Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating warp tool shading, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
(swooshing) (gears turning) - [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. So many workflow methods I've adopted over the years and use on a daily basis were learned by watching others work, observing how they did things, and then cherry picking what I liked best, and from that point forward, using it in my own creative process. I think this type of printed minded gleaning is pretty normal for our industry and should be expected in the context of creativity.
Now, the whole reason I'm telling you this is recently I was hanging out with my long-time friend and designer, Paul Howalt, and had a chance to sit next to him and watch him build a design in Illustrator. When he got to the shading part of his work I watched him use a methodology I've never seen before. So in this movie, I want to share with you how he handled shading, it's pretty clever. So, we're going to create this design you see in front of you. It is simply a bull driving (laughs).
I try to make these themes that I do in these movies fun because I'm creating it and I want it to be fun and I want to enjoy myself, so this is an idea I came up with, and you might be thinking, why is there a bull driving? Well, it's going to kind of make sense in the context I use it, and you're going to see that, eventually. But my creative process, once again, always starts in drawing. This is a symmetric drawing, meaning it reflects from left to right the exact same content. I only drew half of this and reflected it in Photoshop just to get the full picture.
Now, there are a few odd men out, is what I call them, in a symmetric illustration. Those are the things that are asymmetric, they're not reflected, such as his tail. I think those kind of elements within the context of a symmetric illustration really make it better because it throws it off a little bit, along with the spots in the top of his head. So, where do I start with a design like this? Well, I start with simple shape building. And all shape building is is using circular shapes, using rectangles in order to facilitate the building effort.
There's no reason to create these point by point when you can create 'em with simple shapes. So, for example, on the top of his head this started out as a rectangle and then I just moved a few anchor points to adjust it to my drawing. Then this was made from a simple circle and a rectangle united together to form this shape, I rotated it, and then I can select both these shapes, go minus front from the Pathfinder to get the final shape I need. Let's go ahead and zoom in a little closer so you can see this a little better, I think that works better.
You can notice I use circle shapes, elliptical tool to create the steering wheel. It's just one circle, expanded it, and expanded it again to get all the content I need. Used the same principle to create the chin part underneath his snout and to create what, eventually, is going to become the ring in the bull's nose. And so, here, on the horn, I did the same thing with simple shapes and all minus front on the Pathfinder. Then I'll clone this shape of his head. Now, clone is just Command, C, Command, F, and then Bring to Front menu option.
I've assigned that action, recording those three commands, and assigned it to the F3 key, so I can just hit F3 and it provides me a clone of this shape. Now, I do that because I used Clone and Freehand for 15 years and Illustrator doesn't have it, so I made my own keyboard shortcut doing that, so, that's how we save time. Then I can select it, minus front, trim off what I don't need, I can take these two shapes here that make up this spot, unite them with Pathfinder. I can take this shape, and this is where I'll use rounding, and instead of using Illustrator's Round Fillet tool, and, I should explain, the reason why I don't use that and I have it turned off by default is because when I go to select an anchor point, for example, at times it'll activate that Round Corner Fillet, especially if I'm not zoomed in.
And it, kind of, slows down the process, I don't know why they implemented it that way, so, I never use that. I'll just be completely honest and say, I never use it. But what I'm going to show you, you can do it with that, you're just going to have to make sure to zoom in so you only activate the Round Cornered Filet tool and you don't accidentally move an anchor point, for example. So how I'm going to do that is I'm going to use a VectorScribe plugin called Dynamic Corners, and this is the plugin we're going to use, and I like it because I can just simply drag it however far I want.
In this case, we'll do this, then I'll just simply click this next corner and apply it. It works that simple, that's why I like it, that why I use it, I'll use it for other subtle details, like the tip of this horn, to improve that, as well, later on in the process. So we're going to move to all the base vector shapes. Now, when you have your base vector shapes it comes down to moving into color. At this point, I focus on form only, now we're going to bring in the total family we've established.
I'm going to color this bull red. I've never seen a bull really red, so we're kind of being iconic with our coloring here. But what we can do is just start selecting. Right now I do have this entire head shape selected so we'll just use the Direct Select tool to isolate areas of his head, specifically, his face, we'll do his snout, his chin, the top of his ears. And, initially, right now, we're just going to color these all the same base color of red as showing here.
We'll do his horns, those will be gold. We'll take the background of his body, this will be a little darker. Let's reselect that, a little darker hue, as showing here. Maybe this one's the same color for now, we'll color his tail black, or maybe, yeah, that will look good. Now, let's zoom in, and, actually, let's go ahead and color these ears really quick, those will be another darker hue, maybe that, and we'll go ahead and zoom in on his eyes.
You can't really see it since the background is red, but we'll go ahead and color these white. Take off the stroke, color 'em white, we'll make his eyes, on the inside, we're going to use processed black, not regular 100% black because it's going to produce better when we're working on all the other colors. So this is the methodology I'll use to explore my colors. And I try to work everything out so all the flat colors are, kind of, harmonizing and the hierarchy of those colors work well.
And I also try to organize it where it's in layers so I can go ahead and access specific content. So here's the background, I have the torso on its own layer, the foreground with the hooves, and the steering wheel, and then the head. And the reason why I did this is now we're going to more forward and I'm going to show you how my friend, Paul, approaches shading using a really cool methodology, and, specifically, it has to do with what I call gradients. Now these are Pattern Brushes I created about three years ago, and since Paul's a good friend of mine I just shared with him the Pattern Brush and say, hey, you might like these.
Now, the way the Pattern Brush is designed to work is you can go to Brushes, we'll go down, you can see one of these gradient patterns here. So what we're going to do is we'll get rid of the fill and we'll make this stroke, we'll color it black, we'll select the Pattern Brush, and then we're going to go to the Paintbrush tool, and with this brush selected, and a stroke color selected, it could be any color, it doesn't have to be black, you can, literally, just paint out whatever gradient you want. And this is what I design so that I could do quick gradients like this, once again, it could be any color, and the way you change color on a Pattern Brush like this is you just pick the color of the stroke and then when you paint it it will be that stroke.
And then, once you have this, you can adjust the Blend Mode and the Opacity as needed to get the effect as it overlaps other colors. Now, that's how I, initially, designed it. But when I was watching Paul work, he had just taken the source art, which is like this image down here, let me go ahead and zoom in on this, he'd just taken the source art of this gradient swatch here, and then he was using it to mask within the context of his illustration. I'm going to show you how he did that because I'd never really even thought about it.
But how you could do it is you could just go Command, C, and paste it, we'll go ahead and rotate it like this. And what we're going to do here is we're going to color this a darker hue of the red, so we'll go, let's see, we'll go this color here. Oops, we're on that line, let's go the Fill, we'll go this color here, and we're going to set Multiply, I want this to multiply with the colors underneath so it mixes with them, but I don't want it 100%, it's too dark, so we'll go 50, there we go.
And I'm going to zoom in so you can see what's going on here. Notice how I'm on the gradient layer, you want to make sure you're on the Head layer, so I'm just going to move this down to the Head layer, like that. And all I'm going to do for this one, since I'm on the Head layer, is I'm going to bring it over, and I just want it to, kind of, run down the middle of his head, like that. So I'm going to select this shape, right here, and I'm going to clone it, Command, C, Command, F, I have the F3 setup to do those commands for me, and I'll make a clone of that shape.
I'll select this gradient now, and we'll go ahead and go Clipping Mask, and we'll go Make, and then you can see how it masks that texture, that gradient texture, into the shape, and you can see how you can do shading like this. Now, we'd have to make sure that elements such as the ring here and the snout are above this gradient, so we'll go ahead and bring those forward like this. And, actually, his whole snout needs to come forward now. So I'm using an F key to bring it forward, but, it's F5, but if you want to do it yourself you can go Arrange, Bring to Front, but notice I have F5, it's so I don't have to keep going to the menu, that's why I use keyboard shortcuts.
So we can do that to place it, in its proper hierarchy, that is. While that works great for, like, 90 degree angles, straight angles, well, how do you do curves? How do you work on curves? Well, let's do another one, we'll go ahead and copy this one, bring it over, and we'll go ahead and zoom in a little bit, so you can see what's going on here. And on this one, we're going to go ahead and color it the same color we did the last one, so we can sample this one we've already done and then it applies those attributes, using the Eyedropper tool, to our new shape.
Now, the way Paul would handle this, and this one is actually going to go, not on this layer, we want it to go on the Torso layer, so I'm going to bring this down and move it to the Torso layer, and I'm going to turn off the Head layer. This is why I do this, so I can focus on only the content I need at the time. Actually, we'll leave the Foreground layer on, I'll just lock it. And now what Paul does is, with this object selected, he goes to Object, and he goes down to Envelope Distort, and he goes to Make Warp, and notice that it, let's turn on Preview, you can see how it's warping this texture.
And this is how he bends it to wrap around the various elements in his design that he's working on. And I'm, like, watching 'im going, what is he doing? Well, you can go in here and you can adjust this how severe you want it, whether it's an extreme curve or a more subtle curve. Now, this is just one shape, you can do all kinds of shapes here, you can do an arch, you know, you can do a bulge. So there's a lot of different things you can take advantage of, but pretty much everything he used was the arch, that gave him everything he needed.
So in this case, I'm going to do that and we're going to go OK, and then we'll just slide this down here like this. And the next thing he would do is he would expand this, because right now you can't get access to the vector art to do anymore editing, it's, kind of, built in to, it's just distorted, and it keeps it in that mode until you wanted to commit to it. And that's all we want to do now, is we want to commit to it. So we're going to go up to Object, and we'll go down to Expand and we'll click OK.
And you can see how it's created the vector shape in the work perspective. And we're going to do some simple editing here on the bottom by taking these anchor points and just sliding it down. Now, this looks kind of messy but it's going to make sense here in just a second. I have this shape that's part of this layer, and it's specifically designed to work as a mask for creating the content in the background of the shape of this character. So we're going to clone this shape, Command C, Command F, once again, and we'll do that, and it'll bring that shape to front, we'll select the other shape that we distorted underneath it and we'll go ahead and mask it.
In this case, I have it assigned to the F1 key, but, once again, if you need to use the Menu just go to Clipping Mask, and Make, and you can see how it masked that shape into its position. Now, I think we want to adjust it, so you can always go into Isolation Mode and just move it up if you need to. And in this case, I'm going to get rid of this anchor point like that, and you can see it's going a little too high. So we want to bring it down right about there, and that looks good.
So, all we're doing is we're creating the background shading, so if I turn on the head you can see how it helps to pop that off. We're going to do a couple more here so you get familiar with how this process works. We're going to do another one, and this one, we'll take the same shape, and I have different sizes here because it depends on how far you want to warp it, which one you want to use. And you can adjust these as you see fit, if you want to use this exercise file to try it yourself. So what we're going to do here is we're going to make a highlight on the side of the head, so we'll go ahead and rotate it this way first.
And now, the next thing I want to do, let's go and zoom in so we can see this a little better, is, when you're using red and you're coloring it, I try to avoid using white with red. In this case, I'm going to use the base color red here, and then the next thing I'm going to do is I'm going to make a tint of this, so I want this to be a value of about 45, so you can see that here. And then, on the Opacity I want this 45 tint to only be 25, like this, and you can see it creates this faint, kind of, muted red color, but when you put it over the base color, red, it has a better appearance, in my opinion, than white, and adjusting the Opacity of that white.
It just look better, in my opinion. So what we're going to do now is we're going to go ahead and I'm going to go ahead and distort this, and we'll go back to the Envelope, and we'll go Make Warp. And you can see because we don't have it horizontal it's kind of messing up our thing, so we have to click on Vertical here, and you can see it's bending the wrong way, we want it to bend the opposite way. And this is where you'll just mess around with this, and I'm going to bend this to do it even more.
Let's do it, like, right about there, and we'll go OK. So it gets us the art to be manipulated the way we want it, then we'll, once again, go back to Expand and we'll go OK, it expands it. Now, if you want to you can rotate it a little more to get it in the right position, but this is about where I want it, like this, and maybe rotate it back into that position a little more, like that. That looks pretty good.
And then I'll select this shape, I'll clone it, Command, C, Command, F, and it'll bring that to front, and we want to make sure this texture is on the Head layer, that helps, and we want to make sure that our mask is on the front, so we'll Bring to Front, I have that assigned to the F5 key, for arrange, we'll select both of them, and now, we'll mask 'em. Once again, I have Mask set up as the F1 key, if you want a mask you can go to Object, down to Clipping Mask, Make, and we'll mask that into shape. And now we're just going to paste it behind the snout and the detail on top of its snout and his spots, so we'll paste it behind these shapes, and that will, Command, V, and it will paste it there.
And you can see how we can create that nice little shading there. We're going to do just one more here. And we'll do that one really quickly by taking this shape and copying it, we'll go ahead and bring that up, we'll place it here, move it to the Head layer. And, let's see, on this one I think I will colorize this one, we'll do, like, a dark gold color, since we're going to do the shading on the horn, and I want it to interact with the base color better.
So we're going to Multiply that, and we want the value less, so we'll go to 40, and I think that hue looks really good. So we'll select this, go to Object, Envelope Distort, Make Warp, once again, we'll select Horizontal this time. And, actually, I think that's going to work just like that. So we'll click OK, then we'll go back to Object, and we'll go to Expand, and okay that. Now we have our artwork and I'll just position it where I think looks best, and this is personal preference here, like that, that looks cool, I like that.
So we'll select the horn shape, clone it, Command C, Command, F, and then we'll select both of these shapes and we'll mask it into that shape. And this is the process you can use to illustrate this kind of illustration and do the detailing with shading, using the Envelope Warp. I just thought this, this methodology was awesome, I was going, that's, like, really cool! I'd never even thought about doing it that way. So, let's look at the artwork with all the gradients built into it, and you can see those here.
And, I'm going to zoom in so you can really appreciate this, it's just really cool. It has a nice, organic flair to it. Now, if I go to Keyline View, whoa! (laughs) You've got a lot of anchor points and stuff going on, but that's okay, that's what digital illustration is all about. It looks really great, looks really well. Now, there's some details that I wanted to add, so I'm going to zoom in even more. This looks great, but check it out if you take it and you add subtle, little details to this, it looks even better.
So I'll toggle off without, with, and you see how it really, kind of, breathes some life into it. And on this illustration, of course, why is it a bull driving? Well, it's an article on road rage. So that's how you can use the gradients and, by the way, on this final illustration I changed, since the lines of the street were gold, I changed its horns to a better hue to work better with the overall composition. So, I've never been a fan of the Envelope functionality, actually, in Illustrator, it feels like you're using a glove box, and I don't like how it handles type-oriented designs, specifically.
But with an organic-based element, like the gradient shaders the results work really, really well, and I'm definitely going to use this in other work, moving forward. The process is unorthodox, but as long as the aesthetic, when it's all said and done, is great, go for it! It's a great methodology, it was a great inside tip by Paul Howalt, so, thanks, Paul. And if you'd like more information regarding the use of the Pattern Brushes I, kind of, gave you a glimpse at, I encourage you to watch my Drawing Vector Graphics Pattern course, and you'll get access to those Pattern Brushes and you can try them out.
They're also available in the Color and Details course, as well. So, thank you for watching DVG Lab, and until next time, remember, as always, never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
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