Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating an animal illustration, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
(dramatic music) - [Voiceover] Welcome to drawing vector graphics laboratory. In this movie, I want to go over creating a graphic animal illustration. Now to work out this type of design, you wanna have good reference, specifically for this project you wanna have a reference of an animal. I've chosen a lion you can choose any animal you want but you want the reference to be a straight-on view, meaning you don't want to go three quarter view or side view for example, but have the animal looking straight at you as close as you can get it to assist.
Now you're not gonna be basing it exactly on a photograph but a photograph is gonna assist you in the creative process. I used this as my reference to draw from. I'm gonna now draw out all the shapes and forms to work out exactly what I need. And even though I wanna figure out what I want to create before I actually attempt to create it, I still use Illustrator to assist even in the drawing process. So with this reference I scanned it in, tinted it back and then dropped a couple guides.
Now the guides define the visual center of this design if you will. And also align the eyes as where they fall in relation And also align the eyes as where they fall in relation to the other proportions on the face. Now this is what I printed out and then on top of this. I drew out my design of a lion. Once again it's symmetric so you only have to draw half of it in order to build the whole design. That's the beauty of this style and this type of approach is it makes the creative process a lot easier, working this way. And it goes a lot faster too cause you only have to do half the work.
So this is where it starts. I'll scan this refined sketch in and then in Photoshop just to test it before I actually start building I'll clone it, flip it, just to make sure the proportions are looking good. And in this case, I liked the way it looked and I knew it was gonna work well inside Illustrator, so I place my sketch in Illustrator put it on it's own layer shown here. Tinted it back this is about 20%. And then on top of it, I just start building in simple shapes. This is the nice thing about working with vector artwork you don't always have to use the pin tool.
Now I usually use both methodologies to create every design I work on, whether it's a logo or an illustration like this. And it starts off, I'll use the pin tool to create this shape of the face as shown here but everything else, with exception of the top of his nose and the bottom of his nose, everything else is simple ellyptical shapes using this tool, the ellyptical tool here ellyptical shapes using this tool, the ellyptical tool here to create everything needed to form the foundation of what's gonna make up the intensity of his eyes.
So I'm gonna show you how I go about building that. So right now I have this circle to form this shape under his eye. We're gonna clone this, command C command F. If you have F key set up, it's F3 according to my drawing vector graphics course. So I'll select this, select this circle and I'll go ahead and punch it using the pathfinder remove from shape. If you want to use their terminology. And I create a throwaway shape just to further editing this. I'm gonna trim off this part that we don't need.
And now this part, this circle and this wedge shape we created, we can fuse those together unite them together like this. And then this overall circular shape is what's gonna make up the contour of his eye. And this is gonna trim off every other shape I have here so I'll go ahead and clone this, command C command F, select the shape we created and intersect it to trim that off. Now I can clone this shape already selected. Select the inner part of his eye here and intersect that.
Do the same with this. Clone it and then intersect it with the inner part of his eye there as well to create everything needed. Another thing I'll do is I'll go ahead and select this facial shape, I'll clone that. I'll select this circular shape. I'll intersect that. I don't want this top part. So I'll select, once again, the big contour circle. And we'll intersect that to get those shapes we want. Then I'm gonna select this big shape again.
Select the top part that's over his eye. And we're gonna go ahead and make this wedge shape then select the face, clone that, select this shape again and this, intersect it. So this is how simple the process goes to build artwork like this. I'm not even touching the pin tool or adjusting anchor points or besea curves. The more you can think in shapes, the faster it can go. And I use this methodology to create the whiskers for example.
But you might be wondering, well how do I establish this circular shape to get this contour? Well one, my drawing is guiding it but I want to show you a really, really cool plugin I use all the time. And the best part about it? This plugin is absolutely free. So you can go to Astute Graphics and download it. It's called the subscribe plugin. And that's how I created this circle. Instead of guessing to get my coordinates exactly right here Instead of guessing to get my coordinates exactly right here and right here, on the curve of this circle to align with my drawing.
There's an easier way to do it. You'd be eyeballing it all day in Illustrator to try to get it exactly. I'm gonna show you how to do it exactly in a few seconds. And we're gonna go to this tool here, which is called the circle by 2 or 3 points, kind of a long name, but it's part of the subscribe tools. So when you get the subscribe plugin you'll actually get all four of these. And within here are even more tools that I'm not even covering but you can explore but we're gonna focus on this first one here. And this is how I build using this style.
I'll go over and I'm gonna click once and you see the one there. Then I'm gonna drag over and click on the second location for the second anchor point and I'm gonna click and drag. And you can see how we can adjust it based off of what we see the tool interacting with our cursors. We pull it out and in but it's going off of those two coordinates we laid down. And in this case I want it right about there and I'll let go and it creates a perfect circle, where the tangents are exactly where we want 'em to be.
And that's how I'll build a lot of my content, using this style. So on this one I wanted to start here, right where the circular shape hits this edge. I want it to start here so my first anchor point will be there. I'll drop down to where this other anchor point is from the previous one and then I'll pull my path out in order to get the exact curve and then I'll release it. So that's all I'm doing and then I'll use the same methodology as I used before to build the final art so I'll just select this, select this background shape, we're gonna make a giant moon shape basically as you can see here and then I'll go ahead and take that moon shape, I'll clone it, I'll select this other, inner circular shape.
We'll intersect it to create that part and then all I have to do from this point, is just take these shapes here and just lop off the edge of the main I just built. But that's how I use subscribe. The process goes really fast. The more you use the tool and this is the beauty of it the more you find use for it. And so I'll use this methodology to build all of my artwork as shown here on my base art. I'll go ahead and select everything. I'll clone it command c command f and then I'll go reflect tool, find a center point that's in the center of the design and then this is what I'll use to reflect it, to flip it over, to get all the artwork I need and it's at this point I'll take a tonal family and here's a tonal family I created.
Kinda keep it in mind the Serengeti plains and desert colors and what those look like. A lot of people think the lion in a jungle but actually a lion lives in the sahara, in the desert, in very arid climate so he doesn't really dwell in a jungle. So I wanted to use those kind of true life colors, even though it's not a realistic illustration I want it to imply the realism of the theme so we'll use this. I'll go ahead and color.
And I'm just gonna select these colors from my tonal family. And this is just how I'm gonna go about coloring. Here's another trick. Notice how I try to select this, but sometimes if it's under the edge of another shape it'll be hard to select it. One thing you can do is just simply add a white fill to these shapes temporarily until you fill 'em with the color you want. But in this case, I've drilled down. I figured out the color it was. In this case it's gonna be this color over here. I'm gonna select this shape here.
And I'll color that one this. And I'll color that one this. This is gonna be a little lighter as it goes towards the eye so we're gonna select this but I want it lighter so I'm gonna go ahead and go to color and make sure we're on fill and then I'm gonna adjust the opacity. We'll make the opacity... I want it to be light, but not too light. So we'll do 40. That looks good. And this all I'll do. I'll go through the whole artwork and I'll make these kind of decisions balancing the colors, one with another.
Just to find that nice harmony that works well and is gonna hold up well with the overall design. So let me color a few more of these and you can see this is why I usually fill it with white. It just make selection of color easier. And we'll go ahead and do this last one. I think I want to keep this one the same color, but once again I'll go in and adjust the opacity. Let's go ahead and do the nose. Let's go ahead and do the nose. There we go. So that's the methodology I'll use to go through and color the entire design until I have everything worked out.
Now, on this design specifically. Since it's symmetric and it runs down the middle of the design I kinda used the tonal values and I switched it up. Darker on the right, little lighter on the left. Just to give a little more dimensional aspect to this overall design. I really like the way this looks. But then I thought one little detail would really add a lot to this. So I'm gonna turn this on. This is what I call spot detailing. And it really adds a nice dimensional aspect to this design. Especially in the eyes, let's zoom in on that area so you can appreciate this.
So without the spot detailing, with the spot detailing. And here's again where I'll use the subscribe plugin cause I think it should add some detailing around the cheek so I'm gonna go ahead and grab that same tool. We're gonna go right here on this anchor point and we'll lay down the first anchor point. We'll go to the second one there. And then I'm gonna pull this in. That's about right where I want it. We'll change this to a magenta. We'll change this to a magenta. I'm gonna select this shape here.
And I'm gonna clone it command c command f. We'll go ahead and bring that to the right layer. Now this is where some throwaway shapes are gonna come into play. And we're just creating this shape for no other reason then to combine it with this shape actually. And we'll go to pathfinder. Then we'll do that, then we'll select the circular shape, then we'll trim that off, then we can get rid of this part, which we don't need.
Delete it. And now once we have this sliver shape created I can take the eye dropper and I use this method all the old time. Then I'll just sample one of the other shadings and it applies it to that one. So that's a quick way to do that. We'll clone this command c command f. Find a center point. Use the reflect tool and just reflect it over into place on the other side and so that's how I create those little detailing. And I think it really brings life to this illustration, really adds a nice quality to it.
And so the final artwork on this guy looks like this but it's at this point I think it'd look good if I add one more detail. And I'm gonna turn this off really quick. And you can see I've made a perimeter outline of the whole shape of the lion's head and I've also brought in and placed a texture and it's on this texture I want to run through my artwork. And if I zoom in on this you can appreciate this. You can see what it looks like. I don't want it black. I want this texture to be more immersive with the art in context so I'm gonna select it and I place bitmap tiffs by the way inside Illustrator because they come in transparent and you can colorize them really easy.
Adjust opacity and blend modes and in this case I'm probably gonna give it let's say a brown and this doesn't look it obviously. That's okay because I'm gonna apply a multiply to it anyway and... Let's see... I think I'm gonna adjust the opacity. That doesn't look bad I just think it can be a little more subtle. That looks good. So that's how I'll apply that texture and then I'll take this mask and mask it so it only shows up within the area of the lion's head.
I'm gonna apply one more texture to this one. And this one's more of a splatter texture I created using an old toothbrush. It's a fun way to create a texture by the way so grab India ink, toothbrush, fling your thumb over it and it'll splatter on paper, scan it in, you got a great texture. So that's all I'm doing here on this one. I'm gonna do white and I don't want the intensity. I don't want it solid white so we're gonna go ahead and knock this down to let's try 20.
Maybe a little more. Let's try 25. That looks good. So you can see how it just adds a nice quality to it. I don't worry about masking this since the background's white I don't really need to. But it just adds a lot more character with those kind of textures in it. So anytime I can use texture in a design I always do. Now to show you one additional example using the same methodologies I created a whole series of animals for a client using this style. Here's a gorilla. I love the way this gorilla came out so I love illustrating animals in general.
And a lion is probably in my top 10 list of favorite themes. So pick your favorite animal, invest some time into working out your symmetric drawing so you can capture a compelling contour continuation in your design using the subscribe plugin that I showed you. Don't forget to grab it. It's free so make sure to visit astutegraphics.com and download that plugin, start using it. It makes this type of building so much easier. So thank you for watching the DVG lab and until next time never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
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