This tutorial is for those who have a tablet for drawing. In the end you will have a wonderful vector flower with 3 editing options. This free sample vector is part of Branches with Flowers Vector Pack. You can download the final result from HERE.
Step 1 Right click on the jpg image and choose to open in Illustrator. Ctrl+C, open a new document and Ctrl+V. That seems odd, doesn’t it? I did that because if we want to use Paintbrush Tool (B) later on, as we are going to do, we won’t be able to use it in the first document.
Step 2 Create a new layer and name it ‘OUTLINE’. Lock the first layer, the one where the jpg is located. Step 3 Go to Paintbrush Tool (B) and choose the shape that we’re going to use (2 round, in this case). This is the size that we will use for the outline. We chose 2 round because this is an existing one that is found in the list of brushes from Adobe. I will show you how you can create your own brush in another tutorial.
Step 4Double click on the brush (2 round) in order to select the pressure options. Note that this option is available only when you’re working on a drawing tablet. As you can notice, we are going to use pressure only for the diameter, and 1 pt. for the variation of the pressure.
Step 5Double click on the Paintbrush Tool (B) and set the fidelity option. You can play a lot with these options until you find what suits you, but if you have trembling problems, it’s best to choose a higher number for Fidelity. Any slight irregularities will be automatically corrected.
Step 6We choose the color for the stroke, and we’re going to leave none for the fill color.
Step 7 From now on you’re going to show your draftsman (or photocopier) mastery. Good luck! Step 8No matter how good you are, you will encounter some problems from time to time. Sometimes the line does not go precisely where you would want. It also depends on how you set the fidelity. You can leave the corrections for the end or you can straighten them on the go. Click the DIRECT SELECTION TOOL (A) and move the disobedient point.
Step 9When working with your tablet and use pen pressure, this can occur quite often: dashed line. Do not erase everything! Remove only the last piece or simply use Ctrl+Z.
With the DIRECT SELECTION TOOL (A) select the last line where the interruption occurred. Click again on the Paintbrush Tool (B) and follow the drawing > you will end up with a single line, as you wanted from the beginning.
Step 10We are going to change the brush size from 2 round to 1 round, because I want that the elements from the center of the flower to be smaller.
Step 11 Now I would like to use an even a thinner line. But I can’t find a 0.5 round brush in Adobe’s list, so it will be necessary to create it. In order to do that, go to NEW BRUSH, select CALLIGRAPHIC BRUSH and keep the preset options.
Step 12We’re done with the flower’s outline. We can use DIRECT SELECTION TOOL (A) for a final retouch.
Step 13 Next we’re going to EXPAND. Select all (Ctrl+A) > Object > EXPAND APPERANCE.
Step 14 Go to PATHFINDER and click UNITE. Now we have a single object.
Step 15While the object is being selected, we go to LIVE PAINT BUCKET (K) and we will fill with different colors the empty spaces.
Step 16 After we are done filling everything, we go to OBJECT > LIVE PAINT > EXPAND
Step 17We click UNGROUP twice because now we want to group the elements by categories and colors.
Step 18 We are going to use MAGIC WAND TOOL (Y) in order to select and group the elements by their color. So, press Y, select a color and then use UNITE option from PATHFINDER. (If you haven’t filled with different colors in step 15, you will have to reselect all the elements that you want to have the same color. To do this hold the Shift key down, select the desired elements and click UNITE option from PATHFINDER.)
Step 19 We will end up with 4 groups; one is the outline and other 3 groups of elements of different colors. If you have a more complex drawing and more groups of colors, change the tolerance from MAGIC WAND TOOL (Y) in order to select different shades of colors. Step 20 Now we’re going to create a NEW LAYER and we will name it FILL. In this layer we will put the 3 groups of elements of different colors, without the outline one. Click on the new layer, click on the item you want to move and then right-click and choose ARRANGE > SEND TO CURRENT LAYER. It’s like moving in front or behind different objects, but it is more efficient in terms of ordering.
Step 21 We will rearrange the layers and we will bring the OULTINE layer to be the first in order. We will also create a new layer and we will name it SHADOWS. Here we will resume the drawing with PAINTBRUSH TOOL (B). We are going to use a smaller brush size than the one used for the outline (1 round). Try to do the following. Use a darker shade than the base one. When you are done with the shadows of the leaves and start to draw the flower’s shadows, change the color also.
Step 22We are going to draw the lights on a separate layer, in the same way we did with the shadows. Lock the remaining layers if you don’t want to create any damage.
Step 23Expand all. Select and unite on different categories the shadows and the lights.
Step 24 You’re almost done. Get up from the chair and stretch your back! Call your husband/wife and proudly announce that you will be home soon. It’s almost true. Look closely at the outline of the drawing (OUTLINE Layer) and observe where you’ve crossed the outline when you draw the shadows and the lights. You can use the eraser to delete the exceeding parts. It will be just about right. It also depends on what kind of project you will use this vectorial drawing. If it’s used for a web design, then you can stop at step 21 of this tutorial. The outline will cover everything that is underneath. But if the drawing is used for a printed project, you can be surprised to see that the colors have been mixed. In order to solve this problem, you can do the following: Copy (Ctrl+C) the OUTLINE. Select a ‘light’ group and UNGROUP. Paste the outline (Ctrl+V)! While you have the outline selected, you also select the exceeding element (hold Shift key down) and choose MINUS FRONT from PATHFINDER list of options. Keep doing that with all the elements until you are done with that group. UNITE again and move to the next group. In the end you won’t have any element that interferes with the outline.
Step 25 There’s one more important step: finding the right colors. As a personal preference, while I draw, I use hard, strident colors in order to distinct the groups better, and at the end it often happens to search for them with EYEDROPPER TOOL (I).