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Vector Drawing From the Masters

Bauhaus vector drawingThis is some vector practice, inspired by the Bauhaus artist, Anni Albers. A long time ago I took this course called “Drawing from the Masters.” It involved visiting area museums and attempting to copy paintings, and sketch statues. It was very useful, and I thought about bringing that approach into the present by taking this wonderfully simple bauhaus style doodle and converting it to vectors. As usually, wrestling with those bezier curves is always harder than it looks.

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iPad Abstraction with Procreate

Abstraction image made with Procreate and iDraw iPad apps.
Abstraction image made with Procreate and iDraw iPad apps.
This was created using both the Procreate and the iDraw apps. I love painting in procreate; the range of brushes and the ability to blend things very easy makes it one those relaxing zen kind of activities. The only thing I ever found missing from the app is the ability to make hard-edged shapes. No surprise there, as it is a pixel based app. iDraw, on the other hand is vector based, so you can create whatever shape you want, copy it to the clipboard and import it as a layer in procreate. You then set the layer to “alpha,” which locks in all of your pixels, and the nice smooth lines are preserved.

Bahamian Lizard

lizard

This is a vectorized lizard drawing based on a photo I took in the Bahamas. The only thing special about this is that I quickly painted a background using the layers app on my iphone, and added it to the sketch. I like the way it roughens up the finished product.

Gradient Mesh Cherries

Cherries made using the mesh gradient tool in illustrator.

This is an exercise I did to learn to use the gradient mesh tool in illustrator. It was kind of self indulgent really, as it doesn’t do a thing to advance my drawing skills. It’s just a matter of tracing some shapes from a photo and then mapping them out with gradient meshes. The end result is kind of fun but not really my style – too air-brush-y for me. But there’s something really fun about doing it. Here’s a screen shot of what the “mesh” looks like:

Gradient Mesh Cherries Screenshot

It takes a bit of practice to get the gradients down the way you want them but I think it’s worth it to learn. This is a powerful tool in illustrator and some use it to make super photo-realistic art.

Here is my original photo. It’s one of my favorites, taken in 2010 at home using a lightbox:

A photo of cherries taken with a lightbox.

Candy Corn Illustration

Candy Corn Vector Illustration

Just a simple illustration of some candy corn, done more for practice than anything else. I’m trying to concentrate on 2 things these days: Getting better at illustrator, and finishing projects. I’m starting to understand that the quality of line is the single most important thing in vector graphics and the only way to acheive that is by practice. Also the overall palette is something that requires a lot of planning and strategy. Just using the eyedropper tools to randomly pick colors from the reference photo is not going to cut it.

I think this would look cute as a note card or a tee-shirt eventually, when the season is right.

Yellow Kimono

vectorized kimono

This illustration is a vectorized kimono, taken from a photo of a kimono from Japan I’ve had since childhood. Basically I was just trying to work on my illustrator skills, trying to get better with the pen tool. I also used the posterize feature in photoshop until I got the shading I wanted. A simple drawing and yet it seems kind of ghostly the way it hangs there, empty.

Bonsai from the National Arboretum

Vectorized Bonsai Drawing

This illustration is based on a photo taken at the National Arboretum in 2007. It’s interesting, I went there yesterday and there was that same tree. It seemed like it was exactly the same. And yet it is alive and growing like any other tree. The National Arboretum has quite an amazing bonsai collection in a really beautiful setting. And as far as an artistic subject, these tiny trees just lend themselves to creating something wonderful.