LOOK

In August 2020, I was commissioned as part of the Adobe Creative Residency Community Fund to create an illustration using Illustrator for iPad.
Ok, let's get started! As an avid user of the Desktop version, I was eager and excited to start working with Illustrator for iPad. I knew right away that I wanted to build off of my daily drawings (above), as I worked to experiment and get comfortable with the app.

I pretty quickly settled on building the illustration around the word look, as a nod to discovery and curiosity. Early on I was inspired by this quote:

“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” – Stephen Hawking

Let's make a word list! As I sometimes do for client work, I kicked off the project with a word list (above), including anything and everything that popped into my head. I didn't end up incorporating everything, but it definitely gave me a starting point for my sketches.

Let's sketch! With a marker! I'm not a big pencil sketch fan, but I do draw pencils a lot... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Erasing is a drag, I'm really not trying to be too perfect with anything at this point. I'd rather my sketches be weird and loose and quick, and have to draw something a few times, as opposed to refining the same drawing over and over. Just my preference!

For the purpose of a nice clean image for this process post, I brought my three pages of sketches into Illustrator Desktop for a quick Image Trace (right). It's fun seeing all these things in a loose grid, so that's another reason for digitizing my sketches.

Over to the iPad app! With my scanned sketches on a separate layer (left), I began to redraw everything. I struggled to learn how to work with the Pen and Pencil tools on the app... It took my brain a while to figure out how to wrangle with anchor points and beziers using the Apple Pencil, being so used to using a mouse on Desktop Illustrator.

Part of the reason I chose this type of illustration is the repetition. Seeing as how I would have to redraw a million drawings on the app, well then surely by the end of the project I'd feel much more comfortable with the new software. It took me a while, but it worked!

Here's an early version (right) of the illustration. I loved the ability to quickly switch between the iPad and Desktop versions, while working on the same file. 

Progress! Having fun, drawing stuff (above). With client work I always send a sketch of the illustration or composition ahead of time, so I had a good time with this project just figuring it all out as I went, and moving things around on the fly. I'm a big fan of experimenting with process, and this piece allowed me some much needed flexibility with my work, at the time.

I ended up making the piece super dense and full of stuff so to encourage your eyes to (hopefully) jump all over the place, as you look at all the different characters and things. 

I think we're there! To complete the illustration, I switched over to the Desktop app, expanded the strokes and cut out all the shapes using the Pathfinder tools. Once the colors were separated and grouped, I Rasterized them individually and then Image Traced. I do this sometimes to make the shapes feel a little less perfect and vector-y. 

For a final je ne sais quoi, I used the Multiply transparency, and nudged the colors around a bit, to simulate a bit of overprinted and mis-registration goodness. A quick sprinkle of texture was all that was left to add, again to make it feel a little less computerized.


Thanks Adobe for the opportunity! Vector fans, be on the lookout for Illustrator for iPad that should be coming soon. Applications are still open for the Adobe Creative Residency Community Fund, you should apply!
LOOK
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LOOK

An illustration commissioned as part of the Adobe Creative Residency Community Fund | Illustrator on iPad team.
60
739
4
Published:

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