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Vector Walkthrough Part 2 by novenarik Vector Walkthrough Part 2 by novenarik
Previously on X-men! Er -- Vector Walkthrough Part 1: ok, so we've gone from sketch to outlines, to basic color. Now we'll move into the more complex aspects of the piece.

Color Correction: I decided that the yellow mawashi competed too much with the flesh tones, and was distracting. So I decided to simplify the color pallet and move to something a little cooler in temperature. On the layer I put down some simple gradients to give a little depth.

Basic shading:
I usually separate my shading layers to make managing things a little easier. after I created the color flats, I made another layer to do some flat shading. This is pretty simple stuff and I usually just keep it to one or two shades, usually the same color just set to multiply and at various opacities.

From there I'll create another layer and begin working with gradients. If you look at my "Flesh Tone Tutorial" this is pretty simple stuff, usually only a few gradients, usually a color to white with it's blending mode set to multiply. In this case I went with a ruddy tone to give his flesh some blood in it, and one that was the same color as his skin to indicate depth.

On this layer I also put a pattern down on the mawashi (the apron). This is a custom pattern that I created for this piece. Creating patterns in illustrator is pretty straight forward. I drew the paisleys, the using the pathfinder tool I broke them apart and arranged them on a tile. I think one of the secrets to using patterns effectively is by applying them to individual shapes and then editing them. For example: in this illustration I created three shapes, one for each section, top middle and bottom. I applied the pattern to each shape, but then scaled and rotated the patterns individually for each layer. This prevents the pattern from looking static and tiled, and simulates what would happen with actual fabric.

The Watercolors:
Merrwizard this is for you. I love love love using watercolor brushes in illustrator. As a general rule, I'm not a big fan of stuff that comes stock in art applications, but I've been pleasantly surprised with Illustrator's ink, watercolor, and chalk brushes. Anyway, the secret, I found, comes down to a few things: the multiply blending mode, opacity and weight. First I dropped in some warmer shades in the same color I used for the ruddy gradient, using the Watercolor Wet brush that comes with Illustrator (window > brush libraries > artistic_watercolor), set to multiple (gets rid of the whitish ending on the stroke) and set to about 30% opacity. I love this brush, because it seems to work really well for the skin tones I like, and can achieve a number of shapes depending on line length and weight. After this I put down some more complex shades with similar brushes but this time in a shade of the blue I used in the mawashi and the water. This, I think, ties the colors together and creates a good harmony.

Also at this stage, I begin modifying the lines I originally put down. you can see in the face detail that I've taken the black lines, and made the exterior ones a deep shade of the dominant blue. I've then taken the interior lines, and turned them brown and used a variety of blending modes and opacities to achieve the look that I want -- avoiding heavy lines, and making them a little more unified with the shading. I like the black lines, but sometimes, and especially in this drawing, they give it a weird, Chinese-Propaganda-Chairman-Mao look.

The Hair: I put down all the hair lines using custom brushes that are EXACTLY like the one I created in the first steps, just in three different colors. Not too tricky.

Finishing touches:
After this I did some finishing touches -- I asked some friend how they felt about the mawashi and we all agreed the ship was looking a little off -- I wanted it to be a little ambiguous, not really on the mawashi or on the water -- because when I saw Musashimaru the first time thats how his mawashi struck me. Its a long story. In the end I took the ship, pulled it on to its own layer, and basically did everything I did with the rest of the drawing, just in miniature and on one layer. I resized it, and reworked it until it came out the way I wanted it.

I also went back to my color flat layers and put in some highlights in a layer above it. Highlights are a beast to work with for me, because of working with the blending modes. So I basically do them in Illustrator the same way I do them in acrylic -- at the very last, and pretty opaque, but in illustrator I put them down underneath the shading so I can still take advantage of the shading layers' blending modes.

After that I took care of the water, and I'm done as far as the drawing is concerned. From here its just some housekeeping: expanding appearances and deleting empty paths, trimming some of the watercolor effects, and layer management.

So thats it! WHEW! I hope that was helpful. If there's any other questions, feel free to ask! I added at the bottom a spread of my pallets and workspace. This isn't how I work, this is just kind of an exploded view so you can see the individual brushes (watercolors at the top, custom at the bottom) -- the panes I find the most helpful, and a breakdown of the layer organization and corresponding objects.

I realizes this all seems very complicated, but in all honesty I only worked on this for about 4-5 hours. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes very second nature and easy to maneuver. I love working in Illustrator -- its my baby and I feel 100% at home in it. I find myself thinking in terms of Illustrator, and find myself constantly working out how I could achieve something in illustrator. While I was in Hawaii I had this epiphany on how I could wrap a gradient around an object like a brush stroke and I literally (not having access to even a computer) wrote down step by step in my journal (menu commands, process, etc) how I would achieve it -- it was one of the things I looked forward to in getting home: to see if it would work, and it did! So I hope this gives you some insight and I hope that you keep plugging away at it so that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Aloha & Mahalo!
-Jory Dayne
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JoryRFerrell Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014  Professional Artist
Could you create a royal-seal type design, suitable for placing on a coin? How much would you charge per hour for such a job?
N0rgel Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013
Love this way of shading. Seems so easy! I'm getting crazy!
thaCollier Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
great vector walkthru! Thanks for this
znow-white Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
I had included this again here .[link]
Thankyou for providing these to the community.:heart:
sahwar Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
This truly is a stunning and outstanding vector tutorial! Bravo!
znow-white Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2008
Your wonderful tutorial has been featured here.[link]

Thank you for providing the gallery with such awesome Resources.:heart:
novenarik Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2008
Aww thanks!
znow-white Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2008
My pleasure :heart:
howkercj Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
now bare with my newbie question but I have been a photoshop user for years and was advised to switch to illustrator.. i jus cant seem to get comfy with it tho.. i want to be able to create more than jsut cell shaded looking pieces... gradients i am just gettin the hang of.. but the watercolour brushes!?! youve lost me there.. do you just stroke a like with any random watercolour brush? or something different that i should already know? :)

any help would be great :) thankyou..

btw.. this is a truly beautiful piece.
evilsherbear Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Holy SH*T!
I saw the final image, and just assumed it was photoshop. This is truly a great piece of work!
GrouchoSparx Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2008
Looks like I have some new things to experiment with in Illustrator. All of my things look so...sterile.
julian- Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2008  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks for this, its been extremely helpful - and part 1!
jujikabane Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2008  Professional Artist
can the line quality only be done in illustrator only or it will also be done in photoshop?
novenarik Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2008
By working in illustrator the line quality is guaranteed at any size/resoultion -- if the lines are rasterized, be it in photoshop or by exporting the artwork to a standard image format (jpg, png, etc) the lines are no longer editable and the quality could be compromised by resizing or editing with raster based tools.
wanwan Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
although paths can be done in photoshop and resized in illustrator as needs be as long as they do not have any fills. some people find it easier to do paths in PS.
Inordinate Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2007  Student
I have to say, this tute is incredibly inspiring. I love seeing a phenomenal vector come to life like this. Now you just make me wish I was as good at it as you are! Also, I can't believe that this only took you 4-5 hours. That's incredibly quick for that quality of shading. Well done!
pupa Featured By Owner May 22, 2007
effing shit! i thought it was a photoshop tutorial. never realized it was vector. nice work!!!
wonderful tutorial!!
flyindreams Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2007  Hobbyist
Awesome, awesome tutorial :D I've never thought about using Illustrator's watercolor brush in such a creative/useful manner, so mad props for sharing your technique :love: Definitely excited to play more in Illustrator now... much thanks for inspiration :hug:
ironrunes Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2007
May I say, this piece of knowledge I shall carry always along with my bezier tool.
You just took my vector-consciousness to a whole new level.
Just... thanks. :)
zedka Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2007   Photographer
... god damn, son !
Merrwizard Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2007

The mawashi looks super cool, and changing the lineart to dark blues and browns around the face has a nice softening effect.

I think the importance of creating a custom brush that looks a little more organic than the average illustrator brush is probably the best thing I got out of this tutorial (even though I begged for a watercolor explanation).

novenarik Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2007
cool man Im glad it helped!
Leonor Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2007  Professional General Artist
Brilliant work. :)
Snigom Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
That is awesome! Where do get ahold of those brushes? Did you make them all?
novenarik Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2007
the watercolor brushes all ship stock with Illustrator. The thin brushes at the bottom of the pallet are the ones I created.
Snigom Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
My Illustrator only has 1 water color brush :(

Also, I can't seem to get my brushes to stay saved. They seem to only save per document. I checked the Brushes directory and saw that they are only AI files. So I created a few brushes and saved the files there, but they still don't show up. ANy advice :)
novenarik Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2007
Illustrator only shows the one watercolor brush by default, if you open your brush libraries you should find a set called artistic_watercolor, that has a few more. As far as saving your brushes if you click on the option arrow on the top right of the brush pallet you should see the option to save a brush library, do that and then when you start a new document you can open it and use the brushes you created.
Snigom Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
Awesome! Thanks so much :D
novenarik Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2007
no sweat
PamzyLove Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
hey pretty cool man this rocks :)
not to many play with illustrator like this
bravo to you :)
Shah-G Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2007   Digital Artist
God damn that's cool!
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Submitted on
February 9, 2007
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