The Play-Doh Technique: Fun Hand-made Vectors In Illustrator | Rich Armstrong | Skillshare

The Play-Doh Technique: Fun Hand-made Vectors In Illustrator

Rich Armstrong, Product Designer

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15 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Intro

      1:02
    • 2. Class Project

      1:00
    • 3. The Play-Doh Tool

      3:51
    • 4. No Snapping!

      0:43
    • 5. Shortcuts

      1:40
    • 6. Multiple Shapes

      1:50
    • 7. Other Shapes

      3:18
    • 8. Linework

      2:27
    • 9. Typography

      3:29
    • 10. Cute Characters

      2:50
    • 11. Background Splodge

      1:10
    • 12. Adding Depth

      3:05
    • 13. Texture

      4:16
    • 14. Your Project

      4:21
    • 15. Conclusion

      0:29
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About This Class

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We all like vectors. But we also love hand-drawn stuff. And this class teaches you how to mash those 2 things together with the Play-Doh technique.

The Play-Doh technique allows you to work with vectors much like you would with Play-Doh, which gives your vector work an authentic hand-made feel, without losing the things that make vectors vector!

This short and fun class covers the basics of the Play-Doh technique, as well as plenty of examples, and secret hints and tips. You don’t need to be an ace designer or illustrator. I show you shortcuts, show you my own work, and explain things simply and slowly.

All you need to take this class is an appreciation of the hand-made, as well as Adobe Illustrator (which you can get a 30 day free trial of). You don’t need much experience in Adobe Illustrator at all!

By the end of this class you’ll be able to create authentic and natural vector work – ready for websites, branding, and print work! You’ll be able to add it to your existing skill set and start having fun right away.

If you want to learn to create some more interesting design and art pieces, check out these classes:

Transcripts

1. Intro: We all like vectors. They're precise, they're easy to use, don't pixelate and have no resizing issues at all. They can be simple or complex. They work well on screen and in print and they're tiny when it comes to file size. In short they're amazing. But we also love hand-drawn stuff. They're natural, honest, and authentic illustrative style with character just oozing out from it. So this class is about mashing those two things together and what I like to call the Play-Doh technique. I'm Rich Armstrong a doodler, a designer and a coder. In this class I teach you the basics, the shortcuts and some secret hints and tips of the Play-Doh technique. I show you how a basic shapes, typefaces, characters and more. The class is short and fun and all you need is Adobe Illustrator and you don't even have to be that good at it plus you'll be able to implement the Play-Doh technique into your projects right away. So enroll now and let's get going. 2. Class Project: In this class I'm going to show you how I use the Plato technique with all kinds of elements that go into sweet illustration, Rad piece of design. But I find it always helps to have something fun to make when learning new skills and techniques so I'd like you to pick something to make either now or during a class. If you don't have an ideas to work on, design a brand's logo, a flier, or a landing page for websites. It could be a brand that sells organic food, fresh juice or juicy donuts or perhaps create an illustration, a designosaur, a giraffe, a shark, a children's book, whatever. I'd advise you to make it something fun doing. As you progress through the class, upload what you create for you're play pieces and your final pieces. Tell us what you learned and how you went about making your creations. Also, have a look at what other students are making and comments on their work. Spread the love. If you don't have Adobe Illustrator, that's okay. You can go downloaded for a 30-day free trial from the Adobe websites. 3. The Play-Doh Tool: Let's get going with as Play-Doh technique. What we need to establish first is that this is no mere artboard. This is your Play-Doh mat. Now, what do we need? We need Play-Doh. With your rectangle tool, let's create a few Play-Doh strips. There we go. You can start with those or you can start with dough ball. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to delete these and I'm going to start with the dough ball. Now, holding down your rectangle tool, release on the Ellipse tool, and from the center, you can actually create a dough ball. If you hold down Alt, you can create from the center, if you hold down shift, you can create a perfect circle. There we go. It's not going to stay perfect for long. Now we need to find a Play-Doh tool, and it's called the warp tool in illustrator. If you hold down width tool and release on the warp tool, you can find it. If you're battling to find it, just press "Shift" and "R". It may be under a different tool depending on what version of Illustrator you have. The keyboard shortcut is shift and R. Remember that. Now, we can start pushing and pulling our shape and this feels so good. It's really cool. If you double-click your warp tool, you can change a bunch of settings so we can opt for really small brush size and this can feel like working with our fingertips, squeezing, prodding, doing fine motor skill work. We can then change our brush size to really big like 200 and 250 and we can see that that's quite a big brush and this is like working with your gross motor skills, the palm of your hands. You can move a lot of points all at once. It's really really cool. You may have noticed that our brush size wasn't exactly circular there. That's because we can change the width and the height. If we change this to 100 pixels and change the angle to say something like 45, we get this really nice looking brush that we can work with in different situations. The next thing I want to show you, which is super fun, is changing the intensity to a 100 or really high number and this is like playing with Play-Doh on a hot day. It just goes everywhere and it's really easy to work with. It's really fun. Have a play with that. The next thing is changing the intensity to a really low value, like 10 percent and this is like working with Play-Doh on a cold day, doesn't really move that easily but I really like it. It gives shapes a really natural and subtle hand-drawn or handmade look. It's my favorite. There's a couple of other options that you can play around with like your detail and you're simplify, have a play. Most of the time, I leave that at 250 or 550 so I'll cover one or two of those in later videos, but I don't cover it much. I like to show my brush size. I like to know how big I am working with. If it's small, if it's big, if it's angled and then if you get stuck or if you mess things up completely and you don't know what's going on, just press reset, and everything will go back to the defaults. What I want you to do here in this lesson is to release the inner kid. I want you to create shapes, I want you to play around to change the settings, change the brush sizes, make some new things. Perhaps make a dinosaur or car, or a giraffe, or a pig, or a cat, or any fruits or just go wild do some abstract stuff and then upload it to your project gallery, share it with others, see what others are making. Let's have some fun. 4. No Snapping!: When you're working with your door, there's couple of things that you need to do. First of is Under view, you needed turn off all snapping. We don't want any snapping to occur. Take-off, snap to grid and takeoff snap to point. When you have your object selected, you want to go to Window and you want to go to Transform and you want to make sure that align new objects to pixel grid is off. Then go to show options and say "No" don't align to pixel grid. This will prevent any snapping, any alignments. We want things to be natural, we want things to be fun, we want things to be imperfect. No snapping, no alignment. Okay. 5. Shortcuts: Now let's talk shortcuts. This will save you a bunch of times as [inaudible] worker. The first one I want to show you is to create a new circle. You press ''L'', L for circle or L for oval, or L for ellipse. There we go. You have it. If you press ''Alt'', remember you can get it from the center. If you press ''Shift'', you can make it a proportionate circle. If you go ''Shift" and "Alt'' its a proportionate circle from the center. The next thing is if you press ''M'' for rectangle, I don't know how they came up with that, but that's what it is in my version of Illustrator, you can create your door stripes, just like so. The next one is ''V'' for selection. Now you can select your different shapes. If you hold on ''Shift'', you can add objects to your selection or you can remove objects from your selection. Then to start working with the shape, press the shape and then press ''Shift R'' to get you a warp tool and there we go. You can start warping it. But now that brush size that frustrates me, I have to go in here every single time and change things. Not so, you just hold on ''Alt'' and drag with your mouse. There we go, you can change your brush size if you hold on ''Shift'' it will keep it proportionate. There we go, we can start working at it on a macro level or gross skills level and then we can quickly change our size to find more to skills, there we go, let's work the detail there, fantastic, really very cool. Have fun with those keyboard shortcuts. They're going to save you time so thank me later. 6. Multiple Shapes: If you haven't already done so, try to work with more than one dough ball or Dutch strip on an artboard. I'm working with three here at the moment. The best way that I've found to work with all objects on an artboard is with your selection tools to select all of the objects all at once and then warp them. Now, we can move everything around. As we move our mouse around, it warps everything. It starts to push and pull this object, that object, whatever objects. Now, if you only want to work with two objects say, you just hold down Shift and you click on object. If you want to include it in the selection, hold down Shift and click on object. Now you'll see that when I'm warping, it doesn't affect the object that isn't selected, but it does affect both of these. Fantastic. The other way to do this is to have nothing selected. Now, you can see, we can pretty much work with any object. I don't really like this because if you come from a far out direction, holding down, you see nothing actually changes. You have to be pretty close to work with objects. Sometimes this is great. Sometimes not. My best piece of advice is to just select the objects that you want to work with, like so. What's really even more finer detail is if you start selecting the individual points that you want to work with, which can be a bit irritating and a bit tricky. I'm just working with these points. This line, I can't actually change anything up there. That's how you work with multiple shapes on an artboard or multiple points in a single shape. Pretty neat. Let's get into a few examples now. 7. Other Shapes: You know how to work with a circle or a dough ball. Now, how do you work with different shapes? Let's create a dash strip here, first of all, and then maybe let's create a few others like a star. Maybe, let's create a triangle. How do we work with these? Let's select our Warp Tool. What sizes is this? That's pretty good. I'm going to select this. Let's start warping. You will see that the Warp Tool has this crazy fetish for making rounded corners. It's really cool if that's what you're going for, but sometimes it's really frustrating. Let's start this again and let's change a few settings here. I'm going to go for Simplify all the way to 100 and lets see what this does. Interesting. Am going to undo that. If I change the Simplify all the way to 0.2, you can see that it really does keep the corners quite nicely. So I recommend if you want to keep the corners, if you want to keep your points intact, work with a simplified value of as low as possible. Now you detail, if you want to keep this high again, so keep your detail really, really high. So if you're working with points, I recommend working with high detail and a lot of simplified value. If you wanted to create a triangle, you could start off with a dough ball like this. You could work it so that it now gets into a triangle. Let's make our brush a bit smaller, which is quite fun. So we get a nice triangle like that, which is fantastic. Or you could start with a triangle like so, and then start working it to get a natural hand-drawn effect. Let's take this back to 50. Let's take this back to two. Let's just increase our brush size again. You can see here that we didn't really start with a dough ball, but now are getting something close. It's your choice whether you want to start with a dough ball or dash-strip and work it into something, or start with a shape that's more close to what you wanting to achieve. So if you're really good at vector work, you're good at Bayesian curves, you create your own draft or designer saw, and then you want to give it a hand-drawn looking feel, just do it afterwards, work with it afterwards rather than creating an entire shape from your dough ball. Let's work with this star now. What are we going to do with this star? Should we make it really long? Lets pump up the intensity. It's a long footed star. There we go, look at this guy, he's really cool. Looks like they are really cool stuff for now. So that's the basics of working with other shapes besides your circle or dough ball 8. Linework: So working the Doh and the Play-Doh technique is not just for shapes it can be four lines too. So we just create a line here, and let's remove the foal and give us a stroke color. We can have this line here and if you'd hold shift and it's going to snap at to 45, nines degree or zero degree angles. Let's increase the stroke so you can see what I'm doing here. What I really like to do is to change the capping to run capping and the corner to run and cornering. To get this window, you can just go window and you go to stroke, and that'll bring up the options. You can then say hide options or show options to get all of that detail. So the next thing we want to do is just start walking this, and it's exactly the same we can walk this how ever we want. That's quite a high level walk. The intensity is really high, but you can see, you can have a lot of fun here with the stroke tool and the work tool. Now if we wanted to make a slightly less detailed some stroke, maybe wanted to work with some lettering, some hand-drawn lettering. Maybe we want to use the pen tool to create something like an M, so we then start warping this, and it's changed the intensity to, let's go for 10. Then we can just see what the problem is here is that it's just on that point so let's deselect it, and then reselect it, linkage the work tool. Now we can start giving it this lovely hand-drawn sort of look at subtle. It doesn't really look like we intended to make these hand-drawn mistakes or make it look natural. Let's just increases a little bit more. So intensity, let's go to 30. This decrease our brush size something like that. You can see you can start working with lines really easily or start working with strokes really easily. You can create these beautiful typefaces, these beautiful lines, it's amazing. So have some fun with that, and what I'd like you to do now is to upload some of your line work and lining samples to the project gallery. 9. Typography: Now let's do some dough work with fonts and typography. Select your type two. Let's type out, "Hey", press escape. Let's hold on "Shift" and resize this, making it really big. Then you go to "Window", you scroll down to "Type" and go to "Character". Then I'm going to change this to Helvetica, because I'm going to mess with Helvetica. Well, let's make it bold. Both Helvetica, there we go. Now, we're going to untype it by saying, "Create outlines", there we go. Now it's no longer piece of type, It is shapes ready for the doughing. So let's select our dough tool. I'm just going to decrease my brush size a bit and I'm going to start working it. You'll see that it creates these random shapes, which I'm going for. Remember if you're not going for random shapes, dial down you simplify and up your detail values. Okay, I'm going to keep this like so maybe just two and 50 and carry on working them like this. You'll see that sometimes you get these irregular shapes like I don't want that little point. Sometimes you have to work it a little bit harder to get it to where you want it to be. There we go, lovely H note the H is good so I'm just kind of select these two again, I'm going to say objects and I'm going to ungroup it and select these two objects to work with, because our H is good. I'm going to work this one. All right. So we're getting something really nice here, Sometimes you can overwork it you can always just go back and doughing. I just want to work with the e here at the moment and don't affect the y. Let's go here. Let's decrease the brush size a little bit just to work on this little point. There we go. We get a really nice e there, fantastic. Now, what's left is the y. So let's change our brush size again. Maybe, let's go for something like that. There we go. Fantastic. Let's change our brush size again. Yeah. Okay. Sounds like a lot of clicking, but we're working the dough, I'm having fun. It feels somewhat therapeutic, it's lovely. Let's go for a brush like this. Here I'm just going to create a nice little circular and sit there. Just like that, we have transformed Helvetica into a lovely handmade sort of doughy font. We didn't have to create the H, the E, and the Y from our separate dough balls or dough strips, we started with a font and then work from there, which is really cool, it's really powerful. So what I want you to do now is experiment with different typefaces, thin ones, thick ones, maybe you can experiment with serif ones, sans-serif ones, bold ones, maybe make your own. With line work like I showed you in the previous video, have fun here, and upload some examples of your experiments and your fun making. Remember type is meant to be legible though, so don't go too overboard. Sometimes subtle touches can do wonders. Even a tiny imperfection can make a call typeface feel natural and approachable and authentic. 10. Cute Characters: Now that we have an understanding of how to work the toil of shapes of lines, let's create a very simple enqueued character. I'm just going to create a double red chair. I'm going to create another double for his eye, want to change the color to a dark blue, and then create another one for his other eye also dark blue. Then I'm going to change it to a stroke, and give him a mouth. Also, change it to dark blue. Stroke weight on it's I'm going to give it around cap and a round and corner. I'm going to give him some arms, and give him some legs. Now let's make this fellow dance. Shall we?. First of all, I'm going to warp is his body with quite a big brush. It's not going to be too detailed. I just wanted to be slightly irregular, maybe giving a bit of a dent in his head that. He's crazy you know. Then I want to change his arms and his legs, so let's go to walk and there we go. He's dancing, poop poop. It's legs can be dance like this. Yeah, super cool. Now, we can changes his mouth. This is quite fun. Actually, really fun. We can make him smile. High, he is s happy chap. We can also make them do a wired a face like a frown smile, or we can , give him a running the sad face mah. What's really cool here is that you can literally just turn it around given him a happy face again, or you can make it smaller so he looks even cuter, or more stupid. Now for his eyes, this brash is too big ready for its eyes. I'm just going to decrease it. Then we can give them some irregular looking eyes. You notice I'm using keyboard shortcuts makes life so much easier, so much quicker. There are his eyes, I'm going to make them a little bit smaller, a little bit bigger there. Then we have our dancing fella who the dancing his head. He looks happy. He looks like he's dancing, having really good time. What I want you to do here is have some fun with characters. Have some fun with lines and shapes. You go wild, released the indicator new, and upload what you create. Don't worry about messing up, don't worry about perfect creations. This whole thing is about the imperfect look. I'm looking forward to what you create. 11. Background Splodge: Blank pages feel stark and cold, whether they're black or white or some color. How do we make them feel less stark and less cold? Well, this is a pretty fun and basic practice. We add a circle. Circles attract attention. You just put that in the center of your page and all of a sudden your page becomes less stark and less cold. Now, as soon as you start making it Play-Doh, let's increase the brush size. It becomes little more authentic. It becomes warm. It becomes natural. It's like that you have something that catches attention that breaks that cold and starkness of a page. You can put information in such. It becomes really fun, really friendly. It takes the viewer's eye of the stark and blindness of the page. You can even work with a really subtle color like this pink or you change the opacity to 20%. You put information in there or around there. It just breaks up the page. 12. Adding Depth: Sometimes we want to bring our play-doh to life. We want to give it some depth and make it pop, so a really simple way to do this is just by duplicating your main layer and creating a shadow. We go edit, copy, edit, paste and place, which basically pastes it right in the same place, and then we nudge it down with our keyboard, we change the color to a really dark color, set the capacity to say, 10 percent, and then we say, object, arrange send to back You can see it's got a bit of a shadow, which is really great. This is a simple way to do it. Another way to do this and to add on top of the shadow is to create a highlight and even a low light or another shadow. I do this with the doj strip, and I just click here, and I make this a really light color, and then start working with it. Round the corners to start off with, just to make it easy to work with in the future. Then I start bringing it in. You may want to increase the intensity to make it easier to work with, and we're getting somewhere now. If the light's coming from the top, this is where your highlight would be on any object. Something like that is looking pretty good. There we go. What I like to do then is just to end off with a really big brush and then just pull up, so it gives us nice rounded edge to the bottom. Then I'll just pull it back into place. There we go. Something like that looks really good. Then decrease the capacity to 10 or 20 percent, or even higher depending on your background color. Then you can do the same for a low light or another shadow at the bottom. If you change this to a dark color again and maybe 20 percent capacity, it didn't start working again. Let's decrease our brush size around the corners on either end. There we go. Then you just start bringing it in. It doesn't matter if things are slightly imperfect, it's play-doh, so it doesn't really affect it that much. You just want to give the illusion or the effect that it is a bit three-dimensional, it has some life in it. This works really well when you pair it with other elements using the play-doh technique. Then I just end again with this really big brush, and I pull down just to give it a nice rounded curve, like so. Then we have this object which has some life. I mean, this is just a circle or splurge. If we resize this, it will make even more difference. There we go. Something with a bit of life, something with some three-dimension. Now I'm just duplicating this by holding down Alt and letting go. There we go. We have some life, we have some pop. 13. Texture: Another great use of the Plato technique is to make textures and backgrounds and symbols for a symbol sprayer. So, we've got this big spreads-hare. Now let's make a duplicate of it. Let's make it really, really small. Yep, that's good, let's open up our symbols panel, or we can go windows and scroll down to symbols, and then we'll open it up. Just drag it in there, give it a name like splodge. The more symbols that you put in here, the better the technique will work. But I'm just going to show you with one. You then have the symbol which you can remove. I'm just going to move it to the side. Then you have this symbol spread tool, which you can then use to spray your symbols, which is really cool. So it includes this symbol now which is okay. So I'm just going to spray a bunch of these guys all around here, which was fantastic. I can then move them around, shift them. I can then scrunch them, make the implicit together. I can then size them. I can make them bigger or by holding out, I can make them smaller, which I actually really like I can see these ones in the middle. So I'd just like to make everything really, really small in these big guys. It's nice to have a size variation. So some big ones and small ones, some ones in between. But most of the time you want smaller ones because it's a texture. You want to give it a little, like a fade lock or a screen printed lock. So now you've got all of that. You can then spin them if you want, just to give them a bit of direction. So it's not all uniform. I don't really use Stainless, Screen or Style tools. So we can go back to the sprayer one and a few more around here if we want. Then you can just size them again. So there you have background spray technique. You can duplicate that by holding Alt and dragging. You can rotate this group a little bit if you want. You can see you can get some really nice effects like this. They're fun, they're all in vector. You can then change your symbol. So if we wanted to change this, let's zoom in a bit. Then let's walk this a bit, like so, and then we double-click and then zoom out. You'll see that, hey, now everything's changed. So if we undo here Apple's Z or control Z, it will go back like it was. That's how to create a spray technique. What about a texture? What about a screen printed texture on this big blob here? Well, this is just duplicate this. Now you can create a new spray object, but I'm just going to duplicate this. So I am going to go Command C, Command V, and that's going to just paste it. I'm then going to do say object expand. So I'm going to take it out of this group. Now they're all these little symbols. So I'm going to say object expand again to convert them from symbols to just pots. Am going to change all of them to white, and then scale it down quite substantially. You'll see that I have the beginnings of a textured look. So how's that? Looks pretty cool. So if I decrease this in size and I just duplicate them here and there, this is a really simple way of doing it. Oh, I duplicated the wrong thing. You see you have a really nice texture look here. So you can increase the size here. It starts to look like it's been screened printed, which was really, really cool. So that is the basic of creating a texture with a spoilage or with a Plato technique and a paint spray sort of effects. You can use these for whatever you want. It's really, really powerful and really quick to create these techniques that bring your illustrations and designs to life. So have fun with it and apply it to your final project. 14. Your Project: Let me show you what I created and the process that I took. I started off with creating a shape, punching a hole in it and then giving him eyes and a mouth. I apply the technique on all elements of him. Then wondered if maybe he should have a dripping chocolate face. I tried that out, I put a stroke on the shape just to beef up to shape a bit. Then I wondered what he would look like if he had a stroke or some icing sugar for mouth instead of a dark shape. The dark shape wasn't working simply because it was dark. This guy reminded me of the gingerbread man and trick so I went to them. Now is all flat, all good. The next step was adding a bit of life to him. I added some highlights, some low lights, and I even put a bit of a shadow for him, I put some highlights and low lights on the eyes and you can see they're not perfect. Again, everything's being worked with the Plato technique. Then had these sprinkles. I've made them symbols, you can see that they're all green. Then I sprayed it onto my dominant guy and I put some highlights and shadows onto them. You can see that they don't have any low lights. That's because they're really thin, really small. Just like that, I've got imperative character, I've got some sprinkles that add a bit of depth to my character. Then I went from there and I was like, "I wonder if I can make this guy into a character." I gave him some arms and legs and gave him a shadow, blue shadow, yeah. Didn't look so good with a dark shadow. Again, I just worked all of this with the Plato technique but something wasn't seeming right with me. When I started to add the rest of the elements, I took arms and legs away. This is my final design for a logo, a learning page or a flyer design, whatever. The beauty of vector work is that you can remove things, you can scale it up, scale it down and use it for whatever you want. What have I done here? Well, you've seen most of the elements so far. Now for the text or the topography, I've credited this fonts from Helvetica, I've thoroughly worked at, so it looks handmade and doughy. I've given it some highlights just to bring it off from the page, as well as some shadows. I haven't put any low lights and just because it's dark. I then added this piece of texture which is the URL. It's completely made up, so don't even go try order donuts online. It's the only thing that hasn't been worked with the Plato technique. What are the elements in this illustration or piece of design? Let's go through all these here. I've got my background splodge and that just draws the attention of the viewer in, it's important. If we are to look at this without the background splodge, it feels like everything's floating in space. As soon as you put it in there, it just centralizes the design. I've got my sprinkles at the bottom and I've got icing sugar, we can't see that but it's the background icing sugar. I then got Freddy's the Donuts, icing sugar at the top. This is really important, I think. It makes it feel like he's been freshly prepared. There's some flour or some icing sugar that's been left on him and the topography, the URL and the sprinkles on the top. You can see that some of the sprinkles even have shadows just to make it look a bit more 3D, some of them don't. It's really your choice of how you want to do your design. I don't have much texture here, but I have used the symbol sprayer to make my sprinkles and make the icing sugar. That's my Freddy's Donuts design i had a lot of fun making him. Now it's your turn. Do some making, test out the technique, have some fun. Most importantly, release your inner child. Upload your play work as well as your finished work, its way more fun when you share your work and you get to see and comment on other student's work. 15. Conclusion: Awesome. Now you are a certified play-doh technique expert. So add what you've learned to your own style and skill set, and keep on trying new things. That's it for me. Thank you for taking the class. I hope you've learned a lot and had fun. If you share on social media, mentioned me, @taptapkaboom. Also, if you've enjoyed the class, give it a big thumbs up. Okay, bye for now.