Reinforce fundamental shape-building methods to produce iconic brand centric motifs.
(dramatic swishing) (gears grinding) - [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. In this movie I'm going to use simple methods to create a graphic motif. I do this type of vector building hundreds and hundreds of times during the year, within the creative process of developing logo identity, iconography, and illustration. It's not complicated, so let's get started. I was working on a project, this goes back a while, over a year ago, and as I was drawing out thumbnails for this project, working out ideas, trying to conceptualize some concepts, in the midst of doing that at times, I'll just doodle, because my mind wanders.
I doodled this little drawing of a top hat with kind of a rabbit coming out, but after I drew that, then I added the two eyes and nose, and I go, "God, that kind of looks like a skull." I kind of liked that idea. It's kind of cool, but I didn't have anything to use it for, so I cut it out, or ripped it out, that is, and taped it up in my office. I've been looking at it for the past year. I finally realized I need to get around to building this out, just to flesh it out to see what it looks like.
That's what this DVG lab is going to be all about. We're going to take this exact thumbnail sketch. I'm not going to redraw it, because we're going to use existing geometric tools inside Illustrator that are going to allow us to build with preposition. There is no need to draw it out. I don't have to touch the pin tool. I can just use simple shape-building techniques to create this. I'm going to use guides to, as their name implies, guide me in this respect, and this is how I'll usually grid something out as I start building it, just to make the process easier.
The whole reason I'm showing you guides is because guides in Illustrator can somewhat be problematic at times. Guides will show through all layers, and they can be embedded within actual artwork. So, when you go to move it or copy it, it can cause problems. I wasn't used to that when I first started using Illustrator. I've been using Illustrator for 15 years, but the previous 15 years I used Macromedia FreeHand.
All you do is place it in your scripts folder for the application, and then under File you go down to Scripts, and you can see it's here, GS_Move_Guides_to_Layer, and if you click that it would create a layer called Guides, as showing here, and move all the guides to it. I just wanted to point that out. A nice, little helpful script that you can add to your own workflow if you wish. We're going to take this project and we're going to go ahead. I like to build with these magenta lines. We're going to go ahead and zoom in on this quite a bit, just so we can see it a little better.
I'm going to use shape building tools, such as the ellipse tool here. I'm going to find the center point right here. I'm going to hold Option down. I'm just going to drag out like this to create the brim of the hat. I'm going to clone this, Command C, Command F, and then I'll just scale it down to the center. Maybe let's try this. Something like that. Then, I'm going to go down below here, and I'm going to create another oval shape.
This one's going to be a little larger, like this, to create the top, or in this case, it's flipped over, so the bottom of the hat. Now, what a lot of people would do, and I have smart guides turned on, Command U. A lot of people would just click the pin tool here, go over here, and snap to this anchor point, and snap to this anchor point to kind of create the barrel, I think is what they call it, of the hat. The problem with that is it assumes the tangents between this shape and this shape exactly align with that anchor point.
In this case they really don't, so we're going to get rid of that. I'm going to zoom in and explain what I'm talking about here. This oval shape, the anchor point are at the 12 o'clock, three o'clock, six o'clock, and here the nine o'clock position. This isn't where the actual tangent is between the two shapes. This is where you have to either eyeball it, which I don't like doing because I did that for years, and it wasn't easy, or you use an Astute Graphics plugin called Subscribe.
The best part about it, it's a free plugin. Anybody can go to their site, download it, and start using the tools. I'm going to use this tool right here called the line tangent to two paths. You can see all the other tools under this category. They have a lot more in this free plugin. It's not just one tool. It's a bunch of different tools. I've started to use these over, and over, and over, and over again, and they work great and save me so much time. I'm going to demonstrate how I use it in this context. We're going to take this inner part of the hat. I'm going to clone it, Command C, Command F, and then I'm going to take this specific line tangent to two paths tool, and I'm going to click down here on this shape, and then as I drag up here, you can see how it automatically snaps to this shape.
It says this is the related tangent, so I'll click again, and it defines it. If I zoom in now just to demonstrate why I said what I said previously, here's the original vector path right here. This is where the anchor point is, but the actual tangent isn't here. It's up here. That's why I use this plugin. It builds geometrically perfect, and I don't have to worry about not getting exactly what I want.
I can go away and throw away this extra shape there. I just didn't want to effect this shape here. With this in place now I can go ahead and build out this shape like this to form that shape needed. And then, I'm going to eventually clone this, and then fuse them all together, which I'm going to show you shortly. Another thing I like to do is I like to take shapes like this, which is the same width as the head we're going to create. I'm going to clone this again.
I'm just going to hold Option down and scale it upwards kind of like this, and get it close to where I think it should be, like that. But I don't like how round this is. I want this to be a little, I don't know, for lack of better terms, squatty. I'm going to select this anchor point and just use the nudge tools to nudge it down a little. Then, here's another trick I use. I actually have a plugin on my other machine, where I don't have to do this, but this is how anybody could do it.
I'll use off of this central anchor point on the oval, I'll center and create a rectangle. Let's do that again. Select a rectangle tool, find the central anchor point, hold Option down, and just pull it out so it's centered on that. Then, if I select this again, we have to go a little wider on this. I'll put it out like that. Then, if I select this, we'll use the handle, and I'll just drag it out 'til it snaps to that side.
Select the anchor point to get access to the handle, and drag this out to snap to that side. The reason why I used the rectangle is so I could ensure that both handles were pulled out equally to stay uniform. You can see how it creates an oblong. I think that's really important. I don't like perfect oval shapes all the time. I want to add that little bit of imperfectness. Even though it's symmetric, it's not a perfect circle. I kind of like doing that. That's the process I use to go about building a lot of the fundamental shapes in this.
Like a good cooking show, I have some of this prefabricated, because I want you to be able just to try to learn these techniques, but also to take it from this point and move forward. One thing I did as I moved forward with this, is I needed to build the ears, and I didn't want to have to be able to go like this and, you know, create this, and then grab. You can either grab the path scribe tool, in which case I used, from Astute, or you can use Illustrator's own method right here, and grab this and bend it, because it's never going to be perfect.
I don't know if it's perfect on both sides, 'cause I don't think the anchor point handles are pulled out evenly on both sides. I don't use that method, It's not precise. It's much easier, once again, to use shapes. So, I create one circle, clone it, move it over, select both, go to PathFinder, go intersect, and I have the ear I need for my motif as shown here. I just wanted to show that really quickly. We're going to go ahead and zoom in a little bit. I'm going to select the ear.
Select this eye. Select the shape we made with the Astute plugin. I'm going to clone these, Command C, Command F. Then I'm going to select a central anchor point and flip it, so I get all the content I needed. I can select these bottom shapes and the bottom oval, and unite them to create the barrel of the hat. We're going to go ahead and select the ears, and select the head. We can fuse those together like this. We're going to select the rectangle tool.
I'm going to go ahead and create a throwaway shape. What do I mean by that? I mean, I'm not going to use it in my art. I'm using it just to edit another shape, and that is this hat or this head with the ears. I want to lop it off on the bottom, so it's straight. Then, I'll select this inner shape of the oval with the shape I just edited, and unite those together. What I've created is this shape right here. That's why I did that. The next thing I want to do is I want to select the brim of the hat.
We'll go to Object, we'll go to Path, we'll go to Offset Path, and this you're going to have to play with. We definitely don't want to go minus. I think maybe four will work. That's a little too thin. Seven maybe. Nope, too fat. Six, like Goldilocks says is just right, I think. Yeah, that works. We'll select that. Make sure this is on top. I have that set as F5, so I can just hit F5 and it brings it to the top.
If you don't have keyboard shortcuts, you'd have to go to Arrange, Bring to Front. That's why keyboard shortcuts are great. Make sure to watch a previous DVG lab where I cover all of them, and you can set them up too. I'll select the bottom of the hat, and I'm going to trim it. This just adds that nice gap in between the brim and the bottom of the hat. It's going to work great for an iconic motif. The next thing I'm going to do is I'm going to select this hat. Go back to Object, go back to Path, go back to Offset.
I want to do the same thing, but in this case I want to go minus six, and go OK. I'm going to select the nose, and I'm going to go intersect, just to create that same tolerance of a gap between the nose and the inside part of the hat. The next thing I want to do is select this shape again and the brim shape. I'm going to clone these, Command C, Command F. In my case, I just hit F3, and then I'm going to intersect them to create inside part of this graphic.
Then, I'm going to select the brim of the hat again, Command C, Command F to clone it. Just so you can see it, we'll fill this one with pink here, and it's sitting here. Let's do black, and it's sittin' on top of this shape, so we'll select both. We're going to trim that off. All I've done is I've made the top part of the hat with the ears and this bottom part here. Actually, you know what? I kind of screwed up, but that's okay. It's easy to fix. We're going to select this. I'm going to clone it again, and I'll select this one.
We're going to fuse these together into one shape. If I fill this with red, you can see what that is. Make sure it's on top. I'm going to select the brim of the hat. I actually wanted to punch this out of the brim of the hat, not create an inside shape, so it's like this. My bad, but that's okay, it's easy to fix when you're building kind of geometric forms like this. We can turn off the thumbnail. We can even turn off the guides at this point. Now we can simply colorize our artwork. We don't want any outlines on it.
All of these things, no outlines, just a fill of black. You can see how quickly you can create a really cool mark just using simple methods. We're not really using the pin tool to create art. We're just using it to create shapes that are geometric or enhanced geometric shapes like the tangent to create this side and this side of the hat. Very easy building methods. At this point is where I'll go to the rounding plugin that I use from Astute Graphics.
If you want to use Illustrator's corner widget tool, that's great. I usually have that off by default, because I don't like it, but it'll do exactly the same thing in terms of getting the roundness you want. On this one, with this plugin selected, I can go in here and round this ear. The reason why it, actually it's not enough. Let's zoom in little bit so we can see this better. I want to round these off. I don't want them sharp like somebody's going to get cut if they touch the top of the hat.
I think that's about right. Once you get one, the reason why I love this plugin, is I don't have to go over here and try to eyeball it. I just go over here and click that anchor and it automatically applies the previous one I did. It makes building so much faster. You can see the end mark that shows up. I really like it. It's a lot of fun. I decided to lock it up with some types. I'm kind of thinking this is like Red Hats, which are associated with Linux OS, and maybe it's a firm that does threat assessment for financial firms or corporations to make sure they're protected from hackers.
So, kind of magical, but nefarious is kind of what I was thinking here. That's how you could use this type of methodology within the context of branding, but you could use these same methods for illustration or iconography as well. I like to take this a little further, so I just mocked it up on an old Filco TV that you'd see from the early 50s, and it looks kind a cool. This wasn't a client project. I had originally doodled this, as I stated, well over a year ago in the midst of another project, but I liked it and taped it up.
I try not to ignore those moments of inspiration or curiosity, because it's a good way to take them, and then get some vector based exercising to stay in creative shape, if you will. Don't forget to download the free Subscribe plugin by Astute Graphics @astutegraphics.com. It's great, you're going to love it. Also make sure to grab that free script inside the exercise files. If you don't have access to those, just email me and I'll give it to you.
You can send your email, or any questions for that matter, to email@example.com. I hope you enjoy these movies as much as I do creating them. As always, never stop drawing.
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.