‘Thinking of You’ – working in Adobe Illustrator

As a beginner level user of Illustrator I had only really developed a  few ways of creating illustrations within the program, mainly those taught to me by friends. As I started working on the card design I went about it in the same way as I already knew, and discovered this wasn’t producing the results I wanted.

My starting method was to take the scan of the girl with the pie and using Photoshop to make the colours cleaner (i.e. the black black and the white, white) I selected the shadows and then dragged and dropped the girl into Illustrator. From there I would use Image trace to turn the image into a vector based image, and begin adding colours from there.

Girl Illustration created using Image Trace

Girl Illustration created using Image Trace

However this time I felt like the Image trace had not achieved the look I’d hoped for. The girl had lost some of the character from the original drawing. So I began to think about other ways of approaching creating the same character in Illustrator.

I had previously discovered a website which offered vector graphic tutorials. Looking at posts on the site I discovered a post in which someone suggested taking your drawing and adding it as a layer into Illustrator, dropping the opacity and on a layer on top effectively tracing your drawing using the pen tool. In the process of tracing the drawing using the pen tool one would be creating a vector drawing that could make  working on the illustration in the program easier.  Here’s a link to the mentioned tutorial:


So that’s what I began to do, here’s an early design using that method:

Girl with pie version one

Unfortunately I hadn’t created the vector drawing with much thought as to how the coloring would work afterwards and discovered that as I hadn’t created the drawing as distinct shapes( i.e. one shape for one section of hair, a shape for an arm etc), when I began coloring certain areas coloured which I didn’t want to.

So I redrew the girl this time making the shapes clear and large enough to overlap, in the hope that based on how I layered them the coloring would work.  This version was mainly successful:

'Who ate all the Pies v2'

‘Who ate all the Pies v2’

'Who ate all the pies v1'

‘Who ate all the pies v1’

You’ll notice from the two images above I also worked on creating a repeating pattern from the pie illustration. Again this required learning how to generate a pattern in Illustrator and I found out how to do so following a post from Adobe’s online magazine ‘Inspire’. See the link to the post below:



At this point I think I need to make decisions on a final version of this card, and decide if I want to generate two versions from it as part of my 3 finished cards. I also am aware I need to do this swiftly to allow myself time to create a third design. I’m also wondering how I will work on what the inside of the cards say and how to get the designs in a printable format…


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