Monday, August 18, 2014

From Sketch to Vector, Part 3

Big news!  I got a new computer!  I finally went and bought a Microsoft Surface Pro 3.  It's amazing...and I have no idea how to use it.  My history with computers is complex.  My first computer was an entry-level Mac desktop in the mid '90s.  I really just used it to type up papers for school.  Then I got a shiny PC (Windows 98! Woo hoo!) when I went to college.  I was a PC kind of girl til I decided to study graphic design.  Then I got a Mac - more than 5 years ago.  It's ok, but old and the Surface seems like the way to go.  No more Wacom tablet - I can draw directly on the screen! Once I figure out how to use it, I'll turn it into an amazing art-making machine.

Til then, I'll be working on both my Mac and Surface.  It takes time to learn new tech!

Today we'll continue making the toddler paper doll.  You can see part 1 here and part 2 here.  This is the lesson where the doll starts to get pretty!

I want this toddler doll to "fit" with the fashion dolls.  It needs to have 1) similar skin tones 2) an appropriate size and 3) have similar line widths, base, and tabs.  None of those are necessary - this could easily be a stand-alone doll - but these are the parameters I set for this project.

To continue this doll, I'll open a fashion doll.  Doesn't really matter which one.  I kind of have an idea of making these toddler dolls into matching kids for all of the fashion dolls, beginning with the very first one.  I like the idea of big sister-little sister or mother-daughter sets (maybe even brothers or father-son later on....) and that's just one idea I'm kicking around.

Here is the toddler with the fashion doll.  Right off I can see that I need to change the toddler's proportions to match the fashion doll.  There's a handy chart here that shows a progression of human proportions.  The chart shows a 3 year old with a height just under the waist level of an adult.  I also know from my own experience that my not-quite 3 year old comes up to around my waist.  So I'll adjust this doll accordingly.

Using the select tool (black arrow), draw a box around the entire doll.  You can either drag the box and change the proportions or use the scale option (Object > Transform > Scale).  I like to drag mine. Hold Shift while dragging to keep your scaling proportional.

This feels about right.  Now I need to create a base and stand that suit the toddler doll.  I like having slits next to the feet for shoes.  It adds more variety to outfits & increases playability.  Play is so important to me - these should be fun (and functional) toys

Now that I have the proportions adjusted, I take the toddler doll back into my working file.  I also brought a copy of the Bridget doll so that I can use the base & stand to craft a new one for the toddler doll.  I like to have a "working" file where I store all of my ideas & drafts for a project.

I'm going to use elements and colors that I already have, but if you want, you can make all of these elements from scratch.  My base is just a shape that I made & adjusted.

Here's the base.  I took the fashion doll base and squished it!  I want the shoes to be a single piece with two tabs and created slits to accommodate that.  It looks ok.  I think the arms and waist/legs have enough room for tabs and the base should be relatively stable.

Next up, a basic color scheme.  Remember, this is still my working copy.  I'm ironing out any problems with this draft.  I want to add color and shadows in such a way that they can be easily manipulated to create several different iterations.  Since these toddler dolls are going to match the fashion dolls, coloring them is as easy as using the eyedropper tool.  I select the part of the toddler I want to color, press I on my keyboard to select the eyedropper tool (or select it from your toolbar), and click on the section of the fashion doll that I want to replicate.

And the colors are magically added!  The nice thing about the eyedropper tool is that it replicates both the color and the appearance.  My toddler now has the same colors and line widths as the fashion doll. 

I made a couple of minor changes at this stage.  First, I added tabs to the diaper so that it looks like a cloth diaper. I chose a cloth diaper simply for its versatility - this way, I can have an endless variety of patterns & colors instead of a basic, white diaper.  It's just more fun this way!  Secondly, I didn't want the strong, dark black eyes that the fashion doll has.  Right now, the toddler has a dark brown eye.  I may change that to a dark grey or something else as I progress.

The last step for today are the shadows.  Like everything else, there are several ways to do it.  I like using the eraser tool and subtracting unnecessary points from my final shape.

First, select and copy your shape.  With your shape still selected, go and choose the eraser tool from the toolbar.  It's important to keep the shape selected - if it isn't, then the eraser will erase anything it comes it touch with.  When the shape is selected, it confines the eraser to just the selection.  Use the [ and ] keys to adjust the size of the eraser and just erase!

The new shadow shape.  Obviously this works best with a stylus & tablet, but it can be done with a mouse, too.  Change the shadow to an appropriate color and that's it!

There are the shadows.  My toddler looks a little pudgy and adorable! I like to keep the shadows subtle and organic.  The eraser tool really helps with that.

So that's it for today!  This doll still needs some hair and clothing.

As for the blog changes I mentioned last week, I'm thinking about a couple of things.  My first option is to drop the Kawaii Kids and just have lessons & dolls on Fridays.  The second option I'm toying with is rotating lessons & Kawaii dolls.  One Monday would be a lesson, the following Monday a doll, etc.  The tutorials take a lot of work but are so fun to write that I hesitate to drop those completely.  And the Kawaii dolls are popular, so I'm not sure if I want to let those go completely either....  Thoughts are always welcome!



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