Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
Skill Level Intermediate
- [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. Several months ago, I was asked to do an online workshop with an art school based out of India. It covers the basics of Vector Building and how to go from a thumbnail sketch idea to final artwork. This is going to be a fun one and I think a little insightful because there's several things people tend to think about when it comes to vector art that at times you want to just kind of throw out the window and just do it organically and that's going to make sense when I go over some of the detail. This is also going to be a movie that I'm going to challenge you to build a duck. Everything I'm showing you in this, I want you to take it and then take the file provided in the exercise files called build a duck and try it yourself. You only get better when you try different things. So I encourage you to do this. Now, the concept for this was a simple thumbnail sketch. I was on a conference call, that's usually when a lot of these things happen and I'm paying attention but the way I pay attention is I just can't sit there. I've been in a lot of Zoom calls this past year. I can't just sit there and try to pay attention my mind will wander. So ,to focus, I tend to Doodle, and this is what I Doodled and that's literally about how big it was on a sheet of eight and a half by 11 papers. So we're not talking big. Now, obviously I'm going to build it larger. So I just took that simple Doodle and we're going to scan it in and this is the rough sketch here. And like I do with almost everything I create in vector form and initially draw it out in analog is we're going to place it and just turn the layer to lock. This is just to guide our building efforts. Now getting back to how many people think of geometrics when it comes to Vector Building. Many people think everything needs to be shaped building. Now I'm a huge component of anything that can be built with simple shapes by all means do it, but if you're going for, I guess the best way to put it is you lose a lot in transition. If you look at this sketch and you want to capture that essence you've captured in, in this case a thumbnail sketch and you want to transfer it to Vector, how do you do that without losing the essence of the charm of this drawing? Well, I would never build this with distinctly geometric shapes, meaning you might think of it like this, well, I create an oval here I have these little, almost like Popsicle stick shapes or I can go ahead and maybe we're going to use the corner widget in Illustrator to select these and round this off. None of that is bad but you're already losing the essence of this character, meaning he's not rigid, it's not perfectly formed shapes like this. So this is the context where I think you have to make a decision as you approach certain art, certain things can be shapes. We can use an absolute geometric shape for the eye, for example, but for almost everything else I wouldn't build it this way. It's not going to have the right feel. It's not going to have the same essence. I would build it using the Pen tool. So none of these are perfect geometric shapes but it reflects the essence of my drawing. So we're translating the aesthetic from the sketch into Vector accurately and that's what's really important. So for example, if we're going to build this wing here let's go and zoom in on it, I'm not going to use any shapes. We're just going to use the raw Pen tool. We're going to build, I usually build using this magenta line. We'll select the Pen tool here now and I'll start here where it snaps and then I'll go out to this point and this is the point where I'll build in the curves as I create it and I usually don't pull them out all the way I'll come back and finesse those if I need to, but in this case, all I'm doing is I'm doing that and even at this point I'll just put the Anchor Points where they go. Wherever your art comes to a point in your drawing gets an Anchor Point. That's the easiest thing to discern when you're creating Vector art. We'll go here and we'll put one right where it goes into the base of the body. Now you can go to the Anchor Point tool here and in Illustrator, you can grab a path like that and pull it out to get access to the handle. Then we can go ahead and finesse these Bezier curve handles like this to form the artwork. This is going to look more fluid and I think work a lot better. So once again the Anchor Point tool is how you manipulate a path and then get access to those anchors are going to show up because it's a curve now and then you can go ahead and finesse that curve using those handles to guide this path between these two Anchor Points. That's the simplest way to build in this case. I don't try to pull it out all the way. I pull it out enough to reveal the handles. Then I can go back in and I can adjust like this and I'll adjust these handles to get the look and feel I want like that. I might go up to, oops, I might go up to this one grab this handle and pull this out a little more, but one thing you'll notice is this happens at times where there's only two types of Anchor Points in Illustrator, corner and smooth. You want this smooth but you broke it when you started moving the path. Now, if that ever happens to you I'm going to show you two ways to fix it this way you just drag select that anchor only, go up here to convert, this is corner. This is smooth, click smooth. It'll return it back to where it should be and now it behaves like a smooth again. So if we go back here, let's say we drag this up again. Oops, we break it, you can do it that way, but here's why I use plugins. This is such a cool tool. It saved me so much time over the years. I can still do it the way I showed you or we can go ahead and take that and I use VectorScribe and the specific tool I use is the PathScribe tool instead of the Anchor Point tool. But if I grab this handle notice if I move this down, watch the Anchor Point. See that S appear? That means smooth, you fixed it. So they kind of built it in to correct itself which I think is just really how tools should work especially in Vector, it's all math behind the scene, so if the math can do that, anybody can code it. So that's how I build the wing, why? Because it goes better with the overall artwork. I wouldn't want to build it with shapes like rectangles around the corners. Not that it's wrong, it's just for this specific design it's not going to be the right thing. Now that said, let's go and zoom in on the head. Did I build the head with the elliptical tool? Yes, did I build the eye and the highlight with it? Yes, so it just depends what you're creating. I used a rectangle here for his neck in a square to make the one part of his neck that's going to be colored. So, those are fine because it's not going to depart from the drawing but certain elements like the body, the wings, et cetera those are things I would handle differently and not use distinct shaped building to pull them off. Now let's go down to the feet because this is another interesting attribute to this design. This is the base shape, that's great. Straight line, easy, simple path to create the profile of the shoe and now thinking in shapes, it's going to help 'cause I can take this circle, select the shoe shape and minus front to get the opening of the shoe. I can take this shape here and I'm going to go ahead and clone it command C, command F, select this circle intersect to get that part detail the shoe. Then we'll select the base of the shoe again clone it, command C, command F, select the front circle like that. Now I can simply select this shape and clone it this just a rectangle shape and we'll go ahead and trim the bottom of that one using Pathfinder. We'll clone that again command C, command F, make sure it's on top of this shape and we'll trim it with minus front like that. Then select the base shoe shape again clone it command C, command F, select this bottom rectangle intersect it and we get all the content we need. So that's how it can speed up things you think in shapes, you can use shapes to construct and build things so that's perfectly appropriate. It's going to make the whole process a whole lot easier. Now in this case, usually, and I always use the same example. Let's say I'm creating a design and I have to have a forest in the background. Maybe it's a badge for a campground or whatever graphic they're going to use on shirts. I don't make one tree and clone it eight times to create a forest, that looks too replicated. In that case, I'd try to create eight unique trees. That way it doesn't look like the computer created it, if you will, but in this case we're fine with cloning his leg. So we'll go ahead and command C command F like that. I think that's going to work fine and I'll just slide it over into position like that. Then I'll take the rotate tool, select this anchor. Actually, let's go ahead and zoom in so you can see this. There, that's a lot clear. Once again, we'll select these. I'll go to rotate. I'll find this corner, cause I want this to remain parallel with the base of this shoe. So we'll rotate it into place and you can figure out what angle works the best. So in this regard, that's not going to depart too far from what we're trying to achieve here and it doesn't really matter in terms of replicating for something like that. So I just wanted to point that out. When it's all said and done all of our base shapes are all ready to go. I've gone in I've trimmed things like for instance, on this neck, I'll clone it command C command F. I'll trim it like this. Maybe I take this shape, make a couple clones of it command C command F, and you want to make sure they're in front and we'll trim this little piece. Let's see, like that. I would hope for on the right layer like that and we'll go ahead and trim that and we'll go ahead and trim that. We'll take this head, make a clone shape command C command F just so you can see it make sure it's in front and then we'd go ahead and trim that. So after you've done that for all the shapes that overlap and you're basically one to create all these shapes ready to fill with whatever color and some of these we could simply push to the back. So if we take these and copy it and we can paste it command B, behind that so this shape would be sitting on top. So you don't technically have to trim everything but some of the content just makes it easier if you do. So I just wanted to point that out so once it's all cleaned up and you can see like on his head, for example the hats sitting on top of the head shape. So I don't need to do this. I've also made clones of different shape like these back here, because I want this to be a different color than the base of the body. So those are easy elements to refine like that. So, now when I'm creating other detail I'll create the same type of shapes but just to make it easier so I can focus on one area at a time I'll put it on its own layer. So here's all these details and most of these are going to end up being the shading color and I'm going to demonstrate that. Now the color reference and once again, not a realistic illustration we have going but I use real world reference, in this case the Mallard duck to kind of pull color off of it and use this to inspire or guide my coloring efforts. Once I've looked at color then these are all my primary colors that I'm going to color everything with and so if we go to like, for example, the head here, this would be, this color would be that, their eyes are pretty much black. This will just be white, no outline. We'll go ahead and color the base of the hat. Maybe the front brim, the darker shade, the neck once again, it tends to be green and we'll separate the bottom edge with the next thing I'm going to show you. This, we're going to probably use a light tint of blue just so it's not completely white and kind of gets lost. Make the highlight white like that and we'll go ahead and colorize the top bill that color and the bottom color will be a darker shade. So this is all I'm talking about in terms of how to color and how to think about color as you're applying it. Maybe that'll be the same. Now on this one, the bottom of their bodies tend to be more towards the white end of the spectrum, like that, their tail feathers tend to be darker so we'll use dark color like this. Their legs of course are orange and depending on what color you want maybe I'll just do a solid orange, and of course any decent duck is going to be wearing some nice socks. So we'll color those and we'll select this, we'll go here. Now these shapes here, well, will color this one white in the front on the back it's really not rubber, it's red. So we're going to color the same base red but because I'm using global colors so you can see the global color here, I'm going to go up to the color palette, the swatches select the red, then go to the color panel and because it's global, we can select what the value is, in this respect, we're going to set it to 70% tint like that. Then the base of the shoe is actually not going to be solid white, it's going to be off white, just so you can see it, like that. All of these changes we can just reference and sample from the original shoe like this to replicate to the front. So this is why I'll pull out elements like this and create my own tunnel families and then to do all the detail, if I turn on this layer these are all the shapes to do detailing, and what do I mean by that? Well, let's turn on another layer above our tunnel family and these are all the shading for this. So we have our base color green here but this color is just sitting or the top of it and it's a muted green and I'm going to be redoing my Drawing Vector Graphics color in detail of course soon and I'm going to really dive into this because it's changed the way I colorized stuff. I never used to do it this way and it's only after working in the program for years I realized, wow, this is just way easier and I'm going to walk through that in depth but I'll show it to you here in a more simplified form. So we're going to take this shape that's kind of a half moon shape sitting on top of the head and once again, all this shape is, if we look at the color values here, you can see let's go here. You can see this color value is 45, 15, 37 24 and if we go to the base green, it's double that amount. So the only difference is I cut down the saturation of each channel's colors pretty much by half and then keep either the existing black in it or maybe bump the black up depending on what hue it is. If it's a lighter hue, it might not have any black thus I'll add some black to it. So that's what it comes down. If you think in a traditional way you can take a shape on the head and we'll apply this and it takes that makes a nice shading shape because this has multiplied on it and the value of that shading color is 50 and this is how you control the value and intensity of that shape. We can take the one underneath it here and we can do that again here but you wouldn't want to create the same value since this is lower than the head, it would be darker. So we're going to change the value here. We'll try 70 and it gives a subtle value differentiation between the two and I think it might even go darker than that. Let's zoom in so you can see this. So I might go darker in that or create a new color and add a little more black to it. It just depends on what you're doing. So we'll go to 80 here and I think that looks better, it contrast better. So I'm going to take this now and this shape and we'll go ahead and color it the same. I'm going to copy them since they're on different level, layer that is and we're going to paste behind the hat. So you'll have to do that kind of hierarchy but that looks good. It kind of pushes the brim of the hat off and we'll do the same thing on the beak here and I have this shading color for the beak, we'll apply it and that's all it takes to do all these detailing. Now, this file you can access and then compare all the various shading. I'm not going to walk through all of it here but that's the fundamental when it comes to shading. So when it's all said and done this is what all the final detailing looks like on this. So not hard, if you think in shapes, you think in color, you referenced the real world even if you're not even anywhere close to realistic, it's going to help you. It'll inform you how to approach things and try different things. Now, one of the last minute details after I was looking at this, I'm going well, you know, maybe I should put some nice feather detailing on this. So, I'm just going to zoom in on this. Once again, thinking shapes so this is going to be an easy one 'cause we'll just take these two shapes. We'll fuse these together. We'll take these two shapes like that and we'll fuse those together and we'll take this, will minus front. Sometimes you'll have a little leftover in this where a throwaway shape comes in. We'll just take this, select those and trim that chunk off and then the last two pieces here we'll do minus front then we can select both of these and unite them together and we'll use the same shading treatment over here to colorize them to add a little nice detail. So we don't want to go overboard on this because the style isn't overboard and oh I forgot to colorize the button on top of this hat. So this is pretty simple. Once again, a pretty simple motif and when it's all said and done the context I came up with to showcase this is National Audubon Society Annual Duckwalk. I don't think there is a duck walk but I think they should totally do this because I think it's fun. So, remember, I encourage you to grab the file, it's labeled build a duck, it's in the exercise files and I encourage you to build this same artwork. Try the methods I showcase in this movie. If you do, then join my DVG Lab group on LinkedIn and you can share your final artwork with me and others who are part of that group and I'll give you my feedback. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to make this more immersive, more engaging for you so it's not just a video, but I love reviewing stuff people post there. We had somebody the other day that posted an icon they designed after watching my icon course and it's of Yoda and it's awesome. So I encourage you to do that. Thank you for watching DVG Lab 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.