Last night I was putting together some stuff for my Sketchbook Project, which I’m scrambling to finish before the January 31st deadline.This is a tough project for me, because generally I don’t sketch out my illustrations anymore. I tend to work from photo reference, and lately, I’ve been drawing completely from scratch in Illustrator.
Luckily I’m a packrat who tends to save multiple versions of my vectors as I work. I went back through some of my illustrations from this year and found tons of examples of my in-progress vectors. So, I decided to dedicate my sketchbook to vectors this year
I also decided it’d be fun to show a couple of examples of my on-screen workflow. Here is my process when working from scratch:
- I’ll create a rough sketch using the pencil tool, reworking shapes until I’ve got a decent starting point
- Then I’ll begin tracing over the initial sketch, refining as I work
- Once my main lines are down, I’ll go in and start adding details like clothing, hair, props, etc
- Now I decide on a line thickness. I usually go with 1.5 to 2 points depending how detailed the illustration is
- Once all the lines are done, I’ll zoom in and make sure that all of the ends all line up with no gaps or overlaps
- I’ll expand all the strokes and merge them
- From here things go super fast. I’ll draw in colored fills underneath the lines
- Once the fills are in place I’ll add in shading and highlights
- I’ll draw in a background, and voila, all done
This is a goofy little portrait I did of my friend Lobo. The starting sketch is a bit more refined than I usually use and my final drawing is very close to the original.
Here’s an example of a very, very rough initial sketch. I was mostly trying to get the proportions and pose nailed down before drawing. I added a lot more detail after drawing the main outlines of her body.
In this example, I made a lot of changes from the initial sketch as I was working. I ended up moving characters around, changing poses, and adjusting the perspective. I also included a peek at the color fill layer.