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In today’s tutorial I’m going to show you how a mixture of styles can produce and effective lifestyle illustration, while giving thought to basic body language and what views will focus on.
In today’s tutorial I’m going to show you how to construct this illustration, which is fit for a women’s lifestyle magazine. I’m going to be creating a day dreaming scene using a variety of styles to help create a difference between reality and the dream and as well as some basic tips on key elements to pay attention to, to ensure you’re able to communicate the concept clearly to the viewer.
I’m going to create a monochrome style skin shading, which is still detailed and smooth in appearance, unlike previous skin shading effects I’ve shown you before.
All stock images used in this tutorial have been provided by the talented Tasastock. This includes the images of the female model and the shoes.
The concept I’m going to be working on is to create an illustration that shows a woman dreaming of shoes. The woman is to be shown in a positive light and possibly longing for the shoes. It seems a simple concept, however the key elements of it are the latter portion of the concept. It’s the body language and expression of the model from the stock image I’m going to use which will help communicate the emotion behind the piece. Let me show you some examples and explain.
I’ve got three possible images I could work with as the main stock image for the woman dreaming. The first is of a woman lying on the floor with her limbs towards her abdomen. The reason why this sort of pose wouldn’t work is that we often associate the fetal position as regressing back to being a child in the womb, to a more comfortable place, therefore the situation the model is under at present is a negative one.
The next example, although the model is in a comfortable position, as you can probably guess, we can’t see her face. Whenever we look at an image containing a person in it, we go straight for the face, as this is one of the main areas where emotion can be conveyed… so with the model being in this position, we are unable to connect the viewer straight away with the emotion of the illustration.
Our last example is the one I’m going to use. The reason for doing so is that she is conscious in her dream or daydream if you will. She’s appearing relaxed and deep in thought, both of which can be seen as positive moods. Her arms aren’t crossed over and are open towards the viewer, as you may already know, crossed arms are a sign of being unapproachable and this isn’t what we want. I’m wanting to invite the viewer into seeing what she’s dreaming of.
Now that I have my main stock image, I’m going to draw a very rough plan of what I’d like the composition to be like. When I have this in mind, it’s easier for me to visualize the entire project. Once I have this, I can move on to the vectoring stages.
I’m going to open the stock image into Photoshop and then lighten it with Curves (Command + M) and use the preset “Lighter." Then use the Crop Tool (C) to select the area of the reference I wish to use. Once complete, I’m going to Save for Web & Devices with a width of about 800 pixels.
Into Illustrator, create a New (Command + N) file. I’m going to File > Place the stock image and rename the layer “Reference." I’m going to use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw a circle for the area I want the dreaming element to be contained within. The Opacity will be 50% and Blending Mode Multiply, as I still wish to see the stock image clear enough. Then lock the layer.
Create a New Layer and rename it “BG." Add a white filled Rectangle (M) over the canvas and reduce the Opacity to 30%. Lock the layer once done. Finally, Create a New Layer and rename it “Bases."
In the “Bases" layer folder begin to add the base shapes for the skin (C=15, M=25, Y=30, K=0) and the clothing (C=61, M=0, Y=25, K=20). The clothing is in two parts, I’ve added them together by creating a Compound Path (Command + 8).
Create a New Layer and rename it “Shading." For the initial shading shapes, I’m going to use Pathfinder > Minus Front to remove shapes from duplicates of the skin base. Effectively, what I am doing is removing the lightest parts out of the skin base so you’re left with the darker areas, this makes it quicker to begin the skin shading.
I’m going to use the same skin color and set the Blending Mode to Multiply and Opacity to 15%.
Continuing to add the darker areas of skin shading, I’m going to add further shapes. This time these aren’t removed from the original skin base, but drawn separately with the same Blending Mode and Opacity.
Group the shapes (Command + G) and then duplicate the original skin base. Use this to create a Clipping Mask (Command + 7), which will hide any shapes overlapping the base.
Now let’s add darker areas on the skin and more refined detailing around the facial features. This is done with a darker skin tone (C=25, M=35, Y=40, K=10) and set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 10%. Once done, add these to the previously created Clipping Mask group.
Create a transparent radial gradient with the skin base color and I’m going to use this to add highlights to the skin. These are set to Blending Mode Screen and Opacity 15%. Once done, Group them (Command + G) and add them to the Clipping Mask group.
To add some soft shades of pink to the skin, I’m going to use a magenta transparent radial gradient for the shoulders, elbow, cheeks and lips, set to Blending Mode Soft Light and Opacity 60%. Once done, add to the Clipping Mask group.
When rendering skin, I’m always adding more and more shapes to the Clipping Mask group to either adjust contrast or to make it smoother. So I’m going to add more contrast by adding a darker transparent radial gradient (C=55, M=60, Y=65, K=40) set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 30%.
To add more contrast, I’m going to add further highlights to the face. These are done with the skin base color transparent radial gradient and set to Blending Mode Screen and Opacity 50%. The key to creating this monochrome style skin shading is to be using very similar skin colors and taking advantage of Blending Modes Multiply and Screen. These Blending Modes darken and lighten a shape on top of another by adding white and black to the transparency of the shape. This technique can be recreated with other colors and even just using the one or two colors in your palette.
Create a New Layer and rename it “Eyes." Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw two circular shapes for the iris for each eye using the clothing base color. Set these shapes to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 50%.
Then use the Ellipse Tool (L) to add the pupils with a dark brown color (C=50, M=70, Y=80, K=70) set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 50%.
Using the same dark brown, create a top eyeliner effect with the Pen Tool (P) and set to Blending Mode to Multiply and Opacity 50%.
I’m going to add a magenta eyeshadow effect using the previously created magenta transparent radial gradient. Add this to the top and bottom of the eye set to Blending Mode Color Burn, Opacity 100%.
Create a New Layer and rename it “Hair." Now that I have the basics of the eyes, I’m going to begin drawing the hair. I’ll be using my Width Profile brushes from a previous tutorial for the sketching and detailing.
First, I’m going to sketch the boundary to where the skull is and an area of the portrait I need to cover.
Then I’m doing to reduce the Opacity of the sketch and add a further sketch on top, using the more transparent sketch as a guide.
Using the sketches as a base, I’m going to draw sections of hair for the outline using a thicker stroke weight (8pt) and using the Width Profile 1 brush. I’m going to use the Paintbrush Tool (B), as this will create more “organic" lines. I’m going to use a dark brown shade for the stroke color (C=55, M=60, Y=65, K=60).
Select All of the lines (Command + A) and then go to Object > Expand Object > Expand Appearance to turn the lines into shapes. Use Pathfinder > Unite to make them one shape.
Then use the Live Paint Bucket (K) to fill in the gaps. Use the Pathfinder > Unite option to make it one shape.
Create a New Layer below the “Bases" layer folder and rename it “Hair Back." Within this layer draw the hair behind the body/face with a darker hair color (C=55, M=60, Y=65, K=60).
I’m going to give the hair a little more volume by adding another section of hair within the “Hair" layer folder. Then use Pathfinder > Unite to add it to the original shape.
Build up further details of the hair by adding thinner stroke weights around the outside of the hair base. The first strokes are set to 2pt.
Then add even finer details with a 1pt stroke weight.
Back in the “Eyes" layer folder, I’m going to use the same Stroke Weight, brush and color to add the eyebrows to the portrait. These are set to Blending Mode Normal and Opacity 30%.
I’m going to add eyelashes using the same brush and color, however with a Stroke Weight of 0.5pt set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 50%.
Create a New Layer below the “Hair" layer folder and rename it “Line Art." I’m going to draw 1pt lines using the Width Profile 1 brush round areas of the illustration. This is to add to the style I’m aiming for and to also make the boundaries of the image a lot clearer. These lines will use a dark brown color (C=55, M=60, Y=65, K=60) set to Blending Mode Multiply and Opacity 50%.
I’m going to use a white transparent radial gradient to add further highlights to the face. These are set to Opacity 50%.
I’m going to begin adding the shoe elements to the illustration. I’ll be using stock again from Tasastock for references for the shoes. You can find the stock in these places:
I’m going to Crop them in Photoshop (C) and then vector each one; however, I will show you how to vector the most complex one so you know how to do them.
I’m going to use the Ankle Boots reference image for the example. Start out with a New document, as you did at the beginning of this tutorial with folders for a transparent Rectangle (M) and a folder for the actual vector as shown below.
Use the blue clothing base to draw the whole of the shoe and then use Pathfinder > Minus Front to remove the shapes from the boot so you’re left with a chunky outline and heel.
Treat each portion that overlaps on the boots as a new section. So with the straps going across the boots, I’ve repeated the same process as Step 27 and the same with the loops on the straps.
I’m going to use the Live Paint Bucket (K) to fill in the shapes. I find it easier to use this method if you’re experimenting with colors as it’s quicker to change colors with a click, rather than selecting a shape and refilling.
I’m going to add highlights to the boots by using a lighter blue color (C=32, M=2, Y=17, K=0) set to Blending Mode Screen and Opacity 50%.
Add the shapes for the buckles last and the highlights using the same process as the rest of the boot.
Repeat the same process for each of the shoes in their own file. This will make it easier to use them again in the future.
Back to the main illustration, Create a New Layer above the “BG" layer folder and rename it “Shoes." I’m going to Copy (Command + C) and Paste (Command + V) the shoes onto the canvas. Use the Free Transform Tool (E) to rotate and resize the shoes into position.
Create a New Layer below the “Shoes" layer folder and rename it “Dream". Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw an even circle by holding down Alt + Shift, with a Stroke Weight of 4pt.
Double-click on the Bloat Tool on the Toolbar and you’ll get the options to edit it. Modify it as shown:
And then use the Bloat Tool to add circles to the outside of the circle to give a cloud/dream effect.
I’m going to alter the Bloat Tool options again to decrease the Width and Height to 30pt to add further circles to the outside of the shape.
Then I’m going to go into the Stroke options to change the stroke to Align Stroke to Outside.
Now fill the shape with white, then go to Effects > Stylize > Inner Glow and use the below options with the Mode Color set to light blue (used to highlight the shoes).
I’m then going to add an Outer Glow by going to Effects > Stylize > Outer glow with the darker blue.
Add the effect you’ve created to the shape into the Graphic Styles palette so you can use this again to add circles with the Ellipse Tool (L) around the dream bubble.
I’m going to exaggerate the dream effect by adding a trail of bubbles to her thoughts. I’m going to Create a New Layer above the “Hair" layer folder and rename it “Dream Front." In this I’ll add two circles with our graphic style on, as the shapes or the Outer Glow effect may overlap onto the hair. Then back into the “Dream" layer folder I’ll add another circle, which will overlap onto the dream itself.
I want the shoes to stand out more, so I’m going to add an outline around the shoes. To do this quickly and as accurate as possible, duplicate the shoes. Then Object > Expand them until all the Live Paint effects have been removed. Use Pathfinder > Unite to make them whole shapes.
I’m going to add a 0.5pt dark brown Stroke around the shapes and set this to Blending Mode Multiply with 50% Opacity. This is because I want these lines to be of the same style to the ones on the girl.
Now I’m going to add further detailing with line art on the shoes with the Paintbrush Tool and the Width Profile 1 brush using the same settings.
I want the clothing to reflect the same style of line art; however, if you use the Transparency options to modify the Opacity and Blending Modes, this will affect the fill color also. So to only affect the stroke, go into the Appearance panel and drill down into the Stroke. You’ll be able to modify the Opacity and Blending Mode from here to reflect the rest of the illustration.
As the skin shading is overlapping onto the clothing, I’m going to add a line along the chest/clothing area with the same style. You need to remember these little lines, otherwise it may look out of place to the annoyance of your viewer (who might not be able to see why it looks odd!).
Go into the “BG" layer folder and modify the white rectangle to reflect the same style of the illustration. I’ve used an inside and outside aligned stroke to mimic the dream style line art and the brown style line art, as shown below in the Appearance panel.
For the final alternations to the illustration, I’m going to add a light reflection on the eyes with two white filled circles using the Ellipse Tool (L). These will be set to 50% Opacity.
And finally, like all my illustrations with people in, I add a variety of moles on the face and body with the Ellipse Tool and using the color of the line art. These will be set to Blending Mode Multiply and 50% Opacity.
By exaggerating a scenario and keeping an eye on body language you can successfully put together a similar lifestyle illustration. Using a mixture of styles can help the viewer see the clear difference between a dream and reality and help them focus on the illustration in the parts required.
When the viewer looks at this illustration, they will be drawn to the female character first, then they will often follow their eyes to what they are looking at – in this case the shoes. They then see the whole illustration and can clearly see it is a daydream.