16 March 2009 @ 9:28My Adobe Illustrator drawing technique
Here is the technique I use to turn a drawing with a bunch of paths into an object with interlocking shapes, none of which are overlapping. I’m also a lover of symmetry, so you’ll see that I draw one half of the picture and then reflect/mirror it to complete the image.
To anyone fairly new to Illustrator, the thought of drawing a complex shape with multiple colors may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are the steps I take to go from low quality scan, to lines, to shapes.
1. Determine if your drawing is symmetrical in any way — vertically or horizontally — and mark the center with a grid line.
2. Lock the background image if you are using an image to trace.
3. Anytime the drawing should have some parallel lines, use strokes of the appropriate weight to insure that the lines remain parallel.
4. Once one side of the drawing is complete, select all and reflect the drawing on the center line. Wherever two points need to be connected in the center, select the two points, Average, and Join.
5. If thick strokes were used for parallel lines, you can select those strokes, and outline them (also “Add to shape area” if necessary).
6. Instead of redrawing a path for your text, try to use a copy of an already existing path that is the shape you need.
7. If you need to draw radial lines, draw one, rotate a copy, and then “Transform Again” until you have enough iterations.
Now, for the fun part:
8. Once drawing is complete and composed of only lines, check to make sure that there are not any gaps between the ends of the paths.
9. Select all the paths, “Outline Stroke”, “Add to shape area” and expand. (Note that this step won’t expand if all the paths are in one group. Just ungroup and click Expand)
10. Now, using the Direct selection tool (white arrow), select only one point in the very outer edge of the drawing, and click Delete twice. This removes the outer path of the compound path, and makes it look as though the drawing was inverted.
11. Now click on the object with the Selection tool (black arrow) to select the entire shape and click Divide. This breaks the compound path into separate shapes.
12. Each shape can now be colored and styled individually.
Watch the video below to see the process from start to finish.