Skill Level Intermediate
- Welcome to drawing vector graphics laboratory. I create so many vector based designs that at times when I look at something, my mind immediately makes me think to myself, how would I create that in vector form. Well, one night I was at a friend's house and they were talking and I looked down at the cup sitting on their coffee table and thought to myself, how would I create what I saw in a simple iconic, black and white format.
I stopped my mind from wandering and continued to listen to my friend then later when no one was looking, took a picture of what I saw because I decided this would make a perfect DVG lab. So in this movie we're gonna do just that. We're gonna create a simple, iconic piece of artwork inspired by mundane reality. So let's get started. This was the photo I took at my friend's house on the coffee table, it's just a plastic cup sitting on a coaster with a zebra pattern on it and we're gonna turn this into a simple black and white icon.
So how would you do this? Now, I didn't know where this was gonna lead I just started to see what was gonna happen and sometimes I do that for no other reason than discovery, to see if I can pull it off, if I even like it when it's all said and done. So I just converted this to gray scale, kind of tinted it back so I could build on top of it. Now the nice thing about this photograph is this is a very kind of symmetric shape and not only that, we can build a lot of it using simple shapes such as the ellipse tool.
So I'm gonna zoom in on this and you can see I have two simple circles that I created using the ellipse tool, the ellipse tool's over here, right here. You can use that to create circles but we're gonna zoom in even further because two circles won't cut it, there's a slight straight edge on each side where the camera's hittin' it straight on. So we're gonna zoom in 'til we can see where the left anchor point for one circle is and then if we go down the other anchor point for the other circle is right there and what we want to do is we want to take the rectangle tool and we're gonna go ahead and snap a rectangle from this anchor point, and make sure you have smart guides turned on.
Command U to turn on and off and we're gonna click on this anchor 'cause it's saying we're over it and drag out over here and we're gonna go ahead and zoom out here and I'm just gonna use the direct select tool to select the two anchor points. Drag these out past the edge on the opposing side and then once again we're gonna zoom in so we can see what we're doing here. And we'll select these two anchors, slide them over until they snap to that anchor and then actually we're gonna need to select this anchor on this side then we'll zoom in and we'll select this anchor on this side and we'll slide up until it snaps on that anchor.
So all we have here is two circular shapes and one rectangle, we'll select all of them and we'll unite 'em all together into one shape. Let's go to the graphic styles and just give this a little more beefiness so you can see it. So that's all we've done there to create the coaster shape for this motif. We'll turn on this shape which is gonna make up the cup itself and this is where we're gonna create the tapering sides that go down the left and go down the right and so my question for you, the viewer, is how would you go about creating this? You know in days past, before I became aware of a certain method, I would use the line tool and I would kind of find an edge here and then drag a line down and line it up here.
It was eye balling, there was no precise way of doing it, you can see up here I didn't even get it next to it. So I would just be guessing, trying to figure out in mathematical terms where the tangents of these two circles are. And there is no precise way of doing that. You'd have to just kind of eye ball it until it looks okay or at least it was acceptable visually. Well there's a better way to do this. And here's the best part about it, it's a free plugin called subscribe.
You've seen it in other DVG labs we're going back to it again because it's a very useful tool and it costs nothing. So go to astute graphics and download the subscribe plug in. These are the four tools you get, actually there's a lot more tools, if you click and hold you can see all these tools here. The wonderful engineer gave it this lovely long sentence as a name, line tangent to two paths. But that's the one we're gonna use, we're gonna click on this one, then we're gonna drag down towards this circle and then boom, it automatically finds the tangents on both and then all we have to do is click again to create that path.
It's perfect, it's mathematically perfect and what I tend to do is I like to bring this to the front so I hit F5 which is my keyboard shortcut for arrange bring to front which is under the object menu, bring to front F5 as you can see. And so I'll just hit F5 to bring to top, I'll switch to the pen tool by hittin' P and then I'm just gonna build out this shape, snap it to the center point, hold shift, drag down, so it's a perfect straight line, click again and then close this path.
Because we're drawing something symmetric, all I have to do is create one, command C, command F, use the reflect tool, find the central anchor point, make sure you have smart guides, command U turned on, click and flip and now we have everything needed. I'll select the two shapes and then I'll go to path finder and unite them into one shape. I can select this central anchor point, I don't need it and just delete it using the remove anchor point tool in the top menu bar.
Now, this shape I use just to create those tangents and notice it creates an extra anchor here. So I use this to guide me but then I get rid of it when I'm done. On the bottom one, I can select this, select the shapes we united and unite all of these to create the final cup shape that tapers down both sides. Now I'm gonna click on this layer which is the inset that we're gonna create here. And on this one I'm gonna take this circle and I'm gonna move it to the cup layer on top because this is gonna serve as the top part of the cup and eventually we'll get rid of this line that's crossing here.
So what we're gonna do now is we're gonna start playing out the thickness and what I mean by that is I have some graphics tiles set up here and I'm just gonna select everything but the coaster and I'm gonna apply this first graphic style to it and it gives the thickness of the line we want to do. Now on the top lid I want to visually get this looking the way I want so I'm gonna go ahead and give that a white fill with the other style in the graphic style. Now I could've just selected it, colored it, set the stroke, through the strokes panel but I did this so when you try this on your own, you can just click these with the shape selecting and make the whole process go a little faster for you.
Now, the next thing I want to do is I want to create some inset lines that are gonna guide us as we create the rest of this motif and so I'm gonna select this cup and I'm gonna go ahead and go to object path and I'm gonna go offset path and because this stroke is nine points, we're gonna go minus nine and click okay. And you can see if we go to the strokes panel it's still a nine point stroke and we're gonna color this white and so you can see all it is now is an inset and kind of what I'm doing is I'm mimicking as you look through a glass and it has liquid in it or the cup itself will distort things and it tends to create this kind of haloing effect, that's what we're creating here.
So that's why I did this and this is gonna guide us further as we continue to build this artwork out but we're gonna go ahead and edit this eventually as well. But the first thing I wanna do is I wanna go ahead and take this one and this one and we're gonna change these to white as well, now we'll select the coaster. This won't have any stroke, we'll get rid of the stroke but we'll color it black and you can see kind of what we're creating so far.
Now, right now if I select this and I move it over you can see that the stroke underneath it is kind of peaking out down here so we're gonna make some edits now, and this is where we're gonna have to zoom in so we can see what we're doing a little bit and we're gonna go over and we're gonna use the scissor tool. Now, I'm not sure if a lot of you use this but we're just gonna go around this path and we're gonna find an area actually let's select it then we'll go ahead and cut it over here and then as it goes over here and once again we're gonna zoom in even further so we make sure to do this right where we should.
With this path selected we're gonna go back to the scissor, we're gonna go down this until it hits or intersects with the other path. This is where we want to cut it, and we cut it here and then we can take what's still selected, the part we don't need and just delete it. So all we've done is we've created this path here now and we'll go into strokes and give it a round cap so it looks nice at the end. Now the next thing I want to do is I want to go ahead and edit this one so we'll go in and zoom in on this, grab the scissor tool, and I'm gonna do the same thing here and edit it here and then we'll go to the 90 degrees here.
Edit here, delete the part we don't need, select this and give it a round cap and now we're gonna edit this one and on this one we'll select it, grab the scissor, and we'll go down here and we'll cut it here and then I'm gonna cut it at the same point the other path is here and then what's left we'll just delete it. On this, we're gonna give it a round cap like this, let's zoom out you can see how this is progressing.
That's looking pretty good. Now, on the top here we're gonna go ahead and just lop off this top part 'cause we don't need it. This part we'll just delete it. Not only that, we'll get rid of the fill on this, we'll select this shape and we'll go ahead and cut off this straight line on top here, we don't need that as well. And so you can see how this is working so far. I think this is looking okay. We'll select these two shapes, we're gonna group 'em and the reason why I do this is 'cause then I'll go into isolation mode, you can see that up here in the top left and I'll drag select the corner and I'll go command J and that'll join it.
So now this is one singular path, not two, we've kind of welded it together in that respect. So let's go back to the layers pallet here and so far let's go ahead and turn off the photo and you can see what this is looking at and this is usually the point I get it to just to aesthetically assess is this looking the way I want and I like it. In my opinion we're done with this. Now, when I was showing my daughter, she says maybe you should put an outer line on it.
And I go what do you mean? Well like you have the one on the inside maybe put one on the outside. So I did that and she said, I like that better. And I was going, that tells too much of the story I guess. I don't know it's predictable, I didn't like that. Well maybe do a partial one, I thought maybe if we just do that that might look good. In the end, I prefer this, this is the way I'm gonna go but we need to expand it. Expanding it meaning we need to select these paths like this, these black paths here specifically, and go object path and outline just to turn it into an outline and then one thing I want to point out is if we go in here and I select these two, notice how this one comes up and it's gonna add an anchor point just like that if we leave it like that.
So I'll go in before I fuse them together and I'll create shapes like this which I consider a throw away shape, select this part and I'll just trim off a little part using the path finder like this so it will fuse together but it's not gonna add an extra anchor point to that circle. Now, you technically, don't really need to do this, I just like knowing my art is as clean as possible, I do the same here. Select this, fuse it together and you can see it creates a nice clean merging of those two shapes and so that's what I'm gonna do with everything until when it's said and done I have the expanded art here.
If I go to key line view you can see all it is is shapes now and I think this is gonna work really good. This is also at the point where I'll go in and make some subtle details. So I'm gonna zoom in right here on the inside of the cup and what I wanna do is I wanna round it. Once again, you can use the corner widget if you wanted to, I'm using a plugin here, dynamic corners, and you go in here and you might pull it out like, something like this, and then match it on the other side and I did this just because once again, when you're looking through a glass edges tend to round off and they kind of cohese as they get close to the edge of the glass.
So I think this looks good in black and white. This type of graphic looks really great reversed on a dark image so how would I use something like this? Do I even have to use it? No, but I tried to think of a way, how could I use it and I thought, maybe it's something named after, used as a promotion for a pub, the empty pint. He's all said and it's time to fill 'er up. So look at reality, look what's around you, pay attention to it, and if you get a few minutes try to iconify it, try to see if you can build it.
How do you view this? How do you see it could be in a simple format like black and white and then give it a creative twist. Or maybe you might, see my daughter still thinks this one's the best in terms of having that outline. I don't like that, I do like the creative twist where we gave it a nice little sad face, I think that kind of fits but in any regard, experimentation is the key. So creative exercise like this are gonna help you hone your skills if nothing else and it's gonna prove your ability to look at shape and form and deduce how to iconify it and still communicate easily.
Like most design there is a level of subjectivity regarding what to include and what to ignore so take a look at everyday objects and think how you'd pull it off in vector form. Thank you for watching DVG Lab. 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.