From Sketch to Vector: Digitize Your Sketches With The Shape Builder Tool in Adobe Illustrator | Di Ujdi | Skillshare

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From Sketch to Vector: Digitize Your Sketches With The Shape Builder Tool in Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar Di Ujdi, Illustrator & Art Explorer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Shape Builder Tool Basics

    • 4. Adjusting Your Sketches

    • 5. Vectorizing Your Images

    • 6. Shape Builder Tool Magic

    • 7. Thank you

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About This Class

In this class you will learn how to:

  • Prepare your sketches for the shape builder tool technique
  • Vectorize your images in Adobe Illustrator and adjust them
  • Convert your sketches into digital illustrations using the shape builder tool

Also, if you are a beginner, don’t worry, this is a step by step guide and you’ll be able to learn and follow along with just the basic knowledge of Adobe Illustrator.

By the end of this class, you’ll be ready to make your hand-drawn sketches come to “a digital” life in just a few steps.


Meet Your Teacher

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Di Ujdi

Illustrator & Art Explorer

Top Teacher

Hey! I'm Nina, even though most people know me by my artistic name Di Ujdi. I'm an illustrator and surface pattern designer.

With a big love for all things floral and natural, I enjoy depicting the world in a colorful, fun, and naive way. As an artist, I’m known for stylized illustrations and bold floral patterns. Besides spending time reimagining the world and finding new color palettes, I’m also proud to be a Skillshare top teacher and share my knowledge and passion with others. 

I was instantly drawn to Skillshare and its wonderful community. My biggest wish is to get to know more of you, share what I learned, and continue learning.

I hope I can encourage you and help you out on your creative jo... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hey. My name is Nina. Even though most people know me by my artistic name, Dewit. In this class, I will show you the magic of Illustrator's Shape Builder tool when it comes to vectorizing your sketches. This class will be perfect for you if you do not own a drawing tablet, but want to preserve your hand-drawn shapes when converting them into digital illustrations. Or you want to learn a new skill and use it and combine it with other methods, you use or even vectorizing your sketches. Please note that the Shape Builder tool works best with more simple drawings and can be a bit limiting when it comes to more complex drawings. Also this class is beginner friendly, so if you have just the basic knowledge of Adobe Illustrator, just find and you will be able to follow along the step by step guide. By the end of this class, you will have the essential knowledge of the Shape Builder tool when it comes to converting your sketches to digital illustrations. From preparing your drawings to playing around in Adobe Illustrator and having finished digital illustrations. You'll be ready to make your hand drawings come to digital life in just a few steps. 2. Class Project: For this project, we will be drawing houseplants in pots and vases. All you need is a paper and pen for sketching, an ink pen to outline your final sketches, and Adobe Illustrator to vectorize them. Also in the class resources, I will share my vectorized sketches so you can use them, practice, and just start the process. Of course, you can make your own drawings and create your own unique houseplants. Remember to enjoy and learn, and share your projects. What really makes me happy is seeing what you create. Let's inspire each other. 3. Shape Builder Tool Basics: Shape Builder Tool is one of my favorite tools in Adobe Illustrator because it gives you so many different options. I will quickly cover the basics so you can have a bigger picture in mind before starting your project. With the Shape Builder Tool, you can combine and edit multiple shapes to create new ones. Let's take a look at the first example. I just created two simple circles and overlapped them. All we need to do is select the objects we want to use with the Shape Builder Tool. We can access the Shape Builder Tool from the toolbar. It's right here. Or, we can use the shortcut, Shift App. Now, you can see a little plus appears. When we hold it over our objects, it will basically see the three different objects. What we can do, we can click in the middle and create three objects from these objects, or we can maybe combine them into one. Just click and drag. It will be one object. Or, we can delete the object. Just click Alt and hold it, and click. Now you have two shapes that you created. Now, let's take a look at the second example. This is where I also use the Shape Builder Tool very much. It's when I'm drawing and I have the edges that I want to trim. Basically this is your box, these are your decorative elements and you want to get rid of these bars. Again select Shift M, and you can hold Alt to get this delete option. As you can see, you can just click to delete, or the faster way is to drag and delete. Click V to exit. That's it. These are all now separate objects, but they're perfectly going well together. The third example, is something that we're going to talk about in this class. It's how to vectorize your sketches using the Shape Builder Tool, which I do very much. Here you can see the photograph of my sketch, and here you can see it after I did an image trace on it. I will also talk about that in detail in the next video. For example, this shape is very simple as you can see. If you do not need this outline, you can just use the Direct Selection Tool, which you can also find in the toolbar menu or you can just press A to access it, and then you should click on the inside of your object and delete. In this way, you will get one shape with a solid color, if that's what you're looking for and if you don't need an outline. When you look at this shape, you can also do the same, but it would be very time consuming to click on all these gaps and fill them in. That's where the Shape Builder Tool really comes in hand. Let's move it a bit. Let's create the background just using an object you like. Let's put it in some nice green color and send it to the back using the Shift command left bracket. Now, let's select them both. Shift them to access the Shape Ruler Tool and Alt then click to delete the rest of the background. Now you can see that we have the same object but just filled. If you move this, you will see that we have this object in the solid color. You can use it as it is, or you can use it in combination with the outline. Again, change maybe the outline to some darker color or whatever you like. Now that you know the basics of the Shape Builder Tool, we can move on to sketching and also learn what kind of drawings work with Shape Builder Tool and also how to prepare them. 4. Adjusting Your Sketches: Have in mind limitations and possibilities of the shape builder tool before starting to draw and try to think of your drawings in a way that shape builder tool is going to see them as the gathering of various elements. This is a sketch that I've prepared for our project with these different examples, I want to show you what I had in mind while drawing them, so let's take a look at the most simple one. The only problem that I see is that a stem of the plant is connected to the pot, and the shape builder tool would recognize both the pot and [inaudible] as one shape, and since we do not want that, we can simply make little gap here while drawing, which I forgot to do, or we can use an eraser tool in Illustrator to later disconnect them. Let's take a look at the most complex sketch that I have, you can see that these branches are clearly overlapping and if you simply use the shape builder tool with this, you would get a bunch of paths that are later impossible to edit, so the question is what to do? It's very simple, you just need to separate them, you just need to redraw them again, grab a paper and just trace them as separate shapes, just like I did here. Later we will combine them in Adobe Illustrator, also, regarding the decorative elements on the pots, if these lines are touching the boundaries of the pot, you would spend time disconnecting them in Adobe Illustrator and later connecting them if you want, so like this, it will be much easier to play around later to make them longer or do whatever you want and you will save a lot of time. Let's recap, you can draw it separately onto paper and later play with them and combine them, or if you're drawing something very simple, you can just leave it as it is, and later edit it in Adobe Illustrator, also few things to keep in mind before starting to draw, always keep the paths of your drawing closed so that you can easily convert into shapes in Adobe Illustrator, this is only if you want these shapes to be shapes, if you want them to be lines, then just try to keep them separate from the rest of your objects. In case you're drawing with a pen, make sure to outline your sketch with an ink pen in the end and erase the rest, because you will need a clear and outline sketch to be able to vectorize it later in Adobe Illustrator. You can scan or photograph your sketch, if you photograph it, just makes sure that there are no shades covering your drawing and that your photo is sharp, and also if you're photographing more papers, just make sure that you are doing it from the same distance and angle. 5. Vectorizing Your Images: The usual size that I use when drawing elements is 2000 by 2000 pixels, but you can really work in any size you like since Adobe Illustrator is of extra base program. If you like to work without the hardboard boundaries like me, just hit Shift Command H and everything will be white. So now let's add our scanned or photographed sketches. I photographed my sketches with my mobile phone. So you can see that the best quality really doesn't matter here. Now the next step is to vectorize these images. So we're going to go to window and find image trace to open it, we'll select one of the images, and if advanced options is not open for you, just click here to open it. It's important to select Ignore White, and you can deselect snap curves to lines. This really is to your preference. You can also play with noise, corners, and paths, and threshold if you like. I also figure when I'm doing drawings like this that are outlined in my ink pen, most of the time the settings that is here is working for me. So let's see. Mostly what I'm looking for is that everything is closed, I don't have any gaps. I can see everything I draw and it looks good. So we can just hit expand. Now let's do the same for the second image. Now our images are converted into parts. These are all grouped. Let me just also close this. Everything here is grouped. What I like to do is first of all, ungroup everything. As you can see, this is not grouped with everything, I'm just going to group it and arrange it so I can work with it later. As I mentioned, this Adobe Illustrator file with my vectorized sketches will be available for you in the class resources. Feel free to use them, to play with them, to test it out, and do whatever you like and create some nice art. 6. Shape Builder Tool Magic: Everything is set and ready to start using the Shape Builder Tool to make our house plants come to life. Let's start with the most simple one. The first thing we need to do is to separate the plant from the pot. Let me just add this to a new layer, so you can see what I'm doing. I will ungroup it, shift command G, and I will just group these circles selecting everything and then holding Shift and clicking on the Plant, because I just want to group these circles, Command G to group it. We can also lock it and we can also turn off the visibility so you can see what I'm doing. Now because we need two shapes, I will just copy and paste it in place. For that, just hit Command C and Command F. So it's placed in the exact same position. Let's lock one of them and turn off the visibility. Now when it's selected, we can grab eraser tool and just getting here and basically delete the plant and we will be left with the pot. As we did for the example I showed you here, I don't really need to use a Shape Builder tool, all I need to do is use the direct selection tool hit A on your keyboard, select the inside of the object and just delete it. Now, to fix these little things that I don't like, I will just use a smooth tool. It's right here, where there is your pencil tool, you just select a smooth tool, and while your object is selected, just go over the parts you want to fix. I like to leave it a bit bumpy because I want to be very similar to my sketch so I might just fix a few things, but if you want it to be more smooth, you can use a smooth tool anywhere you like, and you can also test it out until you see that you'd like to shape. I think this is nice, let's put it in some other color and let's bring it to back, shift Command left bracket, great. Now let's lock it and turn it off and let's turn on the other plant. For this, I need to raise the pot. Now we have just the plant and because this is a bit more complex, I'm going to use the shape builder tool just as I did, it will make a background, let's make it in some nice green color, bring it to back and select them both, hit shift M for the shape builder tool, and when you go to the background, if your shape is connected, it will just select everything that is around it, we will hold out and click to delete it. Simple as that. I do not want these outlines now, so I will delete them and I will use a smooth tool just a bit so I can fix some of the things I do not like. Now let's bring back our pot to see how it looks, it's very nice and all we need to do now, we can lock the plant and the pot and let's turn them off so you can see, and let's bring the circles back. So we will do the same for the circles as we did for the plant. Also here, I will delete these outlines, and also you should group them if you want to later change the color and it will be easier. So just group and bring them to front. We have them here arranged, we can turn on the visibility so you can see what's happening and there it is. It's very simple. Let's group it and let's move on to our next plant. This one is more complex, but we will use basically the same things as we used for the previous one but it might need just a bit more tweaking. Let's start with a pot. First of all, I will erase the greenery so I can be left we the pot. I will also put that in a new way so you can see. You can see it's still bumpy, we'll fix that later and first I want just to group these decorative parts so I can lock them and not worry about them. Select everything and then just hold shift and click on the pot and group. What we need to do here is to fill these two, we will do it with the direct selection tool, and let's fill the pot also, but first of all, I will just select these and just put them in some other colors so you can see and bring it to front. Again, Direct Selection Tool, the inside of the object and just delete. Now it's basically the time that you can now smooth this out, also, if the smooth tool is not working good with your examples, you can just use an eraser or you can use a blobby brush to add maybe something more like this. But the smooth tool is working perfectly for the results that I want. I will use blob brush tool right here. Also I'm working on my touch pad, I don't use a mouse and I'm not using the drawing tablets right now. Now we'll select these three objects and we will go to our shape builder tool using command shift M. We need to erase these two parts, just hold out and delete and we have our pot. Now let's lock that and let's move on to our decoration. As I told you before, when I was drawing, I wanted to keep these out of the pot boundaries, so I'm not having some crazy shape with so many different things that I need to fix. Here for example, if you want to make this bigger or maybe even exaggerate it, just hold out to drag it and to make it longer from the center. For example, like this and later, if you want to delete these parts, you can also use it as I showed you in shape builder tool basics, you can just trim off the edges by using a shape builder tool. Now, I'll just add some color. Ungraded looks fine for now, I can also play with colors later, and now let's move on to these plants. They are all grouped which is good will make a background and some green color, send it to back, and select, and use a shape builder tool again. I will also delete the outlines here, so just click on the dark part and delete it. What I want to do here, I want to put them in different colors so they can look better when they're overlapping, and as you can see, it's very easy to do it like that, to draw it beforehand and then just get them a separate shapes in basically if just a few steps, and all we need to do now is to arrange them on the pot. Here it is. This method of drawing and preparing before, is really something that I like because later I can really play in Adobe Illustrator, arrange them, change color and everything. Now let's move on to another example, so I wanted to talk to you about these two, so for one, I decided to make these leaves separate. But as you can see, these are very similar, and I just wanted to do that because I wanted to show you that sometimes you do not need to separate them if you want to achieve a style that you can get without separating them, and also to achieve another style with separating them. Let's make them and see how it goes. As you can see, I was able to play around with colors here, I can also play more until I reached the balance of these leaves overlapping, but I also wanted to keep it simple to be in two colors. Let's see what we can do with the next example where we didn't draw the leaves separately. The only thing I'm going to do here is the same thing as I did on the first example; on this simple one. I'm just going to separate the leaves and separate the pot and also put this decoration in another color. First of all, I will just group these lines, and also group there the decoration, and later I can move on to separating the plants and the pot as two different objects. But I also see there is one mistake here, because this line is attached to the leaves. All I need to do is to select it and just use the eraser tool. I'll put it a little bit smaller, just hold left bracket to put it smaller, and also now is the time if you want to smooth it out. Now it looks nice, I can move on to grouping and separating. As you can see here, this shape for me wouldn't really work if I delete the background, it will be just one big shape with no definition. But if I want to keep the style with the outlines then I really do not need to separate the leaves, and I can just use these outlines, I can leave them in the dark color or maybe I can just use a darker green, and now you can see the difference between these two. What we achieved with not separating our drawings when using the shape builder tool, and when separating our drawings when using a shape builder tool, so this is really just the preference and it depends on the style that you want to achieve. Now let's move on to our plants in vases. As you can see here, I draw them all separately, I really didn't have to do it in these two cases because it would be very easy just to get in here and use an eraser tool and then erase it. But since these were so simple drawings, I figured it would be just easier for me to play with, I can put it like this, I can maybe change the way it looks inside. Since it's such a simple drawing, I just decided to do it, but you do not have to do it for a drawing like this. When it comes to this drawing, again, you could curve come in here and then edited, but it would take more time, and this way it will be much easier, so we will do the same things we did with the pots. The only difference we're going to make here, is that we are going to use for our vases transparency. If the transparency is not open for you, you can find it in the window, and then here, just click to open transparency window. I will put the transparency at 60 or 50 percent, you can always adjust it as you like, and you will see now that playing with these vases can really looks super interesting with just the solid shapes like this one. Looks great; we can move on, and that's it. Now you can arrange them, play with the colors, see them all together, and if you want to learn how to make a pattern out of these houseplants, time to make class better in Design for Beginners, create your first seamless pattern in Adobe Illustrator, and that's it. We vectorize our sketches and created our house plants with the shape builder tool. Now, is the time to play with them, to change the colors, to arrange them, and to see how they all fit together. 7. Thank you: Hey, you made it. I hope you enjoy this class and learn the new skill. You can now use the Shape Builder tool in so many ways. Most importantly, you can easily convert your sketches to digital illustrations in just a few steps. Feel free to share projects and ask any questions. Also, follow me on Skillshare to get notified about my next classes. I'm looking forward to seeing your projects.