- Software: GIMP (or other raster editors, or you can sketch on paper can scan the artwork) + Inkscape (or other vector graphics editors like Illustrator)
- Level: Advanced
- Subject: Dragon
You will some times want or need to create elaborate vector illustrations but still want to keep the shapes simple. When the subject is complex, this can be quite a challenging task. In such cases, you can start drawing and sketching in raster mode (or on paper).
For this example, I will take a sketch of a Dragon.
I did the above sketch in GIMP. You can use any other software like Adobe Photoshop – or even draw it on paper and scan it as a image if you have a scanner.
Import the sketch into Inkscape. (File > Import).
Once it is imported, I make it transparent by around 50%. (On Inkscape, the control is on the bottom part next to ‘O’).
Then I take the Bezier tool and start marking out the basic bulk of the shape.
I then tweak the shape by editing the Bezier control nodes.
Mark out the remaining of the shapes like the horns, spikes and neck.
Do not forget to shape them into curves. Change the color of the outlines of these shapes to something. It does not matter which color – as we will be turning it off in the final artwork. Giving it color, helps you identify groups of shapes.
I then use the bezier curve again to mark out the highlights.
Change its color to something else. (I set the outline of the highlight shapes to green).
After that, mark out the shadow areas. It actually does not matter, in which order you create these shapes, as you can always arrange them in any order afterwards.
Fill out the main shapes with mid tone colors. This will be the time, when yo would want to rearrage the order of the shapes.
Switch off the outlines of the shapes which you have filled with colors. Proceed to give colors to the hightlight and shadow.
Swtich off the outlines for the highlights and shadows as well. You may again need to rearrange some of the shapes. For this example, the shadow shape of under the lower jaw had to be layered under the head shape.
You would need to go in and give some ‘shiny’ highlighs and shadows to those horns. You would need to tweak some shapes. It is in this step that you can make a mediocre vector art look great – with tiny yet simple details.
To finish it off, I make a copy of all the shapes, ‘outset’ it and put it behind all the shapes with a dark color to give a heavy set outline to the full shape. I also delete the imported sketch layer. I also, give the eye a little more detail.
Feel free to post links to your vector art made by this method in the comment section.
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