ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR SKETCH TO VECTOR
This is the first of our Drawing for Illustrator series using a tablet to start from the initial sketch before we bring it over into Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator from Sketch will start from a traced stock image. This will be for those who just opened up their tablet and are looking to gain a little more practice getting down your lines. We are just kicking off this series and new playlist so we are starting from square one as we ramp up into more freehand sketching and drawing tutorials.
There is an awkward blind contour feeling with the non-display tablets. The process we are showing you will work for tracing as well as when we move away from tracing to draw from a reference. The goal is to get more confidence with where you cursor is and how it applies to getting your lines down.
Using a photo reference and pulling away from it as we adjust the opacity down from 50%-33%-16% after each step. I use stock images as a reference or starting point and then move away from the initial image to fit what I am looking for. This will be more obvious when stock images don't match your desired look/design.
THICK TO THIN MODEL
We are starting with a thick brush as we are zoomed out and we will shrink the brush as we zoom in and get more comfortable and confident with the lines we are drawing. The thicker brush will allow you to see the initial phases as we are fully zoomed out at 100%.
Pencil Tool Options
Here are some of the Pencil Tool Options that I recommend. I will go through some of them so you can modify them depending on your drawing style.
The first slide bar is the Fidelity or Smoothing setting. This one is great for those of you who want to go fast and hate hitting Control/Command + Z (undo) all the time in other programs. This will clean up the line as you draw and will remove unnecessary anchor points.
The main 2 Options that I want to cover is the Keep Selected and Edit Selected Paths down at the bottom. This is so we can edit and join as we go. The ability to join helps a lot and allows us to get back corners that the smoothing will potentially round out. Notice the bottom and the within 0 (zero) pixels. This will remove the rewrite or auto correct which is pretty frustrating if you don't want it.
Follow the direction on your tablet for how to install the drivers and set up first. Look for their Properties or Settings. Most of the tablet settings that I can adjust have been turned off or disabled. All of the short cuts will come from the keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator not the tablet. If you have a rather large tablet that you can't reach your keyboard then I would set up your Express keys.
Once you have installed the driver, Photoshop will automatically read your tablet and convert your brushes to pressure once it recognizes your tablet pen on the tablet. There are buttons at the top control panel that you can control with pressure the opacity and flow. Any brush can be used- just click shape dynamics in the brush setting and play around with the control panel brushes. This is all personal preference.
Adding on Line Variation using Cartoon Brushes
You will have more control over the placement and width of each of your lines using the Cartoon Brushes (Download + Install). The process will be a combination of using the Brushes to get down the initial thickness and stroke width. The second step will be modifying the placement of the variation using so we can edit it later. This 2-Step Process allows for more control over your Line Variation compared to using your Tablet with Pressure.
1. The Direct Download will make it very easy to download the zipped brushes file. Simply Extract All of the contents and follow along with the rest of the video.
Open Other Library
2. In your Brushes Panel, Window - Brushes. In the Bottom Left Hand Corner you will see a Brushes Library icon that looks like books. Click on it and scroll down to Other Library. Open Brush Library from folder.
Adding Line Weight
3. Depending on your own Style or preference, I would recommend adding a little more line weight to your artwork. The mistake I see a lot of beginners make is keeping the line weight at 1pt.
4. We have 17 Brush Libraries in our folder. You can use any one of them during this tutorial. All you have to do is line up the thin edge which will be floating in space. The Thick ends will represent our values which will be merging into other areas and strokes.
Editing using the Shape Builder Tool
Shape Builder is a tool that can be used to give an alternative to the Eraser Tool while Editing. In order to use Shape Builder, you will need to Expand the Brush Layer. Select All - Expand (or Expand Appearance + Expand). I do recommend duplicating a Brushes Layer to preserve a Live Brush Layer for future edits. Once the Brushes are Expanded, Select All + click on the Shape Builder Tool. The Alt/Option key will switch the Shape Builder Tool to delete mode. Simply Click or Drag through the stray or overlapped areas to delete. Remember to keep holding down the Alt/Option. You can also Turn On/Off the Highlighting by double-clicking on the Shape Builder Tool. The flashing gets irritating.
Expand Appearance: I do recommend Expanding your Brushes Layer before using Shape Builder. This will prevent bouncing of the Brushes and Line Variation. It will also move toward an efficiency model to save time so you are not stopping and editing while you are still building.
Select your All on Brushes Layer: In order to use the Shape Builder Tool, you will need to select an Object or All Objects so the Tool knows what it should interact with. You can modify what is selected by choosing smaller areas if selecting all becomes too overwhelming.
Hold Alt/Option: When you hold down your Alt/Option Key while using the Shape Builder Tool to Delete Mode. I do recommend turning off the Highlighting when in this mode. Drag or click on any of the overlapped or stray marks to delete using the Shape Builder Tool.
How to Color in Adobe Illustrator
One of the easiest and fastest ways of filling in your color is through Live Paint. Live Paint Bucket is a part of the Shape Builder Tools which builds the shapes in the exact shape you need it. Select All. Go up to Object - Live Paint - Make. If you have a grayed out Make it simply means you didn't have anything selected. I do recommend Deselecting by clicking on your artboard before clicking on a Color Swatch. *Remember Everything is still Selected so it will Color the Full Selection if you click on a Color Swatch with everything selected. Click on the Live Paint Bucket (K) and Click to Dump Color. It will feel like the Paint Bucket in Adobe Photoshop.