Digital Illustration: Creativity, Style and Efficiency in Adobe Illustrator

Chris Leavens, Vector Illustrator and Artist

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27 Videos (2h 43m)
    • Trailer

    • Intro and Gathering References

    • Getting First Ideas on Paper

    • Breaking Your Routine

    • Reference Sketch Part 1

    • Reference Sketch Part 2

    • Critiquing and Annotating the Sketch

    • Setting up Your Document

    • Blocking In Shapes

    • Appearnce Panel Overview

    • Pen Tool Tips and Blocking Adjustments

    • Layering in Illustrator

    • Setting Swatches and Graphic Styles

    • Drawing Inside Objects

    • Dealing with Draw Inside Mode's Funky Behavior

    • More Masking!

    • Drawing Basic Details

    • Adding Details Using Strokes and Custom Brushes

    • Making Sure Composition and Color Tell a Story

    • Adding in Finer Detail 1

    • Adding in Finer Detail 2

    • Suggesting Volume with Subtle Gradients

    • Creating Interior Shading

    • Creating Cast Shadows

    • Homespun Vector Textures Part 1

    • Homespun Vector Textures Part 2

    • Exporting and Parting Words


About This Class

I am an illustrator who has been creating artwork professionally for fifteen years. Throughout my career, I have assembled an arsenal of techniques to help improve my creativity, efficiency and style as an illustrator.

I create my work in Adobe Illustrator from start to finish... and I am going to walk you through my creation process. Illustrator is an incredible tool to use to develop yourself as an artist, and by following along with my process, you will develop a more grounded, organized and efficient way of working. I take full advantage of my computer's resources to execute my vision.

What You'll Learn

You will learn vector-based illustration using Adobe Illustrator's most essential tools. I will help you hone in on a whimsical illustration style. We'll cover:

  • Generating ideas. I will encourage you to go somewhere you are inspired by to collect imagery and resources.
  • Reference sketching. We will compile your inspiration into reference sketches for your illustration.
  • Blocking in your shapes in Illustrator. You will start your illustration by blocking in shapes and colors, suggesting the composition of your piece.
  • Vector drawing. We will begin by drawing in your characters and working with the shapes.
  • Layer and label organization. I will share with you best practices in organizing your layers and labels to maximize your workflow.
  • Masking. I will show you how to use masks to make a complex illustration more manageable.
  • Shading & volumizing. You will bring your sketch to life with sketching and volumizing teachniques.

What You'll Do

You will Illustrate your favorite scene, and will finish the class with a final illustration piece created entirely in Adobe Illustrator. I will teach you how to develop a whimsical illustration out of real-life inspiration. You will develop your scene and characters using rendering techniques in Illustrator. By completing this project, you will walk through every tool necessary for an efficient and creative illustration process. This will hone in on your design skill, and you will notice a great improvement in your work.

289 of 292 students recommendSee All

I love skillshare .....They give us the whole process step by step with the most friendly manner. <3
This was AWESOME! Learned some working methods that totally blew my mind as well as a few really great organizational tools. It's so amazing to actually see an artist working on their own work; super helpful knowing not just the skills, but HOW you can actually apply them. Double thumbs up.
This is the best Illustrator class I have ever done. The instructions are clear and the techniques and tips incredibly practical and useful. Even if you feel you've got a good handle on Illustrator I would recommend this class. I've been introduced to using Illustrator in ways I had never thought of before.





Chris Leavens

Vector Illustrator and Artist

I create story-rich artwork, surreal landscapes filled with bizarre monsters and fantastical characters. Heavily inspired by the outdoors, I bend the beauty of the natural world through a prism of humor and absurdity, resulting in whimsically-twisted, highly-imaginative images. I use a variety of media to create my work, but I'm best known for my colorful, detailed vector illustrations. My art has appeared in art galleries, computer games, books, magazines, TV shows, and feature films and I've written contributions for numerous vector-art publications, including Sharon Streuer's excellent "Adobe Illustrator CS5 Wow! Book".

I am currently a senior digital designer at Disney Publishing Worldwide.