Royal Wedding Fever swept the nation in the UK this spring and Meghan Markle is the lady of the moment. With this in mind we decided to celebrate our new Duchess with a vector portrait.

Today you will find out how to create this portrait of Meghan Markle whilst learning all about the tools that helped to speed up the work. These are WidthScribe for intelligent work with variable width paths and Phantasm for creating halftone textures. In addition, I used DynamicSketch, VectorScribe and Texturino, which have long been part of my workflow in Adobe Illustrator.

I will be creating a portrait of Meghan Markle based on a pencil sketch, kindly provided by Timmy Turner.

To begin, create a rough hair silhouette using the Pencil Tool or DynamicSketch Tool.

Then make the silhouette of the hairstyle more detailed by adding curls. For these purposes I will be using the WidthScribe plug-in to create a path that will set the direction of the hair.

Take the Width Gradient Tool in the Tools panel (this will open the toolbar) and set the minimum and maximum widths and select the linear gradient type here.

Now extend the gradient from the beginning to the end of the selected path.

If you need to change the width of the path, enter the new parameters in the Width Gradient panel and click on the Reapply Gradient button.

You can change the width of the path according to the graph in the panel. For example, add a new point to a rectilinear graph by simply clicking at the right place, then bend the graph in the shape of the letter U. Width Gradient can be applied to several paths that should have a similar shape.

Create the rest of the curls in this way. This is a faster and more convenient way than creating similar shapes using the Pen Tool or the Paintbrush Tool, by changing the pressure on the Wacom pen.

Draw the shape of the face and shoulder.

Let's create the shape of the eyes. They consist of objects with fill and variable stroke paths. I created them by setting the Pressure option in the tool panel of DynamicSketch.

If the profile of the path created in this way does not work for you, you can quickly fix this by adjusting the width markers with the help of the Width Selector Tool and its panel. This tool allows you to move, delete, add and change the width of one or more markers simultaneously. For example, the shape of the lips consists of several variable stroke paths of different widths, and we can increase or decrease the value of all selected width markers by a pre-set percentage, using the +/- buttons in the Width Selector panel.

To sharpen the ends of the paths, it is convenient to use the Taper stroke button.

By combining variable width paths and objects with fill, we get the main parts of the face.

I will then use hatching to create shadows on the face. It is easy to create a series of parallel strokes with the help of the Blend Tool. In this case, I used a triangular profile installed in the Stroke panel. To change the stroke length, you first need to execute the following command Object > Blend > Expand.

Now you can easily extend or trim them using the Extend Path Tool of VectorScribe.

The rest of the hatching on the face and eyebrows was done using the DynamicSketch Tool, while the Width Selector Tool was used to improve the details.

Let's look at another way of changing the shape of the profile locally. We can increase or decrease the profile of the selected paths using the Width Brush Tool.

Double-clicking on the tool icon in the Tools panel opens its dialog box for setting the necessary parameters. In the picture below, the radius of the brush, the maximum value of the width of the path and the pressure option are selected as the means of action. You can also set a negative value for the width, in this case, the effect of the tool will lead to a local narrowing of the paths.

Let's see how this works with the example of lip hatching.

This way, you can create light accents or work with the outline of illustrations in the comic style as described in the article More Natural Outlines Using WidthScribe. Next, I created spots of light on my hair and hatched their edges to convey a specific texture.

A lighter hatching conveys glare on the hair.

Below the layer with black objects, I drew a partial shadow on the face, colored the lips and created objects with a gradient fill in the eyes

Then I drew a shadow on the face and a light spot on the lower lip.

And, finally, it's time to add glare.

To give the portrait a more stylized look we can create halftone textures and Phantasm will help us to do this. Duplicate the face shape, open the Phantasm panel and apply the Halftone effect with the parameters shown in the picture below.

Then apply the Gaussian blur effect to the partial shadow on the face.

Next, apply to this object Phantasm Halftone with the following parameters ….

Gaussian blur allows us to create smaller halftone dots on the border of the shape, so the transition between objects will turn out smoother.

Now apply Phantasm Halftone also to the shadow on the face and light spots on the hair.

Now we need to create a background. To a rectangle of beige color, I applied the Fine speckles texture with the help of the Texturino.

Then the Phantasm Halftone effect is applied to this texture.

Now place another Fine speckles texture above this, but in a smaller size (about 30% of the first).

The Phantasm Halftone is again applied to this texture with a brown color for the dots. Other effect parameters are shown in the picture below.

Finally, the last Phantasm Halftone effect is applied to the Fleur-de-lis seamless pattern.

Now your portrait of Meghan Markle is ready.

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