Posts Categorized: Design

Two Approaches to Illustrating in A.I.

Depending on training, workflow and expertise, different designers have different ways to do illustrations in Adobe Illustrator. The great thing is, it allows for many different preferences to fit every artist’s style.

When I am illustrating, it usually comes down to two methods, finished work by hand, or hand sketched idea that I finish in AI. Here’s an example of both that I did yesterday:



Here’s a scan of two different apes. The top one is a pencil sketch that’s pretty much finished.



I use AI’s helpful LiveTrace feature to quickly vectorize it. It has some rough edges, but that’s the look I was going for.



Now that it’s vector, I can fix things like his eyes and hair. He didn’t look gorilla-like enough for me, so I pulled up his forehead. If I had done this with a pencil drawing, it would have involved a lot of erasing.



Five minutes later, I’m done with a the illustration. The longest part was drawing him out on paper. Unlike the second one….



Placing my original scan, I trace him with the Pen Tool (in pink, so it stands out).



Then I delete the scan, change it to black, and start giving some personality to those lines.




I add some detail, and make sure it all makes sense.



Twenty minutes later, he’s done. This one was much quicker to do before I scanned him, but took more time for experimentation and tweaking once it was traced. You can see more examples of this in the logo design section of

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The Recycle Symbol: Can You Use It In a Logo?

This issue came up recently when working with a customer that does roof insulating. He wanted to communicate that he uses only recycled materials, and wanted a recycling symbol in his logo. I provided him with concepts that included some circular arrow designs, keeping it abstract, because I was reluctant to use the actual symbol. It somehow felt dirty to me to use such a commonly known symbol in his branding. I feel the same way about the dollar sign (which they also wanted, but I convinced them otherwise).

Turns out, I didn’t need to be too worried. The recycling symbol is in the public domain, which means its available for anyone to use freely for any purpose. It is not trademarked. Local laws may restrict its use if its used deceptively, but otherwise its fair game to use in a logo.

I still try not to use it, because I don’t really like the way it looks incorporated into my design. I much prefer to use my own variation of it. But if the customer really has to have it, I’ll incorporate it. What do you guys think?

It’s always best to take the customer’s request, and get creative with it, so you’re not infringing on any copyright or going back to the same old design ideas. Clients want a graphic design company that will take their ideas and run with it!

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