Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
Skill Level Intermediate
[Air Whooshing] - [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. It's normal in the course of a creative career to look back at old design and artwork and recognize you've improved your skills since creating it. I recently worked on a project and realized I could recycle old art from my archive, and quickly discovered a lot of problems with my old design. So, in this movie, I'm going to show you how I cleaned up the old design and improved it. So, let's get started. Now, this was a design I did a little over 15 years ago. My brother is a CPA. He was opening up a new part of his business and he decided to name it Liberty Financial Group and I volunteered to do a logo for his business, and this was the design. Now, what I was working on recently, I remembered, oh, I did that for my brother. He no longer runs this business. He has another business now. So, this artwork isn't being used. So, I decided, hey, I'm going to recycle this for this other project I'm working on it's a perfect fit theme-wise, patriotic. So, I went track down this file, open it up. And I approach all my projects kind of the same way. And this is where the creative process comes in. There are certain aspects to my creative process over the last 18 years that haven't changed at all. One of them is when I'm working on a theme or a topic, and I'm not completely familiar with elements or information about it. I'll do my own research. I'll gather reference like this back then these were images that were in that project folder from back then. And I'm going to use these to look at and then figure out how to craft my overall design. This is what I ended up with. If you're wondering about the colors, why are they kind of faded and dusty it's because this was ultimately printed on uncoated paper stock, and I specked uncoated, Pantone colors, such as this blue? So, on-screen, it's going to look dusty. It's going to look diminished in terms of its hue value, but when printed on uncoated paper, it looked fine. So, when I pulled this out of my archive and I was looking at it, I also discovered in the file that I had an inked-out piece of artwork, a scan that I had done from that. And I realized I didn't build this factor art, I image traced it. And I'm thinking to myself when I'm looking at this. Why did I do it that way? I don't even remember doing that, but I had in mind that there was going to be a circular motif it would kind of nest in, but instead of building my artwork with vectors, I decided to ink it out with the pen and I had image trace it. Now, admittedly, the usage size, this was used in wasn't huge. So, in that respect it's forgiving, but when I looked at the Mark and I went back to the file and looked at the Mark and I'm going to wait a minute and they zoomed in. I'm like, oh my gosh, I go this is horrible. It's like, I offended myself in terms of vector, craftsmanship, and quality this does not meet my standards now. And I was kind of like, wow, what was I thinking? Why did I do it this way? Frankly, I don't remember why I did it this way. I just knew when I was looking at this, that this is like horrible. This is not good, I would completely approach this differently. The part that just really surprised me and yes, I'm surprised at times when I look at old art because there's been times, I opened up a file. I don't even remember the project. I don't ever remember creating it. And I'm going, it's like a weird feeling like I created this, but there's not one aspect to any of this creative work I even remember. If we zoom in on this, I'm going seriously? I'm going, why would I ever build this way? Why wouldn't I just, you know, pick the elliptical tool and create a shape like this, you know, rotate it into place based off of the underlying drawing, like you've seen me do a million times. I mean, this just looks better and it's precise and it's clean and it's going to scale nice. It's just the wrong way to build. So, I quickly realized there's no way I can use this for the project I wanted to. Not that technically I couldn't use it, of course, I could use, I could copy and paste it. I couldn't use it because it violates my standards on vector creation. I really want to create the best art I can this isn't the best art. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to just rebuild it. Now, I want to show you how I would approach this now because this is a normal part of the creative process. You're always going to learn new ways, better ways. And I think this is a lot better way. It's actually faster because the amount of time it takes for me to clean up and image trace. I would spend hours and hours, whereas I could just use that hour or maybe a couple hours to build this design and do it precisely, and then that artwork would be timeless. I could come back to it 10 years from now, and it'd still be great to you use for whatever if I want it to. So, I just want to point that out. The first place I start is I look at an overall composition and determine if there's any geometric shapes that are just simple to create using shape tools, using non-bezier anchor points, and that's what I did. The top crown of the Statue of Liberty is just a giant elliptical shape using the lip store, easy. All these shapes like I showed you this little elliptical shape, the same thing I put those in. Now, I might start with an elliptical shape, like let's zoom in on this one you see that that's fine. But then all go in and all select one side. In this case, I moved it in just to get it a little flatter on that side that's fine, but it's still more precise than if you ever image traced it. So, that's all I'm going to do is I'm going to rebuild all of these various shapes and do it precisely. So, if I turn on this file, here's all these shapes and if we zoom in and compare it with the previous and I go ahead and I select this. It's just a nice elegant free-flowing path. It's organic you can't build this with shapes. This is just all the standard pin tool-type building. If we go over here, you know, this shape I'm going to select this and I'm going to delete it because I want to show you how I would build kind of a free-flowing organic shape like this. It's not hard, but you just have to pay attention to where you want to place your anchor points. So, let's go ahead and zoom in on that, and we're going to go ahead and build this guy here. So, we're going to go to the pin tool. We haven't set at one point I actually want to set that smaller. Let's go-to strokes. And in this case, we're so zoomed in, I'll build it at this size. I really wish I could set presets for my strokes to get around that. I have some presets down here, and this will be the perfect size. Now, where it comes to kind of a curve up here this is where I'd place an anchor handle. And I don't worry about pulling the anchor handles all the way. I'll pull them out, just so they're available then as it wraps around here and it gets to this curve. If you think about a three o'clock on the clock, we'll pull that out a little once again. I don't worry about pulling it out all the way. This is a long curve we don't need any anchor point here as long as we control our busy. So, I would put it probably right about here. Sometimes it works putting on like the tangent of a curve, but I've found, I climbed my NASCAR approach to doing curves because in NASCAR, you know, they're only driving one way. And so, they go into a curve slow and then out of the curve fast. So, if you kind of think like that, I would put one here. And once again, I just pull the handles out to make them available because we'll come back and finesse this. So, this is into the curve and then out of the curve would be close to where the tangent would be and we'll just pull that out a little bit. Once again, I don't have to pull it out all the way. And if you think like a clock up at the apex of this corner here, we'll put another handle here. We'll pull it out a little ways like that dips down we don't have to worry about the transition between these two because the bezier handles are going to take care of that. Once again, only pull it out enough as we go into this curve and then probably right around here. So, we'll have a curved control that we'll probably have to pull that out more. I'll go up at the top here and I'll pull this guy out like that, as it goes down, here we go into this curve. So, maybe we put one here like this and maybe a little like that. And by the way, here's a little trick. I'm going to use this in their DVG movie to more effect. But, if you click and pull out the handles and I have the button on my mouse pushed, before I'd let go of it, hold the Space Bar down cause if you put it in the wrong location, you can reposition it without deselecting it. Most people don't know you can do that in illustrator. Well, frankly, I didn't know you could do that for 17 years until last year when their engineers we were just sharing tips and tricks on Twitter, showed us this and everybody who was part of that conversation is like, I didn't know. So yeah, you could put this anywhere it's a good little tip. Once you get it, let go of Shift, drop it, go to the next one continue the process we'll put one here. We'll go up here and we're probably going to put one right here and then up to the final click in all, pull it out. So, this is what I call rough build. Now, it's just a matter of going back to these bezier handles and just pulling them out to form the final curve that looks good. And I think this one could come out quite a bit. This one's too short we need to pull this one up kind of like that. And we'll go down to this one I think this one can come up more. We want it a little more beefy than what we had before I think. And you'll just play with this the more you get used to building this way, specifically with the pen tool, you just develop a second sense as to what's going to look good, and then this I'll pull this out. So, it finesses, it flows nicely into here, around the corner. I think that's looking pretty good, let me pull this one out just a little. And you'll want to turn off smart guides I've found because it'll want to snap to a path if you're too close to it. So, that's why I toggle smart guides on and off Cmd + U and here, pull this out to form this curve we'll select this. We need to pull this out to form that curve, go back to this one, finesse it. And on this one, I'm probably going to pull out the top just go ahead starts swinging inward and pull this out a little bit and then I want this to extend further. I think that looks good and like that. Now, on something like this at times I might go, I don't know if I even need that, but when I build, I go ahead and place it because I noticed the illustrator has brought smart remove into the iPad app. I don't use that cause I just don't work mobily. And so, I really don't need to, but I use a plugin where I can select this and using path scribe, part of vector scribe, plugin by Astute Graphics. I'll select that anchor and I'll go smart remove. And that's how you can simplify as you build, you might go back and finesse this even a little more, maybe like that, but that's how I would go about building all of these shapes that make up the design on the Statue of Liberty here. And we'll go ahead and just match the aesthetic like that. And it's not hard it just takes precision and care and don't make yourself go too fast. If it takes you a little longer, that's fine. But if you learn how to do it right, how to approach it, the more you do it, the faster you'll get. So, I just wanted to point that out. Let's go back to layers here because what we're going to do now is I'll turned off for an underlying drawing. And we're going to go ahead and kind of fuse everything together. So, I'm going to take these elements of the crown and the spikes and using Pathfinder we'll go ahead and unite those. We're going to take the base of the body, which is all of these shapes and the same thing we're going to go ahead and unite those with the crown. So, that looks good we'll take all the elements that make up the interior shapes here. We'll select the ones that are just floating here, all these little elliptical shapes like that, just so you can see what I'm doing. Let's go ahead and we'll color it for lack of a better color here, gold, and we're going to unite those together and make sure that when you unite, it's going to default to a group. So, you'll want to change that to a compound path like that. And we're going to make a really fancy donut of sorts. So, we're going to take this shape. We're going to clone it Cmd + C, Cmd + F and I'm just going to just holding Shift + Down just make it a little wider than that. Then we'll go ahead and we'll take the shape. We combined we'll intersect the two. So, we end up with that. So, it doesn't go outside of our shape here. And then with this gold shape on top, we'll go ahead and select that. And we're going to go ahead and select the shape we just tramp, and we're going to minus front. And let's go ahead and fill this so you can see what we just did, that's all we did. Now, that we have that established, once again, it's going to default to groups. So, you always have to pay attention to compounds. I wish there was a preference could set it where it just says always make compounds. That's how it was a macromedia free hand that I use for years. We're going to select this now and making sure it's on top we'll bring it to the front. So, if you don't know how to do that, just go to object, arrange, bring to front. We're going to select this shape. I'm sorry, this shape is on top of this shape. Now, we're going to minus front. So, all we've done is we've created this shape now. It's perfectly centered on the other ones since we did it with the circle. But notice again, it's going to default to group trying to compound, and now we have everything ready to colorize it the way we should. And here's all the colors with the new clean art. If we zoom in on it, everything looks nice and precise like it should. And I've gone in and I've rounded the details where these vertices come together like that. So, that's something you can do too. I like using a rounding tool called dynamic corners and I'll go in, determined around, and then I can apply it to all the other areas that are going to use the same size rounding that's why I use it. But all of this detailing, you can use the illustrators corner widget to do the exact same thing. I just prefer using a plugin to get the look and feel I want. But once I have that, then it just comes down to coloring it. This is the old colors, the project I'm going to be using it on is newer colors. These are all processed colors, so I'll just want to change it to those. So, this will change this nice blue. This will change to a gold. So, the same idea, color wise, but more dynamic colors, not uncoated colors. Now, this was part of a project I was working on for a patriotic line of designs. This was the inspiration, the colors that I pulled from, and this is part of a new course, a full-blown course called A Systematic Creative Process for Designers. And I focus on a course where I develop a whole line of patriotic designs. I wanted to pull this Liberty design and use it in context of the apparel line I was creating. So, this is how I used it and applied it. So, nobody starts off great no matter what industry or a specific skillset we're talking about, there is always room to improve. You saw what my artwork looked like 15 years ago and how I improved it now. So, always look to improve your capabilities. Don't worry at what stage you're at just keep at it and you will improve. So, if you still get frustrated at times and illustrator, welcome to the club because I do too at times. It does act up, but overall it does facilitate my creativity, so I can't hate it too much. I encourage you to stick with it and you're going to improve your skills and up your craftsmanship as well if you do so. To improve your creative process, I encourage you to watch my new course, the systematic creative process for designers, where I walk you through a five-stage workflow, you can apply to any type of project. Thank you for watching DVG Lab and until next time never stopped drawing.
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.