Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a line work graphic, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
- [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. Inspiration can hit you at any time and anywhere. This is one of those ideas I had while sitting in a meeting. And I want to show you how I took it and moved forward on that moment of inspiration and turned it into a pretty cool design. So let's jump into this. Now, this reflects my actual little sketch book, I have a little iPad mini and it has a sketch pad in it.
And I'm always using it to draw. I take these to meetings I go to, and in this case, I was sitting at a meeting and I pay attention better when I'm actually doodling. It's a cognitive thing, I can focus better. And a lot of people think I'm not paying attention when in actuality, I am. Well, in this case, I started doodling on the left here you can see this like eagle character. And then I'm thinking, well, what if I change the head to look more, I don't know, representative, not so literal.
And then the more I thought about it I go, what if I took the star out, and put a pen tool there and it became something about creativity. And then I started thinking, well, what type could go with it. And I started writing down all these different sayings. And did this little motif, I said, oh, this is kind of cool, I think I'm going to do this. And this is where it started. It was just a passing thought. And I decided to take this and move forward with it and see if I could develop it into something. So that's what I want to walk you through right now.
And it went from my thumbnail rough little sketch doodle, if you will, right here. To the rough sketch. Now, this rough sketch isn't anything great, it's just more refines and encapsulates that general idea I captured in my thumbnail. And so with this, I'm just going to go ahead and set this to 20% and lock the layer. And above it, I'm just going to do some simple shape building. And so, if we zoom in on this the first thing is the eye.
The eye is easiest of all shapes, circle, a square. And to trim it off to get the shape I'm going to end up using for the eye. This is the only shape, if I pull it out here, that I created with the pen tool. Just one click at a time, it's so geometric it's fairly easy thing to pull off. Now, this shape here, it looks like a giant Z. It almost looks like a part from ZZ Top logo, if you will. But it's going to make the back top part of his wing.
Now, I wanted this back angle as I was getting ready to create the shape, and then I realized, well, I want it to run at the same angle, just reverse that. And so I decided to do that by just simply taking this shape, cloning it, flipping it to get this shape over here. So with that shape, I can just clone this a few times, select this shape, select one of these wing shapes. And just trim off that edge, take another one, go to the next shape, trim that off.
This shape here, trim that off. And then on this shape here use that to trim the top one, as well. And then once I have that, I can select this and clone this Command C Command F. And, what I usually do since it's running right on top here, is even since I don't really need this for anything else I'm just going to do this and pull this one away like that. And I do that just so it doesn't put any anchor points along this line.
Illustrator's kind of notorious for that. And, on this it's going to act like a throw away shape so I'll clone this s a few more times. I need two more copies. So, I'm going to hit F three which I have two things set up to do that. When I hit F three it copies and pastes. So, on this one, once again, it's doing this, it's copying. And then, it's going Paste in Front. So Command C Command F. And I do that twice in order to get multiples of the same shape.
Once I have that, I can select this shape and trim off the other side. The same on this one here. And the same on this bottom one right here. So, that's all I'm doing, cleaning up the R. I'll take this one, I'll clone it, Command C Command F. This will trim off this side of the top part of the wing. And then to create areas like the top of the head I'll select this shape, clone it, Command C Command F. Select this rectangle, intersect.
And this is how I'll do simple shape building to build the fundamental core of the art work. I'm not worrying about the rounds in this I'm going to approach that separately. But this is how I go about doing most of the vector building on a motif like this. And, what you end up with is vector art, like this. Once again, these are all shapes. I decided to move this top one in. Which is just a clone of this shape right here. And I just slid it up just to make it as if it's his back wing.
Kind of you're seeing that peeking above the other one. And then, on other detail like this, these are just lines dropped into here in order to make that detailing. Because we're going to turn all this linework into a single weight line that's going to work pretty well. The pen tool's very straightforward in terms of how I built it. Now it's at this point I want to start adding some, not overt rounds to it but some more subtle rounds. And we're not going to go overboard with this.
But, if I turn this on you can see how we've added rounds in it. So I have rounding on these bottom wings right here. So if we go to the previous one you can see how this is straight down here. Let's go ahead and zoom in on this. So you can see all the tail's straight in here and what we're going to do is we're going to add this round. Now you can use the corner widget in Illustrator. Everything I'm going to do here I do with a plug in. But you can do the exact same thing with the corner widget in Illustrator to create your rounds.
I just happen to like the dynamic corners tool, which is this one right here. And this is the one I prefer to use because I can select a round I've already done. And if I click on it, it sets that and then I can go to the next shape right here and just click on it and apply it to those shapes. That's why I like it. It goes fast, I don't have to eyeball anything. And I know it's going to work really really well. So, that's how we go about rounding it. Let's take a look at the head of the previous one.
So you can see that here. And all I've done on this is I've gone in and I've just simply rounded off these sections like this, to create. And even on the points I don't want to that to come to a point so I'm rounding that off. And also rounding the tip of the pencil so on and so forth to kind of improve the overall aesthetic. So, if we go back to the rounding one you can see I've added the subtle rounds almost on everything here.
So, you can see subtle rounds here and on this part. Subtle rounds, anywhere it comes to a point instead of being an overt point, like on this. Let's zoom in on the back part of the wing. You can see that even on the tip here if we go to key line view, you can see that I have subtle rounds applied to that, as well. So, rounding is a great way to get that certain specific type of aesthetic you're after. Now, once I have everything rounded I can select all of these.
And now I want to pay attention to the weight of the stroke for this art work. So we'll go to Strokes here. Right now it's at a one. And you can see, we have corner rounding turned on. I don't want any sharp vertices where the apex of two paths come together on a corner or a point to be really sharp. I want those to be rounded. So I have the corners set to round. And on this, we'll go up. We'll see how three. Three looks okay but I want to get it a little more beefy.
And, I think that's going to work great. So, I think that's going to be the styling of our weight for our linework. And, I think we're going to go ahead and move forward with that one. Now, the one thing I want to point out is on this, we can go ahead and color it black so you can kind of see what this artwork's looking like. We can turn off our rough sketch now. And the next thing I want to create is actually on a rough sketch. I had this little burst going around. I'm going to show you how I create that because it's easier to isolate things on their own layers and build them out then to move them to the layer you want it to be on.
So in this case, I just create two lines and repeated it, and rotated it to create this burst of lines. And then just a simple circular shape centered on that. And now, if I go to the shape building tool here. Turn off this, hey, you've seen the shape building tool. Embedded advertising, you've got to love it. So if I hover over any of these paths I could do this shape. But we're not doing any fills we're dealing with strokes. So if I hover over a stroke and I hold minus down I can get rid of these strokes I don't want, like this.
You can see how they highlight red. And that's all I'm doing now is I'm just getting rid of the strokes we don't need. We just want the outer part that's outside the circular shape. And, this is the easiest way I've found to do it. Like this. And, we can select the circular shape, get rid of it. Select these inner shapes, get rid of those. And now, if we turn our base art work on again we don't need, we don't need all these.
We'll get rid of the shapes we're not going to have these ones. And, this one. And I'm going to select these. Like this. And, copy attributes to this. And I'm going to go to stroke. And I'm going to apply a round cap to those. And I think that's going to work really good. So that's how I'd create that kind of detail. Now, right now, these are just paths. And if I go to key line view, you can see the stroke.
And we just have the thickness to it. So what I need to do, I want to turn this into non-stroke based art work. I want it to be all shape-based driven. And that means we're going to have to expand these. So we'd have to select all of our art like this and we'd go to Object, and we'd go to Path, and we'd go to Outline Stroke. And now, if we go to key line view you can see all these are shapes. So this is what I do, I'll expand it. But, when I start expanding stuff on this and I start building my final art, I like going in and isolating things so that I can make them fuse together without creating additional anchor points.
So, for instance, on this path right here if we go back to the one we just created the outlines for and I copy this. And then we'll go back to this level and I'm going to paste this in place you can see that it creates this whole shape including this line right here. Well, that, we can get rid of this now that is a redundant line because this shape is going to have that line in it. So, what I do is I lop it off here and I edit the shapes all together so that when I fuse them together it's not going to create multiple anchor points on the same path.
It's just going to create clean art, that's what I'm after here. And so I'm just going to select everything here and now I can go ahead and fuse it, like this. Let's go ahead and turn it to black. And you can see how it's all one cohesive piece of art. If I go to Appearance it's only group. So I'm going to make sure to go Object to Compound and Make to turn it into a compound path. Now, the only area this art that I can see that I have an extra anchor point that I want to clean up.
And I'm kind of picky about this stuff is if we go down here we can see we have this extra anchor point. So I'll just drag select that and remove that. And now I have a very clean piece of art work that's going to work great. So my final art work on this project is going to work, is going to really really well. Now, it's at this point that I like to set projects aside and come back to it later and look at it again and say, is there anything I can improve on.
And in this case, I think there is. So I went from this point and the next image I'm going to show you is how I improved this. So it's art directing yourself, so look at this. I'm going to turn on the next one. And you can see, before, after. Before, after. Not huge changes but notice how I adjusted the spacing of the wing to the back of the head. It's a little tight here, so I gave it more breathing room.
And I think that works better. But, I also minimized the depth of the wing on the back end, as well, back here. So if I turn this on you can see that improvement. And I changed the eye from being an outline which was okay, but I thought this looked a little a little cooler, a little more menacing. So these are subtle little changes that improve a design. Now looking at it again, I think we can improve it even more. So we're going to go grab the rectangle tool.
And we're going to do a quick little edit job here. I'm going to select this just so you can see what I'm doing. And, I'm going to zoom in because we're going to be dealing with this area here. And all I'm going to do is select the shape, select this throw away shape. And I'm going to remove from shape with Path Finder to kind of cut open that area, drag select these and just get rid of them to have a clean line on the back of the eagle head. And then here's a trick I do all the time.
If I need to drag these if they are 90 degrees, then I could just drag something like this 90 degrees. But this on an angle, I have to drag at that angle accurately. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to just add an anchor point here. And with these anchor points selected I can drag down 'til it snaps to that anchor point. And you can see I'm a little short. So, if I would have eyeballed it a little better. Put another one in here I can get rid of this one just by removing.
And we'll drag select these two. Then we'll drag select this. Actually, you know what? Let's get rid of this. And we'll just put it right down a little closer because I don't have to drag it far. And I'll do that. I'm just trying to get it to intersect with the other line, but retain the angle that we've established. So right now, you can see in the little overlap. So we'll unite it with Path Finder again.
And we'll run compound paths which is associated with the F seven keyboard shortcut I have set up. To turn the compound back on. And now I think this looks a lot better. So if we go back and we compare it now this is what we had. And this is where we've moved just by art directing ourself. So that's how it's important to improve your art work as you go along. Always be your own worst critic. Don't get so comfortable with it that you can't look at it and critique it from just a good design point of view.
It's really important to do that. So, we're going to start putting this in context in the final use. This design kind of a seal motif I came up with. And, this is just simply black and white art work. But I want to apply a nice color to it so we're going to give it this green. I'm kind of thinking growing creatively speaking. And green is a good representation of that. We'll clone this, Command C Command F. And I'll color it black, I'll go to color and we're going to set the tint to like 15. And just so you can see what I'm doing I'm going to zoom in on this.
And I'm going to nudge this one down and one over. Maybe a couple down, a couple over. Copy it and I'm going to paste it behind this. And we've just created a nice little drop shadow of this design. And I think that's going to work really well. Now, this is the kind of style that is easy to use. Once you've created it, there's so many things you could do with this. We could print stickers. We could do a T-Shirt design with this.
And it's really flexible style-wise to work on all kinds of backgrounds, or formats. And in this case, we're truly well as one color on a colored background. So just because a style like this is simple doesn't always mean it's really fast to create it. I probably spent more time working out the detail in his body that represents the feathers than any other part of the design. I think I spent a good 40 minutes just making that look and feel the way I wanted it to.
It was all a spacing issue with the negative space and positive space. And kind of balancing it out without over-complicating it in the process. So, I originally tried a symmetric motif kind of like what my thumbnail showed. But abandoned that approach pretty quickly and decided to create an asymmetric motif instead. So, I hope you enjoyed this. I hope it gave you a little bit of insight on how you can take your moments of inspiration and turn them into a cool little design project.
Thank you for watching DVG Lab. Until next time, never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
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