Portraiture is something done in all mediums, each with their own benefits that can help you achieve a certain aesthetic. There’s no right way to go about creating your image, this is just a brief walkthrough of how I create my own work.
- Step 1. I start with a reference photograph that I will “trace” around and sample the colors of shapes (called objects in Illustrator) from that image.
- Step 2. Then I do solid colors of hair, skin and clothes.
- Step 3. Usually I’ll complete the eyes (and teeth if applicable) all at once, group them together and leave them on their own layer.
- Step 4. I Add the light and dark tones and shades according to areas of value from the reference photograph.
- Step 5. Then add the lighter and darker tones and shades according to values to help refine detail and shape.
- Step 6. I often put in hints of a darker shade in to create finer detail where the darkest shade for that area doesn’t push it back enough.
- Step 7. Repeat the process for facial hair, earrings and whatever extras there may be. Normally I leave the clothes till last and keep them very simple.
For the TriCube Media team pictures, I added in some elements in so that the clothes aren’t completely cut off and to tie it into our TriCube theme.
One last thing, There are two basic ways I make objects and I need a combination of them to do these images. One is basic, the Pen Tool, located in the side tool bar, which makes the objects you draw as shown in the top half. However, if you want to make a shade the edge of your object you would have try to match the edges of the shapes as best as you can, but thankfully there’s a great tool to assist in this arguous task! The Divide tool in the Pathfinder acts as a cookie cutter between two shapes, as shown in the bottom half. I duplicate the main object and Divide it with the line to create a new object with the same edges as the original.
As some parts, such as hair, tend to be long and monotonous to work with I like to jump around between steps. For the skin tones I try to keep the object shapes organic looking and keep the edges smooth. Before starting portraiture in the vector medium I did some research on different approaches and found some great inspiration on http://www.illustratorworld.com and of course http://browse.deviantart.com/digitalart/vector/portraits/