Part 1: Adobe Illustrator Pen Tool Vector Art For Hand Letterers | Melanie Greenwood | Skillshare

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Part 1: Adobe Illustrator Pen Tool Vector Art For Hand Letterers

teacher avatar Melanie Greenwood, Designer & Founder of Vision City Studio

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

5 Lessons (18m)
    • 1. Introduction To Vector Art

    • 2. Pen Tool For Tracing Your Hand Lettering Art

    • 3. Using the Curvature Tool

    • 4. Practice Practice Practice

    • 5. Love your feedback

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About This Class

Hey guys! This course is made for Hand Letterers who want to up their game and learn the awesome skill of creating vector art in Illustrator, using the pen tool! If you want to work with clients and other artists, you will need to develop the ability to create vectors with your Hand Lettering art. Vector art allows you to scale your art to any size and apply it to any material and have your art remain true to your vision. Whether you are creating logos, t-shirts, stickers, banners, signage, embroidered hats... (you name it!) you will need vector art of your Hand Lettering to send it to the printer or manufacturer.

In this course, I will show you how to use the pen tool to trace your hand lettering. I will also introduce you to the new curvature tool in Illustrator CC. This course is short and to the point and you will use this skill for countless projects in your creative future. All hand letterers should know how to make their art into vectors so that they remain in controll of their art from start to finish. 

I hope you enjoy this course and feel free to ask me questions. I love your feedback!



Meet Your Teacher

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Melanie Greenwood

Designer & Founder of Vision City Studio


Welcome to the Print On Demand Course for Beginners!

In this course I am going to teach you how to create your own Print On Demand Products using Printify.

"Print On Demand" is when you add your own art or words to a product (shirts, hats, aprons, mugs etc...) and add that product to your online shop. When a customer buys the product, your print provider prints it, packages it and ships it directly to the customer for you. This eliminates the need to carry large amounts of stock and spend the money up front. Hence the name "Print On Demand". It's a wonderful thing!

In this course, you will learn:

1. Why I Chose Printify As My Print On Demand Provider.

2. How It Works! (5 Steps)

3. Pa... See full profile

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1. Introduction To Vector Art: Welcome to this course, and in this course I'm gonna show you how to convert your hand lettering Art two vectors and illustrator using the pen tool, The pencil and illustrator is a key tool to know how to use as an illustrator, as a designer and especially as a hand, Lederer say they're working with a client or you're working on a collab with another artist , and the next step requires for you to submit vector art. Maybe you're going to be converting that illustration on that hand lettering to a sign. Maybe it's going to go on T shirts on stickers on a skateboard. Maybe it's going to be carved into wood. I would encourage you to take this course as I show you a really simple technique not only with the regular pencil but also the new cursive pen tool within Illustrator CC. So join me in this course, and I look forward to having it serve you and helping you build this new skill 2. Pen Tool For Tracing Your Hand Lettering Art: Hi, guys. Welcome again to my course on how to create a vector image using the pen tool, especially when it comes to hand lettering. Now, here is the hand lettering piece that I created on paper using the Micron and Sharpie pens . Now I created on paper, and I needed to get it into my computer so I could actually added it to show it to you guys . So what I did was I photographed it with my phone and then I, um, up the contrast, made it black and white on my phone. And then I emailed it to myself. So this is pretty much what I get now when I zoom into this, if I click the said tool or the zoom tool If I were to zoom in real quick, you're going to see this is all pixelated. So that's the whole reason why we're here. We want to take away all these kind of gross pixels that are going to basically look really messy if we enlarge this image. Um, and basically, it doesn't look very professional. We send this to somebody else because if they were to zoom in, they can't we use this like this. Can't really, um, be an effective thing to be used on a T shirt, for example, or on a billboard or on the side of a building or on the side of a truck, or even if it's going to be size small for a logo, you're still gonna see just really messy edges. So we want to get rid of those, which is why we're making into Vector. So a vector is not pixelated. It's actually created based on lions and shapes. So the lines that are going to be created around this image, you're gonna be based on points now the really the way we create that is with the pen tool . So in a previous course I created, I did a auto trace technique, which is also really effective. Thiopental is more detailed, but it does take a bit longer. So fair warning there. But it's an awesome, awesome thing to learn. If you know how to use the pen tool and illustrator, you basically know how to use Illustrator Illustrator is, you know, based on the pen tool, in my opinion, because you could be tracing your illustrating anything with the pen tool so you could be illustrating on ah, hand illustration or photograph or anything so you could draw basically in illustrator with the pen tool. So the what we're gonna do is run a zoom in. I'm gonna show you how the pen tool works. Okay? Now we're going to go down to the pencil, which is the top left corner. Top third from the top is going to be the pen tool. If I click and hold, you're going to see that there's four different options for the pen tool. And I want the top option. The other ones are awesome, too, but they're not applicable right now. Okay, So what we're gonna do is, instead of drawing with the pen tool, we have to click and then click again. So we're gonna click the first time click, Okay? And then we're going to take it up to our top, um, curve area. As you can see on here, what it's showing is this line. Okay, This line, it's straight out, and it's not really going to create a nice curve for us, But if I click down on the next one, so this is now my second click instead of just releasing. I'm gonna click and hold and drag. As you can see, there's something awesome happening here, which is the curvature line. The curvature lion is basically going to allow me to trace my hand lettering. Really close to what it looks like. Okay, so as I trace that you're going to see it, um, it's gonna trace perfectly alongside of my hand lettering. Now we're going to do now is I'm going to click on this second, um, point And the reason why is because if I don't, it's gonna expect me to continue. So I just click here and I also just click on my V tool. And I have this random shape. I'm gonna actually change the color of it and make it into a, um, stroke instead of a filled right. Now it's on. Phil says you can see on my color palettes here. I'm going to go from stroke to fill. I'm gonna click these swap Phil Arrows. So now it's a stroke. Instead of a Phil, I'm gonna double click on that. I'm gonna change the color. Just so it's nice and bright so we can see it. Okay, It's showing his gray scale right now, but that's okay. We can go up to our colors, make sure it's in C m. Y que and that way we can really see it. Okay, so this is just showing you an example of how it's going to look so far. This sounds really elementary for two people who have used illustrator before. But stick with me, okay? So I can actually now use my white arrow and I can go in and I can correct myself. So say I was way over here and I just didn't look right. I can actually use my white arrow click on that one point and I can correct myself. I can also use the curvature line any time. And I can correct myself to see if I accidentally did that. I can actually select it and correct it, which is wonderful. So when you're working, illustrator, your there's lots of ways to correct yourself along the way. So that's great. Now see if I took a break and that, you know, because this style of tracing dust takes in time, say, if I needed a coffee, I came back and I wanted to continue all I need to do is select the pento again or press P . And now that the pen it'll selected, I can actually rejoin it. So I can kind of continue on my line, so to speak. So, as you see, when I get near to that last point here, the pen tool turns into a line you can seek a little line shows up, in other words, that saying this is going to now continue. So once I click down on there, you're gonna notice something awesome. Now it looks like it's continuing it. So I'm gonna do just like, why did the first time I'm gonna click on this and on my third point and now click and drag so I can pull this thing wherever I want it to go. So say I went like that, and now that's not looking correct yet. Okay, so I'm gonna kind of press V for my selection tool, or I can click a for my direct selection tool, which is really what I want. So now I have this selected this second point chairman is humans. You could see what I'm talking about. So this is obviously not correct. So now, at any time when this happens, I can click on this button here. This this little ah, point and again, Correct. This is going to take a bit of practice. I'm not gonna lie. It will, however, you will definitely get better. The more you do it, it's like anything design illustration, all the same thing. Practice makes perfect. So any time I can re select my pen tool, and then I can just click drag click drags and pull my a curvature line, click and drag. Okay. And then for my curves, Aiken, click and pull to make it look like it's going in there. And I just carry on. This is the way you outline your illustrations. Okay, So you gonna do this all the way around your illustration? Um, and your hand lettering and this is going to make it exact to what your hand created on paper. But the beauty of it now will be that it will be a vector image that we can then use on a variety of difference printing techniques. This is wonderful for screen printing for making, like, die cut stickers, things like that for making sign Ege. Um, a lot of those type of printing methods do require that they're vector images, not raster. So not pixelated images. So there you have it. That is the first step in using the pen tool, and that's pretty much the most effective way. So now that you've gone all around the shape and the illustration with your pen tool, what you're going to see are all these lines. Now what we need to do is make sure that this is a closed shape. If we don't do that, it's just going to remain as lions and won't be able to fill it. So we're gonna do is we're in a zoom in to where we need to close, which in this case, is the D. We're gonna grab a pen tool. So click on that and we're going to start on one side, click on it. And as you can see, it wants to continue to make sure it's close. So you're gonna take it over to the next point to make sure it's closed and you're going to see a little circle come up. This is the symbol that comes up when you're about to close a shape, and that's the same if you're going to close the shape for a circle or a square or a general geometric shape, or if it's an organically designed, shaped like hand lettering. So we're gonna go ahead and click on that, and drag just is the same way we've been doing. And there you have it. Now it's all closed, and now we can actually go ahead and fill it. So what I've done there is I've just done the swap Phil and stroke. So now that you have gone around your entire image and you have outlined everything with your pen tool, this took a bit of time. I'm sure because it takes a bit of time to get used to doing that. But what you want to do next is actually a really important step. You want to make sure all your inside areas, all the white inside areas, are going to be transparent. If you don't do that, when you send this to a printer, you're going to have a bunch of white spots in the middle's, and it's going to basically just look really strange. So we're going to just go ahead and just for the time being, select a square area here and we're going to go ahead and select that. We're gonna create a background just so you can be sure to see exactly what's happening. So we created a square box and let's just say it's I don't know. Let's make it black Now we're going to send it to backs. You can go object, arrange sent back or you could just go. Ah, command shift left bracket all same time. It will do the exact same thing if you want to quickies. So as you can see, this is what I meant. This looks really strange and kind of not what I want to look like if I want to make this entire thing transparent so that you can put it on any background on top of any photo or using any kind of promotional piece or whatever you're using it for, we need to get rid of all these white areas. So we're gonna do first and foremost is use our direct selection tool and select only the pink area areas. The reason, or the way we do that, is by selecting the outside of it, not the inside of ice like the inside, it seems like the whole thing. If I select the outside line, as you can see, all the white areas are not selected. Okay? I'm also gonna select this little area here. That's for some reason not be included because it's not connected and the dot of the I. So, first of all, I'm going to go to my pathfinders, which you confined in Window Pathfinder. Now, I already have mine out here, so I'm gonna grab that, Just you can see what I'm working on. And in the shape modes, you're gonna select the 1st 1 which is called Unite. So you night, all that did is create one shape and one item of all the pink. Okay, now we're gonna do is go back to select all so command A. I've selected all of it, including the white and the pink, and I'm going to go command eight. Or basically, you're gonna make a compound path. So you go command eight. Okay? All right. Or you can go if you really don't want to. The command thinking goto, um object compound path, make. It's the same thing. So as you can see, it kind of disappeared. All we see is the dots, So now we have to basically fill it in. So I'm gonna fill it in with pink, which is what we had before. So now you have it. This is a really simple, however, a slightly longer way and meticulous way of creating your vector art using your hand lettering pieces. But now it's ready to send off to printers or to send off to anyone who may be able to use it. Um, whether you're printing it really large scale or really small the logo. So now I'm gonna do if the last step is I'm going to just basically take away the background. So ah, command Option two is to unlock the background because you don't want to send off anything with a background. You want to keep it as a vector. This is what a printer will be asking for if they want a vector of this illustration, and then the last step is command A and command G, which is to group, and that's it. Now it's ready to be saved, and I would save it as an illustrator file on a ay file. Um, then that way, it can then be picked up by anybody by an illustrator are by a another artist who is working with it. To put it into an artwork or a printer who's going to, you know, make stickers with it, or skateboards or whatever you may be using it for. Maybe they're gonna put it onto a T shirt, that kind of thing. So now it's a vector art ready to go. 3. Using the Curvature Tool : before you go, I want to show you a secondary way of using the pen tool and in this case is actually not the pen tool. It's a bit of an upgrade in the illustrator Sisi called the curvature tool, so it operates a lot like the pen, but it gives us a bit more options. So we're going to basically take the technique that I just described to you with the pen tool. And we're going to use this new tool called the curvature tool. So it's from the top. It's a three down to the right. Okay, so you could click on that. And now we're gonna zoom in. Just you can kind of see exactly what I'm working on. One is him into this h lots of curves. It's a bit of a tricky one to trace. So again, I select my curvature tool, and I use it like the pen. Now you're gonna see what happens with the curvature tool, which is really cool. I'm going to select the second point, and what happens is it looks like it just went straight right? But as I move along, it starts to create a curve so that I can. It kind of helps me along to find the perfect curves for my shape. So, as you can see, this is kind of speeding up the process for me a little bit. Not always. Is not always gonna be correct, but, um, it will. It will help a bit. So there you have it. This is the curvature tool, and this will help you along as you are creating your traces. Now, say, I want to go in now and fix. That would be really simple. It's like my a tool, which is my white arrow, a zoom, and even more. And I use that white arrow and I could just select each point and just slightly adjust things we need to the way I would normally do with, um tracing. Okay, so it's going to might look a little wonky at first, but as you practice, this will get better and better and better. And ultimately it's going. Teoh, smooth out and look exactly how you want to look. So there you have it. That's the secondary option of using the pen tool 4. Practice Practice Practice: Hi, guys. Thank you so much for taking my course and how to convert your hand lettering into vector art in Illustrator using the pen tool. I really hope that you've learned this skill and that it's really helped you answered you as you are working towards building your professionalism and your clients help base. And this is something that's really gonna help you when you're working with clients so you can send off all your illustrator vectors, and that way it's ready to go. It can be used in any different type of medium when it's maybe it's going to be carved into wood. Maybe it's going to be a metal sign. Maybe it's going to go on the skateboard. I mean, this guy's really the limit. Now, I would encourage you to test this out. Honestly, practice makes perfect. When it comes to the pen tool, it does take a bit of practice, so I want you to not give up. I'm going to keep going and give it a try my project to you guys, and I would like to encourage you to go ahead and try it. Take one your hand lettering pieces and actually convert it into vector using the pen tool , and I really want to see your guys work. So go ahead and post in the project section and let us all see your stuff. We want to see your work, and I would encourage you to keep going and keep practicing. 5. Love your feedback: Hi, guys. I want to thank you again for taking my chorus, and I want to ask if you would possibly give me a feedback or a rating. I would love to know how you felt about the chorus. Did you learn something? Did it serve you? Well, I want to make sure that this was something that really encouraged you and served you as you're growing in this skill. So if you wouldn't mind taking a moment and letting me know how you felt about it, also feel free. Check out my other courses. I've got a variety of other courses that are already up and that I'm actually working on as we speak. And so I'm constantly adding new courses to my program. So I just want to encourage you guys to go ahead and check those out as well. I hope they serve you as you're growing in your skill cause as artists, we're never really done learning. We're always going to be learning something new with each project. Someone encourage you guys to get to you, learning and growing