David Figueriras is a Graphic Design and and illustrator at The Toon Planet, read on for all his expert tips!
It is not a secret the way Astute Graphics plugins have helped a lot designers and illustrators to create their awesome artwork in a very efficient way. In this post I am going to tell you my usual creation procedure to build an unique vector city illustration with funny characters.
My work starts with an idea of what I want to communicate, in this case it is an advertisement for a new and trendy urban cloth brand in a magazine. First of all, I begin to draw fast and little pencil sketches to see which idea works the best for the project. When I choose one, I make a final sketch where I introduce all the creative elements, characters and the majority of lines and shapes filling the overall composition. Once the sketch is finished, it is digitalised and placed in a template layer in Adobe Illustrator. Now is when the action comes.
In the beginning, I deactivate the pressure option setting it to “None” because I want a regular thickness for the strokes. Then, a new layer is created over the sketch which is in the template layer, this will help you following the lines that you previously have drawn so you can focus on getting perfect shapes now.
I start drawing open lines on the new layer without letting the tool joining their dots because it will smooth the corners, and I do not want that for creating buildings. For example, if you want to draw a squared shape, you will have to draw 4 long lines that will cut in some point the others, then, you will trim the part of the lines that you do not want and finally have the shape that you want in just a few seconds.
Using some shortcuts will help you in the creation of basic shapes. If you want to create straight lines without changing the tool, DynamicSketch allows you to do that by pressing the alt button. For trimming a line that it is going out of its place, just press shift and draw a perpendicular line and you will delete it like as if you were using scissors. Also, it is very interesting to have activated the ability to edit or continuing existing paths as you will be able to redraw something that you are not happy with or extend an unfinished stroke.
Accuracy levels and smoothness settings will be the key to help you to create the lines that you exactly want. Mainly I use two different setups for these options: If I want polished and very clean lines I set low accuracy and high smoothness (Desirable for bigger shapes), If I want the lines to reflect what I draw exactly I set those options in the opposite way (Desirable for little details).
Talking about saving time, If you compare the traditional ways of Adobe Illustrator for vectorizing lines such as using the pencil or pen tool you will notice that with DynamicSketch is much easier. To make an idea, to you can draw better lines than with the pencil tool in half of the time (Around 50% time saved and better lines) and in a quarter of the time compared to the pen tool (Around 75% time saved and perfect lines as using the pen tool).
If you have the possibility of combining DynamicSketch with Inkscribe make it happen, they are the perfect combination. Inkscribe redefines the pen tool with much more potential, but what I specially like are the Dynamic corners and Pathscribe tools. It would help you a lot creating rounded shapes and creating curves when you are working with straight and sharp polygons.
In conclusion, whether you are a proffesional or not, if you are tired of spending lots of time using the pen tool and you want definitely to improve your efficiency and really take advantage of your working hours, DynamicSketch would be your new best friend from right now.
Please, take a look at my timelapse video and you will make an idea of how the whole vectorizing process looks like in a couple of minutes.