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Need some pointers please

Discussion in 'Illustration Forum:' started by CYoung, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. CYoung

    CYoung Member


    I'm trying to get a bit more experience with Illustrator, usually I use it for logos etc. But I don't have a graphics tablet (yet) so I'm using a mouse to create things which is a little bit harder.

    Quite random, but I chose a frog to start drawing and I've got to a point where I'm happy with the main torso and head but no matter what I try when I draw the legs and arms it looks unrealistic due to the lines being drawn by a mouse. As you can see the drawing so far isn't that cartoon-like and I'd like to keep it that way really.

    I've looked at other pictures and tried to re-create that sort of thing in mine, but it may not be working due to the fact I'm drawing in a different style to them??? I don't know, let me know your thoughts.



  2. tbradley3003

    tbradley3003 New Member

    Use the pen tool, click a point then without releasing the mouse button drag the mouse, you'll see a curve forming and two control levers appearing. Roughly draw your shape then with the Direct Selection tool (white pointer) you can go back, individually select the points then the levers and tweak them until you are happy with the overall shape. This method is also great for tracing over images. Just put image where frog leg looks right on a templated layer and trace over the outline with the pen method. Hope you get a frog that you are happy with at the end.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  3. CYoung

    CYoung Member

    Thanks bradley - I'm fairly ok at using the pen tool and have tried to use it here, but I'll try again using the help you gave.

    I'm sure I will soon be looking at one cool frog lol :icon_thumbup:
  4. NeedForBleed

    NeedForBleed Member

    The pen tool is marvelous, the control levers which bradley talks about can be adjusted by holding the alt key, then clicking on its point. This is good for controlling the length of a curve and allows for more control.

    I think the grid (view/show grid) whilst using smart guides can also help a great deal when attempting to get smooth shapes, you can even snap to the grid so your pen tool hits bang on.

    Don't forget you can change the stroke of the pen too, so you might get a preferred look by experimenting with this. If you go to window/brushes, there's a bunch of options to play with.

    I'm trying not to sound like an Adobe salesman here (I'm not btw).:icon_tongue_smilie:
  5. Kreatif

    Kreatif Member

  6. Soprano

    Soprano Member

    This is what I do, probably cheating because I'm tracing (my own) drawing but it's so much easier for me than drawing freehand.

    Also have to agree with the pen tool, give it a go! I was useless at using it but I found this video tutorial which really helped, after watching this tutorial, I done the of my daughter:

    Brooke by ~Lee-AnnD on deviantART

    I would use a fill rather than stroke, though, I find the "wobblyness" of the lines make an image alot more illustration-ist (I'm sure I'm making words up) than with a clean straight line - but then I guess it depends what you're going for!

    Oh, here's the tutorial link I used -

    YouTube - Adobe Illustrator Tutorial! ::The Pen Tool::
  7. 10thWay

    10thWay Member

    The pen tool is the most powerful tool in Illustrator and (although I do have a tablet) it's one of those tools that I actually prefer to operate via the mouse.
    Also, tracing your own design is not cheating. You only cheat when you use other people's materials without authorization.
  8. Soprano

    Soprano Member

    Oh, that's just downright theft really lol. I just lways feel I should be able to draw these things directly onto illustrator freely, rather than having to sketch it out, scan it, then trce around it. I think I only really justify it as being "okay" becuse my sketches aren't always perfect (actually, are never perfect!) but you can make everything look perfectly proportioned etc on illustrator after tracing!
  9. Lea

    Lea New Member

    You certainly shouldn't feel like you are cheating. As an artist of any sort, if it's created by you, the technique getting there doesn't change the fact you created it... and from scratch too :icon_wink:
  10. Neil65

    Neil65 New Member

    I sketch a lot of ideas and work over the scan in illustrator to tighten it up. Works every time. Initial sketching gives you that freedom to create the look. You could also try sketching it by hand and inking it up by hand too, then drop the cleaned up scan into illustrator and use live trace to give you the vector image.
  11. Ian Ellery

    Ian Ellery Member

    Whatever method you choose I strongly advise getting hold of a graphics tablet. There's no going back once you do. Once you have a tablet you'll be able to use the pressure sensitive options in Illustrator. I use the Paintbrush tool and the Blob pen the most. Once you are used to them it's like drawing with a dip pen.

    The Wacom ranges start off very cheaply on Amazon with the Bamboo at £44. There are also loads of second hand ones available on Amazon too. I found this Wacom Bamboo One for just £21!

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