Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a bird illustration, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
(upbeat music) - [Voiceover] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. In this movie, I want to go over creating a graphic bird illustration. Now you might have noticed, so far, that I tend to go to this theme and topic a lot, that is birds, because I don't know, there's something about birds that I'm really drawn to, creatively speaking, especially when it comes to illustrating, I love using this theme to create with, it's just fun.
So that's why I keep gravitating towards it, you might have noticed that in a few courses on Lynda, where I've done several birds as examples of one style or another, and I'm going to use it again for this one. Now specifically, for this one, I want to focus on creating a graphic representation of a bird. It's illustrative, but it's very graphic, but, as you're going to see, I think it comes out really elegantly. Now when I approach a style like this, I always refer to the real thing, whether I'm drawing it realistically or not, because I can look at photo reference and drive queues as to shape, as to form, as to what detail I can pull out and simplify in order so that anybody that looks at what I create, immediately recognizes it for what it should be, and in this case, a hummingbird.
This is one of the reference images I looked at, and from all of them, I drew the pose I wanted to create, which is more of a side view pose, but this shows all the elegant forms and shapes kind of inter-playing with one another. And this uses the principle called contour continuation, and what I mean by that, let's go ahead and zoom on this a little bit, is contour continuation, in that, one shape flows into the next shape. So if you look at this wing, this wing edge flows into the back, through this bird, into the bottom of his head, and it intersects with the point where another tangent swoops up into its other part of its head.
You can see the same principle being used elsewhere, flowing through the back, such as right here, and so on and so forth. Now I've done other, what I call segmented illustrations, that really go into this even more, but I wanted this to just be very graphic, very simple but beautiful when it's all said and done. And so this is where I started, and this is where all the creative lifting really comes into play, and this is where you need to invest the most amount of your time.
Anybody can learn tools, but you need to develop your drawing skills so that you can simplify form and shape to give you a road map to build on moving forward. And with that said, I'm going to start building my shapes here. Now my initial shape, using the pen tool, created this. Now if you notice on my layers it says, Messy Process on Several Layers, that's because when I build, not everything is simply step one, do this, step two, do this, step three, you're done.
Well, that'd be nice, it works that way sometimes, but most often, the creative process is pretty messy. I try to simplify it to capture the essence of important points, but I think it's also important to understand that, not everything is that clean as you build. As long as the final result is what you intend, that's all that matters, but along the way, you might go about it what may have seemed very, kind of messy, and that's why I named it that way.
And so what I'm going to do here is, I'm going to clone this shape, and we'll Cmd + C, Cmd + F, and I'm going to clone this bird shape, Cmd + C, Cmd + F, and then on the bird shape, I'm just going to grab these and pull these out. And with this shape selected, and the circular shape selected, I'll go Intersect, and all we've done there is created this little wedge shape for the back of the bird. Now I'll simply take this larger shape, and we'll zoom out here, and I'm going to take that, select the original bird shape, and I'm going to Remove From Shape, or as I like to call it, Punch, using the Pathfinder, and it creates these two independent shapes right now, this one and this one, and we'll put those back.
And so that's all I've done, I've created three separate shapes, as you can see here, and that's how I'll build. So a few steps in order the get the intended end shapes that I want. Now moving forward, I'll keep building on this, and I keep this part here, because I'll use it for other things, such as building this detail on the back here, what I'm going to do is, I'm going to select this shape, and select this shape, clone it, Cmd + C, Cmd + F, Intersect it to get the shape on the back there.
Then I'll select this shape, make sure it's in front, select the original back shape, and now I can actually, we need to make a clone of that, Cmd + C, Cmd + F. And then I can punch this shape out, and then we're going to use this same shape here that I've driven out to create these two sections here. So that's why I needed to make a clone of it. So we'll go ahead and clone that again, and I'll select this shape, I'll clone that, and we'll Intersect it to create that little wedge right there.
And now to create this little wedge, I'm going to take some of the shapes I've already created, such as these, and we're going to hit, and this one, and we're going to go ahead and clone these. Just so you can see what I'm doing, I'm going to fill them with yellow, and we're going to fuse these together. And notice when you do this, when shapes butt fit one another, you kind of get this action in Illustrator. It's somewhat annoying, I wish they would fix this. They don't seem to think it's a problem, and I think it's because the engineers don't build, but that's just my opinion.
There's a couple ways you can get rid of it, sometimes you can hit Unite again, and it will get rid of most of them. But you can see, there's still some in there. The best way, the absolute way to get rid of them, is knowing what I'm going to use this shape for. I don't need to worry about the back. So we're just going to create this, I'll take this shape, and I'll fuse it together. And this is why I say, the process can be sloppy. Because, what am I doing here? This looks horrible. Well, I'm doing all that just so I can select this shape and punch off what I don't need to get the end shape I need.
So that's why the process can get messy. It's okay because it ends up being nice and precise, nice and clean, that's what we want. We're going to keep moving the process forward, and here's some more we're going to build, here's another shape, it's the back of the wing, so we're just going to use this. We'll clone it, Cmd + C, Cmd + F, we'll take this shape, and we're going to the same thing with this shape, we'll go ahead and clone it. And once we have one shape, we can select this, we can punch it through, that gives us just that shape.
Now we want to remain, or keep, just this shape here. So once again, we'll select these two shapes, and go Intersect, and that gives us this shape here. So it's that kind of building. Now I'm going to keep this shape around, because I need it to build the content going out the back. So we'll go ahead and keep moving forward, and this is at the point now where I'm starting to work on the wings. I'm starting to build the content for the wings, and you can see how I've built most of them here.
Now one thing I'm going to do is, I'll use Smart Guides, so if I hover over a point, you can see it tells me I'm over a path, or if I go over here I'm over an anchor point. That's important, because it assists in this building. So now I get tactile feedback, this point won't move, because it's telling me there's an anchor point there. So I'm going to click it, and then I'm going to come over here, and I'm going to click it a little past the path here, like this, then I'll go take the PathScribe tool.
You can even use the Anchor Point tool here, in CC and above, to so the same thing, but I always use PathScribe by Astute Graphics, it's part of their VectorScribe plug in. Because, in my opinion, it just works better, I like it. And I'm just going to bend that path to create the shape of this wing. Then I'm going to take this shape, I'm going to take this part of that wing, and we'll go ahead and take the back here. And I'm going to clone all these, I'll color them orange so you can see what's going on.
I'm going to unite them all into one shape, once again, kind of a messy process, all so we can just grab this path and lop off what we don't need to get what we do need, which is this end wing shape. Then I'll take this shape, I'll clone this, Cmd + C, Cmd + F, and I'll take this shape that's still overlapping, a little is showing here. We'll lop off that to clean it up, to get the artwork that we need. Now I'll use that same methodology on these, where I'll just go click, click, click, like this.
I'll use the PathScribe tool, and I'll bend these out, once again, you can use the Anchor Point tool here if you want to do it, if you don't have the plug in, that is. Everything I show you, you can do without the plug ins, I just use the plug ins, because they make the process go faster, in my opinion. And we'll clone this, Cmd + C, Cmd + F, select this, lop off what we don't need. And this is the simple way I go about building, when it's all said and done, I end up with all my base vector shapes, as showing here.
And this is where, I'll now, start to think about coloring, and this is where a tonal family comes in. And this is where I want to look at things and determine how exactly am I going to start coloring things? What am I going to color things? Well, I wanted this really colorful, if we go back to our source image, our reference, that is, you can see that there's a lot of colors in here, blues, greens, yellows, reds, some browns and some like silver color.
And we're going to capitalize on the uniqueness of the color of a bird like this, and we're going to do it by using a tonal value family that defines what colors are going to be what. And our darkest color is going to be a dark blue. So what I would do is, I would go in, on my base vectors, like this, and I would just start colorizing all of my vector shapes. So if we go in like this, I'll take the Ink Drop tool, and I'll just start coloring my artwork the way I intended it to be, the colors I want it to be.
Like this. And we'll go ahead and keep coloring on this one, and that'll be white, and obviously the highlight will be white. And so it's this simple process I'll use, and I actually use the Eye Dropper tool just the way I'm showing it, just because it makes the process go faster. It's just easier. This on the breast plate, we're going to make that white, but we're going to come back to it later. And we'll go ahead and select this back color, this will be green, this one will be a darker green.
And I'm not going to go through and do all these, but this is the process I'll use to colorize them. When it's all said and done, what I end up with is base colors like this. And now this is where it starts to get really fun, this is where I can go in on a design like this, if I select this, all of these have been colored the same, this is the same hue. So I have, if I go to Swatches, you can see I have this color swatch selected. If I select on this one, it's the same color swatch, I just have the opacity set to 50%.
And so what I'm going to do, because hummingbirds move their wings really fast, I'm going to select this wing, and I'm going to go to Blend mode, and I'm going to set it to like Multiply. And notice how you get this nice overlap effect going on, and that's all I'm doing here, is I'm setting all of these wing shapes to multiply. And you can see the illusion it gives, we'll go ahead select these, and we'll go to the Transparency, and we'll go to Multiply, and you see you get this nice dynamic of kind of that movement.
It adds a little element of movement, and that's all I'm doing here, is creating that illusion. Now it was at this point, I'm looking at this bird, and I'm going, something's not feeling right. And I think what it is, is I didn't like, even though I was going off of a photograph, and it was somewhat accurate to some of the reference I looked at, I thought these down here looked a little weird, and so this is where I made an art directive decision. I went ahead and I edited my art, took out the ones on the bottom and then added an additional wing up here, and I love this way more.
And it was once I made this decision, then I started working on detailing, and the detailing is simple. If I click this on, notice I have some highlights here, but it's simple detailing. I've taken this color, which is just this muted, kind of has a little bit of blue in it, gray, so it's a cool gray, and I've taken that, and I can take a shape like this, and now I can assign this a Multiply. And watch what it does as it goes over those colors, it adds this nice shadowing.
I can take this one and do the same thing, add Multiply to it, and it adds a nice shadowing that runs through all the colors. And I'm just going to use this same principle on all these little subtle areas of shading. Let's go ahead and zoom in so you can see how this looks, so we'll select this one. This is what it looks like before, and once we select it, go to Multiply. You can see how nice it adds that element of shading and detail to that. We can use that principle on these two shapes, and we'll do the same thing, where Multiply will be applied to even a dark color like the blue, and add a nice little subtle element of shading to that.
We'll add Multiply to that, and this is the principle I'll use to create some nice subtle detailing. I don't go overboard, because this is graphic, I don't want it pushing too model, I want to keep it simple and somewhat flat. That said, the only element in this that uses a gradient is the breast of the bird. Because, without it, it kind of blended into the background, if I remove this, this is what it'd look like with no blend. You can see the white shape here, this is with the shape with the blend in it, and it just defines that edge.
And it's subtle enough that, usually I tend to avoid gradients, if I can. I like flat colors and shading with flat colors, but in this case it works well. So my final design, my final bird, ended up looking like this, and I really like it. And when I showed it to my daughter, she looked at this, and she said, God, that looks like something you would see on an airline, and I go, oh, that's perfect. And so that gave me an idea for a sample usage, and so it became HumAir. I wish I could sell this to an airline, that's be great, but this just shows you that this type of design could be used for a context like this.
I could see a high tech company using a mark like this as well. My goal was to take an organic form, like a hummingbird, and simplify the forms so they create a nice graphic elegance. I think I achieved that, and the color really pushed the whole design over the top, in my opinion. The heavy lifting, creatively speaking, once again, on this design, is handled in the drawing stage. So take the time to work out your forms, to whatever type of bird you decide to create, and I think you'll be surprised by your own results.
Thank you for watching, DVG Lab, and until next time, remember, never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.