(gear clanging) - [Von] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. When people email me about questions regarding vector-based artwork, or how to approach a specific style, I'll usually share a link to a previous movie if I've covered that before. But I received the following question from a viewer, and that question was: What is the easiest way to make geometric-based artwork, that has consistent gaps in between my vector shapes, so none of the colors touch each other? At first I wasn't completely sure what they were saying, and then I realized, "Oh, I think I understand what they're saying." I had never heard it called "gaps" before, but I kind of like that term, hence the name of this DVG Lab movie. So in this movie we're going to create artwork that has gaps, using a time-tested method I've covered before, but will use in a slightly different way now. So let's get started. And for this design, I decided to select the theme of a fish. This is an idea I've had in the back of my head for just my own personal project, but it would align with this question really well, so I'm going to use it for that. Now, some people have asked me, "Why do you draw with a pencil and then scan it in? "Why don't you just draw this on your iPad Pro?" Well, my daughter who works with me now, she does all of her sketches, and a lot of her final illustration on the iPad Pro, and that's fine. She loves it. She used to do all of her sketches and drawing using a Wacom on the desktop iMac that she has in her studio, but now she does most of it on her iPad Pro, and I think that's great. She loves it, she likes the mobility. For me, this is the way I've always done it. I just like it this way. I like tactile over digital, it's just my preference. Could I do this on an iPad? Sure. Do I prefer to? No. Hence, I keep it the way I just like it. And, I kind of like having a physical asset after the fact. I have a whole flat file of drawings that goes back 20 years, and I kind of like that archive. And you kind of lose that when you go digital. Not that it's a bad thing, I think it's just as appropriate, if you prefer it, by all means, do it that way. But I just wanted to address that really quickly. Now because I was creating a fish, he's going to be, or she, is going to be in the foreground. I wanted this waveform going behind it. But because I wanted those waveforms to align with certain elements in the fish, so I didn't cause a lot of visual tension, I drew it separately on its own layer. I used a nice vellum paper my Neenah Papers, I've been using it for 20-some years now, it works great. You can erase on it and it doesn't rip the paper. And this is just me putting it on top of my fish, and working out those wave forms. You can see I began to do one down here, and then quickly realized I don't want to have to be erasing with this guy on the same layer. Now, this would be where digital would come in, because you can just do it on your layer. I'm essentially doing the same thing, I'm just handling it in analog, not digital. So, once again, whichever is your preference, you use the one you prefer most, but in this case my rough sketch came out like this, and because I'm building a geometric-based design, it's not aesthetically organic or free-flowing, we're using a lot of geometry in this, so it's going to look great and carry that aesthetic that has kind of a rigid, but a beauty to it. That's how I'd describe geometric. It'll make more sense as we go into build it. So we're going to select this, and just gray it out, and lock that background. I'm going to turn on some of my initial build paths here. So this is the fish, perimeter of the fish, the eye, just elliptical shapes, and you can see the fins. Once I built this one on top, I just reflect it to get the one down below. Now, one area of this is, even though I know these are going to be scales, and this could be a circle, you know, I can start off with a simple circle. Now I prefer using a rounding tool that comes with Vector Scribe, a plug-in. If you want to use the one built-in to Illustrator that's fine, you'll be able to do the exact same thing, but building shapes like this, little filet shapes for the scales, I'll just pull out from a circle like this to get that. Then I'll just go ahead and grab the scissor tool and go to these corners and just cut 'em, because I don't need this shape here; I can get rid of that. So what I end up with is this U path. And then I can drag this over, snap it, make sure to have smart guides turned on, Command + U. So once I have this shape created once I can clone it, Command + C, Command + F, then slide it up and lock it into place here, select both of 'em, clone 'em again, Command + C, Command + F, go up here to this one, and we're going to snap it right there in the middle on that one. Then I can take a clone of this one, Command + C, Command + F, slide this out. And all we're doing is we're manually building that pattern to create the scale illusion. So I'll select these two again, Command + C, Command + F, slide it over, lock it into place like that. And I'll just carry on this methodology, going all the way back to the end of this top edge. Now the other thing I'm going to do, and this is where one of the newer tools in illustrator comes in, it's called the Shape Building Tool, and it's ideal for what I'm going to do here, is on some of these shapes, I can pull this out here, because it doesn't need to go all the way to there, because it's leaving this area right at this point, so I'll pull that out. But here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to select the shapes that are going past the areas I want 'em to, these. Then I'll go ahead and select this line, and the fish shape itself. Go to the Shape Building Tool, holding Option down, I'll just select the paths that are extended past it, and this is how you can simply trim these off, like this, to get the final art you need. So that really goes fast. It's idea for that kind of building. Now, I have a friend who lives locally, he was actually the best man at my wedding, and he came over one day. I was working on this, and he saw the final art that you're going to end up seeing, and he's going, "I got a question for you. "How'd you build the fish lip?" I have never heard that sentence in my entire life: "How did you build the fish lip?" That might make a good T-shirt. So I'm going to show you how I built the fish lip, because somebody out there might have thought of that as well. So it's not hard. So here it is. I just create a simple shape of two circles, and I want it to kind of narrow down, go from fat to a little thinner. So I create two circle shapes, just build a rectangle that connects both of them, select all three shapes, unite 'em, so I get something like this. Then we're going to go over to the head, drag the shape over, and I'm going to grab this anchor point. Once again, you want to have Command + U Smart Guides turned on. So I'm going to select this anchor point, and lock it to this anchor point here. So you can see it's locked into place. Now I'm going to go to the rotate tool. With the rotate tool selected, I'm going to click here to determine my orientation, click, and then grab this anchor point and just slide it up, until it snaps to the anchor point on the fish art. And that's how you can create it like this. Then, all it is from this point is selecting the scissor tool, and we're going to just cut it here, and we'll cut it here. Select the part we don't want and just delete it. Actually, we don't want this either, so we'll go ahead and delete that one as well. And we have this. And this is where you might want to zoom in. Sometimes Illustrator selection get finicky the more you're zoomed out, and I really wish they'd fix that, because that can be annoying. So if we move this away, I can just select an anchor point like this, and snap it here. And because we rotated it into alignment, it's just going to continue this line visually into the lip, and curve around, and that's how I built my fish lip. So it's not hard, you just have to kind of think in shapes, and it's going to make the whole process go a lot easier. So when it comes to the flow lines, how did I build those? How did I work those out? Well, I worked out the drawing, you can see here, so it aligns with the fish, but it doesn't detract from the fish. So if we have all of our scales in place, our fish lip there, everything else in place... By the way, if you think symmetrically, you can build one fin here, and just simply reflect it, get the bottom here, those are easy. Everything else in terms of the scale, they're just lines, so that's not hard at all. So, to trim the flow lines, 'cause we don't want 'em to go inside of the fish, we want 'em to look like they're behind the fish. But it's easier to build them this way at first, and then you can just simply select all these flow lines, like this, select this one, with the background rectangle, and then with the shape builder once again, we can just draw the ones we don't want like this, and trim 'em. So this does go pretty quick, and it's an ideal tool for doing this type of editing. You have to slow down so you don't accidentally select... This one gets a little tight, like that. So that goes pretty quick. Well how would you do the interior part of the fish? Well this is the way I'd handle it. I'd select all the elements that make up the exterior outline of the fish. So these would be it. I would clone these, Command + C, Command + F. We're going to fill 'em temporarily, just so you can see what I'm doing here, even though these aren't all closed paths, and we're going to color the outline green, green is appropriate for a fish. And we're going to unite these, like this. We're going to go back, and we're going to get rid of the fill now, so we just have an outline. Let's go out and beef that outline up, just so you can see what's going on, like that, and we'll bring it to the flow layer. We'll turn off our background fish layer. So that's all I did. Now I'll just select everything again, and we'll go back to the shape building tool, and I'm just going to draw, like this, over the paths that intersect, and that didn't work (laughing). Okay, let's do it one at a time like this, and then we can get rid of it, kind of like that. Or select these, there we go. So you might not be able to do it that quick, I was going a little too fast there for my own comfort. Like this. Then we'll go here. It's not hard. But this is the best way to do this. You wouldn't want to take, for example, the scissor tool and cut all these manually, it'd just take a lot longer. So it's not hard, you just need to go slow enough and don't speed it up too fast, or you'll make mistakes like I did. So here's with all those cut out like this. Now originally I wasn't going to go that far. If I turn these off and turn on this layer, it's essentially the same artwork, but I've gone ahead and built it here. So I wasn't going to trim everything, but I figured I might as well do it. So once we get to this point, we have all the elements in place. Everything's a stroke. The only thing not a stroke is the eyeball, or the pupil of the eye, it's just a fill. So we need to determine how thick we're going to make these strokes to determine the gap in our artwork. So in this case, we're going to go to Strokes, and we're going to go up to seven. Make sure it has rounded ends, 'cause some of these areas some to an end, like the fish lip, and rounded corners like that, and I think that's going to work great. Now it's at this stage I determine, is this the weight I want? And I think it is, but there's a few things that are kind of bugging me. And those few things are kind of the back of the fish. I don't like these small little gaps it's creating, these little white gaps, will eventually be filled, but they're not as consistent with all the other fills, they're just little slivers. And I don't like that the fish eye is so close to the top of the head, and the back of the head; it's a little cramped. So this is where I've set this design aside, and when I came back, those are the things I noticed, so I wanted to address those things and make it better, and make it work better, and aesthetically fit better with the overall design. And so it went from this, and I did a new trimming by, after resolving some of those areas with the fish, I'm going to turn this on. So this is the new trimmed fish. So if I click this off, old, new. Old, new. I just gave it a little more tolerance, or breathing area, around those shapes, made these back shapes more elegant, and I think it works a lot better. And I actually like having it flat at the top here. It just feels right, rather than be an all-curve, because it contrasts well with the curves in the background. And so I think this is going to work really well now. Now, this gets to the point where you'll want to expand your artwork. Once again, all these are paths, all there are just, if I go to keyline view, just strokes. So we need to have 'em shapes, in order to fuse 'em or unite 'em together with pathfinder. So let's click on this. And I'm going to show you a few things you need to keep in mind as you're expanding artwork. And the first thing I want to do is let's zoom in down here with this. And we're going to color this line, I don't know, let's color it green like that. And we'll color this one, let's see, a yellow, like this. We have these two lines here. We can bring those to the front like this. If we decide to select the fin and the lines, and we're going to go ahead to expand this. So the first thing we want to do... Actually, let's select everything. We can expand it all at once. Actually, let's zoom out, we don't need to expand the eye. But we will expand everything. So we'll go Path, we'll go Outline Stroke. So now everything is now a shape. So we need to just use pathfinder to unite 'em together. So if we select this bottom part with the two lines and the fin, and we go Unite, notice how it puts these extra anchor points here. If we undo that, Command + Z, it's because these are bumping next to it, and at times Illustrator does this, and it's a little bit frustrating, because sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it does; in this case it does. Well, I like having my artwork clean, so if I try to get rid of these lines now, we just drag-select 'em, and I go Remove Anchor Point here, well, it's going to destroy our art, there is no smart remove in Illustrator yet. Hopefully that's a feature coming, this is why I use a plug-in like Vector Scribe, because I can select those, Smart Remove, and it fixes them. One good argument for having plug-ins. But, at times, other ones, let's go up here. We'll select these, we'll go in and color these, I don't know, another yellow. And if we select these two shapes, and we go ahead and fuse those, it's not going to happen. So it's intermittent; sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't, and I just wanted you to be aware of that, because it sets up the next stage of how I usually go in and edit my art. And by the way, this isn't going to go fast, but I go in, because of that, and I set all my artwork up like this. So if you go in and look, I've expanded these, but I've gone in and purposely chopped off edges, so none of those edges come close to one another and create problems with extra anchor points. That means I can select everything... Let's go ahead a zoom out. I can select everything and unite it, and I'm done. I don't have to clean anything up. Everything's going to work great. In this case, I would then go in here and go Compound, I'd go Release. It might be grouped still, so just to be safe I'd Ungroup. Select the outermost background, which makes up the outer edge of the fish, deselect it. All these interior shapes, I could go here and fill them white. But there are some overlapping ones, such as the eyeball. So I'd select the shape that makes up the fish head, these parts here, bring those to front, paste behind that. Then I'd select the outer part of the eyeball and where's the path? Here we go. Mine is front inside the eyeball. Once again, hard to select at this zoom ratio. Zoom in, select these, and do that. So those are the areas you'd have to make sure you don't overlook. Because there's been times I've moved along, and I realized I forgot about some of those shapes on something more complex. It's pretty obvious on fish. Hey, what happened to his eye? He's blind! But on something more complex, you might miss that. So this is how I break it out, and then that way all the white interior shapes, these can end up being colored however you want. So I just wanted to show that, how to clean up the art. How to get it to a point where now you can focus on the creative aspect, meaning the color. And on this one, it's really fun to take this artwork and explore a bunch of different colors. Here's simplified color palettes. Most of these are just two color. There's one three color one here. And it's as easy as going, "Well, maybe on this one we're going to select his belly, "and all these colors are going to get the darker green, "and then maybe the rest is going to get the lighter green." And it works really well. On this one, it could be just simple white, and one color of blue, so on and so forth. You can see how you can simplify the color palette, and this style really holds up well on mutli-colored backgrounds; so it's really cool that way. Maybe it's four colors. So here's the same designs worked out on a four color background. So if we limit it to four colors, sure, white can be one of the colors, maybe it's just the eye that's white, and then we focus on other areas that get different color. Doesn't have to be literal color relations like green for fish, it could be, in this case, really crazy kind of orange color, and then maybe everything else is teal. So you can work out and experiment with how you balance those colors, use complimentary colors or tertiary colors to really flush out a design. Let's take a look at one more, and this one is having more variety of colors. And this is where you can have a lot of colors, but you can still do it in a way that's elegant. So maybe here we do use a green type of color, which is represented in our tonal family down here, I think that looks pretty cool. Let's go ahead and zoom in on this one. It's a little hard when you're zoomed out. Yeah, that's better. Okay, let's go ahead and select other elements in this. Maybe some of his scales will have green in there. We'll have green here, here, maybe the top one here, and one of the elements here. And we'll go ahead and color those green. Maybe his belly is going to be this kind of eggplant color. And then we'll bring that eggplant color in elsewhere on the fins like this, maybe the top fin like that. And this is where I'll just start flowing in color, and then at times I might change my mind... Maybe there, and we'll do this one down here, we'll give it this orange-ish color. Maybe orange comes into here, sample that, and we'll bring in orange back here. Then we move to the next color, kind of the muted yellow, if you will. And these will just be applied to other areas of this design like this. And then kind of this, I don't know what color you'd call that, like a, it's almost like a gold. Not really, kind of. We'll color that like this. That looks pretty cool. Maybe this one could be orange. And then we'll put gold back here. And we don't use a distinct bright white, so everything that's left that's white still, we're going to color this kind of off-white color. It's kind of a muted color. And I think that looks pretty good. So you can do multiple colors to get a really nice result, but experimenting with color is one of the funnest things with this style, because none of those colors have to bump up right next to each other, as long as you have a good, darker hue in the background, it creates that nice gap look. So here's one mock-up I did with the one color option I really liked, and I thought this looked really well, and (laughing), I kind of played off a Broadway play here. The Coat of Many Colors. I just call it The Trout of Many Colors. So you can do this. And then if we bring in the flow, it gets really cool with that. And I think this just looks like an excellent art print; I just might do that at some point, and I think this is going to work really well. Another color option I liked is this one on a different colored background, using a different tonal family. Once again, works great with the waveforms. And then I thought: You know what? I have this texture I created years ago, and it was from a bad copy machine that left kind of artifacting lines on every Xerox you do. So if you Xerox the sky, all these would be white on the toner black, and I took that, scanned it into Photoshop, and I created this texture years ago. So all we're going to do with this one is we're going to align it with our design here to the center, and then all we're going to do is we're going to sample this background color and color it that. Look how cool that looks. And that was dead simple to do that. But this is a good example of how you can apply texture to a vector design. And in this case, it kind of looks like it's painted graphically on a wood-paneled background; so kind of fun, kind of a nice way to approach this motif. But ultimately, I really like the simplicity of this on a T-shirt. It worked just as well. I love creating design using this methodology, it's a lot of fun, and using it to create multicolored motifs was something I'd never done before using this method. I love getting challenging questions. So if you'd like to see me turn yours into a future DVG Lab movie, 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.