A digital hand

Growing up I got talked to by my dad for the weirdest things.  One of which I now laugh at when I see my kiddo doing. Drawing on myself. In high school, I would get bored and draw on myself with a pen. A lot of the times it was random flames because come on it’s flames. They were so cool!

I doodled a lot growing up and I still do. Lately, it has been more and more though that I doodle. When I was taking online courses one of the classes I took was Illustration. I loved it.

I took an intro to digital art class at the local college and we got to use Photoshop, Illustrator, and Corel Painter. This was several, several years ago. I quite honestly don’t even recall what year but I do know that it was a fun class. That was one class that helped me understand how Adobe Illustrator worked and got me thinking more about Photoshop in different ways. I had prior experience using Photoshop since I liked working with random effects for forum signatures.

Yes, I like being on forums.

Anyway, back to what I wanted to get at. Illustrator.

If you haven’t been following me or know much about me you will see that I love to learn new things. I also love to share that knowledge when I can. A few weeks ago I set out to not only re-learn how to use Adobe Illustrator but to get better at it as well. It was a small challenge I made to myself. I completed it and did learn a lot from it as well.

One of the things I really learned was how to use the pen tool a lot better. You see, this was one of the harder things to really understand how it now only worked but what didn’t work as well. There were a few times when it felt like I should just give it up and not do it.

I made a video of me converting a drawing I had and sped it up. Overall I think the conversion took about 40 minutes. I didn’t do any audio because I’m sure you wouldn’t want to hear me randomly cursing when things didn’t go quite as expected. Hope you like.

As for my process, I simply:

  1. Sketch it out on paper
  2. Darken the lines
  3. Take a photo or scan it
  4. Convert using Illustrator.
My tools
The things I use when drawing and doing digital art.

Setting up shop

Today I got the courage to finally get the ball rolling on my shirt ideas. I’ve had these ideas for quite some time and I figure today was just the day to start.

Where

I’ve set up a Threadless shop for this. This was something I wanted to do for several years but never really got around to it. Part of that reason was I didn’t think I had the time. I also took the plunge and will be selling stickers on my personal site. I’m really looking forward to this because it lets me be more artistically creative.

That alphabet thing

The last time I posted I made a challenge. To draw out all the letters of the alphabet and convert them all to vector graphics. It was fun, it was a little hard, and it was rather educational.

The challenge was to actually create one letter per day and only use the pen tool to convert to a vector graphic. I tried hard on some but when it came time to creating circles, I had to use the ellipse tool

The other part of the challenge was to actually convert all of those in less than five days. I chose five because I am still trying to get a grasp on many of the tools and how they work.

Today I managed to finish them all.

There ya have it! It was fun for me to create all of the little creatures, characters, what-you-ma-call-its.

My alphabet challenge

The other day I shared a challenge I wanted for myself. Since then I have drawn 26 letters and had a lot of fun with it. Each letter was a slightly different character design in mind.

The cool part is I finished way ahead of what my initial goal was. I wanted to do one letter per day but instead, I plowed ahead and drew as many as I could on a given day.

The following are all the ones I drew. In the following days, I’ll be using Illustrator to convert them to vector graphics.

If you really want to follow along with it all do make sure to follow me on instagram since I’ll be posting progress pictures of it all.

My lack of drawing skills

I am not the greatest at drawing. I don’t intend to be but it would be nice to have – what I feel are – better skills when it comes to drawing. The reason I say is this is because every so often I look at my Instagram timeline and see one amazing sketch, one amazing painting, one amazing illustration, after another. It somewhat motivates me to draw more but I don’t do it. A few years back I tried to challenge myself by sketching a letter a day.

I didn’t succeed.

Clearly, I didn’t want it bad enough. Last night I was watching The Office; not the British version and I got to thinking about that challenge I made for myself.

If you haven’t been following or haven’t seen I’ve been trying to re-familiarize myself with Adobe Illustrator. You see when I took online courses for Web Design and Multimedia, and even before that, I loved to draw random things. This love of drawing began around fourth grade. What I remember was one kid drew something on his book cover and got in trouble. Quite honestly, I don’t fully recall why but I do recall it wasn’t allowed.

Fifth-grade rolls around and I am drawing on the paper bag covers of my books. History, math, science, and the occasional piece of paper were my mental release of creativity – or lack thereof.

So, back to The Office reference!

I reached the point in the series where Pam goes to New York to pursue her art. This hit me really hard because just hours prior I was talking to Jamie about me wanting to do more Illustrator-esque things because I want to challenge myself. It’s become more of a need now than want.

I’m not failing this time around.

The challenge

So, the challenge is simple. Draw one letter of the alphabet but use it as a character. That means 26 letters, 26 characters in total. Sounds simple enough and not much of a challenge, right?

That will be the easy part. The actual challenge will be turning those to vector graphics in one week using only the pen tool.

Starting Monday, May 22nd I will begin to draw one character per day. but if I can do more even better; I will be posting it on Instagram and once I’m done with the alphabet, the following day I will give myself 5 days to complete the Illustrator work.

This will be good.