Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Easy vector build methods, part of Drawing Vector Graphics: Tribal Illustration.
- The tribal style is made up of elegant ornamental shapes, so it's important to move from our drawn design to vector format with precision. We don't want to lose anything in the transition from analog to digital. This can be very challenging gap to bridge in the creative process and if you struggle with this, make sure to check my other course, Drawing Vector Graphics, which covers this methodology in more extensive detail.
In this movie, we'll use a refine sketch of our tribal design to guide our vector building in Illustrator, but there are several ways you can approach the creation of your vector art and I'd like to show you that now. The first design I want to go over with you is this Samurai design. All the artwork that's going to appear in this course is going to use all the same build methodologies and many of them that I'm going to show you in this movie.
Regardless of the theme or the exact shape and design that's executed in the tribal style, I'm using the same build methods all the time. Whether or not I ever mention them in the other movies, you can know that just by watching this movie. If you ever have more questions about building base vector art, make sure to check out my Drawing Vector Graphics course. This design, like all of my designs, starts in analog, starts with drawing it out and refining it until I have what's called a refined sketch.
That's what you see here. I usually bring that into Photoshop and I'll clone it, flip it, and test it, and if it looks okay, then I know I can move forward with building it. That's where this is at and I've placed it inside Illustrator and I usually tint it back to about, we'll just do 20 percent, and I locked the layer so it won't move on me. Another build habit I have when working in Illustrator regarding guides.
In Illustrator, guides are considered objects. If I draw out a square here and we go Command A to select everything, you can see it selects the guides too. Some people like this behavior. I really don't. I tend to manage my guides and I put all my guides on their own layer so that I can easily turn them on and off because at times, it can obscure the art because it shows through all the layers.
It's kind of, in my opinion, annoying in that way. I manage it by putting on its own layer and that way, I won't get guides grouped with content when I don't intend to do it, which can cause other problems. That's a good habit to get into. Where do you start on a design like this? This design is symmetric, so we're going to only have to build half of it to create the full art. I always like starting with the simple shapes. If I zoom in here, and this shape underneath the eye is the one we're going to build first.
I usually have graphic styles like these created. This one is just a .25 stroke, so I'll select that. We'll just start laying down, make sure we're on the layer, laying down my anchor points. Wherever the art comes to a point, gets a point, so that's why it's important to draw out your art and think the way you're going to build because it's going to assist you in building. I'm not worrying about the curves at this point. I'm just laying down my anchor point locations.
You can see how those are done here. This is my base shape. This is my pretty crude base shape, but all the anchor points are where they should be and I've determined those by my underlying drawing. That's how drawing is going to speed up your build process. Now all I have to do is adjust the curves and we can go to this selection tool up here and it has the ability to grab any path and just bend it out. Once you do that, you get access to the bezier curves and you can just start adjusting your shape.
Think of it as clay. You're kind of molding your shape using this tool to form it and shape it. That's all you're doing here. We're just going to do this really quickly, grab the bezier handles to precisely shape it once again to our underlying drawing. Your drawing is guiding. You're not really guessing at this point. You're just building it just based off of what you've already predetermined in the drawing phase. That's how analog can improve digital work flows.
That's really important because you can spend a lot of time working on a design and not really knowing how to shape and form something if you haven't figured it out in the drawing phase. You can see how when you do it this way, it can go a lot faster. Obviously, when I'm working, I'm not talking. I'm even going faster. As you get in the habit working this way, it'll go a lot faster. You can see how that shape was formed. That's how I build all of my free flowing shapes in this design.
It's not the only method I use. I'm going to turn on another layer, here. This is how I use shapes in order to create the content I want. In this case, the nose. We're going to grab the ellipse tool up here and we're going to go ahead and we're going to clone a nose shape here. We're going to want to make sure. This is where guides will come in. We'll want to make sure we snap it to that guide.
To do that accurately, you'll want to turn on Smart Guide, so Command U. Now that Smart Guides are on, it'll give us notifications when we're over the anchor point and when that's over the guide. We know it's perfectly centered now and that's where we're going to leave this. We're just going to size it down just a little bit like that. All we have to do now is open up the pathfinder pallet. This is where shape building comes in. We'll grab these two shapes. We'll kind of fuse them together, or unite as it's called, into one cohesive shape.
We'll select these two shapes here, do the same thing. Make sure that these shapes are on top, meaning they're above this bottom shape. Once you have them selected, you can punch it out, or in this case, remove from shape, and you can see we have a straggler. That's where I'll deselect everything but that and delete it. That's how shape building can help. We'll have to clean this up in order to reflect it, so we'll draw a throw away shape.
Select this and trim that off too. That's how I go about creating those type of shape building using shape building techniques. The same principle applies when you have a shape. If I toggle this on an off, you can see the shape under the previous shape I built. I've used nothing but circles to do that, and these go really fast. We can just use the same methodology and then once we have it, select them both, and punch them through and then just getting rid of extra we don't need.
That's how fast it can go. If you think in shapes, it's going to improve your ability to execute a design. You can use both methods actually. We're going to zoom in on this shape and these shapes here, I created point by point. Just click, click, place my anchor points to create these shapes. It's better to use elliptical shape on circular shapes because it's more precise and it's going to look better. I just use the elliptical tool right here to create this circle shape and this circle shape, but we can combine these two now, fuse it together, once again, make sure this one's on top, select this one, and punch it through.
That's how you can combine both methods to make your shapes. If you go through my entire design, that is the methods I use to build almost all the shapes, but not all of them I have in this design because it's a samurai, he's wearing a helmet, they used rope to kind of strap it down. Rope can get very complex. This is where you can use a different build method. Right here, I created a simple pattern brush, meaning it repeats from side to side and you can use it as a pattern brush.
Pattern brushes are really easy to use. All you have to do is open up the brush pallet. You can see that right here. All we need to do is drag it onto the new. It'll open up the window. We just select pattern brush, Okay. Make sure to turn off this, which is show auto generated corner tiles. We don't want that. That kind of tries to figure out your art for you. Avoid that. Turn that off. We just want to stay with the straight one. That's all we need. Stretch to fit is fine.
We want to make sure to color this tint so we can color it whatever we want. All the other defaults are fine. We'll name this one Rope. We'll click Okay. You can see that here. Here's my shape that I want it to be rope. Once I have the path selected, I can just click this now and it creates my rope shape. If you think in shapes, you can think in ways to streamline a process and make it faster. I didn't want to build each one of these shapes.
It would never have been this precise. This was an easy way to solve this design problem. Using different methods in the design to create all the shapes you need. If you see those here, a lot of different shapes compiling to make up this design. I need to point out that if I zoom in on here, you can see I made decisions along the way where originally my sketch, the bottom part here was considered two shapes, but I figured out it looked better as one.
Making art directive decisions like that is important. Another area, right here in the nose. It was fused to this shape, but I felt it worked better if I pulled it away. Making those decisions are important. This is what I called segmented building, meaning segmented shapes, different shapes, but once I have them, I can just select them all as a whole. Then once again, using Path Finder, I can unite them into cohesively one shape.
That's what I'll do for everything here. We'll close the Path Finder, here. Once I have these shapes like this, I should point out, and we'll cover this more extensively in an upcoming movie, but because this is a symmetric design, I can clone any part of it and clone Command C Command F. Then I can select the reflect tool, make sure I'm over a central anchor point, and then I can flip it.
We'll demonstrate that in more detail later, but I just thought I should point that out now. Once you do that and you've merged all your shapes, here's a good example of turning off my guides so everything will look cleaner now on screen. You can see how this design is progressing. This comes to color theory now. I want to colorize him to make him look more authentic. This is where I decided on this color pallet. This is where the design ended in terms of using this color pallet.
Once you get to this point, you can do anything you want with color. I also worked out a design option that looks like this. These source files are in the exercise files for this course, so you can thoroughly deconstruct it and continue to learn other ways. I should point out, it was my daughter that told me I needed to give it eyes because if you go all the way back to my original sketch, I didn't have eyes in it. It's always good to art direct yourself or let other people give you insight because I showed her my art and she's the one who told me I should add eyes.
I thought that improved the design. It was worth mentioning. Vector building comes down to craftsmanship. If the drawing your building from is well thought out in terms of shapes, then it'll ease the process of building it out in Illustrator. Developing your vector building skills takes time, so don't rush it. Remember, tribal design is fundamentally ornamental art, so make sure you're paying attention to the details to ensure the creation of elegant shapes.
Once again, for more information on building elegantly in Illustrator, make sure to check out my Drawing Vector Graphics course.