Creating Vector Outlines from Photos for Silkscreen
99
2
0
Published:
  • Add to Collection
  • Tools Used
  • About

    About

    T-shirt design to be silkscreened in spot colors requires vector outline artwork. Many times only a photo is available and must be converted to v… Read More
    T-shirt design to be silkscreened in spot colors requires vector outline artwork. Many times only a photo is available and must be converted to vector outlines before it can be printed. Other times, a photo may be used as a template to draw by. Read Less
    Published:
I was given this stock photo of happy, diverse teenagers (left) by Enviromedia, who had been featuring it in collateral materials for their "Smoking Costs" campaign. As the campaign had a low budget, they wanted a t-shirt that could be printed in two spot colors (black and cyan) on a white shirt and did not want me to spend a lot of time creating the design. I converted the photo to high contrast and did an Auto-Trace in Illustrator to create the vector outlines. With a little cleaning up and text added in a teen-friendly font, it was ready to print in no time!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Steps 1 through 6 above show how I started with an organic texture and converted it to vector outlines for this 3-color silkscreen t-shirt design.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
During my research for Crystal Flavola's "Automatic Monkey" CD cover, I found out that I was not the only one that was freaked out as a child by this cymbal-clanging monkey! I used the photo on the right as a template to create the vector drawing on the left. I added a cigar and emphasized his crazy eyes.
 
 
I then output a film positive of the vector artwork, exposed a silkscreen, and hand-printed soft vintage 
t-shirts for a hand-made, organic look and feel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I created this vector illustration for a silkscreened t-shirt. For a template, I used a photo I shot of my husband's guitar.







 
 
"FREEZE!" I told my friend as I whipped out my camera. "Those shadows on your face look so cool!"
Using the photo as a template to trace in Illustrator, I simplifed the design for this 6-color silkscreened
t-shirt. 









 
I kludged together the hat from the previous photo with a guitar and a shot of Barton Springs to use as a template for this version of the KGSR Summer T-shirt. (I actually prefer the simplified version, but am using this one as a sample since it features a more detailed wireframe view.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I find that creating a drawing by hand, then scanning it to use as a template to draw by in Illustrator gives me a more fluid, organic quality of line than drawing with the mouse using a photo as a template. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Final artwork for KGSR T-shirt 2003
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I created the 3D gyroscope on the left in After Efects, then exported it as a PSD file to use as a template to trace in Illustrator for the vector version on the left.