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 BusinessLogos.com.