Learn how to create engaging art through creating your own reference and borrowing detail from a photo.
(gears grinding) - [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. I like keeping my workflow as practical as I can. Not all deadlines are the same and some are really restrictive, so I need to be efficient with my time. I recently had to create some graphics for a packaging project and I wanted to show you a few shortcuts that helped me produce the artwork needed quickly.
So let's jump into this. This image that you see here was reference that I pulled up, because I had to illustrate some fruit. I had to illustrate initially lemons and then other ones rolled out from that as well. But I started with lemons. They wanted kind of a simplistic style. But the one thing in the brief that was given to me is the fruit had to look dynamic. Meaning it had to be in a perspective that kind of looked like it was coming towards the viewer.
And this is OK from general reference point of view, but it wasn't capturing the angles that I wanted. And even though I didn't have to do this in a photorealistic style, I still wanted good reference to make the process easier. Because ironically when you work with agencies sometimes you have hours to pull something off, not days, and that was the case here. I had to have it done by the end of the day, I had to do all these different things, and I didn't have a lot of time to spend. So I was really racking my brain and I could sit down and start sketching for hours and then something hit me and I just came up with an idea and sometimes that's how solving problems really happens, it's when you're in that crunch and you're able to pop into that level of thinking that gets that eureka moment.
And that's when the eureka moment hit me. I went out to our kitchen, I grabbed an apple, cut it in half, grabbed some toothpicks, grabbed a lemon, and sliced out the slices that I wanted, and then I just used this as my staging ground to take photographs. So I propped it up on the apple as shown here on the left and then I photographed it for reference sake as shown on the right. And this is the kind of dynamic perspective they wanted.
And so I used this methodology to get the perfect reference that could help my creative process move along a lot faster. So with that photograph of the element in the right perspective it was just merely drawing on top of it, it's a light pad that I actually used, to create the line work. And this line work became the basis for building my vector-based art. So you can see this is just simple geometric shapes. This isn't really hard to pull of this style in terms of vector building, but this is exactly how I approached it, how I went about creating all the base vector artwork.
Once I had that I could then go ahead and create all my coloring based off of this. So this is all my artwork in place, so all I'm going to do now is I'm going to colorize it. Since this is a lemon you can see the color hues I have set up over here and I derived this by looking at reference to see how things are colored on a lemon in order to pull this off. But in this case it was easy. I wanted the base color of the lemon here on its peel is going to be this color here.
So that's nice, but because the lighting is kind of coming from the top right shining down it needs to get dark over here. So it's a combination of wanting to blend it from here to here. So this shape is actually going to be a blend. If I go to the Gradient Tool here you can see, if I position this, the darker hue is going to fall at the base and is going to blend up into this lighter hue. So it uses these two colors to make up the final blend color. But that's how I worked that out in terms of getting the correct hue here.
Now on this one, this is where it's not a complete white, I didn't want it to be that stark. It's actually a very subtle yellow. And so that's why I used this color to create that base. And then the peel itself is a different hue than the inner part of the pulp I guess what it is, and on that we're going to go ahead and color that this color. So you can see it makes a nice rind of sorts as it moves inward.
We're going to take the inside, which is the actual fruit part here, and this part is going to be colorized right here and it's kind of a muted color. Now you might be wondering what this square is over here. Well this is the hue that I'm using to create my shading. I didn't want it to be vibrant and I found when you create, I call it a muddled hue, where it has a lot of the base color yellow in it if you look up here in the CMYK in the Color palette here, you can see it has base, let's actually go here and on this we'll go ahead and click into this, so you can see it a little better.
It has a lot of yellow in it, but it has some red, because we want it somewhat orangy, but a yellow is never a perfect orange or a perfect yellow, it has some blue into it as well. So this is the combination. But I wanted to make it muddy, so I added a little more blue to the overall color and that gives me this color. So I can select this subtle shading. I'm going to go ahead and color it that. But I'm not going to leave it there.
I don't want it that obvious, so we're going to go ahead and go to Multiply blend mode on that, but the value is way too strong, so we're going to knock this back 70% to 30%. And it creates a nice, subtle shading. That's what I want, that's going to work really well. Now on the inside elements, once again, the styling on this is very stylistic, so I'm going to take these simple strokes, we'll double-click into it, we're in isolation mode, as you can see up here, and we'll select those.
And on these ones we're going to go ahead and make these white, but I'm going to go up to the profile here and I'm going to select this tapering on the profile, and then let's go ahead and zoom in, so you can really see what's going on. So you can see what it's done here, it's made these little sliver shapes, which is going to replicate that kind of thin pulpiness that you see on fruit like this. And we'll go to Strokes, because we want these to be quite a bit bigger. And we'll go ahead and punch 3.6 on this and I think that's going to look good.
Now on all of these I don't want them to be true white, I want some of that nice yellow color coming through to it, so we'll go back to the Transparency here, it's 100 value, and we're going to knock this back by half to 50, like this. And you can see what you end up with there. I think that looks good. Now the last detailing trick I'm going to do is I'm going to select this, we're going to cheat a little bit, and I have, let's see, we'll go to our Graphic Styles, and right here I have this blend that I'm going to apply to that, the styling.
You can see what it looks like here. And if I go ahead and just align it to that, we'll go ahead and align this. This sits on top of everything. We'll go to the Gradient Tool and right now, have to be on the fill, right now it's set up like this and if we look at the gradient, let's go ahead and open that, you can see it blends from this base yellow into a white alpha zero, meaning this white color has no opacity.
This color has 100%. And overall the shape is set to Multiply and 20%. But we want to position the shading on this to be something more like this, so it's overlapping part of it and then it blends out to zero alpha. But it just adds that subtle hue to push that farther back, since it's further away from your eye and it helps that illusion while keeping in the style. So that's how I created it all based off of a simple photographic reference that I took.
So always think of ways you can save time to do that. That's how I saved time regarding this. Now I reuse this, obviously it worked for a lemon. But a lemon, a lime, and an orange are the same kind of slice when you cut them. They're just different hues. So I just applied the different hue methodology in a different value to each of them. And I got three fruits out of one. I created a bunch of fruit for this project, so this shows other things where I used a lot of the same principles here to pull of the styling on all of these.
Now one of the projects that I was working on required me to do a whole fruit or a whole orange. Now an orange is the easiest of all shapes, so looking at a reference of an orange you can see how it looks like in its full form before it's sliced with its stem, with the surface texture and everything. But this is the easiest fruit of anything to build, 'cause all it is is a circle. So that's like a no-brainer. This doesn't take a lot of hard effort to create, it's just a simple circle.
So all we're going to do is we're going to go ahead and fill that with our base color, this orange color. And then I'm going to go up and here is all the parts of the stem, if I turn off the base color you can see I'm aligning it with my underlying drawing, I created that to guide my vector building. So once I have it built it just comes down to simply colorizing it. So we're going to go ahead and select these colors. And I'll go ahead and if I turn on the Tonal Family you can see we have our colors over here.
I can take the eyedropper, select the shape, apply the color, select the base of the stem, apply the color, select the top, apply the color, and this is a simple way to color and we're using the hues to create the planes, to create the dimension. The top is lighter, because light is hitting it. The stem is a little darker, because less light is hitting it. And the leaves are just a darker hue altogether. We've also taken the same shape that we've created the base of this stem and we've rotated it just a little and we're going to apply another fill to it and this is also, if we select this and go to our Transparency palette, you can see it's Multiply and the value is set for 55, and that'll work as a little cast shadow from those leaves.
So that's how we'd create that element. The next part we're going to do is we're going to create that kind of puckering surface. So if we turn off the base you can see how these lines come in here and it's like where the stem is emerging from. We want to create that illusion. And so what we're going to do here is we're going to take this shape and we're going to go ahead and fill that with that base color. And then on this one over here we're simply going to apply a blend to it.
And we'll apply that. And if I go to the Gradient palette all we're going to do, you have to make sure you're on fill, is since it's coming from a darkened area we're going to position it towards where it's coming from, like this, and then you can get that nice illusion. The next thing we're going to do is take these little slivers that were made from the base shape we created and we're going to take these slivers and on these we'll go ahead and apply a very subtle blend mode Multiply and they're 45, the Opacity is set to Multiply.
So that just creates part of those, I think this blend is too far, so let's go ahead and edit that. I think that could be pulled back. Maybe that, yeah, that looks better. So that's all I'll do going all the way around. And so you end up with something that looks like this that replicates that detailing on an orange. Let's turn on more of the surface part here and you can see what we have here is we have some of the detailing that represents the texture of the surface on the back.
These are just simple ellipse shapes and we're going to apply a fill to it, the darker hue of the orange as shown here in the Swatches palette. It's set to Multiply and 55 value. And then down here we have the same kind of gradient going from the darker hue to the base color and if we go to the Gradients palette it blends out to the base color, the color is set to zero Opacity. And if you watch my course Drawing Vector Graphics: Color and Detail I go over all these methodologies of blend modes and how to set up your opacities to work really well.
But we're going to take this sliver now with the eyedropper and that's going to be applied just to create that nice illusion down below. You can see we have the same type of illusion above. It just goes from a lighter hue of the base color here, if I select this you can see what that color is. If I go up here it's the base color, but it's only 23% tint and it blends out to the base color opacity of zero, if I click on this. And then we do the same treatment on the edge with a subtle highlight.
So I thought this was looking really good at this point, but there was part of it that I was going, it needs a little more, it needs a highlight of the surface texture. And it was easy enough to create these little shapes on the left, but how am I going to pull that off? And then that's when I just set it aside and was thinking about it, looked at the reference, studying it, and then it hit me, I realized the answer was staring right at me. So we're going to switch to Photoshop, I'm going to show you something really quick. We're going to wrap this up and you're going to love how this turns out.
So let's switch to Photoshop. So we're in Photoshop now and we're taking a look at the same reference photograph of the orange. But what I want to do is turn this into a black and white image without changing the mode of the file, meaning the mode of the file is RGB, I don't want to change the whole file to black and white. And so in an RGB we can just select a layer and go down to here and pick Black & White, convert the layer, and you can see how it changes it to a black and white.
You can adjust this if you want. We're not going to do that for this. We're just going to go ahead and close that. And then on this I want to commit to it, so we're going to go ahead and go up to the option menu and we're going to go Merge Down, so it creates a black and white image even though the source file we're working in, this PSD file is RGB. That's going to work good. We're going to make a selection and I have that saved here, so you can try this with the exercise files. We're going to load that selection just by hover over where the selection is, hold Command, and click it to get that loaded selection.
We're going to invert the selection, so we'll go invert. And then we're going to sample the base that this gray turned to, like that, to get the same base. And now we're just going to fill it, like this, with the Foreground Color, and that's all we're doing here. Now all we're going to do at this point now is we're going to go to Image, adjust, Levels, and we're going to blow this out. We're going to darken it down quite a bit and then lighten it up to blow out the detail, like this.
Kind of like that. And we'll go OK. Now I'll go back in with any tool, this is very forgiving, so I'm just using the Pencil Tool here, and I just want to get rid of some of this detailing on the outside edge. I don't think we need all of it, kind of like that. And then I would zoom in and clean up some of this detailing going down to here. We don't need this, kind of like this. All you want to end up with is this like little highlight shape as shown here.
And that's what I did initially. This is what it looks like. Actually I did keep some of the ones on the left hand side, but that's fine. So all we want to do now is we're going to inverse this image by going to Image, Adjustments, and we'll go Invert. And that gives us exactly what I have shown here on the topmost layer in this PSD file. And this, we're going to save out to a bitmap TIFF format. I would actually crop this down. We obviously don't need all the rest.
Something like this. And I would go Image and I'd go Crop, and then I would convert this to Grayscale, yes, Flatten's fine, discard. Image, Mode, Bitmap. And then I'd set it for a resolution like 450 and pick 50% Threshold and go OK. And you end up with something like this. So we're going to go back to Illustrator, I'm going to show you how we put this to use within the final context of our artwork.
So we're back in Illustrator now. Let's turn on our final artwork, as shown here. And this is the surface highlight we created in Photoshop based off of a stock photograph and it's just a bitmap TIFF image placed into Illustrator. So the first thing we're going to do really quickly is to open up the Image Trace. I'm going to bring this over here and by default Advanced is closed. You want to click on Ignore White. We're going to move Paths all the way to the right for 100% and Noise all the way to the left.
This ensures a very tight trace and we'll go Trace. And then we'll go up here to the menu bar and we'll go expand. We can close the Image Trace palette. And now you can see we have vectors over here. If we go to Appearance you can see it's a group. You'll want to change that to a compound, so go Compound. So now we have highlight colors. So if we select this, go to our Swatches, and change it to white that looks OK, but it's too bright.
That's not actually how a highlight would work. So what we want to do is select this, we want to change it to the base color, and then we want to go to Color and we want to change this to a tint of the base color. We're going to do 25%. That looks better, but it's still too bright. So we want to change the value of it. And to do that we'll go to Transparency and we'll set the Transparency and knock back the value by 60% to 40 and look at the result you get.
Look at how nice that works. And when I did this I even literally when I was doing this, I go, whoa, that's awesome, that saved me so much time. So that's how I'd pull it off. To touch up and button this artwork I'd add a nice little wet drop just to make it more appetizing, since this is packaging. That's a big thing in packaging. And in the final context, this is how all of the oranges were used. Of course, we'd drop type and other information up here at the top.
So this is how it worked and this is how it was utilized in its final context. Illustration is very flexible. Even though our style isn't realistic it benefits from a realistic source to make it more compelling. If you have a question for DVG Lab send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.