Assignment 4: Intro to Adobe Illustrator
For assignment 4, you will learn the basics of illustrator through two tracing projects. Place your original photos into Illustrator (by going to File > Place) and then trace on top. It’s also a good idea to put your original photo on a separate layer from your artwork, so you can turn it on and off to check your progress.
For the first tracing, you will find a photo of a flower and use the pen tool and focus on creating shapes such as petals, leaves and stems. The pen tool is the most important tool to use in Illustrator. Then, you will use the gradient mesh tool to create realistic shading. The gradient mesh tool is not for everyone, some of you may find it frustrating as a fair warning. But I am only showing you the tools, what you choose to use for your final projects is up to you.
The second tracing should be easier and you get to use a photo of your choice. It could be a simple subject like an animal or fruit, or you can trace someone else’s artwork from theispot.com. For this tracing, the gradient mesh is optional, but I do want to see evidence that “basic” gradients were used by using the gradient palette (if gradients will not work with your composition, be sure to know how to create a simple gradient in Illustrator). This tracing can be abstracted, even to the point where you are not tracing at all if you feel confident enough.
Study this file to get an idea of how to create a realistic flower in Adobe Illustrator.
Here are two tutorials focusing on the gradient mesh tool:
Basic tools to know in Adobe Illustrator
- move tool (black arrow): selects OBJECTS
- direct selection tool (white arrow): selects POINTS and LINES
- pen tool: connect the dots to create shapes, click and hold to create curves
- convert anchor point tool (found under the pen tool): allows you to independently move the “handle bars” on curves
- rectangle/ellipse tool: make rectangles and circles. HOLD SHIFT to make perfect squares and circles.
- brush/pencil: create freehand vector lines
- mesh tool: create mesh points for realistic shading
- color palette: choose and change your colors
- smooth tool: trace over pre-existing lines to “smooth” them out; double click this tool for options
- edit -> edit colors -> adjust color balance – especially when using the mesh tool, this will shift colors to your specifications