- Software: Inkscape (or any other vector graphics editor)
- Level: Beginner
- Subject: Feather
It was quite some time since I did vector artwork, and seeing that how much popular the other peacock feather tutorial had become, I thought I would give another try at a simpler tutorial.
Try to study induvidual feathers of different birds. The come in all shapes and colors, but they have a basic form. They have a spine or step like structure with plumage growing out of it.
The first step is quite simple. Take the polygon/path tool and draw a triangle – a long lean one.
Since these are bezier paths, you will be able to give it a bit of bend. You can choose not to do it, if you want a abstract feather look. For this tutorial, I am going for a more natural looking feather.
Use the same tool and mark out the general shape of the plumage.
As with the spine of the feather, take time to shape out the full feather. Take your time and see that you get a good shape that follows the spine.
Set the fill colors of the two shapes and remove the outlines. Choose a pretty dark color for the spine and a medium tone of the color for the rest of it. You will need to ensure that the spine shape is over the rest of the feather.
Now, select the spine and make a copy of it. Either scale it down a bit or if you are using Inkscape, do a Inset operation. Give it a color lighter than the spine below but still a bit darker than the plumage.
Now position the highlight area. Bring it to a bit right and to the bottom – the light source, I am assuming it to be on the right side.
Now take that path tool again, and mark out the shadow area. Do not bother about maintaining the outer shape of the plumage.
Now make a copy of the plumage shape and place it exactly over the original shape.
Select the shadow area shape and the copy of the plumage and apply the intersection operation on them. This will leave you with the required shape of the shadow area.
Give thte shadow shape the color a little darker than the plumage color and place the shape just under the spine.
As with the shadow shape, proceed with the highlight shape of the feather.
You will have to repeat steps you did for the shadow area, and end it with a lighter color tone.
You can then make copies of it, and then even have them in different colors. Here is a green one.
Or may be, a read one?
The possibilities are endless. You can go ahead and add more details with shadows and highlights. You can even mark out few induvidual bristles of the feather, especially near the bottom part of the spine.
Go ahead – try it out, and show me your creations.
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