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- What is illustrative design?
- Establishing a creative brief
- Defining client expectations
- Exploring creative thinking exercises
- Art directing your drawing
- Selecting an appropriate style for each project
- Drawing and thumbnail sketching
- Discerning anchor point placement
- Building vector drawings with shapes
- Presenting your illustrations
Skill Level Intermediate
Thumbnail sketches are great for roughly capturing ideas, but we are going to need more details before we can build our vector art. Let's go over the importance of scrutinizing your drawing, refining, and making improvements until you have a tight sketch that will assist you in building precision vector art. The biggest challenge for designers is ideas, but many good ideas fall short because of poor execution. Something is lost in translation from the rough stage to the final digital form.
So our goal is to move from the essence of a rough idea in our thumbnails to a more refined clear picture visually, all without losing the essence in the translation. The whole point of refining is to take a rough drawing and redraw it with more precision, improving its clarity regarding specific shape and form. You may need to draw and redraw elements of your design several times in order to clarify the art until you have your design worked out.
This is also where your creative preparation will help. So if needed, use any reference material you've collected to assist your drawing at this stage. Illustrative design is all about solving visual problems and to do so you have to try many different ways before you discover that one way that works best. No one draws something absolutely perfect the first time all the time. So don't be afraid to a draw something that looks bad.
That's just part of the process of developing ideas. Using a light box and tracing paper will help you redraw and refine your ideas. It will make the whole process easier. You'll also be able to isolate areas of your design and work them out visually on their own tracing paper overlays. So take your time. Don't rush you're drawing, and be your own worst critic. If something in your drawing doesn't feel quite right, then it's a good bet you still need to redraw something.
So don't ignore that inner art director. Remember your time is well spent at this stage, because a tight sketch will remove the guess work and your need for making on-the-fly visual decisions while you build your vector art. In essence your tight sketch is going to serve as a road map to help you discern where to place your anchor points or how a vector path should be shaped by a Bezier curve. So having a clearly established tight sketch to build upon isn't just faster, it will also improve the quality and craftsmanship of your work as well.
So keep working at it until you get your design thoroughly figured out. Keep drawing and redrawing. Keep art directing yourself and refining your ideas before you jump on the computer.