Adobe Illustrator Daily Creative Challenge
*** NOTE ***
As Behance is more of a visual portfolio site, the descriptions are placed here in the meantime to help document the Challenge process, and will be removed when my personal blog is up and running.
***
Adobe Illustrator
Daily Creative Challenge
GETTING STARTED
Aside from doing a Lynda.com Introduction to Adobe Illustrator CC course in March of 2017, I’d never used Adobe Illustrator before, admittedly being intimidated by the emphasis on the pen tool, and didn’t pick it up again, until March of this year when attempting another Lynda.com course to dust off the cobwebs and start my own creator/freelancer website.

Luckily, the Adobe Creative Cloud - Daily Creative Challenge appeared in my YouTube feed at the perfect time with the introductory theme being something I had just practised a month ago.

Serendipity is a wonderful thing.

The challenge was hosted by Kathleen Illustrated, with support from Michael Chaize and Leigh Cooper. The goal was to create 7 illustrations by April 21st.

As these were my first attempts at creating any independent pieces in Adobe Illustrator much of the challenge was an exercise in trial-and error – but that was primarily the point, to learn to use the program, so here goes…

Each days challenge usually consists of 3 parts, the demo, exploration of the task, and a personal application (additional challenge) or refinement of the exploratory piece.

****NOTE***
RPC indicates a piece was conceptualised during the challenge but only executed once the challenge had come to an end.
THE CHALLENGE
BLAST OFF
Monday (09 April 2018) DAY #0
Create a rocket ship or any object for the theme “space” and get setup on Behance.
TOOLS/PROCESS  DEMONSTRATED: Illustrator document setup; Workspace introduction; Smart guides; Shapes panel; Selection Tool; Pathfinder tool; Shape Builder tool; Corner widgets; Direct Selection tool; Object Transform – Reflect option; Stroke adjustments; Adding colour; Exporting a Selection for web; Creating a project and uploading to Behance
2. ROCKET ATTEMPT (EXPLORATION) (PERSONAL APPLICATION)
Applying what was learned to something open to my own interpretation was a challenge, but not as hard as you might imagine. It all fell into place eventually.
3. ROCKET (REFINED)
After the first week’s challenges I looked back and felt the rocket needed just a little bit more work before it could be called finished.
TIME ON CHALLENGE: 6 hours
FAST FOOD
Tuesday (10 April 2018) DAY #1
Create a fast food inspired Illustration using Adobe Illustrator CC.
TOOLS/PROCESS DEMONSTRATED: Shapes panel; Changing Workspaces; Smart Corner widgets; Pathfinder tool Trim option; Line Segment tool; Distort & Transform Effect – ZigZag option; Stroke options; Eyedropper tool; Quick Export Selection; Updating an existing Behance Project.
2. MENU DISPLAY & SIMPLIFICATION (EXPLORATION)
This was a lot harder than I expected, with tons of experimentation I eventually created this “menu” image which I was at least satisfied with.

I really wasn’t happy with the menu image, it was way too busy and just had too much going on with the textures and the angular border. So tried simplifying the items to hold the image together.
3. A SMOOTHER 3D LOOK &.TEXTURED GRADIENTS (PERSONAL APPLICATION)
The menu image still looked much too busy, so tried out a new background, and added some shadows & a smooth gradient to give a more three-dimensional look. All the trial and error is starting to pay off.

Figured I’d try adding textures back in again now that I have a look I’m happy with.
6. DRINK ICON (PERSONAL APPLICATION)
A fizzy drink at the cinema is one of the best things about watching a movie. The drink was my favourite design of the food challenge from the very start, it deserves it’s own special icon.
TIME ON CHALLENGE: 19 hours
ANIMAL COMPANIONS
Wednesday (11 April 2018) DAY #2
Build your own animal companion icon using simple shapes in Illustrator CC.
TOOLS/PROCESS  DEMONSTRATED: Polygon tool; Side Slider; Direct Selection tool; Object Transform – Reflect option; Curvature tool; Editing Colour – Recolour Artwork tool
(2) DEMO MORPHED LION HEAD (EXPLORATION)
I loved learning how to manipulate colours easily, so had to see what more could be done with the cats from the demo. After adding and adjusting more and more elements, the icon began to take on a life of it’s own.
I’ve always wanted to try drawing a lion’s head so after a whole lot of tweaking had already been done… figured why not just take this opportunity and see how far I can take it.

After working on the other project themes, and spending some time away from the image, I really didn’t like the end result of the morphed demo cat. It looks like a maladjusted hairy tennis ball.
(RPC) 3. STYLISED LION (Personal Application)
Decided to create a new icon using reference to reshape the head to resemble that of the actual animal, and simplify the mane.
(3) Character Roughs & Shape Blocking
(RPC) 3. ANIMAL FAMILY PORTRAIT (PERSONAL APPLICATION)
I attempted to create a unified look to the distinct ­­­­characters, using similar rounded shapes and features­­, as well as colour and gradient overlays.

This was my original idea when the challenge was issued, but I let the lion become the focus due to a lack of structure in my workflow during the first week of the challenge.
TIME ON CHALLENGE: 38 Hours
SPORTS
Thursday (12 April 2018) DAY #3
Design an icon of your favourite sport with Adobe Illustrator CC.
1. DEMO BASEBALL & BAT (Kathleen's Adobe Live VIDEO)
TOOLS/PROCESS  DEMONSTRATED: Pen tool; Shapes panel; Curvature tool; Stroke options – Dashed Line; Making a Group; Making a Clipping Mask
2. BRUSHED BRAINSTORM ATTEMPT & ICON BUILD ELEMENTS (EXPLORATION)
Tried brainstorming a few sports using the Brush tool, but this is much more time consuming than doing the same in Photoshop as each stroke is turned into a closed path or an independent line which creates a really cluttered work-space.

I wouldn’t advise using such a technique in Illustrator. It’s counter productive if you want to minimise the number of elements you use in creating artwork, and save time – the shapes panel is much more effective in Illustrator.
**It seems the blob brush solves this problem and makes it easy to block in random shapes as a single object, and not independent line elements.**
Should be great for roughing out ideas and speeding up the process.

Learned to Make Use of the Smoothing tool in crafting the interlocking spirals.
(RPC) 3. HAPKIDO ICON (PERSONAL APPLICATION)
Hapkido – “The Way of Coordinating Energy” or “The Way of Coordinated Power”
HAP: coordinated / joining
KI: internal energy / spirit / strength / power
DO: way / art
Used different brush styles for each type of script and let that determine the look and feel of each render.
TIME ON CHALLENGE:  15 Hours
CAMPING
Friday (13 April 2018) DAY #4
Build your camping “must-haves” using simple shapes in Adobe Illustrator CC.
1. DEMO COMPASS (Kathleen's Adobe Live VIDEO)
TOOLS/PROCESS  DEMONSTRATED: Shapes panel & Smart Guides, Rotate tool; Live Paint Bucket tool
2. B&W & COLOUR ICONS (EXPLORATION & personal application)
This ended up being much more of an ambitious idea for a first attempt than I had expected, especially the tent, boots and backpack. Still 20 items isn’t a bad introduction to creating a themed set.
(RPC) 3. LIVE FREE!! (PERSONAL APPLICATION)
As a reward for participation in the challenge Adobe gifted participants with 10 free custom die cut vinyl stickers. I decided to put this together as a reminder to put the pen down and get out to enjoy the elements while we’re still able to.
TIME ON CHALLENGE: 20 Hours
FRUIT
Monday (16 April 2018) DAY #5
Design your favourite fruit using simple tools in Adobe Illustrator CC.
1. DEMO MANGOES (Kathleen's Adobe Live VIDEO)
TOOLS/PROCESS  DEMONSTRATED: Shapes panel; Gradient tool; Gradient Adjustment options; Object Arrange options; Blob brush; Curvature tool; Stroke options; Scissor tool; Uploading to Behance
2. SUNSET MANGOES (EXPLORATION)
I wanted to see what the demo would look like with some shadows and a bit more detail added in as well.
Used the gradient tool for all colouring and a feather effect on the shadows.
(3) SHAPE BUILDING AND COLOUR SELECTION
(RPC) 3. FRUIT "STILL LIFE" (PERSONAL APPLICATION)
An attempt at using layered shapes and the clipping mask to create patterns and textures.
TIME ON CHALLENGE: 11 Hours
Cityscape
Tuesday (17 April 2018) DAY #6
Show your favourite city by designing a simple skyline using Adobe Illustrator CC.
1. DEMO SHAPES & TRIAL BUILDING RENDERS (Kathleen's Adobe Live VIDEO)
TOOLS/PROCESS  DEMONSTRATED: Curvature tool; Smart Corner widget; Direct Selection tool; Align Panel options; Shape Builder tool; Pathfinder Panel options; Exporting Assets; Engaging with Behance community

Used the demo models to create 3 original building icons. (EXPLORATION)
(2) REFERENCE ICON SET
Made use of some ink & pencil drafts I created before to use as reference.
A library of ideas is always useful.
(RPC) 3. CITYSCAPE (PERSONAL APPLICATION - In Progress)
TIME ON CHALLENGE: 5 Hours
UNDER THE SEA
Wednesday (18 April 2018) DAY #7
Create an Aquatic Illustration using Adobe Illustrator CC.
TOOLS/PROCESS  DEMONSTRATED: Shape tools; Anchor Point tool; Shape Builder tool; Knife tool; Scissors tool;  Stroke options; Exporting Assets

The anchor point tool would have been handy when making the windows and door for the blue building in the Trial Render of Challenge #6 CITYSCAPE.
Took ages trying to get the shape right.
2. DISNEY'S THE LITTLE MERMAID TRIBUTE (EXPLORATION & PERSONAL APPLICATION)
Those 3 words will always bring the song to mind, a more fitting tribute would probably have been Sebastian. I think this also qualifies as my first ever piece of completed fan art.


Learned how to block in backgrounds, and build a scene – a bit of drawing/painting theory taking over the process.

TIME ON CHALLENGE: 13 Hours
MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
Thursday (19 April 2018) DAY #8
Create your favourite musical instrument with Adobe Illustrator CC.
1. & 2. B&W GUITAR CONSTRUCTION KIT and COLOUR EXPANSION (Kathleen's Adobe Live VIDEO)
TOOLS/PROCESS  DEMONSTRATED: Layer options; Shape tools; Align options; Colour Panel; Stroke options; Brushes Panel options; Texture; Adobe Portfolio; Community Appreciation & Review
(EXPLORATION)
Tried some layout design; ended up spending a lot of time on an elaborate background for the colour image incorporating patterns, colour and black & white, but it didn't work at all when the guitar was put back in – scrapped it completely and just kept the colour spiral– one for the experience bank.

***WARNING***
When using tools under the Effects menu make all colour adjustments, and changes before taking the piece to completion in case you have to ‘rasterize’ objects. This flattens the image locking in the colours/ shape/ layout/ object count – once this is done, you cannot make any further changes to the base object.

This can be problematic if you’ve begun the project in greyscale or would like to apply additional Effect options later without having your image distort. I stumbled into this problem with the guitar neck and head for the colour render. If anyone knows of a work around for this please share it.
(RPC) 3. SHAPE MAPPING & DETAIL
Went in a different direction with this, as I wanted to explore the challenges in rendering a more realistic complex form.
It took 9 hours to map the shapes, with 11 more to clean them up and correctly layer them, had to use a reference to have it resemble the real structures.
Constructed them using the blob brush initially, then pen and curvature tool; before finally realising the knife, and then eraser would have gotten the job done in a fraction of the time. Ended off with the smoothing tool to get a more rounded organic feel to each shape.

Figured out how to get a look that could work using gradients and masking, but this still required a lot of time to figure out how to build up the muscle fibre textures, and flesh out the forms.
(RPC) 4. THE VOICE BOX (PERSONAL APPLICATION)
Within “the voice box”, the larynx sits on top of the windpipe. The vocal folds (vocal cords) open as you breathe, and close when swallowing and speaking. Air passes through the soft compressed folds which vibrate about 100 to 1000 times a second.
The airflow and vibrations produce sound, while muscles in the larynx determine pitch based on the length and tension in the vocal folds.

To produce your unique voice the voice box (vibrator) works in conjunction with the lungs (air flow), and throat, nose, mouth, and sinuses (resonating chambers).
All that to make a sound or utter a single a word like “hello”. Isn’t the human body amazing!?
TIME ON CHALLENGE: 50 Hours

SELFIE
Friday (20 April 2018) DAY #9
Create a Selfie using simple shapes in Adobe Illustrator CC.
1. DEMO SHAPE EFFECT OPTIONS (Kathleen's Adobe Live VIDEO )
TOOLS/PROCESS  DEMONSTRATED: Artboard Tool; Exporting Artboards; Feedback; Applying Effects:
Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat, Roughen, Twist, Zig Zag; Stylize > Scribble, Outer Glow
2. CHARACTER MODEL CONSTRUCT (EXPLORATION & PERSONAL APPLICATION)
I’ve always wanted to draw a chibi character and design an icon set around them…
I did not plan on the character being me, but c’est lá vie, we play the hand that’s dealt.

Getting the design right and figuring out the technical aspects of how it could work took half of the time trying to figure out how to build the character template so it can be changed and manipulated in the future.
3. A NEW FAVOURITE (PERSONAL APPLICATION)
I have an avatar concept!

It’s rough and needs work, but a really rewarding task to experiment with template creation.
The possibilities will be exciting to explore.
TIME ON CHALLENGE: 12 Hours
Want to watch all the challenge videos again? Check out the Daily Creative Challenge playlist on Adobe Creative Cloud’s YouTube channel.
TOTAL PROJECT TIME: 189 HOURS (ongoing)
TOTAL NUMBER OF IMAGES CREATED: 36 (1 remaining)
THE PROCESS
I started the challenge by just following along and seeing what happened, but that made week one as effective as feeding pre-schoolers candy before asking them to be quiet as you let them loose in a library.

Inspired by Thomas Kee‘s approach to the Design Creative Challenge, and a comment made by Leigh Cooper in the Slack channel, I decided to apply some drawing fundamental theory, and document the process to add some planning and structure to my workflow, and hopefully get the most out of the challenge.
COMMUNITY
See the amazing works produced by all the other creators taking part in the challenge.

Subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud’s YouTube channel to keep up with new developments and learn from professionals in the fields of multimedia, design, photography, and illustration.
MANY THANKS
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
– C.G. Jung

Thanks for checking out my 1st Illustrator and Behance project,
and best of luck in your own pursuits!
*** NOTE ***
As Behance is more of a visual portfolio site, the information provided is placed here in the meantime to help document the process, and will be moved when my own website is up and running.
***
Adobe Illustrator Daily Creative Challenge
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Adobe Illustrator Daily Creative Challenge

7 Pieces from the Daily Creative Challenge using Illustrator for 10 days in April. Getting used to using Illustrator, developing independent desi Read More
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