In October, Astute Graphics will be jumping across the big pond to do a tour of the USA over 16 days, starting in Seattle and ending in New York, with Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oklahoma being stops along the way. We'll also be talking at the San Francisco and Los Angeles Illustrator user groups (book your place now!). Therefore to mark this event, we contacted Von Glitschka, author of the popular book Vector Basic Training, to create a suitably wonderful logo. Very kindly, he recorded the creative process along the way.
The genesis of any design should start in a form much like this. Raw, crude, an essence of an idea simply captured and waiting for refinement if the concept is deemed worthy of it. And since Astute Graphics was planning on a whirl wind tour of the States I decided to make this design distinctively Americana in nature with a subtle but effective vector twist.
Using my thumbnail as a framework for my design I redrew it with more precision. At this stage I’m thinking of how I want the vector shapes to look so I’m drawing them out with form clearly in mind. In other words I’m creating a road map I can build upon in vector form. This will mean less guess work as I move to Illustrator and make the process faster. Since this design is symmetrical I only need to draw out half of the design.
SubScribe has quickly become a very useful tool within the context of my creative process. On this project I used it to straighten out my scanned drawing using the Orient tool so that it was aligned properly. The more I use this plugin the more I find ways to use it. That is a tell tale sign of intuitive software, in my opinion, and a big reason why I’m an Astute Graphics fan.
My sketch is now guiding my core vector building of shapes. Using the InkScribe tool I place my anchor points and form my vector path aligning it to my underlying drawing. The ability to easily toggle between the InkScribe tool and the PathScribe tool makes constructing my design easier and more precise than the native tools in Illustrator.
The functionality of the Dynamic Corners tool in VectorScribe is profoundly simple yet the results are simply profound. All of the plugins from Astute Graphics save me time and thus money all the while equipping me to build my designs with more precision and that makes me more efficient.
When I construct a design like this I’ll use the Dynamic Corners tool to round corners on the fly as I build. This type of small rounding detail would be very time consuming trying to build it without plugins as I go and would be tedious trying to edit a path to get it the way I want since Illustrator is completely inadequate at such a simple task. With this plugin what would take me 15 minutes natively in Illustrator is done in mere seconds.
I work in distinct stages as I build out a design. I get all my core vector shapes built and in place before I even consider the coloring of my design. I look at it like the foundation of a house. There’s no sense in painting a building if you don’t have the foundation constructed well first. Keeping a sharp focus on form and shape helps to isolate problem areas that might pop up as you design such as awkward negative spaces or visual tension between shapes etc. Once I had the basic composition of shapes built I started to explore typography treatments.
Since this was an Americana design the colors were obvious and I just wanted to keep the palette and shading detail simplified to go with the style of the overall design. Not too rendered but rather a strong iconic logo type of feel instead.
More Dynamic Corners
Did I mention I love the Dynamic Corners tool? Seriously, on this design alone I guesstimate it saved me well over 8 hours worth of work. I rounded off nearly all the vertices in this design. This level of detailing really brings a hand tooled quality to a design. Leaving all the vertices sharp tends to make a graphic like this look and feel computerized and less custom.
If I had tried to get this same rounded look without the Dynamic Corners tool (VectorScribe) it would have increased my build time by a day at least. And the results would have been less appealing since you can’t test radii on the fly if you’re building it manually with Illustrator native tools. I cannot emphasize how valuable this one tool is.
It’s a no-brainer time saver.
I’m happy with how the final design turned out. It’s a fun image and authentic graphic that reinforces Astute Graphics promotional tour in the states and reflects how their software enables creative freedom to soar through the use of their plugins for creating vector art.
About the author
Von is principal of Glitschka Studios and has worked in the communication arts industry for over 26 years. His work reflects the symbiotic relationship between design and illustration. This duality of skills within his own creative arsenal, inspired him to coin the phrase and title of “Illustrative Designer.”