Tip of the week: Use shapes to create beautiful illustrations

While creating illustrations that are rich in detail, it is not necessary to think on the lines of making everything with freehand, brushes or tablets. You can use a very effective and elementary method to create impressive looking shapes. You can use both freehand simple shapes and inbuilt geometrical shapes inside illustrator to create detailed graphics.

Illustrator image builder

The Shape Builder tool in illustrator: Do you remember drawing geometrical shapes like flowers and patterns, mandalas and that kind of stuff using geometrical tools back in school? Well instead of the compass and divider, we can use inbuilt shapes of illustrator like circles, stars, polygons , etc., to create some good looking designs.

A. Setup the shapes to have no fill and a reasonably visible stroke weight.

B. Draw and overlap your shapes to form a design like a flower or mandala, something like i have shown in the illustration on this page.

C. Select the whole set you want to manipulate using the shape builder, it will not work without selection.

D. Now chose shape builder tool from the toolbar on the left (Shift + M is the shortcut)

E. Default action is addition, you can hold the alt key to turn it into subtraction.

F. Click and drag over the target area of the shapes to complete the action

Do not worry about errors, you can always experiment and create new shapes again. If you are happy with initial overlaps and worry about spoiling them, make a group, copy and keep it aside while you work on the group. You can also create multiple different looking designs from a single set as shown.

You can also draw animals, cartoons and simple characters with the shape builder tool. For example you can use circles to create head, overlap two circles and deduct to create eyebrows and emotions. You can use ovals and circles and merge them to create clouds, trees, bushes, cartoon hair and other elements for a scene. See if you can create simple sheep on a meadow. Using the shape builder it is easy to illustrate simple as well as detailed objects and landscapes. Use subtle or pastel gradients instead of solid colors to make the illustration look better.

Mandala design, textile and print

Once you have done creating a scene, grab the Live Paint bucket tool to paint your scene. I will not go into details but leave you with experimenting and researching about the Live paint bucket tool on the internet. Using this tool you can easily color fills and strokes. This tool makes it easier to color when compared to traditional method of coloring in illustrator. If you are wondering where the tool is, it is in the toolbar expanded menu. You can simply press “K” on your keyboard to select this tool.

Do leave comments on your experience with this tool. Till next time!

Photo credits: Artistashmita.

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July 13, 2020

FabioConcetta

Beautiful blog, very useful!

July 11, 2020

Mlan61

Very useful ! Thanks

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