Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a painted logo, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
- [Von] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. In this movie, I want to go over creating a painted logo. Now, this is something I kind of stumbled upon within the context of a branding project I was working on. I decided one of the iterations I wanted to pitch to this client was a brand mark that played off of a heart motif. So this is the original design I created, and I liked it but I thought it could be a little bit more dynamic.
This was the first iteration based off of a thumbnail sketch I did and I decided to make it a little more interesting in terms of thick and thins, and progressed it from here to this one, which I liked even more. It just had more movement to it and was just a little more alive, I guess, than the other one which was pretty iconic and static. So first off, I should point out that our tonal family that I developed for this client, sometimes I develop those and come up with the color exploration and what to use and suggest a bunch of different colors and hues.
This client just happens to be a fashion brand so she really had her colors dialed in in terms of what she wanted me to present to her. And so this was the color palette I was given, almost like a dusty rose and a very light silvery gray color. And so it's with these colors then I've selected the brand mark and colorized it using this dusty pink. And I like the color, I like the design, but as I was looking at this, sometimes with vector art, things are too clean, too perfect, too precise.
And I wanted a little more authenticity on this mark. I wanted it to look almost hand done. And sometimes the best way to do that is not in Illustrator. Sometimes the best way (laughs) to do that is just by creating it by hand and scanning it in and working with it. But in this case, I've already created some assets that I've used in other projects, I've used on complete courses, that I can reuse on this one. And it's where I decided to experiment a little, and I was really happy with what I ended up with.
And I'm going to show you what I did, but before I jump into that, we want to create what's called a vector brush. So that's what we're going to do here. And you can see these two images are just high resolution TIFF images placed into Illustrator. And it's actually a tempera paint with an old, just really crummy paintbrush onto dry brushing that pigment onto a white piece of paper and scanning it in. That's how I created these. And so what I want to do is I want to select this one down below and what we're going to do is we're going to go up to Window and we're going to go to Image Trace and open up the Image Trace window.
We'll drag this over here so you can see it a little easier. And we want to click on Advanced because the first thing I always do is click Ignore White. I wish that, by default, could be set but it's not. But make sure you click that because if you don't anything you trace, it'll make the white space just fills of white, which I don't know why anybody would want that. So make sure you click Ignore White. Now, on the Paths, I'm going to make this setting all the way. I want it to be as tight as possible because I want it to be as authentic as possible.
And then the noise, I don't want it to let an algorithm determine, "Well, what should I keep in?" Well, keep everything in or as much as everything. So I'm going to go down to absolute bottom on the noise. And with these settings, I'm going to click Trace now. Now, it's going to give me a warning because when you trace at this kind of setting, it'll say, "Hey, that's a lot, "are you sure you want to do that?" Yes. I usually always click Do not show me again and click OK.
And it traces it. We can close Image Trace window now. With this selected, we can't utilize it yet until you go up to the menu bar and you click Expand. So we're going to do that. And now it's a vector shape. If I go to Keyline View, the top is a TIFF, the bottom is a vector shape, hence, you can see all the paths show in there. If we go back to Preview, you can see that authentic-wise, if I zoom in on these, it's created a very authentic paintbrush that's very in line with the original source image we created it from.
So that's why you do it at such a high resolution. If I select this and I go to Appearance, it's a group. Usually, the first thing I do after I create a brush like this is I now want to create a compound path. And to create compound, you go to Object, pull down to Compound and Make. So now if we look in Appearance, it's a compound path. Now we want to create what's called a vector brush. So I'm going to click on the Brushes palette here. And you can see I already have some pre-baked here, but I want to show you how to create your own.
With this artwork selected, you can simply drag this over on top of the New icon here and let go. And this window will show up and we're going to select Art Brush. Click OK. And when this window comes up, you can name it whatever you want. We'll call this one really original, New Brush. And you want to keep the setting Stretch to fit stroke length. I don't mess with any of the width stuff, I just leave it by default what it is. The direction is fine, meaning, when you move from left to right, this is how the brush will paint down.
You can flip that orientation or direction if you want to, but in this case we're going to leave the default. But the Method for Colorization, we want this to be Tints. This will allow us to color it however we want. Everything else can be left as default and we're going to click OK. And you can see now it's right here at the very bottom. Now, the way you use these is you can take an existing path like this and then just click the brush we've created here and it's going to apply that brush to that path as you see here. The other way to do it, which is the way we're going to do it for this movie, is we're going to select the Paintbrush Tool.
And you want to make sure you have Path selected and you have a color applied to this. In this case, it's still this blue hue color that we have here. And then this will allow you just to drag and paint the swatch any way you want, like this. And you can change the color of the stroke by selecting a different swatch and then painting with it again like this. And then all kinds of stuff you can do, if you go to Transparency and Multiply, you can do all kinds of things.
So if you want to know about that and how to vector paint, if you will, make sure to watch my Drawing Vector Graphics: Painting with vectors course because I go over this to the nth degree. Well, that's how you create your own brush. And it was at this point in the process that I decided I wanted to imbue this with an organic flare, and I'm going to do that by using brushes on top of this base vector art to create a very authentic-looking kind of hand-painted logo, if you will.
And the first thing I'm going to do is select the shape and then I'm going to give it an outline or a stroke, that is. And go to the Strokes palette and I'm going to turn the round corners on because you definitely want to do the round stroke corners. And then I'm going to apply a brush to this. The first brush is just going to be this outline brush. And this is going to give an irregular outline. So I'll click that like this. And you can see how it started to make the logo less perfect on the edges.
That's what I wanted. Now, I want this to be a little more rough so I'm going to increase this. And this is why I used points because I do it in increments. I think that looks pretty good. And you can see how we have little areas peeking through, that adds some nice little detail there. And if I zoom in on this, you can see this is not perfect at all. It's a very crude edge. But if I go to Keyline View, it's still the path, it just has that linework brush applied to the stroke of this path.
Now we're going to go ahead and start painting with the Paintbrush Tool. So I'm going to select that. Actually on the fill, we don't need a fill so we'll go zero. We'll still have the paint loaded. It's this kind of dusty pink. We have the Paintbrush selected and we want to make sure we're on the right layer which would be this layer, and then we'll select the brush we want to do. In this case, I want to use a different brush.
And we're going to select, let's see, we'll select the second one down. No, maybe not. Let's try, let's see, let's try this one, I think this one would work. And we have pink loaded, we have the Paintbrush loaded, and now we're just going to paint a line here like this. And we'll select that, we'll go to Stroke. Right now, I want to bump this up. If you increase the size of the stroke, you increase the size of the brush applied to it, so we want to increase the size.
So we'll go like that. And that looks pretty good. You know, if I don't like it, I'll delete it and I'll try it again. Actually, on this, let's do this. Let's go... We'll try a little more smooth. I just double clicked into the Paint Tool. We'll go OK and we'll just repaint this. So I'll go like this. I think I like that better. So that's good. And we'll continue to paint with this.
I'll do one up here, kind of like that. That looks good. And then we don't want to use the same brush for everything, so let's go ahead and switch brushes. We'll try this one and we'll paint this, let's see, we need to really beef up this side so it's... Okay. Now I'll select this, we'll go to Stroke, and we're going to beef this up a little bit.
This is very exploratory, there is no set way of doing this. You just have to experiment, see what the brush looks like. If you think it needs more, then you know, pick more and do it that way. So we're going to go back to this brush and I'm going to create some more details. I'm going to put one right here like that. Ooh, that's too big. So we'll select this and, actually, that's too big.
I want it to be right about there. That doesn't look that bad. And this is too big so we'll go 1.5. That looks better. And then, let's see, we'll do one here, and this, I want it smaller. So we'll go 1.2, like that. And I think right here maybe. Ooop. Try that again, like that.
Eh, I don't like that, let's try it again. See I do this a lot where I just Command + Z. Eh, don't like that either. Eh. (laughs) Okay, I think we can live with that. That's okay. That's all I'm doing here, is I'm just trying to get a nice organic flare to the overall artwork. I don't care about it looking perfect, but in this case I think this needs some right here. That looks good. We can pull it in.
So that's basically all I'm trying to do, is just create something that doesn't look computer-driven, that looks hand done, and using a brush like this is going to work really effectively. And the more time you spend on it, obviously, the better it's going to look. We're going to move to another layer and we're going to select a different brush now. And this is going to allow us to do some more detailing. We'll stay with the same brush but we're going to change the color to white. And let's see what size we're at. I think this size is going to be okay.
And we're going to go ahead and just start painting some white just to eat away, I think that I can live with that. We'll do this, we'll do one here. I think we need to divide it. Yeah, that looks good. And then we'll do a few more. Let's see, I think this inside part here can be eaten away. That looks okay. And we'll do one here. No, too much. Once again, Command + Z is going to come in handy if you don't like the way you do it, just redo it again.
That looks okay. Anyway, that's the idea here. Now, this doesn't look as good as what I think it could, but that's where it's just going to take time for you. But when you take the time to do it right, when you go look at it and you scrutinize it and you Command + Z and try it again, just go until it feels right, go until it looks right, and eventually, you're going to end up with something like this which looks very authentic. Once again, if I go to Keyline View, this is nothing but vector paths with the brushes applied to them, and it has a very organic feel to it.
And I think that's what I'm after. And it's at this point though, once I establish the aesthetic nature of it, I have to create a graphic that I can actually use in a real world context. Meaning, I would never give my client this file or deliver this as final art when it looks like this. Yes, I could expand it, but I'm going to show you why I don't do that in just a second. So what I do at this point is I copy and paste this to a new file. And this file is simply to build a black and white version of the artwork.
If I click over that file, you can see that's what I've done here. And this color, once again, is just RGB black. It's because I'm going to copy and paste this from this file into a Photoshop file to create a bitmap TIFF, a high res bitmap TIFF, very high res. This size is eight inches by eight inches. That's how big I'm building the brand mark here. And I have the bounding box here. Now, this bounding box is just white with no stroke. And it's because I'm going to paste this into Photoshop and create a bitmap TIFF, so the white doesn't matter, it's just for sizing purposes.
So I'll go ahead and select this. I'll go Copy, and now we're going to move to Photoshop and I'm going to create a simple bitmap TIFF. We're in Photoshop now and I have a document that's setup the exact same size as the black and white logo file in Illustrator. I've copied that black and white artwork to the clipboard and I'm going to paste it now into this Photoshop document by going Command + V for paste. And you can see it brings up the dialogue.
Do you want to save it as a smart object? Do you want to save it as pixels? In this case, I want it pixels. It's going to be a pixel-based image when it's all said and done. So I'll go OK. And it rasterizes the image. I need to place it. And we'll go Place. And so now I have this layer ready to go. Right now, this artwork is a grayscale image. If I go up to Image, Mode, you can see it's grayscale. And what I want to do now is I want to go to Mode and I want to go Bitmap.
Right now, the resolution of this file is 800 pixels per inch. That's because I want it to be very high resolution. So I'm going to go to Mode, I'm going to go to Bitmap, and I'm going to go, "Yes, flatten the artwork." And this, I want to make sure it's on 50% threshold and we'll match the resolution of the file at 800 pixels per inch. And I'll go OK. And now you can see it's in Bitmap Mode. And so I'm going to go to File, Save As, and we're going to select the Desktop here.
I'm going to save this as a TIFF image, a bitmap TIFF and I'm going to call it, let's see, we'll call it Painted_Heart. And we'll go save. Make sure it's Mac. If you're on PC, you would select the PC. Click OK. So we've saved that to the desktop, now we're going to move back to Illustrator and place it into Illustrator. Now we're back in Illustrator and I'm going to place the image that I created, the bitmap image I created in Photoshop, and place it into Illustrator.
And so you can go to File, Place. You can see the image we saved in the desktop, Painted_Heart, and we'll click Place. And then we'll place it here. Make sure it's Artboard, and we'll center it just so it's right in the center of our document. And this is now a bitmap TIFF placed in Illustrator. The beauty of bitmap TIFFs is that wherever it's white it's transparent, and once you place it in, you can simply color anything you want.
It works really easy. If you have background behind it, let's say for instance this is black, and if we put this behind the heart, you know, everything is transparent. So it works really well in that regard. It's very easy to use. If you want to get back to the base color that you brought it in at, just go fill none, and it reverts back to its default black. But once again, you can color anything you want. So it's very flexible. Because this image is eight inches at 800 dpi, I can size it down.
Most of the time I wouldn't size it up if I needed it bigger than this for some specific use, I would just report out a new image, the exact same methodology, just a lot bigger, out of Photoshop and then use that one instead. But one thing I do want to point out is that on this type of artwork, if I go to Keyline View here, you can see on the left, this is how we built it with just paths and vector brushes on those paths. If I just try to use that file with everything just as is as we initially built it, look at how many (laughs) anchor points are in this artwork.
It's insane. This is what I would call a deadly vector file in terms of you would run into post-grit problems if you tried to rip this with that many anchor points. And the size of the file with just this heart, with just what's shown above here, is 17.6 megabytes. If you convert it to a bitmap TIFF at a high resolution at 800 PPI, obviously, it has no anchor points because it's a pixel-based image, but it's only 5.2 megabytes. It's a lot easier to work with, it's very easy to work with.
It's really difficult to work with a vector painted image like this, the more information you have vector-wise. So that's a comparison between the raw vector paths with the brushes applied and the bitmap TIFF. But the other comparison I want to make is you might be thinking, "Well, yeah, "but you didn't expand it." Well, if I expanded (mumbles) if I go to Keyline View, you can see I've expanded it here and created the actual just vector shape. It no longer has over 200,000 anchor points, but it still has a whopping almost 75,000 anchor points in this one piece of art, and that in itself is somewhat problematic in terms of usability.
The weight of the file is only 6.3 megabytes now, but still it's larger than using a high resolution bitmap TIFF. That's why I use a bitmap TIFF. And this is only context in which I would create a logo like this and use a TIFF image and not vector because it makes more sense doing it this way. As long as you know what you're creating for, you can pick the appropriate way to create it. In some cases, using this type of expanded image might work in a greater context.
It just depends on what specifically you're doing. But when it's all said and done, my bitmap TIFF work really well here. These are just bitmap TIFFs placed. And once again I've colorized them this kind of dusty pink color. It works great on a light background, it works great on a dark background. That's the flexibility of a TIFF image. And it's going to work for almost any type of usage. Here's a nice t-shirt graphic that you can create with it. Vector art is ideal for a lot of usages, but sometimes the final usage of your vector creations will be best suited to be delivered in pixels.
The good thing is Illustrator and Photoshop work hand in hand to achieve that. If you want to learn more about creating your own custom brushes, check out my Drawing Vector Graphics: Painting with vectors course. I think you'll really like it. If you have any questions, once again, 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 email@example.com. Thanks again for watching DVG Lab, and until next time, remember, never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
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