Vector Illustration Process- Jumping Bear

I thought I’d make an illustration walk through since I missed a few weeks of posting. This illustration was completely created in Illustrator CS4. Rather than use a shape building approach, I decided to work organically. The image below shows my steps along with the basic layers I used (although I switched them around and added a few for the final image).

Step 1– sketch using a basic calligraphy brush. I use a Wacom tablet so I had pressure sensitivity activated in the brush settings dialogue box

Step 2– Lock the sketch layer and “ink” with black—adjusting details as I go.

Step 3– With the pencil tool (no stroke, black fill) I began “spotting blacks”. In comics, this esoteric term refers to large inked areas that either a) create shadows and/or b) create dramatic effects or help storytelling. I grayed the inks out to make the “spots” more visible.
Tip:To make sure the pencil tool fills a shape when you release the mouse button or lift your Wacom pen, double click the pencil tool icon in the toolbar and check the box that says “fill new pencil strokes”.

Step 4-On a new layer below the inks, create flat colored areas. You can use the pen tool or the pencil tool.

Step5– Shading/Highlights-on a new layer above the color flats draw shadow shapes (in black, the purple is just for clarity when creating the shaded areas). Select all of the objects on the shading layer. Set the blending mode (under Opacity pulldown or in the Transparency menu) to multiply and lower the transparency to 20-30 percent or so. Repeat on a “highlights” layer using white shapes and using the “Screen” or “Overlay” blending modes.

Step 6-Texture—import texture(s) onto a separate layer. Make copies of the color flatted regions that will be textured and place (in this case the jump suit). Select the texture and the path and create a clipping mask (Mac = Command+7, PC=Control+7). Set blending mode to Multiply and lower the opacity as needed.

Step 7– Create a background to suit your illustration.

This took about 90 minutes or so, start to finish. This illustration has some definite weak spots, but the point was a walk-through. If I was going to create this for use, I would refine the initial sketch more and fix the draftsmanship issues that plague this piece.

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One Response to “Vector Illustration Process- Jumping Bear”

  1. kalanbaird Says:

    Nice to see you back on the wagon 🙂

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