Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating an overlap color illustration, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
(swooshing) - [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. In this movie, I want to go over creating an overlap color illustration. Now, specifically, the theme of this is going to be taking vegetables and I want to illustrate 'em in such a way that it gives a little more organic flare to vector art. Vector art is known for being precise and clean and that's well and good and very useful for many or most projects but, in this case, I want it a little more organic and usually people jump to Photoshop to get that.
Well, you don't always have to do that, I'm going to show you how to pull that off in Illustrator. Now, I have to admit, when I approach this, I wasn't sure how I was going to do this or how it was going to work or, for that matter, how it was going to come out and kind of halfway through it I got to a point where I realized I'm not so sure I like this but it led to me thinking in a different way which I think you're going to enjoy seeing as well. It all starts with reference. Since I'm doing fruits and vegetables, I find good reference that's going to guide this building and this is all the reference I use for this.
We're going to focus immediately on the broccoli and I'm going to take this and I'm going to set my transparency, I don't know, let's try 30%, that looks good, and we're going to go ahead and lock the layer and on the layer above it, I'm going to draw with what's called the blob brush. Now, if you've never used the blob brush, I'm going to show you how to use it here. We're going to click on this an go to the blob brush. Actually, let's zoom in so we can see what we're doing a little better like this and now we'll go back, select the blob brush, and you can see how big it is.
I don't want it that big so I'm going to go ahead and click into this and I want it to be smaller. Right now it's at 10 so let's try two, see what two looks like, and go OK and I think that, yeah, that looks good but notice how as I'm drawing like this, it simplifies. I don't like that. I want it to draw exactly what I draw or as close as it can get, so I'm going to go here and I'm going to go and push this all the way to accurate so basically it's saying mimic exactly what I'm doing on screen, I'll go OK, and this is where you can start, you know what, I think I'm going to go in and change this to three just to make it a little bigger and this is where I'll take the brush and I just use the drawing to roughly draw it out.
Now, I'm not worrying about it being precise and you can see when you draw additional shapes, it fuses it together into one shape. So, this is just one vector shape shown here and that's fine, that's what we're doing, and we're not trying to get this perfect and clean, we kind of want it hand drawn and rough and once again, if you use like a Wacom stylus, this is probably going to go a lot faster. I'm actually using a mouse. Yes, I'm still, well, I'm not tethered, I use a wireless mouse but still it might go a little faster if you use a Wacom to do this, so, you'll see, once again, I'm taking a little creative liberty and especially on the inside part, I'm going to take a lot of creative liberty, I'm going to open up these areas so we get some nice background kind of coming through as you can see here like this.
Like that. And now what I want to do is all of these, we'll go ahead and go to Pathfinder and we're going to go unite so it unites it as one shape. Now what we're going to do is we're going to select all of these areas and the inside here and the outside of these and we can just delete 'em and what you end up with is what you see here which is a nice kind of organically drawn profile of the artwork.
Now, I usually stay in the mode where it's outlined. If we turn that off, you can see what it looks like. So, this is the approach I take using the blob brush to create all these vegetable outline shown here. So, we have our broccoli we created and a pear, so on and so forth. Now it's at this point I'll figure out my tunnel family, so, I figure those colors out here, I try to balance all the colors so they work well together and this is what I'm going to use to color my artwork.
So, I'll select this, I'll take the eyedropper tool and I'll just start coloring it, this will be a cherry color and we'll go ahead and color this one. Now, let's see, let me do that color, and the apple will be a granny sweet apple, then we'll take the nanana, banana color of course, this will be a yellow pepper, and this will be carrot red, obviously, and we have red for a tomato.
So, coloring's easy, obviously, when you get to this but all of these have been drawn out with the blob brush tool. If I zoom in on these cherries, you can see it has a nice rough organic flare to it because it's not precisely crafted and I took a little creative liberty on the carrot in terms of simplifying as I drew with the blob brush because you can get into a complex shape and so I simplified it and took, you know, use the artist prerogative to artistically capture the essence of what a carrot top looks like.
Now, it's at this point that I want to compose these into a nice arrangement that's going to work for the intended design I want to work on and that's what's showing here is I've just simply overlapped 'em, some are behind, some are on top, and it's at this point that I was thinking well, what's the look and feel I'm trying to go for? Well, the look and feel I was trying to go for is I want to pull off almost like a watercolor type of look and so I just started playing with blend modes and transparencies. The first thing I did is I set the transparency on these so when they overlap they created a tertiary colors and I like that look, I thought that was looking good, and then I started pushing it further and I started using some blend mode effects.
So, we're going to turn on this and you can see on this one, if I go to the appearance panel and I select one of these shapes that we've turned on here, you can see that I have an inside feather applied to it. So, if I click on that, that is 19 points, inside feather, we'll hit cancel, and I have opacity of 65% and I have the blend mode set to color dodge and the opacity of that shape is set to 65. So, what is that doing? Well, if I pull this out, you can see what it looks like.
All this is is it's applying to the top of the artwork. So, if I go back to layers and I go ahead and turn this layer on and off, you can see how without it, with it, and I like the look, I think this is, looks nice, but I wasn't really happy with it because it wasn't matching that visual I had in my head. I wanted it to be kind of, well, I kind of wanted it to be watercolor look and then I decided well, maybe if I take those shapes and I just gauge and blur 'em and make it look like it's fading out in the background, that might add more of that look and feel I'm after, and it's not that I didn't like this, it just didn't match that look and feel and that's when I realized I'm trying to get Illustrator and vector art to do something that vector art really wasn't intended for and that is to pull off a watercolor effect.
That's when I thought I can do this but there's a far easier way to pull it off and that is I just need to be using the real assets, that's when I turn and I went to Creative Market, actually, and there's a really nice watercolor splotch set sold by Nicky Laatz that I purchased and I asked her if I could use it in this example and she said fine and so I'm going to show you how I take these real world, watercolor splotches that she painted out and I take a Tif image, place it into Illustrator, and I'm going to colorize 'em and then I'm going to use my organic shapes in order to mask 'em.
And so, this shows you a couple of those watercolor patterns. Here's this one and I'm going to go ahead and color it the color that we're using for this bell pepper, I'll select the bell pepper shape and then if you go to Object, Clipping Mask, and Make, notice I have F1 assigned to it because that's what I do, I never use the pull down menu for this, and I'll click it and it masks that into shape, I'll select this one, which is the apple, and the apple color we're using for granny smith I believe was this and we'll take the apple outline and once again I hit F1 which is assigned to the clipping mask pull down menu and it does it for me and you can see how we get that look and feel but we can push this effect even farther.
I'm using Illustrator in essence as a staging ground for composing the design that I intend to build. Vector is part of it, obviously, I'm creating my overall fundamental shapes with vectors but I'm using other elements, raster elements, that is, in order to pull it off. Now, when it's all said and done and I have all of them masked and in place, this is what I end up with and this is already, just by simply masking real world textures into these vector shapes, it's starting to look authentic.
And this is where even pushing it even more is going to improve it, so we're going to turn on this layer and I'll go ahead and turn this top layer off immediately. Here's one right here. Once again, this is another vector shape and on this one, we're going to go ahead and color this green here and then I'm going to go ahead and got to transparency and I'm going to go to Multiply and then I don't want the value of this super saturated, I just want this to feel like it's the watercolor kind of fading into the paper.
Notice how it overlaps the other watercolor textures I've placed here and, obviously, it looks authentic because it is authentic, that's the beauty of using real world textures like this. We're going to select this one and this is the carrot so we'll color it the carrot color. Once again we'll set to Multiply and then I will go ahead and just do opacity to the same setting of 20% and now we can turn on our layer again. You can see how it really looks authentic now, it's really looking nice.
And now it's at this point that I started thinking, you know, I really like those color dodge shapes we tried initially, I wonder what it'd look like if I brought 'em into here and so I'm going to turn those on now. This really pushed it over the top for me. Now it's actually getting that look and feel I really wanted where watercolor kind of fades out to the background substrate to the paper and that's what this is doing and once again all these are are the simple shapes if I go to the appearance palette, you can see that it's feather, opacity, in this case, is 45, and I'll adjust the opacity based off of the tunnel value that I'm using in order to achieve the effect but this has the nice watercolor look and feel I was going for and this is where I start to implement other surface textures into it and these surface textures are included in the source files.
So, here's one. This one was derived from an old wall and I'm going to just select this and on this surface texture I'm going to color it white like this, I don't want to keep the value like that 'cause we're losing too much of the art but I'm going to set the value to 20% and because it's on a white background, you don't have to worry about masking it or anything. If I turn this on and off, you can just see how it just adds more illusion of that watercolor look and feel. We're going to turn on another surface texture. Once again, this is a concrete retaining wall texture of all things and on this one as well we're going to set it to white and once again we're going to set it to 20% and this just adds some nice artifacting and if I zoom in on this, you'll get a good idea of what that's doing, these little artifacts it adds and you can see just how nice and authentic this is looking by, once again, staging this in Illustrator, using Illustrator as the staging ground for composing shapes and elements to get the look and feel we want.
We're going to add a few more. We'll go ahead and do dark flecks So, on this dark flecks, I'm going to color this the orange color and we'll do multiply so it multiplies with all the colors but I want this pretty faint, almost like when you paint with watercolor, you tend to get flecks of color as you're painting just by the mere brush kind of spitting out color or it catching on the paper and flicking little specks everywhere and so this just ass a nice aesthetic to the overall look and then the last one is going to be a simple white spatter and the reason why I did this is, once again, when you're using watercolor, we'll color this white and I'll set this to 65, you tend to get water spots as you're doing it and I think, overall, this just adds a nice aesthetic to all the shapes that are the fruits and vegetables in this composition and, on this design, the final one, in context with the graphic element came out looking like this.
So, this is a nice way to approach a vector illustration like this to use vectors but to not limit yourself to just vectors. Use Illustrator as the staging ground. I should point out I'd never give a client this final as is, that is just asking for problems. Instead at this stage I'd save the file and drag and drop it into Photoshop and create a high-res CMYK Tif image of the design that I would provide to the client instead. So, software companies may market their tools to work in specific ways but that should never stop you from trying to leverage the tools you use in ways that work best for you whether developer intended it or not.
Thank you for watching DVG Lab and until next time, never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
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