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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.




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.

Le Coq du Rhone

Le Coq Du Rhone

This is probably the most detailed vector drawing I’ve done in awhile. Not exactly a masterpiece but what I see in it is that I am regaining my ability to focus on one project and finish it.

Why “Coq du Rhone?” Been drinking a lot of Cote Du Rhone wines lately and so the play on words just kind of popped into my head.

And why a rooster?

I was thinking of a story I learned a long time ago about a Chinese ink brush artist and a rooster. I will tell it here even though I am sure to butcher it somehow:

There was a master painter in the town. A wealthy man came to him and commissioned a painting of a rooster. The man said he would be back in a week to pick it up. Later in the week the man returned to see the artist’s progress. The artist said he had nothing to show him, but that he would certainly be finished at the end of the week. At the end of the week the man returned to the artist, and was perturbed to see that the artist still hadn’t begun his painting. Then the artist whipped out a piece of paper and painted an masterful image of a rooster.

But the man was outraged. “I paid good money to have you do this work and it only took you a minute to complete!”

“Yes sir,” said the artist, “but you have not seen all the hundreds of paintings I have done of roosters this week so I would be able to arrive at this one!”

And that in essence is Chinese ink brush painting. A far cry from how I am approaching these vector drawings but still. That story has always stuck with me for some reason.

Here is an updated version of the print:

Rooster Print


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.