How to Learn To Illustrate for Design
I was watching this video for 2021 design trends. And illustration or certain types of illustration were in trend. What was even more reassuring was that what was in trend seemed to be simpler things to draw.
It seemed doable.
And basically it’s very clear how real designers and digital artists do things these days: Adobe Illustrator and ProCreate.
So I thought I could learn ProCreate, then learn how to draw, then learn some Illustrator.
So two apps and these illustration related topics:
- Illustrate people or characters
- Full page drawings
I looked up YouTube and SkillShare courses. Found these:
Which I looked at, then got frustrated because the UI for ProCreate had changed. Realized that the current version of ProCreate is 5. And I needed to look at those courses.
In the end I ended up doing this one.
These are some of the basics behind this app.
- It’s layer based drawing app
- Lot of brush work, everything is about brushes
- Alpha locking to color a layer
- Selecting layers and adjusting them seems pretty useful
- Useful method of learning to draw seems to be tracing another photo or drawing, layers will make this so easy
- Snapping to shape seems useful
Learning to Draw
The Process for Character Drawing (in ProCreate)
Basically here are the steps:
- You google the thing you wanna draw and collect some pictures and videos, create a moodboard, get inspo
- You sketch, to the uninitiated, this means you either trace or roughly draw shapes and very rough drawing of your illustration, I just learned this
- Now, you start a new layer and you “draw clean lines”, which means, you commit to a clean look and outline of your drawing, see below
4. Masking, is basically just separating all the layers into different visual layers that go in an order such that it makes sense, things in the front go to the front
5. Lighting, think about where the light is coming from and then shade each layer accordingly
6. Material Shading, add shine, or texture to the surfaces
7. Post Production, this is the step where you add other details, like overall hue & saturation, different effects or filters, text etc
The Process for Full Page Doodle (in ProCreate)
- The artist in this video had a pretty clever idea, which was to draw individual items then lay them out and resize them as needed, then fill out the remaining spaces with smaller characters
- After the video though, he said, thumbnailing would have been a better idea. Thumbnail sketch is a super rough sketch of the entire composition, that way he knows exactly how many characters and objects to draw
Here are some other tips and tricks that I learned in the video:
- Bring your reference photo into the app so that you could color drop and get shades
- Insert shapes into the background, then bring the opacity down and use them to help you keep perspective
- To create lots of tiny characters, create multiple eyes, noses, and mouths then permutate and combine different ones to get lots of characters like above, you can find ideas for this on Pinterest or Instagram
- Monoline and Syrup are great brushes for Inking or Outlining
Why Adobe Illustrator if I already know Sketch?
Yes you can actually create cool shapes and do a lot of illustration related techniques in Sketch. But where it stops being so useful is around shading and brushes.
Lot of lighting relates shading becomes too “workaroundy”. So I decided to give Illustrator a shot.
Again this is a layer based & vector based app.
On top of being able to create shapes, combine them and color inside them. Illustrator has these amazing tools.
- Shape builder tool — to merge shapes
- Vary the line thickness — shift and drag the line thickness to create the brush stroke effect
- Image trace — automatically vectorizes simpler pixel images
- Scale strokes and effects — helps us resize the entire drawing with the strokes and effects transforming in scale with the newer size
- Paint inside shapes — select and press K
- Brush tool — you can connect your iPad to your laptop with Sidecar then draw like you would