The Society of Illustrators http://www.soicompetitions.org/?section=competitions&competition_id=44 and CQ 18 http://www.cqjournal.com/callforentries.html, deadlines are both this Friday, October 30!


Deadline extended for CMYK

CMYK’s Top 100 New Creative Call for Entries deadline extended to October 18. http://www.cmykmag.com

…to October 12.


Illustrator tutorial videos

Below is a link to a tutorial video from Adobe TV that shows a variety of methods for creating simple imagery in Illustrator. You can find more Illustrator CS4 Getting Started tutorials here.

Getting Started: 02 Brushes and Blobs

Drawing with Flash


(Note: with CS4, the Blob Brush brings this method of drawing into Illustrator) Drawing in Flash is similar to using the brush tool in Illustrator, the difference is that Flash merges your marks together, whichever ones touch or overlap. This affords a more natural feel to the drawing process while allowing for some editing options. Plus, the artwork is vector so is scalable.

With a tablet and the Brush tool, you have the option of pressure-sensitivity.

The Brush tool paints fills while the Pencil tool draws strokes.

The brush size does not change when you zoom in or out so you can zoom in for finer line work.

Here is how I use Flash to create line work for use in a Photoshop image:

  • import your sketch to the stage (File > Import > Import to Stage).
  • deselect, click the Size button in the Properties panel and select the Contents button, this will resize your Stage to match your sketch.
  • insert a blank keyframe (Insert > Timeline > Blank Keyframe) and then click the onion skin icon below the timeline.
  • lines are merged if they touch so add additional layers to keep parts of your drawing separate.
  • when you are finished, export the file as an Illustrator file (File > Export > Image).
  • then, open this exported file in Photoshop, setting your resolution to 300ppi.

Below is the original sketch.


Creating texture

I’ve had a number of students ask me how I create the textures I use in my work. There are several ways of creating texture but here is the one I most often use.


First, I find an image to use either by scanning something in or finding an appropriate image online. This one is from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (Daguerreotype collection, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, LC-USZC4-2439).


Next, I go to the Image menu and change the Mode to Indexed Color. This allows me to limit the amount of colors within the image. I set the Palette to Local (Perceptual), set Forced to Black and White, and turn off the Dither. Then I determine how many colors the image needs in order to create an interesting texture. For this image, 7 colors separates most of the scratches from the rest of the photograph. After clicking the OK button, I switch the Mode back to RGB. This doesn’t change the color palette but just allows me to work in the RGB mode again.


Next, I choose the Magic Wand and uncheck the Anti-alias box and uncheck the Contiguous box. Then I click on the color of the texture I want to capture, in this image it’s the tan color making up most of the scratch marks. With the Contiguous box unchecked, the Magic wand captures all of the tan rather than just one contiguous section. I then copy and paste these tan pixels onto a new layer and hide the original image layer. I delete any recognizable or large areas of texture, in this case erasing Lincoln’s hands, head, and shirt as well as some of the larger texture bits.

textureprocess4 textureprocess5

Finally, I copy and paste the texture bits to thicken them up, depending on how thick I want the texture to be. I rotate the pasted texture and move these pasted areas around to make the texture appear more random. I also rotate by 90º increments in order to avoid creating any anti-alias pixels. I lock the transparent pixels on this texture layer in order to quickly change its color. Locking the transparent pixels allows me to quickly change the color of the texture by holding down the Option key and hitting Delete (to fill with the Foreground color) or holding down the Command key and hitting Delete (to fill with the Background color). You can also use the Edit>Fill command or use the Pencil or Brush tool for this step. Since the transparent pixels are locked, no new pixels can be created so painting on the layer will only change the color of the existing pixels (but keep in mind that if you use the Eraser tool, rather than erasing pixels, you will be painting them with the Background color).

So that’s it, pretty simple actually once you know the steps.

CQ18 Call for Entries

Creative Quarterly is as it says a quarterly competition. The entry fee is a measly $10. Deadline is October 30. Winners will be exhibited in CQ18, due out in February as well as at their online site (runners up will be exhibited online as well). Students and professionals are judged separately.