Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating with the blob brush, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
- [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. In this movie, I want to go over creating with the Blob Brush. Now this is a tool I've been using a lot this past year, more than any other year previous, just because I found a really good usage for it, which I'm going to document in this movie. Now the methodology for creating a cover in this movie is a relatively new process for me like I just said, it's one I discovered that works really well for doing quick shading and highlight detail on more organic styled artwork.
As with most of my projects, analog methods facilitate a digital workflow, and you're going to see that within the creation of the art I'm going to show you here. Now my inspiration for the artwork I'm going to be creating is all based off of tikis. Tiki sculptures and anything that looks native like this, these are Hawaiian tikis specifically here, but it's the theme that I capture in the artwork I'm going to create. Now with everything I create, it all starts with simple drawing, and in this case, thumbnail sketch, and so you can see a thumbnail sketch here, and this is just to capture the essence of an idea.
Anybody, and I mean anybody, can do a thumbnail sketch. And all thumbnail means, is a simple small sketch. This wasn't huge. What you see on screen is probably a lot larger than what my actual sketch was. My actual sketch was about a little over an inch by an inch wide up in the right hand corner of a notepad actually. And I knew I wanted to create a tiki based artwork for the set I was developing that was kind of almond shaped, and then have little fronds of, you know, leaves coming out from the corner areas, so this captured that essence.
Is it my final art? Is it going to help me to create the final precise vectors that I'll end up creating in this project? No, it's just the initial step in the creative process, to get that idea and start moving it forward. I'll take this and then looking at this, I'll then sketch out something more refined, so here's a more refined version of this same sketch. If I zoom in on this really quickly, you can see I just drew half of it because it's symmetric, and then in Photoshop I scanned it in, and just flipped it just to get the full piece of artwork.
And it's at this point I'm going to move back to analog, and I actually print this out, I actually print out a whole sheet of them about six on one eight and a half piece of paper horizontally, and then with that, I just grab my favorite ink pen right now for doing inking, a Pilot Pocket Brush Pen, I just love 'em, and you can see me starting to ink this artwork here for this specific design. You see another design already inked on the left hand side, and you can see behind this paper, this is on my light pad that I used to ink on, underneath you can see drawings of other ones that you'll end up seeing in the final art in this set that I'm creating.
So it's a lot of fun to ink. Could I do this digitally, could I use a specific pen and maybe go into Photoshop and ink it with a certain kind of brush? Sure, you could do that. I just prefer tactile, it just goes a lot faster. This took me maybe 20 minutes to ink out the final inking that you're going to see next. So my final brush work ends up being this, and this is actually the actual TIF image that I scanned in and placed into Illustrator, and this TIF image is 800 PPI, pixels per inch.
So I scan it in at a very high resolution. Once it's placed into Illustrator, then we can go up to Window, we'll pull down to Image Trace, that will bring up the Image Trace window. And I want to click on Advanced because by default, that might be off. And when you don't have your image selected, it greys everything out, so we'll want to select our scanned in bitmap TIF image, and now we have these options on the Image Trace window. The first one you want to do is everything that's white in your image, I want it to be transparent.
I don't want that to be an actual filled shape with white, so I always click on Ignore White. I want this to be as tight as possible because I inked it exactly the way I want it to look, so I'll bring this all the way up to 100, and then I don't want the algorithm to leave out any nice little bumps and knicks in my line work, so I'll bring this all the way down the lowest setting here. And now I'll click Trace. And it's going to ask you a warning. This is okay, you can just click Do not show again because it assumes you might not know what you're doing.
I don't know why they put these in here, but they're here, so do that, click Okay, and you can get rid of that. So it'll show you a quick preview, now you haven't committed to it yet. Basically you have to say yes, I like how it's looking, so let's go ahead and use that. You can close the Image Trace panel now, and then up at the top in the Menu Bar, you're going to have to click Expand. All Expand is, is it's saying yes, I like how it traced it, now give me access to the final vector art, and we'll click Expand, and you'll see now if I go to Cue Line View, how it is all vector based, and if I hold Command down, you can see it has an insane amount of anchor points.
Now I'm going to go over to the PathScribe panel, which is a plug in by Astute Graphics, I'm going to click on it, and I'm doing this just so I can have this shape selected, and once again, look at how many anchor points are on this, it's nuts. Actually let's go ahead and zoom in on this, just so you can really understand the context here. That's a lot of anchor points, it's just an insane amount of anchor points, and if you look at the count over here on the PathScribe panel, it'll tell you how many anchor points. We have 12,399.
We want to simplify this, so I'll go up to Object, I'll pull down to Path, and I'll go over to Simplify, that'll bring up this window and then with this window, I'm going to go ahead and set it for, let's do 98, I don't want it to change a lot, I just want it to change enough. Actually let's do 50 first, and then I'm going to click Preview, and you can see that we have originally 12,399 anchor points and set at 50%, you can see how it once again destroys the art, you don't want that, so we're going to go up so it just takes about enough to make it manageable 98.
And then if I click on Preview, this is what it was, this is what it is, and you can see it's now only 1,337 anchor points and the artwork still looks good, so that's fine, we'll go ahead and click okay. That's a reasonable amount, you can close that. And so it's at this point, once I have my artwork, I'll now, since it's in the black and white form, I'll go ahead and print this out, and that takes me back to Analog. And the whole reason I do this is even though I haven't colorized it yet, I'm going to work out my shading based off of the shape and forms I have of my artwork now.
And that's what I do, I print it out, I just take a pencil and I start working out how is my shading going to be affected on the shapes within the context of my motif? And I just draw those out. And I'm going to visually look at this when I get to the coloring stage with the Blob Brush, it's going to help guide my efforts, and so that's the next stage we're going to do, is we're going to start working on the coloring, I like to work out my tonal families, so here's my tonal families, all the colors on the left side here are the base colors, it's what I'm going to fill these shapes in.
Actually let's go ahead and do this. We'll go ahead and zoom in on this so you can see it a little better. And I'm going to start filling in these shapes, so these are all leave shapes so we're going to go ahead and just select all of those, and I'm going to grab the eye dropper tool because I'm just going to literally sample these swatches I've created out here, these filled colors, and I'll just sample 'em, and it just makes coloring go a little bit faster, so I'll select a few other shapes that I want to make green.
And since I have green already, I can sample that to apply the green, and that's all I'm going to do, I'm just going to select all the shapes that I plan on keeping the same color, in this case I want to make all of these this kind of orange-ish red color. And now I'm going to pick everything that I'm going to make kind of my gold color, so we'll go ahead and select all these shapes, and we'll sample the gold. That looks good.
And then the eyes. I want those to be blue. Let's see, maybe his cheeks can be blue too. And the inside here, the nose, we'll make it this lighter brown color, and then we'll colorize the lips purple, and we'll make the top purple. And this shows all the established flat colors within this motif. Now the last color I want to apply to this is, I don't want the outline to stay black, I want it to be more organic, tikis are mainly wood that are carved, sometimes they're painted, but I don't want black, it's too stark, so we're going to make this this nice kind of reddish brown color, and you can see how just all of those colors really go well together, and the combinations work really well.
So what we're going to do now, is I'm going to go ahead and do some of the Blob Brush coloring, so I'm going to go ahead and turn on another level here. And what we're going to do, make sure we're on that level, is we're going to go ahead over to the Blob Brush, which you can find under the Paintbrush tool, you'll find the Blob Brush, we'll just select it. And we're going to double-click it and check what the settings are, so right now it's set at one, which I think might be good, and Accuracy is, you want it Accurate.
If you bring it over to Smooth, it, you can draw on screen the way you want, but then it will interpret it, rather than do exactly what you drew, and I want it to do exactly what I draw, so we're going to leave all these settings in place, and click Okay. And the first thing I'm going to do, I'm going to go ahead and shade the eye, so I'm going to zoom in on the eye. And right now, I want to use a color that's not this blue color, it can be any color other than the colors around it.
So what I'm going to do, is I'm going to use a color that I'm not using in the design, which is this kind of magenta pink color, then I'll select the Blob Brush, and now I'm just going to draw my shading exactly the way I want it, in this case, like this. And it creates this shape like that, and then I can select the inner part and just delete what I don't need. And that's all I'm going to do with the Blob Brush, and you can see it has that same kind of wobble-ness as my line work from my inking, and that's why I'm using it, it's very compatible with the style.
So I'll select the shape of the eye, and I'm going to clone it, Command C, Command F, I have that assigned to the F3 key, via Keyboard Shortcuts, so I'll hit that, create a clone the shape, select the shape I just painted, and then in Pathfinder do intersect here, click that, and it gives me my final shape. And now it's at this point, let's go ahead and zoom out, it's at this point I can then take the Eye Dropper and color that the darker shaded color to pull off the shading on that shape. And that's the methodology I'm going to go ahead and use on everything to create all the shapes here, so I'm just going to go ahead and quickly create all the shading for all the various shapes here, so we'll do this one, which we'll make up this purple, we'll select the purple, we're going to clone that shape, select this, intersect it, and then we can go over here and sample that color for that.
We can go ahead and do, let's go ahead and do this, we don't have purple anywhere, so it's okay if we're not using the pink color, just as long as the purple doesn't go over any other purple color. If it does, it'll fuse to that color since it's the same one. In this case we don't have to worry about that, we're not working with purple anywhere close. I'll go head and select the magenta color again, and I'm just going to create some of the other detailing here, so we'll do this, which will be this shadowing on this part of his nose.
And then at the bottom of the nose, I want the shadowing to kind of go like this. Once again, it's going to create a line because that's what we're painting, and you can just select the inner part and just hit Delete to delete it like this. We'll go ahead and unite these, that way we can take the nose, clone the nose shape, select the shading we drew for the nose, intersect it, and it ends up being the exact shape we need, we can go over here, sample the darker red, and you can see the shading it creates, now we're going to create a few more pieces of the shading, we'll select the pink.
I'm going to do above the eye and below the eye, so we'll go like this. And we'll do the shape right underneath the eye like that. And once again, it's okay if it's a little sloppy. It's very forgiving, the style, and now I'm going to clone this shape, select the shading on the top eyelid. And select this shape, clone it, intersect it with that, and I'll select these two shapes, it'll make up the shading of this, and I'll apply the darker color to those shapes.
So you can see how this methodology is working, oh actually let's go ahead and do the leaf 'cause this is a little different in terms of the shading here. I just want to create a little more volume on the leaf, so let's select this color, and I'm just going to create, kind of cut it in half, but by doing so, when I color it, it'll give it some nice volume, some nice dimensions, so. Do this.
(clicking) If you watch me create artwork just in the raw without commentary, there's a lot of dead space where I'm not really saying much because I'm just working, I usually don't talk unless I'm talking to my cat when I'm working, but in this case, we're going to intersect this again, and now we can go over here, actually let's zoom out, grab the Eye Dropper, and we'll sample that color.
So I'll use this, oops I forgot one, we forgot the top of his head here with this, so I'll select this, select that, intersect it, and we will apply the shading on that one as well. So now that you can see that's the methodology I use to do all the shading, and I'm going to go ahead and actually it's at this point, I will at times reference I should say, the shading that I drew out on my paper.
I don't place it into the application like this, but I put this here so if you want to open up this exercise file and attempt to do the same thing on this artwork, this will help guide you so you know where you need to shade. But I just look at my printout as I'm doing this to help guide my shading. When it's all said and done, all the shading in place looks really good, you can see what it looks like here. I'll go and toggle this on and off, so without and with, and you can see how much it breathes life to it.
Now the same principle applies to highlighting, and all highlighting is, is taking light and adding highlights to certain areas using the same methodology, so you can see white on the nose here, all this is, is white fill, 30% opacity. So all I have to do is take a color that I'm not using in my design, in this case we'll do the top edge of his mouth here like this. And then, once again, we just have to select the inner part, get rid of it, select the base mouth shape, clone that, Command C, Command F, select the shape we just drew with the Blob Brush, intersect it, and now with this we can select white and we can set this one, probably the same opacity, 30%, and that looks really good.
And we'll do one more here. We'll select that color, select the Blob Brush. I'm going to zoom in on the eye here, and we'll just do a nice little highlight right at the top of the eye. Like this. Once again, this isn't hard, anybody can do this. Select the eye shape, clone it, Command C, Command F, or if you have keyboard shortcuts set up, I have three, and intersect, color it white, and in this case, I'll do 40.
That looks good. And that's how I'll go about creating all the detail on this artwork, using the Blob Brush to draw it out. Now notice I use different opacity settings for different colors. If the color's a darker shade, I'll use a lighter tint of white for example. On the eye, I used a different shade of highlight for the bottom edge of his closed eye, just because I want to re-inforce that and have it pop out more a little bit than this highlight on the top edge of the eye.
So, just thinking about it like that, and thinking about your light sources obviously going to help. Light source here is top, shining down, therefore all the highlights are on the top, all the shadowing is under what I'm assuming is a shape, such as his cheeks in my mind are sticking out further than these green areas, therefore there's a shadow underneath 'em, so if you just think like that, think traditionally in terms of your light source, it's going to help guide your efforts when you go about shading it, but this was a lot of fun.
So my final coloring looks really great. I like it, it was a lot of fun to create. But in the final context of my design, these are going to be icons used in iOS, specifically for Apple Messages, eventually I think it'll roll out to the full system. So they all had to be square format, and you can see this is close, but it wasn't quite there. So it's at this point that I'll take my artwork, and I'm going to go ahead and just size it, so we're going to go up to Transform here, and right now it's 244.564 points, so we're going to punch in a dimension that I know is going to work here visually, and this is to align with this box I have created, which is the size spec for the set I'm creating.
And so once I get one in there, I'm going to copy it and just paste it into this one. And you can see now, if I click off of this, it's now contained within that shape, it's now a perfect square in terms of its proportion. And so I created a whole set of these tiki guys in the same style, using the same tonal family I should point out. All the same methodology for shading, using the Blob Brush, and it was a fun set to create, and if you want to check this out, you can actually go to the iTunes store.
And if you search for a sticker set called Mahalo, this name right here, you can actually put it on your iPhone and start using it, comes with this nice wallpaper. So this was a fun project to work on, the methodology using the Blob Brush is really great, and I approached a client of mine who does dental art because I had so much fun doing this and said, hey these guys are smiling, they have a lot of teeth showing, how about if I do a sticker set for you guys, and it's all based off of tikis, and they went for it, so I'm actually going to be doing a few more of these guys, so I'm looking forward to doing that.
And if you haven't tried using the Blob Brush, I encourage you to use it. It's an easy way to create this type of shading and detail, whether it's specifically shadows or highlights, I think you're going to have a lot of fun. And you can actually do the line work using the Blob Brush if you really wanted to. So if you have any question about anything you've seen or would like to suggest a future topic to be covered in the DVG Lab, send me an email at questions at DVG Lab dot com. As always, thank you for watching DVG Lab, and until next time, never stop drawing.
Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
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.