Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Tracing exercise, part of Illustrator CC Essential Training (2015).
- Okay, in the last movie, I sort of let you off the hook. I didn't make you trace this whole thing, but now it's time to put everything you've learned to the test and for you to trace this entire flowerpot illustration. Don't worry, I'm gonna be with you every step of the way. So what we're gonna do first is we're just gonna grab the pen tool and we're gonna focus on the flowerpot down here at the bottom. That's the easiest thing to do and so what I'm gonna do is do the background elements first so the pot first and then we'll do the highlights. And luckily we have some Smart Guides that are gonna pop up to help us as well. These are just point, click, and move so just point, click, and move along.
Very simple, just lay these down and go. Now you'll notice that you cover up the original artwork when you do this. Just press the backslash key on your keyboard and that will remove the color from the current path that you're creating. Now I'll draw this one, again just point and click, go down and I'm using the Smart Guides to help me with the intersection points. I'll draw this rectangle. You could also just use the rectangle tool for a lot of this, but for the ones that taper and things like that it's just easier to use the pen tool in my opinion.
So here we go, let's draw this little square, move up here, okay. Now this is where you have to decide exactly how you're going to handle this particular part of the artwork. For me I think it's easier to break this down in terms of shape. The leaves are individual shapes, the stem is individual shapes and then the flower itself is an individual shape. So I'm gonna start right here and I'm just gonna click at the base, hold down Shift, click over, go all the way up, and I'm gonna go up into the flower, but I'm following the contour of the line of the stem so lemme show you what I'm doing here.
Just following the line, letting that rubber band preview go and I'll go over and then I'll come back down and complete that shape just like so, alright? Now let's draw the leaf, let's go here. Click, the other point of the leaf has to be somewhere in here so we'll just click there and then we're dragging out, matching the contour of that leaf, very simple. Now this is where you're gonna have a whip. Remember we're changing direction so reset your pen tool, option or alt, click that last anchor point and then just drag out again to match the contour.
Now the good thing about this plant is both of the leaves are exactly the same so really we only have to draw it one time so let's do this around here. Let's go inside, draw this part of the plant, this little leaf, here we go, option or alt click, go here and complete it just like that. Remember to stop drawing command or control click outside. Now I'm gonna come up here, we're gonna draw this circle.
I'm gonna start right here in the middle, click, drag out, over here to the side, click, drag that out, down to the bottom, click and drag, over here. You make sure you use those Smart Guides so that you're hitting the center points in the inner sections and then finally finish it off just like that, perfect circle. Now let's draw this part of the flower, this is the thing that we stopped drawing last time. But remember it's pretty simple, just click, get to the center point, click and drag out.
Remember you're probably gonna have a whip here. It's okay, just avoid that by option or alt clicking. Go right around and let's just go around this thing and create our flower, there we go. Remember you're clicking and dragging in the opposite direction you want the curve to go. Trying to match the contours as closely as you can and then when you get to this point up here this may be where some whips start to happen.
It's where they were happening to us in the previous exercise, that's okay. Remember we can always go back and refine all of these later on. This one's working out pretty good actually and drag out there. You'll need a little bit of work to fix that last part there, but that's okay and then we'll just kinda finish it just like so. Okay, once we have that done, let's grab our direct selection tool and see if we can't calm some of these areas down. Let's grab this anchor point here and what I'm gonna do is just hold down the option key on the Mac, the alt key on the PC, and push this control handle in a little bit.
Then I'm gonna come over here and let's zoom in quite a bit. Seems to be a problem area hitting this corner right here. We'll just move that in and then we'll take this. Again option or alt, drag just to get one side of it moving. We can do the other side too just fitting it right along the sides there. That's all we're looking to do, just make sure everything fits back along the contour of the flower. You can move the anchor points into the necessary areas. Remember I told you earlier, you only want about 95% when you're drawing with the pen tool.
You can fix the rest of it with the direct selection tool. Get in here and refine it just as much as you can. You wanna lay that down like that. Now in this case I've almost got a whip here so here's what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna hold down the option or alt key, I'm just gonna drag this back into the center 'til it matches up, something a little bit like that, there we go. And again I'm just panning around in the document, making sure everything lines up.
Here's one that doesn't so we'll just take this and fit it a little bit better. Move that anchor point, move that back out again. We're holding down the option or alt key while we're doing that. Move this back in with the option or alt key and move this down around the edges. Selecting these anchor points, holding down the option or alt key, bringing those back in, making sure everything lines up nice and smooth. There we go.
And this last one right there should be good to go this last move right here. There we go, okay. Now here's another little trick that I have not showed you yet. We could redraw this entire shape on the inside, but we really don't want to. So when you have something like this and it's duplicated inside of itself like that, go to the Object menu, go down to Path and choose something called Offset Path. Inside of this Offset Path dialogue box, turn on the preview.
You see how it enlarges this? Just change this into a negative number until it matches somewhat the contour of what you're trying to do. Now in this case it's not exactly giving me what I need so that might not be the best so let's hit cancel in this case and let's just try scaling it down. I'll just do command or control C to copy. Then we'll do command or control F to copy and paste in front and we'll shrink this down. There we go, that fits even better. So if the Offset Path does not work properly the first time, that's okay, you can just use the scaling to make it work, if it doesn't.
Okay, so now we've pretty much done everything we need to do except reflect this little leaf here. So let's select both of these, right click, choose Transform, Reflect, preview it, hit Okay and then just move this over and it should meet right there in the center point and it lines up almost perfect. And so now what I'm gonna do is go into my Layers panel. Let's turn off the flowerpot layer and let's select everything on the tracing layer and we'll just give this a black color so you can see it.
Now the leaf, I did not copy that first so here's what we gotta do there. Let's just use the Reflect tool. Remember the Reflect tool? Go over here on the Rotation tool, grab the Reflect tool, go down to the bottom here, Reflect one out, hold down the option key, release the mouse, release the Reflect tool, there we go, okay. Now we'll select everything and let's use the Shape Builder tool to turn all of this into that same flowerpot illustration.
Shape Builder comes in, option or alt click to remove the middle of the leaf, put the little shine on there, remove the middle of the flower there and there is my finished flower illustration done completely using the pen tool. So I hope by now that you're not quite as intimidated with the pen tool. You know how to make basic lines. You know how to do curves. You know how to get rid of the whips and everything in between. Now it's just a matter of practice, practice, practice because that's the only thing that truly makes you ready to work with the pen tool.
- Changing the size and shape of artboards
- Creating and editing layers
- Drawing basic shapes
- Scaling and rotating objects
- Adding color fills and strokes
- Working with spot colors and color swatches
- Applying multiple fills and strokes from the Appearance panel
- Creating compound paths and shapes
- Using the brush tools
- Drawing with the Pen tool
- Creating type
- Placing and embedding images
- Printing and exporting artwork
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 06/21/2016. What changed?
A: We updated three tutorials to cover the June 2016 updates to Illustrator CC, including the workflow for exporting artboards and web assets.