Pens, Brushes and Portraits

In week seven we were tasked with making a vector portrait of ourselves. When it comes to creating complex shapes in Adobe Illustrator, you will need to get familiar with your Pen Tool and your Direct Selection Tool. Both located in your Tool bar on the left hand side of your document, or if you do not see your Tools just go to “Windows” in you Drop Down Menu and you will find it in there.Illustrator_20Create a new document by clicking “Command N“on your keyboard or by going up to “File” and selecting “New” in your Drop Down Menu.Illustrator_20The first thing that we should do when working on a project is rename our layers. so double click on Layer 1 and rename it to background. Illustrator_21Select your Pen Tool (P) on the left, and right away you should be aware of the options provided for you. Click on the Fill Color and select transparent or “/” on your keyboard. Select black for your Stroke Color and change your stroke wight to 2 points (pt). Make sure your Veritable Width Profile is set to uniform and that your Opacity is at 100%.Illustrator_22BWhen using the Pen Tool (P) you can place anchor points by clicking in your document. Consecutively clicking will make straight lines from point to point until you close the shape off by clicking on your first anchor point again to create a closed shape or if you select another tool like the Select Tool (V) to create an open ended shape. If you click and drag your mouse before letting go and creating another point you will create a handle for that anchor point. This means that the line between this point and the next one will be curved and this handle allows you to adjust that curve. Any following anchor point you create can ether have a pointed edge with a single click of the Pen Tool or it can be curved if you clock and drag handles out.Illustrator_22CWhile the Select Tool (V) can be used to move your shapes around, the Direct Selection Tool (A) can be used to edit your shapes after they are already done. You can ether move the anchor points themselves around or the actual handles of each anchor points (if it is a curved line) by clicking on that anchor point to make it’s handles visible.Illustrator_23 When creating my vector portrait i used the Pen tool in combination with the Direct Select tool to create the outline of my head. I removed the stroke and filled it with a skin tone.Illustrator_24There are two different Brush Tools that you should be aware of in Illustrator:

  1. The Blob Brush Tool (Shift + B) witch will create shapes out of the colors you paint. As soon as you let go of the brush, strokes of the same color will merge into one object.Illustrator_26This is good to create complex shapes quickly that we can then go back and add detail to. A great example is the base for the hair and beard that we can then go into and fine tune with the next Tool.Illustrator_25If i want I want to join Object>Path>Join. “Command + J”
  2. The Paintbrush Tool (B) is better for doing the eyebrows and individual strands of hair because it creates separate paths for each line that you draw, witch will then have a stroke applied to it. You can pick different strokes to applied to your paths to give them a texture. We can open up existing brushes by going to your Brush Pallets tab and clicking on the Brushes Library Menu on the bottom left of your Brush Pallets tab. You can ether select from preexisting libraries or at the very bottom you can click on Other Library to open up a Brush Library you have saved to your computer. But if you don’t have any useful preset brushes available you can always create our own brushes by selecting the Paintbrush Tool (B) and drawing a straight line.Illustrator_27.pngThen we can zoom (Command + =) in to get a better look at your stroke. Then you can change the properties of your stroke by selecting the Width Tool (Shift + W). Then simply click somewhere along the path of your stroke to change the thickness and give it a slight curve. And put the edges together to give your brush a point.Illustrator_28Once you have a shape that you’d like to use, go to your Brush Pallets tab on the right and open up the little Fly Out Menu on the top right hand corner of the Brush Pallets tab to click on New brush. When the New Brush window pops up, selecting Scatter Brush will create pattern brushes since it will paint multiple shapes per stroke, selecting the Bristle Brush will create a brush that mimics a real paint brush, but if you want to one shape to extend from the beginning to the end of your stroke like hair, then select Art Brush and click “OK” to go to yet another pop up window.Illustrator_29After selecting Art Brush and pressing “OK,” we will see an Art Brush Options window pop up. In here you can fine tune your brush options but for a strand of hair we just want to change the Method under Colorize to Hue Shift and make sure that we give our brush a name before clicking “OK” to save it.Illustrator_30Now you can always find your new brush in your Brush Pallets and this is good for doing individual strands of hair for more detail, bushy eyebrows, and some hair highlights.Illustrator_31
    Brushes will only stay in your Brush Pallet as long as Adobe Illustrator is open or until you delete them. To use it again in future documents you can save your brushes by selecting the brush you would like to save in your Brush Pallets tab and clicking on the Brushes Library Menu on the bottom left of your Brush Pallets tab. At the very top of your Brush Library Menu is your Save Brushes button.

Then I added a few more facial features with my Pen Tool (P) like the eyes, noes and mouth. And also using the pen tool I gave the image some depth by drawing some highlights and shadows to end up with the finished image. And clean up any stray paths by going up to Object> Path and clicking on Clean Up in the Drop Down Menu.Vector_PortraitThough the great thing about Vectors is once you’ve drawn them, you can edit and change things like colors and sizes very easily. Using simple color harmony options, I made an alternate color scheme for my picture.Atl_Vector_Portrait copy

Online Illustrator Brush Resource: brusheasy http://www.vecteezy.com/

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