Placed Monster

This is the third part of my tutorial on how I create an illustration in Adobe Illustrator.

I have placed the file and am ready to start with the pen tool. When I placed the file, I checked the “template” option within the place dialog box. This allows the image to come in dimmed and locked. It treats the image as if  I’m tracing it on a light box.

Many people skip this step and just start drawing in the program. Perhaps that would be fine if I used a Wacom Cintiq or a touch screen to draw, but even then, I would probably draw the image by hand first. This allows me to get a feel for the third dimension when I draw. Yes, my illustration is two dimension and my paper is flat. But what I mean is I want to be able to see the figure as a 3D object. It is easier for me to see how the head fits on the body if I can get a solid drawing together first. I have yet to see how to build the foundation on the computer. But if you’re willing to send a Cintiq my way, I’d be happy to give it a try!

All my computer drawing is done on a Wacom Intuos 3. I’ve had Wacom tablets for the last fifteen years, and I would not part with them. They make drawing easier on the computer, even if I’m using the pen tool. I thank one of my art professors for teaching me how to make a blind contour drawing. At the time, I thought she was nuts. She asked us to look only at the subject we were drawing and not look at the paper. At first, I couldn’t understand how that would work. Of course you have to look at your paper! Her aim was to make us really see what we were drawing. Several years later, it had the added benefit of helping me adjust to drawing on a Wacom tablet while looking at a screen.

If you are having problems using a drawing tablet with your computer, I’d encourage you to try some blind contour drawing.

Now that I have my drawing placed, and my drawing tablet ready, I’ll outline the shapes in Illustrator. See you then.

Author: Kevin Spear

I am a marketing professional with a design flair, based in Clayton, Ohio. I specialize in digital and content marketing that increases brand awareness for small businesses and nonprofits.