Illustrating in Illustrator Better Faster, The Happy Frog

– taterboy | July 27th, 2009

Filed under: Digital Art, Illustrator, Tutorials

The Happy Frog Illustrator Tutorial Video (HD)

Here is my first screen cast with an introduction to illustrating in Illustrator. Included are some very important tips in creating great illustrations in less time as well as an overview of the illustration process. We will create a Happy Frog character almost completely using the ellipse tool.

There are 5 rules to Illustrating in Illustrator, Better Faster. They are mentioned in more detail here, including four reasons for cleaning up strokes in your final artwork.

1. No Strokes!
A. strokes on centered on the pixel grid, so when the stroke is rasterized, anti-aliasing causes the stroke to look fuzzy. This may not occur if your stroke weights are all even numbers, but that is limiting.

B. Strokes do not transfer to other applications perfectly. Ether because of the pixel grid or applications like Flash handle paths differently. I have exported much vector artwork to Flash only to see that half my strokes missing.

C. Strokes cut into the integrity of your shapes. Half the stroke pushes into the shape while the other half expands the shape. You can only add so much stroke to a font, before it starts losing shape fidelity.

D. Miters can creep up especially on text. Converting strokes to full shapes allows you to clean up any miters.

2. Never Draw the Same Path Twice.
When adding details we may trace over paths that were previously drawn. Illustrator provides many tools that should allow us to use existing paths which is more efficient.

3. Draw Paths, Don’t Tweak.
An exception to the previous rule is when you have a line you do not like, don’t tweak it, most of the time it is faster to delete and redraw it. Even if you are not that fast with the drawing tools, with practice you will get there. What better way to practice then by forcing yourself to draw more paths.

It is OK to tweak a curve here and there, that is what the handlebars are for, but not whole paths. If you use the pencil tool or brush tool, these tend to add extra nodes to paths. tweaking them can be a nightmare. Use the Pen tool for clean paths.

4. Illustrate Clean & Not Destructive.
When dividing paths, keep as many shapes intact incase you decide to edit them later. use a copy of a shape to divide from, not the original. If an edit is needed, it is easier to tweak one shape then two or more shapes or paths.

5. Use Keyboard Shortcuts & Actions Where possible.
As soon as you make new actions, save them.

UPDATE:

New video posted, fixed some typos.

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