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How to Create an Editorial Illustration from Sketch to Vector

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Read Time: 3 min

In today's tutorial, we'll look at how I started from a pencil sketch to then create an editorial illustration in Adobe Illustrator. I'll show you how I created some custom Art Brushes to add shading and detailing.

Step 1

We start with a basic sketch. At this stage we only take care to define the contours of the figures, without stopping to consider the lights or shadows.

Step 2

We prepare the brushes we're going to work with in the illustration. These brushes can create effects of ink, pen, engraving and other textures. Start from a circle, then using the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C) sharpen some of the anchors in corners.

Step 3

We drag each of the figures resulting to the Brushes panel. In the popup window we select the option "Art Brush"

Step 4

In the pop-up panel we use the scale to 10% in width, choose the option "Stretch to Fit Stroke Length". In Colorization we choose the Method "Hue Shift", so the strokes we make will have the color fill we choose.

Step 5

Now, we have brushes to make "ink" effects. We can create brushes of shapes and thickness as we want by adjusting the settings in the Stroke panel.

Step 6

It is always important to consider our color palette, according to temperature or "emotion" we want to see in the scene. Create color swatches and save them in the Swatches panel. This will make it easier to reference them through out the illustration.

Step 7

Using the Pen Tool (P) we began to trace the outline of the figures.

Step 8

With the brushes we created, we can draw lines that will look made with ink and brush. Paint with the Paintbrush tool (B).

Step 9

In this step, we have drawn outlines and ready to apply the color.

Step 10

We began to study light. In this case, choose a skylight that will give much drama to the scene, over on the protagonist of illustration, and illuminating the front side of approaching characters.

Step 11

We put the color base, taking samples from our color palette. It is important to have all the base color before adding light and shadow.

Step 12

We add shadows to the image, keeping in mind our light source already defined.

Step 13

We add lights to the scene, we can use the brushes we created for small details. A tip is to separate each color of each character in a different layer, being organized will help us to make changes when we want it.

Step 14

Here we have more examples of the use of light and shadow

Further examples with a different base color. I've kept the same highlight and shadow colors and not altered the base.

Step 15

For the hair of the monsters, we can use the brushes that we have created, following the guidance of the hairline and the reference of our light source.

Step 16

For the rest of the characters, we apply the same brushes, lights and shadows cast by our light source.


I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Start to sketch from pencil gives us the opportunity to plan well the scene, although the deadline sometimes forces us to sketch directly on the tablet. Enjoy the brushes!

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