Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating with shapes, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
(industrial sounds) - [Instructor] Welcome to drawing vector graphics laboratory! Half the battle of building vector artwork is to be able to look at any drawn motif and recognize how you can simplify and accelerate the process by using shapes to construct elements in your design. So, let's take a look at how I did that in a project I recently worked on.
So, this was my refined sketch for a little character icon that was part of a bigger project, and this was the effort of creating a search icon utilizing that character, and one of the design explorations utilized him holding this telescope. Now, as I approach any kind of project like this, this is a pretty simple illustration, and I could try to build it just like this, but it's going to make it a lot easier if I re-orient the art, and what I mean by that is I want to build this telescope in a linear fashion that's going to make it easier.
Now, I'm going to show you one plugin that I use, and the cool thing about it is this plugin is absolutely free, so make sure to go Astute Graphics and download it, it's called Subscribe. And what I do is I'll take a drawing like this, I'll use it for vector shapes as well, to orient them, but it has this tool called the orient tool, and it works really really well. So, if I click on this orient tool, I can click first, my initial point of origin, so I'll click it here, and then I'll drag it out, and in this case, I'm finding the center factor of this drawn telescope, and I'll click that here, and then I'll use it, and then I can orient my drawing so it's perfectly 90 degrees.
That's why I use it, I use this for vector building as well, and in this case, I'm just going to select my image, and adjust the contrast, like this, and I'll go ahead and lock it. Usually, right on top, I'll create a layer like this, and I always color it medium blue, and we'll just call this build. And now, I'm going to just simply build my artwork. Let's zoom in really close on this, and I usually start by selecting one of my graphics shapes, or graphics styles, that is, that's just here, and this kind of sets the mode for how I'm going to build.
And all this is going to take is just simple vector geometric shapes, in this case, I'm using the ellipse tool, and one thing I should point on is I have smart guides turned on. Command U to turn it on and off, you can see it tells me when I'm over an anchor, when I'm over a path, and that's really important, that's going to make the whole process go a lot faster. So, I'll go ahead and clone this, command C, command F, and then we're going to move this over like this, to create this second edge, and I'm going to size this down, because it's kind of scaling down as its going.
I'll select this one again, I'll go to object, I'll go to path, I'll go to offset path, and I'm talking as I work, but this is exactly how I pull this off. Four, not quite so much, we want it to be six. And that looks good, and we'll go OK, so that shows you how quickly I get the inside there. I'll clone this, command C, command F. Slide it over, and then I'll shrink that down a little bit.
Clone this again, command C, command F, select these two, and this is where I'll use pathfinder and intersect them to create that inner detail. I'll grab the ellipse tool again, and I'll create the little highlight here. And now, the only part that I actually use to do any kind of point-by-point building is just to create a shape here, where I'm going to snap to this anchor point, snap to this one, bring it down here, and I'm just using this shape to go ahead and to fuse or unite with this shape, like this.
And then I'll clone this, command C, command F, select this shape and I'm going to trim it using pathfinder, and you can see how quickly this process goes. Now, we'll use this same methodology to create the rest of this. Now, because this is central, I can find a central anchor point and work out my, actually, on this one, since we already created one, we'll just clone this, command C, command F, I'll drag it over. It's too big, obviously, so I'm going to scale this down, like this.
I'll clone this again, command C, command F. Bring this over here, and I'm going to scale this one down quite a bit here, and then clone this one again, and this is where I'll take a little liberty, like this, this'll end up becoming the eyepiece, like that. And then, once again, the only part I'll use for the pin tool will be just to create the body of this, and I only opted to create a couple here, like this.
So, I can select this shape, command C, command F to clone it, use the reflect tool here, find a central anchor point and reflect it to get the full body, select these, and unite them with pathfinder. Select this, command C, command F, trim this shape to get the shape I need, select this one, command C, command F, and use reflect off of a central point to get the whole body, select the ellipse, unite 'em, once again, select this shape, command C, command F, and we're just doing that to use it as a trim for this shape, and then I'll clone this shape, command C, command F, select the eyepiece, and then knock it out with the pathfinder.
So you can see how quickly you can do simple shape building to pull off what may seem like a complex piece of artwork, and it really isn't, it's just thinking about it the right way to figure out the best way to approach it, the best way to create that artwork. Once you have this, I can just copy it. We'll turn off this, and we'll go to this layer, and you can see I have other elements built, such as his face. I'll paste in our artwork, and once it's pasted in, I can group it.
And then, just easily rotate it, right into place where I need it to be. And so, that's as easy as it gets when it comes to vector building. Now, like a good cooking show, I have some of this pre-baked, and for this specific project, there were brand colors we were working with, so we'll go ahead and colorize all these brand colors, this one was white, I believe, and we can get rid of the outline, this was black, and we use the secondary brand color, which is a blue color, for this, like this.
And on his hand, same color as the body. And the shading. This, I believe, was a tint of the blue. Like this, and I believe it was, like, 60? I think that's right. And then these were...
Gray colors, like this. And I believe this was really faint, 15% of the blue. This was white, and I believe this was a light gray. And this was that, but I believe it was 60%. And that's how I colorize this iconography. Now, on this project, this was just one of the search icons.
We gave them a couple iterations, so I can turn that on here and you can see both of the iterations we provided to them. They ended up going with the one on the right here to be part of their total icon set. Now, this project, it was for a rebranding on a company called Tenor, and it's a service, you can go to their site, go to their mobile apps and download or share funny animated gifs, so our character, our brand character for them kind of represents the capabilities of their site, of their services.
It's a lot of fun, and so these were a range of iconic characters we created. But it doesn't matter what type of project you're working on, look at the shape, look at the form, analyze it and figure out how you can use basic shapes to accelerate the process and make it easier. Not everything in a vector design needs to be constructed with the pin tool. Most often, you'll want to use both the pin tool and shapes to construct your design, so take the time to analyze form, then pick the best method to use.
Thank you for watching DVG Lab, and until next time, never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
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