Design insights & tutorials.

From Sketch to Vector Illustration

Hey everyone! Welcome back to the GoMediaZine. There has been such a wonderful response on my vector art tutorial “Beautiful Vector Illustration” that I thought I better write another one. If you recall in that tutorial I discussed how to create vector illustrations using photographs as your starting point. A technique of vector illustrating that takes a little bit more skill that I did not cover is starting with a hand drawn sketches. I will focus on that technique of vector illustrating for this tutorial.

For those of you without good sketching ability – please don’t jump ship just yet! I will also discuss a number of tips and techniques to using your pen tool that applies to ALL vector artists – so keep reading. You’ll still learn a thing or two. And who knows – maybe you try to sketch something anyway.

I am going to meander a bit between different sketches, but here is one example of a vector illustration that was based off of a sketch.

Mr Gnome Poster

This is a design our firm was hired to do for the rock band Mr. Gnome. The theme was straight forward, a gnome with a guitar in a dynamic pose.

The tools you’ll need for this tutorial are:

1. Pencil
2. Paper
3. Scanner
4. Computer (with a monitor)
5. Adobe Illustrator (and Photoshop wouldn’t hurt either)

This tutorial will cover:

1. Sketching – How detailed to get in your sketch?
2. What resolution to scan your sketch.
3. How to set up your Illustrator file.
4. Tips and Techniques to digitally inking your sketch using vector lines.
5. Tips and Techniques to coloring your vector illustration.

Step 1. Sketching.
Ok here we go. Since we will not be using photographs – we’re going to have to rely on our ability to draw. As I mentioned in my tutorial “Comic Book Style Graphic Design” I will not be able to go into the fine details of how to draw here, but I want to try and give you a few tips.

First, I believe that learning how to draw is like learning any other skill. It takes time, practice and it doesn’t hurt if you study a little. So go buy yourself books on drawing, find tutorials online or sign up for classes at your local college. And of course, nothing in the world can replace practice.

This sketching phase of the process should be a fun relaxing part of the process. If you put pressure on yourself you will surely struggle. When I am drawing I try to let go of all expectations. When you sit down to draw tell yourself: “I may draw for the next three hours and may draw nothing good. But I am going to enjoy the process.” Have a pile of paper, a pencil sharpener and an eraser. Always start by sketching as loosely as possible; just work on basic shapes. Get yourself to relax. Turn on some good tunes, have a can of Coke, whatever it takes to get yourself into a good place. I really think this is a big part of getting yourself in the right frame of mind to draw well. It may seem silly – but imagine if you sat down with one sheet of paper, a thirty minute deadline and a rigorous expectation of what you needed to draw. Wow… what pressure! You would be setting yourself up for failure! That’s no fun. So, sit down, relax, let go of any expectations you put on yourself and have some fun.

Also, you need to know that the final sketch will usually be achieved through a process. Many amateur artists don’t truly realize all the “steps” that go into creating a final piece of art like the one I drew. The assumption is that I sat down and in one fell swoop illustrated this final sketch. Frequently there are a lot more steps to this process. Here is a typical process that a professional illustrator might go through to produce a final illustration:

1. Extremely rough “comps” are drawn to show your client what you are intending to draw. Often times there will be several of these so your client has some options. Often times the client will give you feedback on your comps – so you’ll have to modify your composition until they’re happy. Here is a sample of how rough the early “comps” can be:

go media inc concept sketch .jpg

2. “Studies” are then drawn for a variety of the elements in the image. If, for instance you’ve never drawn a palm tree before you might want to download some pictures of palm trees and sketch them for a while till you get a good handle on how to draw them.

3. The first draft of the final illustration is then done. It always starts with loose light lines to get the composition worked out, then you’ll go over it filling in with “tighter” lines to get your details.

4. Often times some aspect of the illustration looks bad. A professional artist will re-work that part of the illustration on a separate piece of paper until they get it right.

As you can see – this is definitely a process. So, don’t get frustrated if it takes a lot of work to get your final sketch together.

How detailed you get with your sketch is up to you. Personally, I find that it is always easier to decide where I want lines while I am in the sketching phase. So I will get fairly detailed in my drawing before I scan it into the computer. Deciding where to put lines when I’m vectorizing (digitally inking) my sketch is much harder. So I will err on the side of a “tight” sketch (lots of detail) versus a “loose” sketch. Here are two examples of illustrations. This first one is the fairly tight sketch of a demon that I drew for Ozz Fest.
Ozz Fest Tight Illustration

The second sketch is a much more loose drawing:
Dave's Rough Sketch

Lines are not well defined and there is a lot that you would have to make decisions about once you get the drawing into Illustrator. You have to be extremely skilled in your ability to work through a drawing on-the-fly. If you are, you can take a very rough sketch like this and make inking (vectorizing) decisions as you work. I don’t think most people have this ability, so I would recommend that you try to get a little bit more detail into your sketch before you scan it into Illustrator.

While I am endorsing a “tighter” sketch I want to mention the fact that one of the biggest advantage of creating a vector illustration off of a sketch is that the over-all feeling of it is MUCH looser than what you create when you work off of a photo. When, for instance you are working off of a photograph – you are somewhat bound by the natural laws of nature. But in a sketch you can really go over-board with exaggerated features. When you combine these loose exaggerated features of a sketch with the tight clean lines of vector art you really get a wonderfully unique looking illustration. So, don’t be too tight with your drawing! You don’t want to lose your personality.

Step 2. Scanning your Artwork.
HHmm.. not sure why I made this into a whole section of this tutorial. I guess it’s just an important step – you need to get your sketch into your computer. Here are a few tips to scanning your sketch:

1. Make sure to scan your sketch in “photo” mode at 300dpi or higher. You may want to go as high as 600dpi. It really helps to zoom in on your sketch while you’re vectorizing (digitally inking and coloring) it. At this zoomed in state you might be looking at a part of the sketch 300% – 400% bigger than the size you drew it, so you’ll need that extra resolution to see where to put your lines.

2. If your sketch is bigger than your scanner – you’ll have to scan it in pieces and stitch them together in Photoshop. One little tip that helps make this process easier is to make sure that you butt one side of the paper up against the edge of the scanning surface. Scan it, then slide the paper keeping that same side flush up against the edge of the scanning surface. This process insures that your different parts of the sketch are not rotated differently. It is much easier to piece together two images that don’t need to be rotated. Once your sketch pieces are in Photoshop, open one and enlarge the canvas area to make room for the other pieces. Copy-and-Paste the other pieces so that they are all in one image. Set the properties of each layer to “multiply.” This will allow you to see through each layer and more easily line them up. Once you have them all lined up, change the layer properties back to “normal,” flatten the image, and save it as a .jpeg

Step 3. Setting up your Illustrator file.

I like to create 3 layers in Illustrator when vectorizing a sketch. The bottom layer is where I place my sketch. I will lock this layer so I don’t accidentally select it or move it. The middle layer is my color layer. This is where I will fill in my shapes with colors. I will also lock this layer until I get to the coloring part of the process. The top layer is the inks (the lines) of the drawing.

I should take a moment here to mention that you can illustrate vector art without lines. The artwork can be comprised completely of solid shapes with no “line art.” Here is an example of each:

This is a vector illustration without any lines defining the shapes. It simply uses color and value to define the shapes.
Define By Shape

This illustration does have lines to separate the shapes.
Define By Line

Whether you choose to make line art or not is up to you, but we WILL be making the line art first on this project.

Step 4. Tips and Techniques to digitally inking your sketch using vector lines.

Ok.. now we get to drawing our vector lines. I don’t have one set style for creating these lines; in fact I have several. I will discuss each. But before I do, I want to discuss our goals. The goals with these lines are that they have character. And by “character” what I mean to say is: “they look cool.” So, how do we make our lines look cool?

For starters, we need our lines to vary in what is known as “weight.” “Weight” of a line basically means how thick or thin your lines are. A lot of weight is thick a little weight is thin. Making your lines vary in weight adds a LOT of character (makes them look cool.)

And where we put this character into the lines is also important. I use three general rules when making a determination of where to put weight:

1. Most important is how close an object is to you. So, if you have a drawing where the super-hero is punching out towards you, the fist would be the closest thing to you. The closer something is to you, the thicker the lines should be. The further away something is – the thinner the lines should be. The city in the background, for instance, should be illustrated with very thin lines. This creates an illusion of depth.

2. The outer-most line of each separate object I will also tend to make a little thicker than the interior lines. This helps define that object apart from the other objects.

3. I will also pay attention to light source. If, for instance, the sun is just over the right shoulder of a character – I might thin that line so much that it ends… there is actually a gap where the line ends then re-starts. The side of the object opposite of the light source will have thicker lines.

4. Finally – I will tend to thicken a line that dead-ends into another line. This is a hard one to explain, so here is a picture:
lines dead end

Now that we have a clear understanding of what kind of lines we’re trying to make… how do we make them?

My first step is usually to outline my object or a portion of the object and then “knock out” the shapes that are inside it. Using my pen tool I will simply find a starting point and start drawing around a shape. If you are not experienced using the pen tool in Illustrator this may be a bit of a frustrating process. Have faith that in time you will get better and faster. It takes time to learn how to best use this tool. Here are a couple of tips:

1. Place your points at the most extreme spots – at the very top of the peak of a curve or the very bottom of a curve.

2. Fewer points will give you a smoother line, so challenge yourself to eliminate points.

3. If you need to bring a curving line to a sharp turn, click on where the curve will end, click-drag your mouse to create the curve before the sharp turn (don’t worry about the vector line on the far side of the point. When you get the curve before the point where you want it, let up on the button, but before you make your next point – click one time on the point you just made. This will eliminate the bezier handle that runs through the point. When you place your next point, the line from the previous point will come out straight from that point. Here is a little picture sequence of this process. **This is a VERY useful tip. So, if you don’t understand it – read it five more times, study the images below and don’t proceed till you get it. It will be on the S.A.T.!**

pen tool 1

pen tool 2

pen tool 3

Once I have my outline I will simply start drawing the shapes that are inside it that need to be subtracted (or for us old-school designers: “knocked out.”) Be aware that the “lines” you’re creating will be comprised of the outline minus the interior shapes. So, in terms of giving your final lines varying weight, you will have to vary how close your interior shapes are to the outline.

Here is an example of how I will draw an outline, then subtract (or knock-out) the interior with a second shape:

creating lines 1

creating lines 2

One way to deal with this varying line weight issue is to deal with it in the sketching phase. This way – you don’t have to think about it while vectorizing. You can just follow your sketch lines.

While you are drawing these knock-out shapes you may want to ignore little detail lines that might be hard to draw. If for instance you have some cross-hatching lines that extend from a large black shape – I won’t try to draw them both at the same time. I will start by just drawing the black shape, then will go back and draw the hatch-lines. I can merge these shapes using the Pathfinder tool later if I want to. Here is a sample of that:

cross hatching vector

Once you have all of your interior shapes in place, you’ll now need to knock them out of your outline. You will do this by
1. Grouping all of the interior shapes.
2. Bringing these grouped interior shapes to the front: Object>Arrange>Bring To Front
3. Selecting both your grouped interior shapes and your outline
4. Clicking on the knock-out (or “subtract”) function of your pathfinder tool.
5. Fill with black! (or whatever color you want your lines.)

Another way to draw lines of varying weight without drawing the inside and then the outside of each line is to just draw a single vector line down the center of your intended line. Then you “stroke” this line with a brush. Specifically you might want to use one of the calligraphy brushes that Illustrator includes.

Here is how using one of these brushes looks when applied to a curving line:

vectorizing with stroke

This looks great and is a much easier way to make lines with character – but it is much harder to control where the line is thick and where it’s thin. This is determined by the shape of the brush and the angle of your line. If you have a set of brushes set up at various angles and experiment a bit, you can figure out how to control where the thick and thin parts of your line are, but it takes some work.

If you are using this technique to vectorize (digitally ink) your sketch there is one additional step you have to take. Once you get the line how you want it, you’ll have to: use the Object>Expand Appearance function. This will take your brush stroke and convert it into a solid shape.

You may also experiment making your own brushes in Illustrator. One very useful brush is a simple triangle.

Simply make this triangle shape, select it and then go to the drop-down menu in your brushes window and select “New Brush>New Art Brush. Then draw a curvy line and apply this brush. You will quickly see how useful it will be in inking. Here is a sample of what a triangular brush on your vector path looks like:

triangular brush

I suggest experimenting with brushes like this. I will not reveal all of Go Media’s secrets here – but this should get you started.

Now you have the meticulous job of “inking” your illustration. Depending on how complex your drawing is – this process may take an entire day or more, so settle in and try to enjoy yourself. After all – that’s why we’re here right?

Here is the finished inking I did on this sketch… Pretty sharp if I do say so myself!!

First the pencil sketch:
Pencil drawing of the gnome

Now the final inked illustration:
Mr Gnome Poster

Ok, now to the really fun part – coloring.

Step 5. Tips and Techniques to coloring your vector illustration.

This tutorial is going to cover coloring in Adobe Illustrator. At this point you could also export your line art to Photoshop and color your drawing in it. In fact, most professional coloring you’ll see of illustrations is done in either Photoshop or Painter. Making a vector coloring – as we are in this tutorial is a very different process with a different look and feel to it. In Photoshop for instance, you can much more easily make soft-edged transitions between your various colors. Here in Illustrator your color shapes will have sharp edges.

Now I will make a confession – I don’t think I have a very good sense of color. I think I am a bad colorist. So, hopefully I can give you some tips I use to “fake it.” Remember: “Fake it till you make it!”

Now, you’ll be coloring on your color layer, so lock your inking layer and unlock your color layer.

Usually I will try to pick the colors I’m going to use before I start coloring. I will start with 2-4 main color themes that work well together. For each of these colors I will try to get a range of color values from dark to light. Once I have this palette of colors I try very hard to stick with it. Since I don’t have a good sense of color, I’m afraid to stray too far from a nice color palette once I’ve made one. Here is an example of a color palette I put together:

palette example

I will usually assemble my color palettes by opening a Pantone Swatch Library (located in the Swatch window drop-down in the Swatch Libraries drop down). I’ll then see a color I like and grab the entire value range from dark to light of that color.

pantone swatches

One “cheat” I use occasionally for finding a good color schemes– is the website: colourlovers.com. It doesn’t give a complete coloring palette and isn’t usually exactly what I’m looking for, but it’s a great resource for inspiration.

In the case of this illustration, he went with a fairly straight-forward coloring scheme. The girl’s skin is flesh color, the skull is grey and the devil-baby is red. For each of these object there is about 3-4 color values; a middle value, one dark color for shadows and one light color for highlights.

While going with a straight-forward coloring scheme is fine, I want to encourage you to really experiment with colors. Explore the space. I got a fever, and the only prescription – is MORE COW BELL… no wait – I mean – MORE COLORS. I think doing a good realistic coloring job is almost passé these days. Using non-traditional colors is the current trend.

To start, lets use this little devil baby sketch that Dave did and start by filling each main shape with a middle value. Here is what the baby looks like with each of his primary shapes filled with the middle-value. You’ll notice the back of the tail is dark. We obviously decided that we were going to have a light source to the upper left. This would place the tail in a shadow.

initial vector fill

When I say “We filled each main shape..” what I mean specifically is that we stole the line art and used the vector lines that were already drawn to fill the main shapes.

In order to do this you need to make sure you’ve used your Pathfinder tool to subtract (knock-out) and consolidate all your line art into one complete path, then you will:

1. Unlock your inking layer (if it isn’t already)
2. Select your Inks (lines)
3. Edit>Copy
4. Switch to your color layer (I’ll even re-lock my inking layer)
5. Edit>Paste In Front – this will drop a copy of the inks into the coloring layer in the exact same location that it was taken from – so it lines up perfectly.
6. Select the line art and then Object>Compound Path>Release. This will break all of these shapes back up into their own pieces of art. You can then delete the outline and simply deal with the fill shapes. By selecting them you can fill them with the appropriate color.

Using this technique will save you a lot of time. Here is the single-color initial fill of the devil-baby:

If you are not familiar with the Pathfinder tool in Illustrator, let me just say: please take the time to explore this tool. It is indispensable. I use it constantly.

Once the main color fill is in place, we can start adding shadows and highlights. Since your highlights and shadows will be contained within the area we’ve already established with our fill, you really only need to draw the line that will distinguish the barrier between your middle value and shadow.

In this first image you can see where I drew the dark red shape to define the shadow area. I only concerned myself with where my shape intersected with the red fill of the devil baby’s body.

vector shading 1

I then need to make a copy of the devil-baby’s fill shape so I won’t lose it when I use the pathfinder tool. I use the Copy and Paste-In-Front function to create two duplicate shapes that are directly on top of one another. Then I select the main fill shape and the shadow shape as well.

vector shading 2

Then, using the Pathfinder tool use the overlap Pathfinder tool. I’m not sure what the technical term is for this function, but it basically takes two shapes and removes any parts of them that do not over-lap. Here’s a pic:

vector shading 3

I will go through and use this technique to define each of my shadows, bright spots and any other little details I would like to add.

So there you have it. An insight into my mind as I go from sketch to vector illustration. This is how I do it, but every illustrator has a different technique. So use this article/tutorial as a guide to help you establish your own technique. I hope you learned something useful!

About the Author, William Beachy

I grew up in Cleveland Hts. Ohio and was drawing constantly. As a child I took art classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art and eventually became known as the "class artist." I graduated from The Ohio State University's department of Industrial Design. I have always tried to blend my passion for illustration with Graphic Design. Go Media was the culmination of my interests for both business and art. I'm trying to build a company that is equally considerate of our designers AND our clients.
Discover More by William Beachy

Discussion

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  • Dave

    Wow, very unique approach.

  • Dave

    Wow, very unique approach.

  • Dakota Cortez

    Very cool techniques, I’m going to start practicing with this ;)

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff

    Nice job Bill, this tutorial is great. And Dave sure is a talented artist!

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff

    Nice job Bill, this tutorial is great. And Dave sure is a talented artist!

  • Dakota Cortez

    Very cool techniques, I’m going to start practicing with this ;)

    • Mark Anthony Bulaon

      thank you your welcome

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  • Mark

    Amazing, love it.

  • Mark

    Amazing, love it.

  • http://www.gomedia.us wilson

    This is quite a generous tute! Very thorough.

  • http://www.gomedia.us wilson

    This is quite a generous tute! Very thorough.

  • http://www.istockphoto.com/track6 Track6

    Another great reference for color pallets or choosing harmonies is Adobe’s “kuler”

    http://www.kuler.adobe.com

    which is actually being incorporated into Illustrator CS3.

    Also, a great reference for people learning pen tool proficiency is “The Logo, Font and Lettering Bible” by Leslie Cabarga. There’s a section in there about the pen tool that I consider the definitive tutorial on pen tool proficiency.

    Nicely done tutorial.

  • http://www.istockphoto.com/track6 Track6

    Another great reference for color pallets or choosing harmonies is Adobe’s “kuler”

    http://www.kuler.adobe.com

    which is actually being incorporated into Illustrator CS3.

    Also, a great reference for people learning pen tool proficiency is “The Logo, Font and Lettering Bible” by Leslie Cabarga. There’s a section in there about the pen tool that I consider the definitive tutorial on pen tool proficiency.

    Nicely done tutorial.

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff

    Yes, we have that book at the office. I have read it and it is indeed pretty informative. So I second your suggestion!

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff

    Yes, we have that book at the office. I have read it and it is indeed pretty informative. So I second your suggestion!

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  • http://www.nadameansnothing.com Chris

    Pretty cool tutorial…pretty cool techniques..and very well explained…

  • http://www.nadameansnothing.com Chris

    Pretty cool tutorial…pretty cool techniques..and very well explained…

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  • Ken

    What the hell, this was the coolest painting i ever seen. Very impressive. And great tutorial even if i couldn’t do like that :P

  • Ken

    What the hell, this was the coolest painting i ever seen. Very impressive. And great tutorial even if i couldn’t do like that :P

  • Kestrel

    Wow!!! I am very very impressed. One hell of a tutorial definetly one of the best I have ever seen. Now if I could only learn to draw lol.

  • Kestrel

    Wow!!! I am very very impressed. One hell of a tutorial definetly one of the best I have ever seen. Now if I could only learn to draw lol.

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  • ooflyingmoonoo

    Woow good job !!!

    cool I see the Van Halen logo :L

  • ooflyingmoonoo

    Woow good job !!!

    cool I see the Van Halen logo :L

  • Peter

    THANK YOU! As a person who’s not that familiar with illustrator (photoshop is usually my weapon of choice) I’ve been waiting for so long for a tutorial exactly like this. Its answered so many of my “there must be a way to do that if only i could figure out how ?” questions.

  • Peter

    THANK YOU! As a person who’s not that familiar with illustrator (photoshop is usually my weapon of choice) I’ve been waiting for so long for a tutorial exactly like this. Its answered so many of my “there must be a way to do that if only i could figure out how ?” questions.

  • bobby gevaux

    :-o

  • bobby gevaux

    :-o

  • Steve Knerem

    Awesome work, Love what you guys alwys pump out. Always glad to see great talent in Cleveland!
    SKnerem

  • Nik

    DAMN! im realy impressed, ive tried doing similar things on illustrator but they never turned out this good. These techniques realy work. Good job guys

  • Nik

    DAMN! im realy impressed, ive tried doing similar things on illustrator but they never turned out this good. These techniques realy work. Good job guys

  • http://www.hv-designs.co.uk hvdesigns

    wicked tutorial matey, very nice indeed.

  • http://www.hv-designs.co.uk hvdesigns

    wicked tutorial matey, very nice indeed.

  • Steve Knerem

    Awesome work, Love what you guys alwys pump out. Always glad to see great talent in Cleveland!
    SKnerem

  • http://micropressdesign.com micro

    very nice and in depth tutorial!

  • http://micropressdesign.com micro

    very nice and in depth tutorial!

  • http://www.tutorial5.com Daniel

    omg cant believe some people acctualy build this kind of art for the web. xtremly nice tutorial :x

  • http://www.tutorial5.com Daniel

    omg cant believe some people acctualy build this kind of art for the web. xtremly nice tutorial :x

  • http://www.anvilania.com/ John

    Excellent! I think I learned about six new things here.

    Another good strategy for step 2.2 when you have to scan a file in pieces is to use the “difference” blending mode instead of “multiply” on the top layer. It’s a little hard to explain, but basically that blending mode shows you the “difference” between the top layer and the underlying layer. Where there is no difference, everything turns black.

    So when the pixels on the overlapping sections are in perfect registration, that entire overlapping section will turn a solid black. Once you get the hang of it, it’s much simpler than squinting through “multiply.”

  • http://www.anvilania.com/ John

    Excellent! I think I learned about six new things here.

    Another good strategy for step 2.2 when you have to scan a file in pieces is to use the “difference” blending mode instead of “multiply” on the top layer. It’s a little hard to explain, but basically that blending mode shows you the “difference” between the top layer and the underlying layer. Where there is no difference, everything turns black.

    So when the pixels on the overlapping sections are in perfect registration, that entire overlapping section will turn a solid black. Once you get the hang of it, it’s much simpler than squinting through “multiply.”

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff

    John,

    Interesting, I’ll have to try that. I hadn’t thought of that before. Thanks for the tip!

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff

    John,

    Interesting, I’ll have to try that. I hadn’t thought of that before. Thanks for the tip!

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  • http://www.bluebuffalomedia.com Blue Buffalo

    Awesome tutorial! This is definitely one of the best I have ever seen.

  • http://www.bluebuffalomedia.com Blue Buffalo

    Awesome tutorial! This is definitely one of the best I have ever seen.

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  • OD_Torgr

    Woow Dude..!!
    I use photoshop Pro CS3 I hope i can do it with that?

  • OD_Torgr

    Woow Dude..!!
    I use photoshop Pro CS3 I hope i can do it with that?

  • Sean

    Oh my sweet jebus, this tutorial is amazing!

    @ OD-Torgr: Using Illustrator is MUCH easier and better for doing vector art, sure you can use Photoshop but Illustrator would give better results.

  • Joens

    You should learn how to draw before you try to give tutorials.

  • Joens

    You should learn how to draw before you try to give tutorials.

  • Sean

    Oh my sweet jebus, this tutorial is amazing!

    @ OD-Torgr: Using Illustrator is MUCH easier and better for doing vector art, sure you can use Photoshop but Illustrator would give better results.

  • Wouter

    Very nice tutorial. This is by far my favourite tutorial. I love how you explain everything so well, also with illustrations etc. Very very nice.

  • Wouter

    Very nice tutorial. This is by far my favourite tutorial. I love how you explain everything so well, also with illustrations etc. Very very nice.

  • Kevin

    Incredible. Thank You very much for this tutorial.

  • Kevin

    Incredible. Thank You very much for this tutorial.

  • http://www.brave-art.com Harry

    Good tutorial I’m a full time Graphic Illustrator and all I use is Photoshop cs3. Perfect for Vector art in my oppinion. Thanks H

  • http://www.brave-art.com Harry

    Good tutorial I’m a full time Graphic Illustrator and all I use is Photoshop cs3. Perfect for Vector art in my oppinion. Thanks H

  • Larry

    Outstanding..Keep up the good work!

  • Larry

    Outstanding..Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.myspace.com/cdgmusicpromotion MexiChriS

    i kept checking this tutorial out, not reading it or anything.

    just takeing some what of a little interest in it… but i finnaly decided to check it out today, and man, am im amazed!

    thanks so much for this, really amazing, and i’ve been trying to find something like this. hope to see alot more than this in the future. :]

    - MexiChriS -

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      Once you get the hang of it, it’s much simpler than squinting through “multiply.”

  • http://www.myspace.com/cdgmusicpromotion MexiChriS

    i kept checking this tutorial out, not reading it or anything.

    just takeing some what of a little interest in it… but i finnaly decided to check it out today, and man, am im amazed!

    thanks so much for this, really amazing, and i’ve been trying to find something like this. hope to see alot more than this in the future. :]

    - MexiChriS -

  • CaliDude

    Dude, you guys are awesome! I just want to be like you when I grow up! Thanks for the tut. I see the light now!

  • CaliDude

    Dude, you guys are awesome! I just want to be like you when I grow up! Thanks for the tut. I see the light now!

  • http://designani.deviantart.com/ designani

    thanks!!great tutorial…

  • http://designani.deviantart.com/ designani

    thanks!!great tutorial…

  • Empi3

    Yay! Thats great. I actually tried this technique and guess what. It is eazzy! I finally learned something useful. thx =]

  • Empi3

    Yay! Thats great. I actually tried this technique and guess what. It is eazzy! I finally learned something useful. thx =]

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  • Chuck

    I never went to design school but I have to say these tutorials are top notch learning materials! Thanks for the work!

  • Chuck

    I never went to design school but I have to say these tutorials are top notch learning materials! Thanks for the work!

  • roh3x2n

    VErY good result.But too hard for me to draw.
    i love it

  • roh3x2n

    VErY good result.But too hard for me to draw.
    i love it

  • Anja

    Definitely giving it a try, I have to work on my ‘cool outlines’ ;-)

  • Anja

    Definitely giving it a try, I have to work on my ‘cool outlines’ ;-)

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  • Thijs

    Wow, great tutorial!
    drawing is not my difficulty, but getting from
    a drawing to a vector piece is really hard for me, but this tut will really help me. Thnx!

  • Thijs

    Wow, great tutorial!
    drawing is not my difficulty, but getting from
    a drawing to a vector piece is really hard for me, but this tut will really help me. Thnx!

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  • lokal

    nice, very nice ….evala brat mi !!!!

  • lokal

    nice, very nice ….evala brat mi !!!!

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  • Tade

    i loved the tutorial. please e-mail me more of this kind.

  • Tade

    i loved the tutorial. please e-mail me more of this kind.

  • Sampson

    thanks so much for the trick on removing the resulting bezier handle, it’s extremely helpful as was the rest of the tutorial.

  • Sampson

    thanks so much for the trick on removing the resulting bezier handle, it’s extremely helpful as was the rest of the tutorial.

  • Orthimnas

    “I’m not sure what the technical term is for this function, but it basically takes two shapes and removes any parts of them that do not over-lap.”
    I believe the function is called “Intersect”.

    Great tutorial, makes me wish that I had a flair for drawing. Definitely going into my favorites list – I’ll be back time and time again.

    Thank you so much,
    ~ Orthimnas ~

  • Orthimnas

    “I’m not sure what the technical term is for this function, but it basically takes two shapes and removes any parts of them that do not over-lap.”
    I believe the function is called “Intersect”.

    Great tutorial, makes me wish that I had a flair for drawing. Definitely going into my favorites list – I’ll be back time and time again.

    Thank you so much,
    ~ Orthimnas ~

  • signshopserf

    Wow this tutorial is really informative. I’m keeping it in my library.

    I wish I could draw that well, but the best I can hope for is to make progress with what I already have.

    Thank you for valuable advice.

  • signshopserf

    Wow this tutorial is really informative. I’m keeping it in my library.

    I wish I could draw that well, but the best I can hope for is to make progress with what I already have.

    Thank you for valuable advice.

  • http://www.tino-flohe.de Tino

    Thank you for this very interessting tutorial.

    Very helpfull to me! Keep going like that!

  • http://www.tino-flohe.de Tino

    Thank you for this very interessting tutorial.

    Very helpfull to me! Keep going like that!

  • http://cartoonct.blogspot.com/ sahar Ajami

    It was cool.
    thank u.

  • http://cartoonct.blogspot.com/ sahar Ajami

    It was cool.
    thank u.

  • http://www.carrotcomm.com Kamol

    Panda

  • http://www.carrotcomm.com Kamol

    Panda

  • RNQ

    Very well done.
    However, I’m a bit confused how you made eliminated one of the bezier handles just by clicking the point; I’m very new to photoshop, and the only way I could make that happen is to hold ALT and click the point.

  • RNQ

    Very well done.
    However, I’m a bit confused how you made eliminated one of the bezier handles just by clicking the point; I’m very new to photoshop, and the only way I could make that happen is to hold ALT and click the point.

  • Paly

    dave is nuts!

    and im loving the artwork

  • Paly

    dave is nuts!

    and im loving the artwork

  • http://www.gomedia.us Bill

    On the question concerning removing the extra bezier handle… If you are working in Adobe Photoshop you DO have to hold down the Alt key when you click on the vector point. I did not mention this because I was working in Adobe Illustrator – which does not require the holding down of the Alt key.

  • http://www.gomedia.us Bill

    On the question concerning removing the extra bezier handle… If you are working in Adobe Photoshop you DO have to hold down the Alt key when you click on the vector point. I did not mention this because I was working in Adobe Illustrator – which does not require the holding down of the Alt key.

  • Johnny

    Great tutorial. Can you upload a PDF version?

  • Johnny

    Great tutorial. Can you upload a PDF version?

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff

    we do not have a PDF version, sorry

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff

    we do not have a PDF version, sorry

  • Zney

    wow!!!its great i like it…job well done..

  • Zney

    wow!!!its great i like it…job well done..

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  • wiLa

    wow…

  • wiLa

    wow…

  • eos

    sweet job… im a fan

    i’ll spread the word for gomedia

    cheers!

  • eos

    sweet job… im a fan

    i’ll spread the word for gomedia

    cheers!

  • mohan

    wooooww

    thts a very cool tutorial…..

    great work & talent

    gited by god

    not to every one

    love it…..

  • mohan

    wooooww

    thts a very cool tutorial…..

    great work & talent

    gited by god

    not to every one

    love it…..

  • Penter

    I really really appeciate what you teach here!!!!! good Job!!!! I really like the way u go into so detail!!!! I am a Fan of GoMedia

  • Penter

    I really really appeciate what you teach here!!!!! good Job!!!! I really like the way u go into so detail!!!! I am a Fan of GoMedia

  • joe

    awesome tutorial. as a toy designer and former design school illustrator professor, I do vector illustrations almost every day and still learned a thing or two.

    one thing you may want to add to the “clicking control points to turn them from smooth to corner” discussion is the fact that you can also click-drag on smooth control points once you have created them in order to retain tangency of a curve but shorten the handle. This is especially helpful when one bezier handle is waaay long from a crazy curve and the next curve needs to be small or soft. Simply clicking the point will cause you to loose your tangency.

    Also, that illy is pretty wicked but damn that dirl has a butta face. Looks like helen hunt. dave (whose other work in all fairness i have never seen) may benefit from looking at some asian comics or manga websites- Japan has a great style for the female face that can be easily adapted to a california blondie.

  • joe

    awesome tutorial. as a toy designer and former design school illustrator professor, I do vector illustrations almost every day and still learned a thing or two.

    one thing you may want to add to the “clicking control points to turn them from smooth to corner” discussion is the fact that you can also click-drag on smooth control points once you have created them in order to retain tangency of a curve but shorten the handle. This is especially helpful when one bezier handle is waaay long from a crazy curve and the next curve needs to be small or soft. Simply clicking the point will cause you to loose your tangency.

    Also, that illy is pretty wicked but damn that dirl has a butta face. Looks like helen hunt. dave (whose other work in all fairness i have never seen) may benefit from looking at some asian comics or manga websites- Japan has a great style for the female face that can be easily adapted to a california blondie.

  • Philip

    hahaha more cowbell for the win :D seriously, great tut!! really sweet!

  • Philip

    hahaha more cowbell for the win :D seriously, great tut!! really sweet!

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  • Mini Me

    Wasnt this tutorial in a magazine article as well? Like creative arts or something?

  • Mini Me

    Wasnt this tutorial in a magazine article as well? Like creative arts or something?

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  • http://www.colbowdesign.com Brad

    Yeah, I’ll echo what everyone else here said, this is a great resource. I’ve done this a couple times but it’s incredibly time consuming and with the amount of detail put into your work I can’t even imagine how long this must have taken. Great stuff.

  • http://www.colbowdesign.com Brad

    Yeah, I’ll echo what everyone else here said, this is a great resource. I’ve done this a couple times but it’s incredibly time consuming and with the amount of detail put into your work I can’t even imagine how long this must have taken. Great stuff.

  • Derek K

    I added this site to my bookmarks/favorites! Creating tutorials like that will definetly get you attention. I do have a question that I bet alot of other people on here would like to know the answer to as well: How much can you charge a client for something like the knome or devil project? I’m personally just building my portfolio before i try to get any work..but i would really like to know how much someone can charge for such great work. It of course takes a long time, but it’s hard to imagine someone paying over $1000 for a flyer,….right? thanks

  • Derek K

    I added this site to my bookmarks/favorites! Creating tutorials like that will definetly get you attention. I do have a question that I bet alot of other people on here would like to know the answer to as well: How much can you charge a client for something like the knome or devil project? I’m personally just building my portfolio before i try to get any work..but i would really like to know how much someone can charge for such great work. It of course takes a long time, but it’s hard to imagine someone paying over $1000 for a flyer,….right? thanks

  • michael

    great tutorial. i use some of these techniques already but there was plenty of new info in there. great if your fairly new to illustrator.

  • michael

    great tutorial. i use some of these techniques already but there was plenty of new info in there. great if your fairly new to illustrator.

  • David

    I am a Graphic Designer out of Vancouver BC and this Tutorial itself is indespensible! learned alot from it. defintly will use these techniques in the future. Thanks Alot, cheers

  • David

    I am a Graphic Designer out of Vancouver BC and this Tutorial itself is indespensible! learned alot from it. defintly will use these techniques in the future. Thanks Alot, cheers

  • http://www.myspace.com/chim-art Chimbles

    Thanks for the excellent tutorial – I’ve been searching for a detailed guide to vector inking for ages and this is brilliantly in depth. I never knew it was so simple to convert your paths/brushstrokes to solid shapes until now – I’m only frustrated I never figured it out before, it would have saved me hours! :)

  • http://www.myspace.com/chim-art Chimbles

    Thanks for the excellent tutorial – I’ve been searching for a detailed guide to vector inking for ages and this is brilliantly in depth. I never knew it was so simple to convert your paths/brushstrokes to solid shapes until now – I’m only frustrated I never figured it out before, it would have saved me hours! :)

  • http://www.sumeco.net Theo

    One of the best illustrator tutorials I’ve read so far ;) well written and very complete.

    keep up the good work!

  • http://www.sumeco.net Theo

    One of the best illustrator tutorials I’ve read so far ;) well written and very complete.

    keep up the good work!

  • Lenny Bruce

    Incredible!! Leave it to a PC user to do things the long way around!! I’m often amazed at the applause for tutorials like this that tout “Good” ways to build a graphic. Although there are some good points to be gleaned out of this article, for the most part the process is typical of college grads with no practicle experience in the programs. The idea of doing things two or three times over when a simple process is all that is needed is like shooting yourself in the foot and then trying to run a marathon. It’s no wonder that nearly all the Art Directors and Production Supervisors I’ve met have the same question for me, “Why is it taking so long for my Graphic Artists to do the work?” Apparently with all the new bells and whistles being added to the program to attract a whole new user base, the idea of “simple is best” has gone along the wayside in favor of “complex and time consuming is better”. I realize that some ways work for some Graphic Artists and some ways don’t, but there is no disputing that in the real world where artwork is expected by clients and Art Directors alike to be simply a “push of a button”, that time is of the essence. To work a graphic in such a way that takes 2-3 times as long to complete as it should not only cuts down on income, but also creates a rift between client and artist. Why would anyone want to do this is beyond me..

    • mango aqua

      Lenny – why not then show the easy way of doing this by recreating this tutorial, the ‘easy way’ to demonstrate.

    • http://twitter.com/jon_julien Jon Julien

      I love how your post is exactly what you complained about. Way to take a paragraph of repeating yourself to say “there is a shorter way”.

  • Lenny Bruce

    Incredible!! Leave it to a PC user to do things the long way around!! I’m often amazed at the applause for tutorials like this that tout “Good” ways to build a graphic. Although there are some good points to be gleaned out of this article, for the most part the process is typical of college grads with no practicle experience in the programs. The idea of doing things two or three times over when a simple process is all that is needed is like shooting yourself in the foot and then trying to run a marathon. It’s no wonder that nearly all the Art Directors and Production Supervisors I’ve met have the same question for me, “Why is it taking so long for my Graphic Artists to do the work?” Apparently with all the new bells and whistles being added to the program to attract a whole new user base, the idea of “simple is best” has gone along the wayside in favor of “complex and time consuming is better”. I realize that some ways work for some Graphic Artists and some ways don’t, but there is no disputing that in the real world where artwork is expected by clients and Art Directors alike to be simply a “push of a button”, that time is of the essence. To work a graphic in such a way that takes 2-3 times as long to complete as it should not only cuts down on income, but also creates a rift between client and artist. Why would anyone want to do this is beyond me..

  • http://www.zenque.deviantart.com freestick

    excellent :D

  • http://www.zenque.deviantart.com freestick

    excellent :D

  • mohammed ezzeddine

    Hello
    i am a grahic design student and i am doing a magazine which is ny senior project i am asking if i can put the tutrailin the magazine ur name and ur website will be listed side to the tutrail and the magazine will be shown in front of many grahic designer and students from many universitys in the middle east region. i hope that u will accept my request.
    thank you

  • mohammed ezzeddine

    Hello
    i am a grahic design student and i am doing a magazine which is ny senior project i am asking if i can put the tutrailin the magazine ur name and ur website will be listed side to the tutrail and the magazine will be shown in front of many grahic designer and students from many universitys in the middle east region. i hope that u will accept my request.
    thank you

  • Bilal

    It’s too+too good

  • Bilal

    It’s too+too good

  • victoria

    Great tutorials – would really like some help with hair that is flying around, am really struggling.
    Thanks.

  • victoria

    Great tutorials – would really like some help with hair that is flying around, am really struggling.
    Thanks.

  • http://nephilistic.com Askhari

    Thank you SO much. Honestly, this little tutorial revolutionized my view and use of the pen tool, even though it’s just this little click and drag-trick :D

    awesome!

  • http://nephilistic.com Askhari

    Thank you SO much. Honestly, this little tutorial revolutionized my view and use of the pen tool, even though it’s just this little click and drag-trick :D

    awesome!

  • virgoeyes

    now i know why time is alwys a factor in our day to day life, kudos

  • virgoeyes

    now i know why time is alwys a factor in our day to day life, kudos

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  • fishbelly

    I have been struggeling with this subject for some time now! Thanks! You may have just opened up a few options for me.

  • fishbelly

    I have been struggeling with this subject for some time now! Thanks! You may have just opened up a few options for me.

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  • http://www.orcharddesigns.com Brian

    Simply amazing. If you ever need a programmer to take care of some db work, I’d happily barter for some designs from you folks..

  • http://www.orcharddesigns.com Brian

    Simply amazing. If you ever need a programmer to take care of some db work, I’d happily barter for some designs from you folks..

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  • Baro

    I had trouble in these steps with the grouping steps mentioned in the ink layer; When I tried to “Release” my lines on the color layer in was inactive. Also, I coul dnot ungroup the two items. Strange….

  • Baro

    I had trouble in these steps with the grouping steps mentioned in the ink layer; When I tried to “Release” my lines on the color layer in was inactive. Also, I coul dnot ungroup the two items. Strange….

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  • http://bluedecker97.deviantart.com Wesley Miller aka bluedecker97

    WOW this is more than worth the subscription to del.ic.ious bookmarks and the author just re-educated me in all i knew about making illustrations in XARA original vector release.

    SO i am checking all the replies and looking for your art and check out my link to deviantart.com

    bd97

  • http://bluedecker97.deviantart.com Wesley Miller aka bluedecker97

    WOW this is more than worth the subscription to del.ic.ious bookmarks and the author just re-educated me in all i knew about making illustrations in XARA original vector release.

    SO i am checking all the replies and looking for your art and check out my link to deviantart.com

    bd97

  • roy

    wow! very cool! i´ll have to start practicing…

    “…more cowbell” those are Jhon Petrucci´s words!!!!

    -roy

  • roy

    wow! very cool! i´ll have to start practicing…

    “…more cowbell” those are Jhon Petrucci´s words!!!!

    -roy

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  • http://www.sketchplanet.com Sketchplanet

    Still seems like a long process to me, why not just paint it and then scan it after?

  • http://www.sketchplanet.com Sketchplanet

    Still seems like a long process to me, why not just paint it and then scan it after?

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  • http://www.jeffdork.deviantart.com jeffdork

    this is amazing :)

  • http://www.jeffdork.deviantart.com jeffdork

    this is amazing :)

  • Toan Nguyen

    Excellent!!!!
    Thank you so much for this awesome tutorial

  • Toan Nguyen

    Excellent!!!!
    Thank you so much for this awesome tutorial

  • komixxx10

    This is one awsome tutorial!
    ive been lookin for this forever!
    thank you!

  • komixxx10

    This is one awsome tutorial!
    ive been lookin for this forever!
    thank you!

  • http://tgnmth.blogspot.com Sophie

    Amazing tutorial. Thank you so much. Your artwork is incredible.

  • http://tgnmth.blogspot.com Sophie

    Amazing tutorial. Thank you so much. Your artwork is incredible.

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  • Thomas

    Great tutorial, I only discovered go media a couple of days ago, but I already purchased some vector packs and I dig your tutorials.
    I am a graphic designer for a kiteboarding company located in China, photoshop has always been my main focus, but over the last months I found that illustrator is an indispensable asset. I used to do everything by hand ;)
    Thank you for making this intense learning process a lot easier.

  • Thomas

    Great tutorial, I only discovered go media a couple of days ago, but I already purchased some vector packs and I dig your tutorials.
    I am a graphic designer for a kiteboarding company located in China, photoshop has always been my main focus, but over the last months I found that illustrator is an indispensable asset. I used to do everything by hand ;)
    Thank you for making this intense learning process a lot easier.

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  • Huper

    Can’t say how much I appreciate this. Especially the part with the thickness of the lines is really good stuff to know.

  • Huper

    Can’t say how much I appreciate this. Especially the part with the thickness of the lines is really good stuff to know.

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  • http://www.danhbaweb20.com banhaclong20

    Thanks for share .Great blog !

  • http://www.danhbaweb20.com/ Danhbaweb20.com

    Thanks for share .Great blog !

  • Zac

    Hey thought I’d leave a comment, do you know any decent books that can teach you how to draw like from the ground up, starting from basics.

  • Zac

    Hey thought I’d leave a comment, do you know any decent books that can teach you how to draw like from the ground up, starting from basics.

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  • http://layoutsinc.com Chris

    Thank you. This tutorial gave me the confidence to tackle a detailed “inking” project by knowing I was taking the right approach.

    Cheers!

  • http://layoutsinc.com Chris

    Thank you. This tutorial gave me the confidence to tackle a detailed “inking” project by knowing I was taking the right approach.

    Cheers!

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  • http://www.megalomedya.com evo5

    great thank you…

  • http://www.megalomedya.com evo5

    great thank you…

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  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    NIce tutorial, I work in the same fashion in Illustrator. The only question I have is why you make a completely new layer with a copy of all your outline paths to fill in the color? If you create your paths in the “knockout” style, you could just add color right to those shapes, instead of knocking them out (creating a compound path) for an outline.

    Also, the “Lenny Bruce” comment above about how this method wastes so much time – I am curious what this secret time-saving method he has for Illustrator is. I can think of no other way to achieve these types of vector creations. I sure hope he’s not referring to “Live Trace”, that will result in vector paths with tons of poorly constructed vector lines. The smooth lines flowing into one another can only be done (as far as I know) in the method described in this tutorial.

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    NIce tutorial, I work in the same fashion in Illustrator. The only question I have is why you make a completely new layer with a copy of all your outline paths to fill in the color? If you create your paths in the “knockout” style, you could just add color right to those shapes, instead of knocking them out (creating a compound path) for an outline.

    Also, the “Lenny Bruce” comment above about how this method wastes so much time – I am curious what this secret time-saving method he has for Illustrator is. I can think of no other way to achieve these types of vector creations. I sure hope he’s not referring to “Live Trace”, that will result in vector paths with tons of poorly constructed vector lines. The smooth lines flowing into one another can only be done (as far as I know) in the method described in this tutorial.

  • Victoria Carpenter

    Sitting down to draw some more..bout 6 hours or so I guess…then its right back here to use this for the 3rd time…eventually I may show someone…but not till I can put out work even half as good as this.Thanks for the tut. Wish I could pick your brain for a few hours.
    A First Year Design Student,
    Tori

  • Victoria Carpenter

    Sitting down to draw some more..bout 6 hours or so I guess…then its right back here to use this for the 3rd time…eventually I may show someone…but not till I can put out work even half as good as this.Thanks for the tut. Wish I could pick your brain for a few hours.
    A First Year Design Student,
    Tori

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  • brian

    my sketches vaguely resemble my finished product in illustrator

  • brian

    my sketches vaguely resemble my finished product in illustrator

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  • http://totaltutorial.com/category/adobe-illustrator-tutorials/ Stefan Ashwell

    Fantastic tutorial with loads of great tips, thanks very much

  • http://totaltutorial.com/category/adobe-illustrator-tutorials/ Stefan Ashwell

    Fantastic tutorial with loads of great tips, thanks very much

  • http://ceccepp.deviantart.com ceccepp

    useful tutorial…,
    thx bill….

  • http://ceccepp.deviantart.com ceccepp

    useful tutorial…,
    thx bill….

  • Cron

    Lemme tell you something: you are f-ing awesome. Thanks for the tutorial, it helped a lot. Nicely done, and easy to understand, too.

  • Cron

    Lemme tell you something: you are f-ing awesome. Thanks for the tutorial, it helped a lot. Nicely done, and easy to understand, too.

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  • Bobbiebob

    Thank you so much for this tutorial, you’ve answered a lot of questions and made my life a heck of a lot easier!

  • Bobbiebob

    Thank you so much for this tutorial, you’ve answered a lot of questions and made my life a heck of a lot easier!

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  • Bill Hicks

    In reply to the comment by “Lenny Bruce”:

    Wow, great job coming off as an arrogant prick. If you’re such a pro, would it have killed you to point out WHAT is inefficient about this approach and what you suggest doing differently? Any fool can be a hater, but it takes somebody with half a brain to be a contributor. Have some respect, or at least have a constructive point in your criticism.

    P.S. as a fellow Mac user, you embarrass me.

  • Bill Hicks

    In reply to the comment by “Lenny Bruce”:

    Wow, great job coming off as an arrogant prick. If you’re such a pro, would it have killed you to point out WHAT is inefficient about this approach and what you suggest doing differently? Any fool can be a hater, but it takes somebody with half a brain to be a contributor. Have some respect, or at least have a constructive point in your criticism.

    P.S. as a fellow Mac user, you embarrass me.

  • http://www.gomedia.us Bill

    @ Bill Hicks…

    WELL SAID BILL!

    I always say: It’s ok to complain… …so long as you have an alternative solution to the problem! Don’t just bitch about a problem – FIX THE PROBLEM.

    “Lenny Bruce” has a lot of complaining about something that he never clearly identifies, then offers no positive alternative.

    Lenny Bruce = FAIL.

    ;) Bill

  • http://www.gomedia.us Bill

    @ Bill Hicks…

    WELL SAID BILL!

    I always say: It’s ok to complain… …so long as you have an alternative solution to the problem! Don’t just bitch about a problem – FIX THE PROBLEM.

    “Lenny Bruce” has a lot of complaining about something that he never clearly identifies, then offers no positive alternative.

    Lenny Bruce = FAIL.

    ;) Bill

  • http://www.theaterhelper.com Laura

    I’ve just recently started learning Illustrator for fun and found this tutorial extremely helpful. I did just get stuck in one place though… when I went to move on to the adding color step I tried to select Object>Compound Path>Release as instructed, but it wasn’t an available option… I probably did something I wasn’t supposed to but can’t for the life of me figure out what it was. Any thoughts on the types of things that would nulify this option? Thanks.

  • http://www.theaterhelper.com Laura

    I’ve just recently started learning Illustrator for fun and found this tutorial extremely helpful. I did just get stuck in one place though… when I went to move on to the adding color step I tried to select Object>Compound Path>Release as instructed, but it wasn’t an available option… I probably did something I wasn’t supposed to but can’t for the life of me figure out what it was. Any thoughts on the types of things that would nulify this option? Thanks.

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  • Man

    Very informative tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

    It really shows how the process of illustrating a graphic is a very detail job.

  • Man

    Very informative tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

    It really shows how the process of illustrating a graphic is a very detail job.

  • http://www.amazing-preschool-activities.com cellv

    hi,

    i’m curious, how did the paper mark and all the greyness after scan is removed? at what step?

    sorry if my question sounds stupid.

    rgds,
    cellv

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VRP35USKEVYBBN4O76CZI3XV7Y Kyle

      I believe what you’re asking is, where did the sketch go, and when do you remove it? Since the sketch is on its own layer, you can just hide (or even delete) the layer after you are done with the vector outline since you no longer need it. Hope that answered your question.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VRP35USKEVYBBN4O76CZI3XV7Y Kyle

        Haha…wow. Just realized this question was posted 2 years ago. Guess I’m little late.

  • http://www.amazing-preschool-activities.com cellv

    hi,

    i’m curious, how did the paper mark and all the greyness after scan is removed? at what step?

    sorry if my question sounds stupid.

    rgds,
    cellv

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  • Henryness

    One question why does it say you need a monitor and computer if we are using it.LOL like DUH!!!

  • Henryness

    One question why does it say you need a monitor and computer if we are using it.LOL like DUH!!!

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  • MAGR

    Fantastic!!!

  • MAGR

    Fantastic!!!

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  • http://www.gomedia.us Bill

    I had an exchange with Yehudah Christian through e-mail I wanted to share with everone…

    Yehudah:
    Bill,
    I was just reading your tutorial on creating vector images using a sketch. I’ve always drawn and now I am using a Wacom tablet in Photoshop to refine my drawing into a vector image. I don’t like to use illustrator because the brushes (as you may already know) in illustrator do not respond as smoothly as using it in photoshop. Sorry for rambling, but basically I can’t draw in illustrator, but I need to create vector images. Is there a way to create vector images in photoshop or can I create it in photoshop and then transfer it to illustrator and change it into a vector image?
    Thanks
    Y. Christian

    Me:
    Hey Yehudah,
    Absolutely. When you finish your line art in photoshop – take that image into Illustrator and use the: Object/Live Trace/Make and Expand option.
    This works best on a single color – preferrably Black and White image. Once this is complete, you’ll find that Illustrator creates vector shapes for all the black AND the white areas on your image… …so… 99% of the time, I select one white shape, then use the function: Select/Same/Fill Color – this will grab ALL the white, then just hit delete. This will leave you with your black shapes.
    Word of advice: … Live trace works better or worse depending on how much resolution is in your drawing. The bigger you work, the better Illustrator will Live Trace.
    So, that’s it.
    One last question: Would you mind if I post this exchange on our blog? Some everyone can read it?
    -Bill

    Yehudah:
    Thank you….sure post it to the blog…
    Ps..i just found this site, and its changing my life everyday…thanks alot

  • http://www.gomedia.us Bill

    I had an exchange with Yehudah Christian through e-mail I wanted to share with everone…

    Yehudah:
    Bill,
    I was just reading your tutorial on creating vector images using a sketch. I’ve always drawn and now I am using a Wacom tablet in Photoshop to refine my drawing into a vector image. I don’t like to use illustrator because the brushes (as you may already know) in illustrator do not respond as smoothly as using it in photoshop. Sorry for rambling, but basically I can’t draw in illustrator, but I need to create vector images. Is there a way to create vector images in photoshop or can I create it in photoshop and then transfer it to illustrator and change it into a vector image?
    Thanks
    Y. Christian

    Me:
    Hey Yehudah,
    Absolutely. When you finish your line art in photoshop – take that image into Illustrator and use the: Object/Live Trace/Make and Expand option.
    This works best on a single color – preferrably Black and White image. Once this is complete, you’ll find that Illustrator creates vector shapes for all the black AND the white areas on your image… …so… 99% of the time, I select one white shape, then use the function: Select/Same/Fill Color – this will grab ALL the white, then just hit delete. This will leave you with your black shapes.
    Word of advice: … Live trace works better or worse depending on how much resolution is in your drawing. The bigger you work, the better Illustrator will Live Trace.
    So, that’s it.
    One last question: Would you mind if I post this exchange on our blog? Some everyone can read it?
    -Bill

    Yehudah:
    Thank you….sure post it to the blog…
    Ps..i just found this site, and its changing my life everyday…thanks alot

  • Danny

    Laura, I ran into this problem too… Select the compound… before you attempt to “Release” the compound, click the Expand Compound Button in the Pathfinder Tool Box… then Go to Object>Compound Path and Release should then be available… this solved my problem anyways… hope that helps…

    Great tutorial by the way…

  • Danny

    Laura, I ran into this problem too… Select the compound… before you attempt to “Release” the compound, click the Expand Compound Button in the Pathfinder Tool Box… then Go to Object>Compound Path and Release should then be available… this solved my problem anyways… hope that helps…

    Great tutorial by the way…

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  • http://armgod.yo2.cn Armgod

    So cool,I like it!

  • http://armgod.yo2.cn Armgod

    So cool,I like it!

  • http://otak3pagi.blogspot.com bem69

    Good tutorial here, I mostly just do my art from start to scratch digitally, maybe I should go back to drawing on paper. Anyway, this is the first tutorial I’ve seen stating the fact that you can remove the bezier handle by clicking the point once again. I thought I wasn’t doing it “right” since every tutorial I’ve seen just say adjust the handles manually. Its cool to know a professional like yourself using that feature as well.

  • http://otak3pagi.blogspot.com bem69

    Good tutorial here, I mostly just do my art from start to scratch digitally, maybe I should go back to drawing on paper. Anyway, this is the first tutorial I’ve seen stating the fact that you can remove the bezier handle by clicking the point once again. I thought I wasn’t doing it “right” since every tutorial I’ve seen just say adjust the handles manually. Its cool to know a professional like yourself using that feature as well.

  • http://www.makepapereasy.com ProjectCenter

    This is a perfect tutorial for skectching projects. Thanks.

  • http://artblog.emilygonsalves.com Emily

    Nice tutorial, but I think you could really save yourself some time by modifying your method. You mention using brushes for linework, yet you say you don't like using them because you don't have as much control over where they taper and where they thicken. Why don't you outline the paths that you need to modify and then edit them? It will save you drawing two edges of a path.

    Also, if your version of Illustrator has the live paint feature (CS2+), use it. It's worlds faster than what you've suggested above.

  • http://www.gomedia.us jeff_finley

    I agree with your comments for sure. Live Paint definitely saves time!

  • noah

    I was able to follow everything smoothly until i got to the coloring, when trying to make a shadow I am told to use the pathfinder overlap function, which I assume is “Exclude” because overlap is not listed in my options, however when trying to do this i cannot achieve the same result in which it finishes the outer edge of my shadow with my fill shape. Hopefully someone can let me know what im missing because this will save me a heck of a lot of time not having to redraw all the lines…

    Thanks in advance.

    • John

      I had the same issue. I thought it was intersect that he meant.

      “Then, using the Pathfinder tool use the overlap Pathfinder tool. I’m not sure what the technical term is for this function, but it basically takes two shapes and removes any parts of them that do not over-lap. ”

      Ya know, if you hover your cursor over those buttons you’ll get a “tool tip” that will tell you exactly what your feature in the pathfinder you’re using. FYI for future tuts.
      By the way, this one was great, thanks!

  • samuelm

    fantastic tutorial, thank you so much.

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk Michael Thomas

    Brilliant Tutorial. I am in the process of converting some illustrations to vectors at the moment.

  • mrmilkman

    hey bill cool tute! I was just wondering if there is a completed version of the “loose sketch” of the skull, booze and lady floating around? I'd love to see the final product! Thanks!

  • C

    merci :)

  • bebopdesigner

    Wow! Very fine work. Thanks for posting

  • llama

    A million gazillion thankyous. Absolute legend and this is by far the best tute i've come across so far! :D

  • llama

    A million gazillion thankyous. Absolute legend and this is by far the best tute i've come across so far! :D

  • Blaq_Kofi

    thanx alot for this wonderful tutorial, i'll use this as an inspiration

  • Maria

    Thanks, this was both very useful and very very inspiring! A lot of small but extremely useful tips. Will start to practice at once…. :-)

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  • salivafan

    I really like your blog It has a lot of great information. I will be checking back on this site from time to time. thanks for all the info. you can check out my Blog
    Take care now.
    ,SalviaFan

  • http://bestcharlottepainters.com Charlotte_Painting

    Great Illustration's love your work and blog!

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  • martynweb

    Great Article, We have always found it easier to convert illustrations this way

  • artViper

    Very amazing article – it's really helpful to understand the tweaks and the process of converting. Bookmarked.

  • artViper

    Very helpful to see the process of creating it – bookmarked!

  • chicagofencecompany

    Good Stuff

  • Papriko

    very useful, thx

  • ashcat

    thanks for this ∑:-3

  • Fiachrahackett

    hey thank you very much this was extremely handy however is it not easier and maybe i'm being a total noob (hate using that word) in saying this but is it not easier to achieve various weights and details by drawing the outline and then going Object>Path>Outline stroke and working from there using the direct selection and pen tools etc.?

    • Ronnie P

      Outline stroke can be buggy on complex shapes. You can sometimes zoom in real close and find that the handles on smooth points are all twisted and overlapped all funky usually around some sort of angular area or real narrow areas created with smooth points. Sometimes you have to zoom way in to actually see this. Another way you’ll find out this phenomenon is when dealing with the pathfinder pallet when subtracting and especially dividing strokes that have smooth points. So Outline Stroke isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  • lboi

    this is pure awesomeness!!

  • jhonny

    r u kidding?

  • Zelda

    this was nothing short of amazing. it helped me know what major things i was leaving out in my process. and the line weight reminder was really important for me as well! so seriously, thanks

  • Mona @ Black Clutch Bag

    Excellent tutorial! It inspires me to whip out my wacom and experiment. Thanks.

  • http://www.lacievisions.com/ Bryan

    This explains some well-used techniques! Thanks a lot, you've really inspired me.

  • rekiem

    putamadre bravo!! esta superchido ojalá sigas trepando tuts para todos gracias!!

  • Matt

    Thanks for this nice work!
    dizi izle

  • Matt

    Thanks for this nice work!
    dizi izle

  • Aboota

    Get your vector cartoon at http://www.cartoonstylist.com

  • http://www.clippingimages.com shabnam

    nice tutorial, thanks for posting

  • jasper

    thanx a LOT for this Tutorial.. it made me do my first `sketch into vector` and in my opinion it looks awesome now!!

    you made my day with this help!

    j

  • fugitive

    I will NEVER EVER draw a devils like you do!!!!!!!!!!

  • kitsune

    Thanks – I have often used the live trace option to get the basic shape but the pen tool gives much better results.

  • NCillustrator

    You lost me at… “Select the line art and then Object>Compound Path>Release.” The only option open was “make.” What may I be doing wrong? Are you working in Illustrator CS3?

  • NCillustrator

    I think I figured it out. Forgot to “expand” on the first go round using the pathfinder tool. “Release” is for a compound path, not just a compound shape. Right?

  • Ryan

    very nice post thanks a lot.

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  • http://twitter.com/cpcbd Clipping Path Center

    Great posting ! Thanks for sharing !

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  • http://www.anekakita.com Anekakita

    Excellent article..nice tips!!Thanks for sharing.Keep it!!

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  • Mak Arshish 011

    I use photoshope to draw my characters with pen tool n perhaps illustrator too
    but not like you. so thanks to sharing .

  • Upcoming Movie

    this is very good sketch

  • iPod iPhone Jailbreak

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  • Anonymous

    you just told me all i wanted to know. thanks, really.

  • Dila

    Nice! I will put this guides to use inmediatly, thank you very much!
    Diego

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    you just saved me a bunch of time in having to figure this out on my own. Thank you!

  • Justin Bieber

    nice job for the vector

  • Michael Jackson

    nice.. thank you sir

  • http://eoghandoestheworld.blogspot.com/ EoghanDoesTheWorld

    This is one of my favorite ways to do illustrations. I’m working a film project where we want to animate a portion of the film with outlined characters. The look I am going for is a motion of outline vectors. Live Trace can’t produce the feel I’m going for. Any suggestions on an effective way to animate outlines.(drawn from frames of a digital recording)

  • My iPhone Jailbreak

    very cool sketch….we love it.,.,

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Wallis/826439692 John Wallis

    I like the way you presented this. Thanks for sharing. (Awesome artwork by the way).

  • http://www.illustratedbykarenjones.com/ Karen Jones

    Very helpful. I’d like to point out one thing.

    You suggested stitching the image together (if it’s larger than your scanner’s bed) by putting them in layers and moving and rotating them around until they’re right. That can be quite time consuming.

    Have you tried the Panorama feature in Photoshop Elements? I bought Photoshop Elements 6.0 (deliberately an old version because I could get it for only $10, but I’m sure the latest version has it to). Anyhow, this feature is really meant to work for photo panoramas, but it works great for stitching several scanned pieces of one piece of art into one whole. It will automatically position and rotate the pieces until they fit perfectly. After it’s come up with your panorama, just flatten it and you have the whole sketch in one image. It’s entirely the only reason I bought Elements.

  • http://cool-wrist-watch.com Michael Philippe

    good illustration.

  • http://www.darkdesigngraphics.co.uk Alasdair

    Brilliant Tutorial! I commented on your other one called Comic Book Style Graphic Design, which I think goes hand in hand with this. Really useful thanks for the tips. Hopefully when I get a bit better I will start putting some tutorials up online. My favourite method of Illustration is using Cross-Hatching so I am trying to come up with a good method to colour up cross-hatched drawings with Illustrator or photoshop. Think my first one will be about how to colour up a cross-hatched drawing using illustrator, then photoshop… Need to figure how to do it my self first :P

  • dizi izle

    this is awesome!

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    Using Simple tools but good looking design. Outstanding. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sukhkamal5

    Thanks so much

  • http://www.azcok.net online film izle

    Nice job Bill, ist dieses Tutorial groß. Und Dave ist sicher ein talentierter Künstler!

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I like this work very much, aspecially sketches of gnome and demon, I like drowing with pencil very much :), Nevermind. Hey, William B., how are you doing that your digital inking using vector lines is so precise and accurate? When I was trying to turn a skatch into a vector illustration I had a lot of problems with precision of vector lines, being honest i had such big problems that i thought it’s impossible to make a vector illustration from skatch using only pen tool. Is this the only method of digital inking or are there some easier ways to do it? If no, than how the hell can I be as precise as you? I hope that you will answer. Sorry for my english :).
    Cheers

  • http://twitter.com/N_ckH_ds_n Nick Hudson

    Been looking around for sketch to vector tutorials, none that I’ve seen was nearly as detailed and as helpful as this.

    Question: I’m turning a portrait I sketched into a vector illustration — do you think using shape tools (i.e. circle for basic shape of the head) in tandem with the pen tool (for more difficult shapes) is a good idea?

  • http://twitter.com/N_ckH_ds_n Nick Hudson

    Nevermind, I answered my own question – yes. It’s awesome to be able to apply basic drawing principles when doing the vector work in illustrator.

  • http://www.orjinkrem.net orjin krem

    I think I figured it out. Forgot to “expand” on the first go round using the pathfinder tool. “Release” is for a compound path, not just a compound shape. Right?

  • Anonymous
  • http://www.orjinkrem.net orjin krem

    Hello, How are you? I would like to build words that make sense on the subject. I do not know where to start, but the subject. Although there are more members in your comments clear. will be easier for us. Best Regards…

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  • Moliva

    This is quite a generous tute! Very thorough.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/rahul.s.narayanan Rahul Salim Narayanan

    Awesome! I definitely havta try this out. ^^ Thanks! :D

  • Taylor Smith

    Thank you so much for creating this tutorial!!!

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  • Angela Monteiro

    Love this tutorial…very good! luv to you : )

  • http://twitter.com/seslivesohbet Ömer Konat

    very good… Thanks you very much !

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    awesome…thanks u

  • Anonymous

    how you make thicken line in each intersection? :D

  • http://twitter.com/image2vector image2vector.net

    Thank you very much! Really useful…

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  • Liam Reddington

    I don’t understand how you can draw the outside line, then do the inner line with such precision. Whenever I try this the width varies far too much. Would it be quicker to just draw it as one line, then go back and add the other details later as separate shapes? (I’m fairly basic with Illustrator at the moment)

    Beautiful illustration, by the way. :)

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  • Anonymous

    The best tutorial ever on going from drawing to vectors.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chezlio Lionel Aimerie

    Splendid. Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing the knowledge.

  • http://www.facebook.com/v.chernyaeva Victoria Chernyaeva

    Thank you! It’s very useful and interesting!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pedroperez.dg Pedro Pèrez

    now, this is very useful. thanks.

  • mary

    as an illustrator newbie and someone who wants to draw well, this tutorial was very helpful. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/klown6250 Anthony Dwight Williams

    Very helpful, very informative, and pretty easy to follow too! Thanks man!

  • ashraf

    great post. I like artwork design. thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sam.middleton.100 Sam Middleton

    I learned more in this tutorial than an entire semester of community college image studio.

  • giorgio

    Amazing tutorial. Thank you.

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    Superb post and its really amazing..
    Thanks to share..

  • sck

    6 years later and this tutorial is still great, thanks…love your work!

    • Marissa Mele

      You are so welcome! :)

  • C. Singleton

    The only thing better than your tutorial is your attitude. I need not only to have my 100 questions about digital art answered… I need it to come from artists with the ability to teach with profound respect for art. When I started my art career the only Adobe were bricks, and houses. I suspect that is why so many great artists were starving, or dead. I must say one of the greatest artists of all time chose to take the long way around… Michelangelo. Guess if he had a MAC and Photoshop he could have done things simpler, and faster…. So thank you for realizing Art is worth taking the time.

    • Marissa Mele

      Thanks so much, C. Singleton! :)

  • Leslie Dean Brown

    Thanks very much for sharing! I really like the idea of using different weights to lines in foreground and background, and also thickening lines at intersections. :)

  • Mark Anthony Bulaon

    fucking cool bro….

  • moynul

    Wow! Very nice! Looking great.

  • http://squid-impact.fr/ Stéphane Torregrosa

    Absolutly great !!!

  • Prateek Dwivedi

    Waoo…After reading this article, I learned so many thing. But best among all was how to do this work with fun. In this you you were not only trying to teach us your ways but also motivating us side by side.
    Thank You so much…It was a treat it..

  • Alisha

    This was such a helpful and inspiring tutorial. Very well done. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Andrew Kwame Anim

    Great stuff….am greatly inspired from having read your article….