Learn three fundamental methods on how to construct your base vector shapes in Adobe Illustrator.
- [Voiceover] The first stage of vector painting has nothing to do with vector whatsoever. It has to do with drawing. I've showed you that with all the rough sketches that I created for all the artwork in this course in a previous movie. And this is one of those sketches that I showed you where I've placed it into Illustrator. And this is what I call a glorified doodle. This is not a refined sketch. It's just well enough to guide me in terms of my vector building because I don't have to be super precise and clean in this style, it's very forgiving because the style in and of itself is loose.
And this is gonna lend itself to the final aesthetic of the art. Now, I should point out that this was actually the very first vector painting art that I ever did, and it was an experimentation on my own. I didn't even know what I was doing when I started, but as I started creating and working on it, I figured out a methodology, at least a rough methodology, that worked well in approaching this kind of look and feel. But this is all where it started, my sketch. I scan in it.
And in this case, I'm just gonna go ahead and set the opacity for this. And I do this on everything. Whether I'm creating a logo or an illustration, or an icon, I always scan in my sketch, place it on its own layer, adjust the opacity so it guides me, but it doesn't get in my way. And now, on a layer above it, is where I can create my base artwork. Now, in a lot of my other courses, if you watch my logo course, I'm very precise with how I form and shape things because that tends to be the style most logos are built in, most icons are built in.
It's going to be clean and precise and maybe even geometric in its form. This is very loose, this can have a loose feel to it. And so there's different ways you can create your base art. You don't have to use the pen tool. I'm going to show you several ways you can create your base art. The first one I want to show you is what's called the Blob Brush. And that's this one here. Some of you might have never used the Blob Brush. If we double click into it, there are settings and controls here. We're going to adjust the size of it, and put it down, we'll try 3 to begin with, and everything else I'll just leave at default.
We're just adjusting the size of the nib, you could say, of the blob brush itself. And we're going to click OK. Now we're going to zoom in on an area of this. In this case, it's going to be his ear. And we're going to draw out the shape of his ear. Now, when I create base vector artwork, I like using a magenta line. So I'm going to click a graphic style I have set up, which just forms and creates a magenta line, as shown here in the swatches palette. And this just happens to be at a 0.5 points.
That's the graphic style I like to use. So we're gonna select the brush and with this stroke set to this magenta color, we're just gonna go ahead, and you just simply draw out your shape. Once again, I'm letting the drawing guide me, but I'm not worrying about being super precise to align with it. And that's as fast as it can go. Now you can see, some of it kind of simplified. If I go back to the blob brush, you can make selections. In this case, it's set for a mid-value in terms of its accuracy.
You could go... so it even simplifies it more to smooth. What I want really is I want it to be accurate to what I see on screen. So I'm gonna move it all the way to the left, click OK, and I'm gonna delete this, and we're gonna do it again. Because I want it to be what I'm seeing on screen. I don't want an algorithm to figure out what my aesthetic is, I'll figure that out as I draw it. And so you get a more precise representation and all this is now is a blob brush creates shapes.
It doesn't create strokes, so if I go to keyline view, you can see all this is is a thin, kind of noodle shape, but it's not a stroke. So I usually select the inner one, and I delete it. I take this, I go back to graphic styles and I just turn it into an outline. But that's how I can create all the shapes needed. In this case, I create the center one, the inside part of his ear, like this. The blob brush is very forgiving where you can go back, and you can add to it like this and it will just kind of fuse everything together.
It's a nice kind of simple way to work. So, once again, if I go to keyline, this is just a shape, and I'll just select the inner shape I don't need. And I can turn it to an outline. So that's one way you can do your base art. You can draw it all out using the blob brush. I'm using a mouse, if you have a Cintiq, for example, and a stylus, it's going to be even easier to use this. So we're going to switch to the pencil tool. And I'm going to go to a layer for the pencil tool now.
And we'll go over into our Tool palette. And this is the pencil tool here, so I'll click it. And once again, you can double click it and it has settings. In this case I do want it to be accurate, so I'm going to move it all the way over to accuracy. But if you want it smoother, you can play with these settings and see what you prefer. I prefer it being accurate to what I see on screen as I'm drawing with the tool. And I click OK. Now, in years past, I wouldn't have recommended using this tool because frankly it did not work well at all.
But, they've come back to it, they've refined it, they've improved it, and now it does work fairly well. And this, when you draw with it, does create as its final art when you release it and let go of it, it creates a stroke. So, if you want to work this way, this is a fast way to draw out all the shapes you need. Like this. So I created the inner ear and the outer ear in a matter of seconds. And this doesn't matter if it's rough and it doesn't align exactly with our underlying drawing.
Once again, the underlying drawing is a thumbnail sketch. It's just to merely kind of guide us. We don't have to adhere to it so precisely, like a logo, or anything that's geometrically perfect. So, you can use the blob brush, you can use the pencil tool. So now we're going to move to the pen tool. And, if you choose to build it this way it might go a little slower, so we'll go to the pen tool. But you still don't have to be precise. So we can use the pen tool and just kind of build unprecisely, if you will.
Don't worry about if it's perfectly curved, you know. Actually, if you want to purposely make it irregular in terms of its shape, like I'm doing, that's going to be fine, because it's going to aid to the overall look and feel when it's all said and done. So that's all I'm doing here. I'm not worrying about anything being perfect. It's all about irregular. It adds to the overall aesthetic. And once again, within seconds, I have my final art. And, this is actually the way I built all the base vectors for this design.
I did use the pen tool, although, if you wanted to use the pencil tool or the blob brush tool, you could easily use that as well to create everything you need. Now that I have the base art, I'll be able to move forward and colorize it, and start adding my brushes. Now, on some other designs, so if we go to this one, this is a piece of fruit, a pear. And this is my base art for this. Once again, I created this with the pen tool in order to get it a little more precisely, but, as I discussed in previous movies, if I zoom in on areas of this, I'm going to end up rounding the corners specifically on the leaves to make my paths, my vector brushes wrap around those well.
So, it all comes down to what you prefer in terms of your creative process for this style. If you like the blob brush the more you use it, you might really enjoy it. It's actually great for creating irregular kind of shapes and artwork, and it works really well. The pencil tool is good, too. And the pen tool. So it comes down to your personal preference. Not all vector artwork, obviously, needs to be clean, sharp, and perfectly rendered. Especially when the final style is loose and expressive, like vector painting is.
Your base art can be constructed using any of these three tools I covered. So, figure out which one works best for your creative process.
Graphic designer Von Glitschka appreciates the endless brush stroke freedom that real-world brushes offer, and he knows how to replicate this offering in the digital world. In this course, he shows how to create your own custom, handmade brush strokes and import them into Adobe Illustrator. Von demonstrates how to compile and use custom brush strokes to achieve both a hand-painted aesthetic and a personal touch. Whether you're a painter, a designer, or just a fan of Illustrator, this course offers instructions on how to expand your use of Illustrator.
- Painting real brush strokes
- Transforming real brush strokes into digital brush strokes
- Importing brush strokes
- Creating bitmap surface textures
- Modifying vectors
- Compiling patterns, shapes, and strokes
- Working with layers and blend modes
- Using vector brushes