Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
Skill Level Intermediate
(logo whooshing) - Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. The best way to improve your skills as a designer and illustrator is to simply practice your craft as often as you can. For myself, I'm always looking for any excuse to create artwork. Even when I'm doing something distinctively non-creative, like watching a movie. In this case, an old 1940's film noir starring a very young Frank Sinatra. As I was watching this movie, I froze one scene because the pose of his face just kind of captured me. I'm a sucker for fedoras, I love fedoras. So I captured this, why? I don't know. It just intrigued me, and I've learned over the years not to ignore that. So I paused it, I captured the screen, and I've had this image in my personal projects folder for about five years now, and decided it was time to create a design with it. So in this movie, that's exactly what I'm going to to do. I'm going to walk you through the process of how I was inspired from this and what I created utilizing that inspiration. So let's jump into it. I'll start with Photoshop. Once I have the image capture, and this is like really low res, 72 dpi, I'm going to cut out Frank from the background. So I end up with an image like this. And then it's from here, is where I'll usually just go to Adjustments, and bring up Layers, and then I'll start manipulating it. Now, I had somebody recently ask me, why don't you just use the Adjustment layer? Well, you could do that if you want. You could just have that image selected, it's definitely non-destructive. And you could do the same thing by going to Levels here, and adjusting those, and then you can toggle it on and off if you want to get back to the original image without destroying it. That's fine. It's just after doing it the way I've done it for years, which is just going out to Adjustment > Levels and just doing it here. I kind of prefer this way, not because the other way is wrong. I mean, that's the beauty of Photoshop, is you can give somebody the same assignment you give somebody else, and they can both come back and do it equally well, but they use completely different methods. So it's just personal preference, and in this case, I'm just creating a very crude guide to draw from, so it doesn't have to be precise, and I don't care about destroying the image for that matter. So this is where I'll just start blowing out the image. What I'm trying to do here is to create more contrast. So right now, by default, it's a very neutral light source. It's coming from the front, pretty much straight on. If you look at the highlights above his pupils, they're almost directly in line with this inner part of his eye, so the light source is almost directly in front of him, top shining down, and so as it wraps around his head, it's going to get darker, but this is a very bright light source, so it's not so dramatic. So this is what I want to do is, I want to kind of pull this over to darken it, then we're going to blow out those areas that the light's hitting, such as on his head like this. And if I go this way with the midtones, this is making it lighter. So I'm going to pull this in like this, and it's just about finessing and playing with these. We want to blow these out so we have enough of this gray inner detail, maybe black doesn't need to be so much like that, and we'll just want to kind of play with this. There is no set settings on this, I just do it until I have enough of what I think I need to draw from. In this case, I wanted to get blown out. Now, I will at times, I'm going to go ahead and cancel that, 'cause at times I'll make a duplicate layer like this, and then on this one, I might just want to focus on the face. And so. I'll go here, go to Levels again, and I just want to blow out the face like this, leave some of the midtones, pull in the black. I don't care about his hat or anything else. So I'm going to do this, maybe push some of that gray out more. Maybe blow out more of the white, kind of like that, and I think this is going to work, maybe even more, get a little more stark with it, like this, I think that'll work, that's close enough. So it doesn't have to be perfect. Then, the other one, I'm going to just focus on his hat, in this case. So at times I'll even go in like this, and I'll just make a crude selection. Once again, doesn't have to be perfect. It's just going to be a very rough guide to guide my building. So I'll select out of the hat, Command + J. Copy that hat. Then I'll turn back on my blown out one, and now I'll just focus on doing the same kind of blow out, but it's only going to affect the hat. So I want to get a little more detail there, just so I can see some of those curves as I draw, kind of like this. That might be a little too far like that. Well, that's out. So, I can see some of those curves, I can see the middle part of the brim. Go okay. This is all I'm going to do. So, right now this is RGB, I might even switch the mode to grayscale, like this, and we go merge, that way it kind of helps the effort. You can kind of see things a little clearer, Oops, I merged everything down. Let's go ahead and undo that. I want to go ahead and go gray, we don't merge, I didn't mean to merge, like that. Now, when it's all said and done, I'm going to spend a little more time, decided I don't need the bottom part of his body. So you can see how I've really kind of blown it out even more as I went along here. We can turn off this body part, so it's just his floating head, but then I decided to go back in. I need a little more of those midtones, so I went back in and blew those out, so what I ended up with is this. Once again, this isn't high class Photoshop work, this is pretty ghetto level kind of photoshopping, but it's good enough to give me enough information of what the shape and forms are on the face to make up the face that I can now deduce from that a more illustrative approach to creating this in vector form, and that's what we're going to do next, inside Illustrator. So you could use this process on any kind of photograph, if you start off with a great contrast photograph already, it's even easier. So keep that in mind as well, but any kind of photograph that you want to convert into a vector form and make it more stylized, this is a great methodology to do that. So let's go ahead and switch over to Illustrator. So now we're in Illustrator, once again, this was the source photo. You can see the, this kind of dates it right here, the UI design, all the glossy stuff. Actually, I don't need have a media drive on my machine, I use an external DVD drive. So this is the image I captured, and then as you saw in Photoshop, just so simple, crude blow out using Levels, isolating just his head to create this, and this is going to be the reference that I draw from. And what I do in this case is, it's all about deduction of form and shape. So even though the photograph, his ear detail kind of looks like this, and you can see how when you blow stuff out it, it kind of creates a graphic already, but we can take a lot of artistic license with it at this point and make it even better, but I usually put vellum over the top and I just experiment as I draw, and I try to simplify as much as I can and deduce it from what is kind of a crude complex form into a simple, stylized graphic form. So when I put my vellum over the top of it, you can see just using simple pencil, the outline here. I'm defining the shape, so I did the hat up here, you can see all the shapes on the hat, and now what I'm going to do is I'm going to go in and figure out the detailing. So if we go to the ear again and look at that ear close up, here's how that shape really was, and I used it as a rough guide, but I simplified it. I made it taper to a point at the top because it's going to be going into the shadows. There's a lot of light getting there, but I also gave a highlight at the tip of where the tip of the ear would be because this was just a lot dead space here, so I thought that would work better. I even went into this area, and you can see how I just added this little detail on the top of his brow to give the illusion of this is hair, it's not his skin of sorts, and then, in this area over here, now that I'm looking at it, I might go in and just chop out this area here to create a nice curve here. I'll probably do that when I build it, and then simplifying the eyes. I've done enough in this style to know this is a good way to handle it, and I'm going to show you how I built that, et cetera. And then I also went in, and I took the pencil and just did some light shading based off of, in this case, where kind of the midtones of his skin is to get the shading that creates the form on his face, and if you turn on the refined sketch, you can see how I've simplified down that and worked out how those shapes will play a part. Now, under his nose this shadow got really blobby, I didn't like it calling that much attention, so I kind of minimized that, and I'm going to do most of that with the midtone shading to create that kind of shadowing underneath his nose, so. This isn't very tight, either. This is a very small drawing, it's maybe five inches or six inches wide, that's why it looks kind of really rough when you zoom in like this, but it's all about deduction of form, deduction of shapes, so you end up with a decent, refined drawing like this. And this is where I'll set, since this is a grayscale, I'm just going to set it to 40, and we'll go ahead and lock the layer, and what I'm going to do now is I'm going to just show you the process of how I build the eye, then we're going to build the entire shape of the inner part of his face, 'cause I'm going to show you that can go relatively fast. So what we're going to do now, we're going to go ahead and, let's see, I'm going to go to Graphic Styles. Go ahead and select that. I like using whipped and a magenta line because I never use them in a design for the most part, and this is what I build from, I don't think about color until I need to, I just focus on form and shape. And so right now, this is a five point line. I might even build it thinner, just so I can see my underline drawing better, and I'll scale this down a bit. Kind of like this, Then I'll clone it. Command + C, Command + F. That creates the pupil shape. Clone it again. This will end up being the highlight, like this. We can size that down, like that. Notice when you scale, the stroke get smaller. There's actually setting you can do where it won't do that, but in this case, I don't really mind it. So we'll clone the outer one again, and all I'm going to do here is I'm going to just distort it down like this, bring this one down, and then distort it in. This is where I'll drop in color for the color of his eyes. Kind of like that. That's all I'm doing here, and so what all do at this point is since I have one built, I don't need to build the other one. This is where you can benefit from having vector, so I'll just clone it. I'll move it over and kind of position it. In this case, it's pretty close to where it should be, but I might bump it up a little bit, kind of like that, and then I have that one built. We're going to build the remaining shape here, and this is where the process, some people might find the Pen tool intimidating, but here's the rule of thumb for any shape your building, wherever it comes to point, gets a point, and that's what I focus on first. Here's a point, gets a point. Comes to curve, where do you place an anchor point? Well, in this case, think three o' clock on a clock. We'll place it here, comes down here and I think we might be able to build this with the bezier handle from this side, so I'm not going to worry about it, and I'm going to put this at that point, put this at that point. Here, this is going to curve, so we'll go ahead and just pull that out, just so I have access to anchors. Pull this one out. Go to the point, gets a point. Same thing here. We're just skipping the curves, going to the points. Here, this will be pulled out to create a curve, it'll go down here, we'll pull this out. We're going to come back and finesse those. This gets a point. This will be a dull point, so we'll build it out like that, and these will all be points, like this. This will have a subtle curve. You could actually build this pointed and then round it, but on these, I'll go ahead and create a little curve like this, this will come up here, you'll get a curve at the peak, the valley or twelve o'clock, six o'clock. Twelve o'clock. Go down to here. And if you don't know my clock references, watch my original flagship course, Drawing Vector Graphics, where I go over the clockwork method, and it helps to discern where to place your anchor points. Point gets a point here, here, here, here. Once again I'm not worrying about the curves in between those 'cause we'll come back and finesse those really easy. Like this, another point, another point as it goes into the eye, we'll pull it out enough to get access to the handles. Same on this side. Point gets a point, And this point. Point, point, point. So you can see you don't have to waste a lot of time discerning where to place your anchor points, 'cause sometimes where your drawing comes to a point, that's where you need to place your anchors, and then everything between those points, you can adjust those curves after the fact. I just found this easier, over the years, to work this way. It makes the process go a lot faster. Now, there is a replacement for the Pen tool made by a plugin manufacturer. I use their other plugins, but I don't use one called Ink Spread, and that replaces the Pen tool. And if I could ever have a guest appear in DVGLab, it'd be my friend Sean, because he can build faster than I can using that plugin. I just don't do it because I want to show the native plugin in Illustrator since it's there and that's what I use daily, I don't even use on my own projects because I don't want to get so used to a plugin for such a rudimentary part of vector building that I forget how to use the regular Pen tool. Now, this is what we have. We built out our crude shape of his face, so let's zoom back in. It's important to build zoomed in, so you can see what you're doing. This is where you can use the anchor point tool to select a path and bend it, if you want to. But see how it affects the other handles? This why I don't use it. I use a plugin called VectorScribe, and their tool is called PathScribe, and it does the same thing. You can pull this and you can do that, but on something like this, I'll start by grabbing a ghost handle and then I can pull out this path, then I can pull these bezier curves out, and I can start finessing, with exactitude, how these shapes are going to look. Here, pull it out to give it a slight curve here. Oops. Pull this handle out like this. And this is all I'll do as I'll go around my entire artwork, and I really obsess over this kind of detailing, 'cause if you do this part well, you never have to go back and tweak it. It just makes the whole process go faster. Pull out that. This also fixes curves like this. Another reason why I use plugin. We don't need to be so zoomed in here. Pull these out like this. Like that. Pull this out. And since Illustrator does that, I can fix it with this plugin, when that S shows up that means, hey, I'm smooth, I'm okay. And then, at times, you'll have to zoom back in so you can finesse detail like the curves in here, like this. And this is all I'll do. I'll go through this whole shape, and it might take me 20 minutes, so I can't spend that much time in a movie just showing it, but this is exactly how I do it. I'll just end around this side over here. Like that, just like that. Pull these out. And we'll just finish up this side and then we'll call it good, but this is the principle I use. So I do rough build initially. Put in all my anchors where the points are. You might have to move them, like this one, look better down here. But then I zoom in and I just start fleshing out how the curves go. And if I think something looks better than how I've drawn on it, then by all means, you know, go with your gut. Your drawing's just a guide, it's not an absolute. Cause many times, I'll make adjustments as I build because I figure out some way that looks better than what I initially drew, so you should always be improving your art throughout the creative process, from one stage to the next. It should always be open for change, if it means it's going to be better. And then, all these areas that have curves, I didn't do it all, I'll just pull those out like this. Go in, finesse some of those, maybe not make 'em so pointed. Like this. So this is all I'm going to do, all the way around. This is a good time to put on an audiobook, like that. So I did the top half, as you've seen here, and let's go ahead and beef up this. Right now, it's pretty small. Too big. There you go, like that. So you can see how it looks on top, and that's what I do all the way around the bottom part. So I just wanted to walk through that because many times I'll skip over that, but I thought it was important to show the overall approach because that approach is what I'll use to create everything in the shape, so when it's all said and done, all my face shapes look like this. Now, it was easier just to create the shape for the top of hat, this for the brim, because I'm going to be fusing all of these together already. So let's go ahead and kind of go through that really quick. We'll select the top part of the hat, the bottom part, his ears, like this. And all of these, we'll just simply go to Pathfinder, unite 'em, and now we have that entire shape, that's what we want. All these other shapes in between are going to be free floating shapes of sorts. I'll walk you through that in just second, but the next thing is the eyes. So right now, these are made up of four different elliptical shapes. Let me go and delete this one, this was the original shape for the eye. I'm going to clone it, so I have copy of it. Command + C, Command + F. I'm going to select this shape. I'm going to bring this to the front. And then I'm going to select the shape and trim it. So what we end up with is this upside down crescent moon. I'll select the pupil and we'll fuse those together. And this is the end shape I want. Now, the whole reason I did that is because I'm going to take this shape now and clone it again, and this is going to be a throwaway shape, so I'm doing this because sometimes if you try to do shape building with the exact edge of another shape being the exact same as the shape you're using to edit it, it'll add all these anchor points, and we don't want that. So we're going to select this, let me go ahead and fill it blue. I'm going to select the base and then we're going to go minus, so all we've done is created this shape down here, and then this shape, making sure it's on top, with our interior shape. This is going to minus from that, and so now we have our eye set up the way it should be, and we'll just reflect that same methodology on the right here. So we'll create that, fuse it with the pupil. Make a clone of that. And then take this, create a throwaway shape. Ah, not that. And then we'll take that, select the base, and we'll trim it to create, once again, the part we'll color. Then this shape, making sure it's on top, is going to minus front from the interior shape of the face, and so we have that all set up the right way. Now all of these, we'll want to be fused together. But I'm not going to do that, I just wanted to show you how I would build out those elements. What you're going to end up with is artwork like this. And this will allow you, for in this case, let's get rid of this outline and fill this with black, and all these shapes in between, let's fill these with white. Get rid of the outline, and this is what you want. You want white islands of sorts floating on a black background. Actually, we can select his pupils. Those will also be white. And, in this case, we're going to also colorize his eyes, but we're going to leave them that way right now. Well, actually, let's go ahead and colorize them. So we're going to turn on our tonal family. This is Frank Sinatra, so it should be pretty obvious what color his eyes are. If you know anything about Frank Sinatra, his nickname was Ol' Blue Eyes. So we're going to go ahead and fill those blue because that fits, we're going to select black, and we're going to use all shades of blue. We're going to do blue on that. Now, as I'm looking at this, I think I'm going to beef that up a bit. So I'm going to select it and, let's see, we're going to add 4 point, go round and make that blue, and, oh yeah, I like that a lot better, but we don't want to keep it a stroke, so I'm just going to go to Path > Outline Path, and then unite. So now, if I go to keyline view, it's still just one shape without a stroke. So that was just to beef out the outer part. Now, we're going to go back to our original sketch, and I made a copy and I put it on a top layer above, and you can see how it showcases where the shadows are going to be, and so this is where I'll then on top of that build all my shadows the same way, based off of my underlying drawing. Once again, simplifying and deducing shape and form of the shadows to work better. So we can turn off our shading artwork. We're going to take this white area, the white island floating, we're going to go ahead and clone it, Command + C, Command + F. And just so you can see what I'm doing, I'm going to colorize it this color. We're going to select, let's go ahead and zoom in a little bit. We're going to select our shading we built, the clone of the inside shape, and we're going to intersect it, meaning wherever these overlap, we'll create the shape left behind, so it's going to trim off all this stuff that's on the outside. So we'll just hit intersect, and it creates all those shapes, this will be a group, so I like turning it into a compound path. And then all we have to do now is fill it with the shadow color. Look how cool that looks. We'll go ahead and turn off tonal family. There's Ol' Blue Eyes. So how would I use a graphic like this? Well, maybe I'm creating a poster, and I would do this. I would lock it up with type, maybe background becomes blue, and I could even bring in a texture like this. Maybe I colorize this a blue color. Knock down the value to 40, and go to Multiply. Maybe I select the background, we're going to clone that, select this shape and we'll mask it inside,. Then I'll paste it back behind these elements, Command + B, you have a pretty cool poster design based off of an inspired photo you saw, and that's how I pull off kind of a high contrast look and feel like this. Anybody can do this. Give it a try. Pick your favorite celebrity, your favorite character, and see what you can come up with. You never know when something will spark a moment of creative curiosity. So if something intrigues you, don't ignore that. Even if you have no idea why it's intriguing you, capture it, set it aside. You might not do anything immediately with it, that's okay, but eventually, at some point, you could. And when you do, it's a great way to flex new artistic muscles and experiment. Thank you for watching DVGLab, 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.