Thursday, April 11, 2013

The illustration process.

Lately I've had a lot of opportunity to draw and illustrate. I've never felt very confident about my drawing, so it has been a step of faith to explore this area of creativity in my work.I thought you might be interested in seeing the process of how I get from the sketch to the final product.

When it comes to drawing people, I usually need a photo or some other model. Here, I found a photo of a woman in a similar pose from a photo shoot we did a few years ago. This helps me to know how the arms and legs should be bent, and give me a guide for proportions. However, you'll notice she looks pretty different otherwise. That's when I get to exercise creative license.

After the sketch is done, I trace it onto tracing paper with a Micron pen - this gives me a more defined line to work with when I bring it into the computer.

I use the traced image and scan it into the computer, increasing contrast so that the lines are opaque and clean.
Once the image is in the computer, I bring the file into Adobe Illustrator and use the "Image Trace" tool to convert it into vector lines. This allows me to easily make adjustments and clean up any errors in my tracing.

Once I'm satisfied, I start to add color and texture. For this particular illustration, I added a denim texture to her pants with a gradient fill, to make them look more realistic and add some interest. I also added a little bit of feathered color to her face so she looks rosy and happy. I chose the colors of her clothes and shoes carefully, communicating that she is trendy and conscious of student culture.

This piece was used as a printed insert for all the receipts that go out to our donors. So I added the text that was written for the piece, and a textured blue background to make the drawing stand out.

Here's the final product!