Monday, March 31, 2014

Inking with Illustrator

Today I'm back with the lesson paper doll!  Sometimes I need to take a break from a project in order to feel enthusiastic about it again.  I think the elements of art lessons were a nice way to remind myself of the how's and why's of art...and now I'm ready to get back into making!

We're going to use the lesson doll template and Illustrator CS4.  This lesson will work with most versions of Illustrator.  I have the newest version, but I'm purposely using an older one.  I want these lessons to reach the largest group of people possible, and not everyone will have the most current software. Also, if it works in the earlier versions, it'll most likely work in the newer ones, too.

To do this lesson, I strongly suggest a digitizer (like a Wacom tablet).  I draw in Illustrator with the stylus & tablet combination.  Get out your sketch, get it scanned (if it's on paper), and fire up the ol' computer!

Place your sketch on one layer, lock it, and create a layer above it.  This is the layer we'll draw on.

I'm going to use the paintbrush tool and one of the brush presets.  You can fully customize your brush by clicking on the settings option (see above) and double clicking on the selected brush.  It brings you to the calligraphic brush options.  We're going to keep it simple for this lesson and use a preset.

And it's as easy as tracing over your sketch! What's great about this method is that you can go in and edit or tweak each line as needed.  These are all lines with a brush applied. That's it! 

I decided that the default lines were a little thick.  I then played around with the settings & drew all of the outlines.  These lines are fairly rough.  I can go in and adjust them at this point.  The image above show all of the points and lines that make up my outlines.

Here's the adjusted and enlarged drawing.  Some of the strokes are a little weird.  It definitely has a hand-drawn look that I like as well as lossless scalability.  I wouldn't color this in Illustrator -- it would be tough the close all of the shapes.  I think this will work best in another program for coloring.  In fact, I plan on coloring this on my phone!

This was a quick overview of the paintbrush tool.  There are some amazing inking tutorials out there that are much more in-depth, like this one on deviantArt.  I plan on experimenting with this more myself.

There will be a doll on Wednesday & Friday.  And, hopefully, a new lesson next Monday!

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