Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
Skill Level Intermediate
(air whooshing) (gears turning) - [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. The Chinese New Year, or the Lunar New Year last year, was the year of the pig. This year, it's the year of the rat. So in this movie, I'm going to take you through how I approach this year's theme and how I continually revise my artwork as I create it. So let's jump into this. Now where my process starts, if I don't have an idea off the top of my head, I tend to do some research. In this case, I kind of looked at references, photographs and associations of a rat, really to study the form. What makes a rat a rat? What makes its characteristic shape that distinguishes it as a rat? Well, the nice part about doing this type of visual research is you might do some simple shape recognition that has an association with another point of fact. And in this case, if I look at this photograph up here in the top right, the shape of the rat itself is what alluded to an idea that I came up with. And that is from its tip of its nose, it starts off thinner and then as it gets to the back, rounding to the bottom to where the tail is, it gets distinctly fatter. So it goes kind of like fat to a point, almost like a teardrop, a hairy teardrop if you will. And that's what gave me the genesis of my idea. I started doodling and working out possibilities for a design in simple thumbnail sketching, and these are really crude but once I started looking at the references of a rat, that's where the idea sparked. That's where I made a connection between a shape and a point of fact. And that point of fact is kind of like a yin yang where it starts at a point, it gets fatter at the top. And so I thought, oh that'd work great, two rats, like yin yang rat. I think that's the direction I'm going to go. And so working off that concept, I went into illustrator and just printed out a simple graphic to guide my drawing, so it would fit that form of the yin yang. I'd done an editorial illustration years ago, so I knew I had a reference graphic I could pull from my archive and then printed it out and then it was using this as my guide. I didn't worry about following it exactly. The tails kind of go outside the shape, but this is just simple, rough drawing, just to work out the form, work out the composition. And then on top of this, I'll continue to draw on this. I'll continue to refine it. The part I didn't like about this was his legs. I didn't like the fact you only saw two legs, so I wanted to work that out a little better. And so, on my next version of the sketch, I decided to work in all four legs. I'm trying to keep this very chunky graphic style. And this is a continuation of my drawing. It's better, but I want a exact with exactitude, figure out exactly what I'm going to build as I move into vector. So this is where I'll refine draw it once again, and I really work on the shapes, paying attention of what form this shape is going to be when I go to vector and when I go to build it. And I usually draw this with my mechanical pencil, as shown here. By the way, I'm very attached to my drawing tools. This one is about 15 years old now, and they changed the model, which I don't like the new ones 'cause I went to buy a new one since the rubber on this one is pretty worn out. And they don't make it the same way any more, and I like the old ones. So I tend to go on eBay and buy just old ones I can find on there. So if you're interested, look for Papermate PhD mechanical pencil and you can give that a shot. So my refined drawing looked like this. And I placed it, and I kept the graphics that I had initially printed out to guide my drawing. And now I'm just going to start building it. Now a lot of people have asked me over the years. Well, how do you know where to start building? Well, it really doesn't matter. It's wherever you want to start. If it's a character, I usually start on the head, you know, rather than a hand, for example. In this case, I'm going to kind of do the same thing. I'm going to start on his head, but the easiest place to discern where to place an anchor point is wherever it comes to a point, gets the point. So his claws come to a point, so that's where I started down here. I just put one anchor point, and if I select this you can see I just go from one point to the next point. This is the only curve I have to discern until it gets to the next point on the chin. So if you think like that, it's going to help you to discern where to place these anchor points. I don't try to build the whole perimeter of art either. I break it in to more manageable shapes. In this case, this shape represents the top profile and back here of his head, including his nose. And this shape his jaw, then it goes into his right leg for the body. I also build the teeth separately. I do this so I can take this shape here and clone it, Command + C, Command + F. If I fill this in yellow, you can see the shape that I cloned. The other shape is still behind it, and then I use that to minus front using pathfinder. Let's go ahead and move this up a little so we can see the pathfinder. And I'll go minus front here with that shape on top of the teeth shape and just to trim that off. Now at times when you use the shape building tool, it's going to revert to a group, so I like to always change the spark to a compound. And I have a keyboard shortcut set up to do just that. And that's F7. If you want to know more about that, look for a DVG lab, the previous one called creating with keyboard shortcuts. And I go over all the ones I use. So this is just simple building. Now it's at this point, I'll select like these two shapes and these can be united with path finder to get one cohesive shape and that's how I build this. I move forward. I just focus on one area at a time. The next one, I'm just going to use elliptical shapes. If I turn this on, these are the shapes I use to build such as this area right here on the nose, there's just two elliptical shapes. One on top of the other one. I'm just going to trim it using minus front. Just to create this little basically, this is a detail of the fur but it defines the back side of the nose here. And then on the eye, because this figure is going to be a darker color, I don't need to have inside the eye white. It's going to be black 'cause if you'll ever look at a rat's eye, it's kind of soulless like a shark of sorts. So all I'm going to do is make a crescent moon type of shape. Select these two minus front and then just leave the highlight as it is. So that's pretty simple stuff to just in there. Once again, if you figure this out in the drawing stage, you don't need to think too much as you build it, as you move into vector. Now there are other features I use all the time. So let's turn on this layer and you can see I have this hand here. One thing I want to retain is where the gaps are, that separate this par, you can see how I drew it with this line. I want to build this now. And this is also showing you that I like to save shapes. Knowing that I'm going to build this gap, I saved a copy of that shape that was the bottom part of his head and his arm and I'm going to use it now. So with that selected, we're going to go to path. We're going to go offset path, and I'm going to put in a tolerance of four. This is what all of our gaps in this art will be set for. And we'll click okay. If I go ahead and fill this, you can see this is sitting on top of this shape. So with that selected, I'll select the leg and we're just going to trim off that extra part we don't need using minus front and path finder. And then that creates that nice gap in between the bottom part of his head and going into his leg. And so I just wanted to show you that because I use those kind of methods all the time. I'm going to show you a couple more examples as we move forward. Once I use a shape like this, what I usually do, because I might want to use it later or revise something later, I'll just create a layer really quick. I'll move it to that layer and then I'll name the layer like hold or something. I don't like layer colors other than medium blue because I think they get in the way when you highlight a path. If you've ever wondered why all mine are always blue, that's why. And so, I'll save this because I might want to come back to it later and instead of throwing it away, it's easier just to save it. Sometimes I'll create a layer at the very top of my layers called x, and I'll put them in there to kind of like a vector junk jour, if you will. But in this case that's going to suffice. We're going to move on here and we're going to turn this on. And originally, I created this ear as it's own shape as showing here and then I created this shader here and I was just going to color a darker color but then the more I thought about it I might go and -- You know, we have a gap down here. I don't really like the shader thing so I got rid of that and then I went back to simple shapes just create elliptical shapes. And with these two shapes, I'm just going to intersect it and I kind of liked the fact that it's just free floating. It's kind of a nice style. So it's stuff like that that'll change my mind as I build, if I think something's going to work better. So I'll always be willing to art direct yourself. Now I always like to put it this way, if you don't art direct yourself, and then you show your work to a client or a creative director or your boss whoever, they might read into it more that what you would if you would have art directed yourself to begin with. So get in the habit of art directing yourself. It's a smart way to work. Now, this style is going to have what I call match shapes in it. So let's turn this on and you can see, I built out some of the remaining parts of the bodies so I have the back part of the body and it goes here on the back, around the back into, what would this be? A thigh? (laughs) I guess. And then the bottom part of the rat as it comes here over this back foot. So we're going to be fusing those together but what I want to call out now is at this point, I had taken this shape. And if we move this way, it goes behind the ear but I had drawn this little notch here. So I'll select that. Select this shape and I'll just minus front to create a little notch here. Now originally, I thought that was going to look good but as I move on you're going to see me get rid of that and I just simplify it because it didn't look as well as I thought it would in my sketch. So it's those kind of things you want to pay attention to. I'm also going to use these areas. These aren't really notches. These are just areas that are going to represent kind of the hairy surface texture of the rat itself. But if we go down here, I've made an offset path much like I did on the front foot and we're going to use this to edit the back legs and to put that nice four point gap in between the body to also, and the legs. And we're going to clone this. Command + C, Command + F. So we have two copies here like this. We'll select this foot and we'll trim off that back part here. We'll select this and trim off part of this foot as well. And that's going to create that nice look here. Now originally, I'd drawn this to thinking this was just going to be a big gap, but then as I did it, it just left this big open area. So I kind of moved this hair back in. And I'm going to handle this differently. So if I turn on the hair shapes here, you can see how unsteady cut and through I'm just having it floating. So I'm going to address that in just a little bit. We want to go down do the tail now and I'm going to do the same thing. And I'm just going to trim that notch into the tail. And this is where I can go ahead and select the head, select the body, these two shapes, select these legs and the back thigh and even the tail and we're just going to go unite on path finder. And then if I go ahead an zoom out now, if we color this yellow, you can see everything I united. We'll undo that. I don't want to leave it yellow because I want to show you how the hair shapes interact with this. And if I turn on this layer now, you can see all the yellow. We actually have an extra shape here. I don't need that one right here since I already had it but this represents all the hair. And these will just kind of punched out at the background shape of the rat itself. So what we're going to end up with when we are all set and done is black and white art that looks just like this. And I still have the circle here because it's easier to work with something that's based of of a circle, the yin yang. And in this case we're just going to position another copy. So we'll make a copy of this. Command + C, Command + F. And then I'll select this and I'll just rotate it into place. So we have that replicated yin yang showing here and I thing that looks pretty good. Now originally, I was thinking the background color, we don't want it white but I was originally thinking we could make this a red color like that and then we could keep this black. And I think that might work. We might address that bit. The one thing I did notice is that I kind of messed up on the yin yang. I got the idea right that is but if you actually look at the yin yang this is what it looks like. It's actually we got it backwards. So if you compare it to what we have, this is what we have. We have the fat end on top, and the thinner end on the bottom. We actually need to reverse that. That needs to read the opposite way. So I'll go back to my art here, and well just reorient it by selecting the art, selecting the circular shape that we're just using to rotate and reorient the art. And we're going to go to the reflect tool. And we're just going to click here, and click here, and that's going to put it into the correct position going from thin to thick like that. I just wanted to show you that because it doesn't matter how much you pay attention, you can still mess something up as you're going forward. So here is the edited rats and so if I compare this with the previous, not a lot's changed but I've gone in on some of these and you can tell here I had this shape right here not cut out and then after I did it, I changed my mind. I went back and I edited that to cut all the way through. I also simplified the hair. It was getting a little too busy. This is a little too busy. I simplified it. So busy simplified and you can see up at the head I had the notch I originally created and I went back and I removed that. So those kind of self art directing things are what you want to pay attention to as you work forward, as you create. And then as I looked at this for a while, I put it aside, came back to it and gone you know what? It's not bad. Colorwise, I just think it could be better and so this is where I went in and instead of a red background we're going to do a nice golden one. And instead of black, we're going to go ahead and make this kind of a muted red color. And I think this looks more appropriate for the theme for this year rather than black and red. So we're going to go this way. I worked in nice type to go around it, here to kind of bring the whole motif together and of course I want to add some textures. And textures are always fun to work with. Once you create them, you can go back to them and use them over and over. The first texture here, if we go over here, you can see, all this is, is just a really bad zero. So you can see the edge and at the bottom you can see that. And that's kind of why I like using textures. They can come from anywhere. In this case, a really bad copy machine. So we'll just go ahead and we're going to align this here. Let's zoom out a little bit. Like that. And we'll select the texture and we'll go ahead and align it here. And on this texture, this is just going to be white. So all we're going to do is color. And this a bitmap texture so anything that's white in the bitmap is transparent by default when you place it in the illustrator. And I've been using this methodology for years. It works really great for doing T-shirt art and I'm trying to thinking this is going to be a nice T-shirt design but I want to get a little more transparent than stack white here. So we'll go to the transparency pillar. We'll plug in 30 percent, and we just want to get a nice kind of surface texture running through everything. We'll turn that off. We're going to get a little greedy now and here's some spot textures. Originally created this years ago with old tooth brush, some Indian ink and flick it with your thumb to get splattering. And it's a great way to texturize your art and do it very simply. So we're going to go ahead and go in here and I'm going to select this. Make sure we're on the right layer. Yap. And then, we're going to color red. Like that. And I think that looks good just to give it a little atmosphere around the figures. And then, we'll click in here. And all this is, is texturing that's showing up only in the rats. And so we want to kind of punch through this to have it show the gold background. So we're going to color this gold. Now all of this for the final T-shirt art, I would convert the pas by image tracing them but in this case visually. This is what I intend it to look like so I'm just going to keep it this way. So how would you solve this new year's design challenge yourself. I encourage you to think up a rat centric idea and if you do so share it with me. Send me a visual and email it to email@example.com. I'd love to see what you come up with and when it comes to the creative process, it's never perfect. You may change your mind or decide handling something in a different way looks better and just know that's the way it's supposed to work. So always be open to improve something as you go. Don't settle for that's good enough. And if you're not sure, set it aside for a day and then reapproach it with fresh eyes and more than likely, you're going to see what the problem is and then you can fix it or adjust it. Thank you for watching DVG lab and until next time, never stop drawing.
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.