Illustrator: Basic Outline

We have now moved on from Georges In design tutorials, to Illustrator with Steve.  I have used Illustrator a little before, but not to its full potential, therefore I am looking forward to the tutorials, and hopefully will see the progression in my skills and techniques.

We were told that we will be making a basic Illustration of Marilyn Monroe, that will be completed over several tutorials.  Today involved creating the basic outline. We were instructed to create a document; whilst doing this Steve gave some insight to illustrator.  He told us that Illustrator uses Vector whereas Photoshop uses Pixels. However, he also stressed that Illustrator is not only used for 2D design, but can be manipulated to produce textured and “less clean” images.

Illustrator page setup

Firstly we placed our image of Marilyn onto the created page, so that we can use the image as a guide for the outline. Like InDesign and After Effects, Illustrator allows you to link your images so that any changes will be affected on any program. To make the image easier to work with, we lowered the opacity to 60%, and then locked the image to the page so it could not be manipulated.

As the illustration will be completed in more than one tutorials, it was a good idea to name each layer so that it won’t get confusing.  We called the photo ‘background’, then created a new layer and called this ‘basic outline’. To create the basic outline we used the Pen tool; this was done in different stages.  First we traced the head and face, ignoring the hair; then we outlined the neck, then the hair. To show the separation of outlines we changed the colour, so the hair was blue, and head was red. If any areas looks “bumpy” or not quite right with the outlines, we were told that you can go to object>path>simplify.  This will smooth the path, making it look slick  and professional.  This process was then repeated for the neck and hair.

Basic outline