thicker and then thinning down again when I'm speeding up the pen and drawing out.

So it kind of lends itself to the whole visual concept I'm working with. Which is, a journal and this quill pen. So, it's a, writing kind of metaphor I'm working with in this visual. Now the way I utilize this final artwork and its another good example of how you can use linear line art for a wide range of, design projects as this branded a software applications called ScribeSoft. And I nested it with an overall shape and worked int he logo type with it.

And so that's how I ended up using this specific, linear line work to brand a piece of software. So, look for ways you can use the Width Tool to, not only make your linear line work and, designs more intriguing visually, but also, it can lend itself to the concept you're creating.

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