Vectorize with Adobe Illustrator's Pen Tool | France | Skillshare

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Vectorize with Adobe Illustrator's Pen Tool

teacher avatar France, Here's to the fools who dream.

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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

11 Lessons (55m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What is a vector?

    • 3. Tools + Software

    • 4. Sketch + Scan

    • 5. Pen Tool Practice (part 1)

    • 6. Pen Tool Practice (part 2)

    • 7. Importing Your Scanned Image

    • 8. Vectorizing Your Word

    • 9. Edit + Clean Up Your Path

    • 10. Pathfinder + Timelapse

    • 11. Bonus Steps + Saving Your Work

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About This Class

Hi there! As we've all noticed, hand-lettered type has been extremely popular these days. But without a tablet, how would one go about digitizing and vectorizing their hand lettered type? If you're interested in finding out, this class is for you! I'm going to be teaching you not only how to vectorize your handwriting, but how to do it with the Pen Tool. Knowing how to use the pen tool will allow you to vectorize almost anything, including logos and illustrations—not just hand-lettered type—which makes this class even more exciting! What you'll learn: - What is a vector?- Importing your images- Using and controlling the Pen Tool- Editing your lines and shapes- Saving and exporting your work- Bonus: Adding depth to your vectorized word. Tools needed: - Writing Materials (Paper, pencil, pen, etc.)- Camera, smart phone, or scanner- Computer or iPad- Vector editing software or app (Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer, ProtoSketch, etc.) NOTE: There is a faster way to vectorize with the use of Illustrator's "Image Trace" option. Personally, I am not a big fan of it because of the rough look that it gives (maybe I'm doing it wrong? Lol), but if that's what you're looking to learn, then this class might not be for you. Do stick around though, maybe the pen tool could be something you'll grow to like. (:

Meet Your Teacher

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Here's to the fools who dream.


Full-time art student, part-time caffeine dealer, and artist for Punkpost.

I've been an artist for as long as I can remember. A few years ago, I fell in love with calligraphy and hand-lettering.

Currently, I'm on the road to earning my BFA in Animation/Illustration, making friends and coffee at my local Starbucks, and hand-writing for an amazing app called Punkpost, all while bringing about the creative content, picking up freelance gigs every now and then, and—as of now—creating instructional videos to share some things I've learned in my past three years of calligraphy and hand-lettering.

It's all about the hustle, amirite?

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1. Introduction: Hi there. My name is Francine. I am a full time art student, part time caffeine dealer and all the time, a social media, arts and crafts hobbyists. I got into calligraphy and hand lettering about three years ago now, and I've been in love with it ever since. So much that I know worked for an app called punk posts where I can put my hand letter in skills to you. Today, I am going to teach you how to digitize your calligraphy and your hand lettered work using Adobe Illustrator's pen Tal. Since handwriting has a combination of both geometric and organic shapes and lines, learning how to use the pentacle on Adobe Illustrator is going to be useful to you as well when you feel like you want to back to rise something like simple illustrations or logos. So let's get started 2. What is a vector?: So, first of all, I want to explain what a vector is versus a regular raster. The easiest way to explain factors is that they're made out of information instead of them being made out of pixels. So looking at this illustration right here, it's a regular raster image that I created using, um, using my procreate app on my iPad so that app does not create vector better images. So if we zoom in right here, you can already see it if getting pixel ized pixelated. So you can really see that the edges don't stay sharp. They kind of blow up into a huge pixels. Those little squares you see over there are the pixels. But if we look over here, this is the same painting. But fact arised, um, we're gonna zoom in on that same same spot. Now you can You can already tell that this is much more high quality than a raster image. You look down here, it says that we are zoomed in 64,000%. That is a lot. So that's kind of how vectors work. Like I said that it's like they're made of information like if you tell a line a curve this way and then curve that way. That's what it's going to keep doing. No matter how far you zoom into that curve, it's going to be that Kurt that edge is going to keep being an edge unless you tell it. So why would you want factors if you're creating something and you're thinking about maybe mass producing? Do you want to make sure that it would fit different sizes, like maybe on a shirt on a postcard on a greeting card on the blanket? Maybe if you're one of those people that create art for websites like Society six and Red Bubble, that's really useful. A swell. And maybe, maybe in the future, your work is gonna get featured on a billboard. You don't want a raster image and you having to recreate that into a higher resolution image. If you have a factor file, then you can just blow it up and it's ready to go on that billboard now. Vectors don't work for everything, but they do work for a lot of things, like simple illustrations, logos and calligraphy, your hand letter type, and that's what I'm going to be teaching you today. 3. Tools + Software: Adobe Illustrator's pencil is very. It's a complex tool. There's so many things you can do of it. One of my graphic design teachers in college told me one time that if you can use Adobe Illustrator's pencil, you can use Adobe Illustrator, which I think you know. That's kind of he is. He was exaggerating, but he's right. It's one of the more complex tools on illustrator, and it's really it's a really challenging tool to use, especially if you don't know what you're doing. If you don't know the keys, that can help you create things you want to create. So that's what I'm going to be teaching today. Before we go any further. I know that Adobe is not cheap. If you are not looking into getting a subscription for Adobe Illustrator or Adobe, well, there is another app for it is for Mac users. I don't know if there's an alternative software for Windows for Lennox or whatever you're using. If you're not a Mac user but of your Mac user and you want to know you want an alternative for, um, Adobe illustrator and you're not looking into investing into a subscription, you can, um go ahead and go open up the app store and look for affinity designer Um, this This software is very similar to Adobe Illustrator. It's kind of like a hybrid between photo shop and illustrator where you can create artwork , um, using both raster and vectors. So it's pretty awesome. I haven't used it in a while, So there are also some APS on the iPad. I know one of them is called photo. Uh, I do not remember what it's called, but it will be right. So it's an app on the iPad that helps you create factor. It also uses a pencil, and there are buttons on your screen that are similar to the buttons that we're gonna be using on the on the computer. So if you don't have laptop, or if you don't want to buy Adobe illustrator or affinity designer and go ahead and try out the iPad app. I haven't tried it yet personally, but I have seen people on social media using it, and they seem to like it a lot, So I should I'm going. I'm going to try and myself after this, but right now I have no experience with so But I mean, they said that if you know how to use a pencil on illustrator, then you will be able to use that. So anyway, let's let's go ahead and get started. 4. Sketch + Scan: So go ahead and grab your pencil and your paper, and we're gonna create Just were you just gonna do, like, one word today? Because we don't have time to, like, create an entire thing. Um, so let's say no. No. Okay, so let's write Hamlet, because that's that is the book that my tripod is sitting on right now. Um, let's right. Let's go ahead and write Hamlet. Um, let me just grab Oops for God's a hit record. Um, as I was saying before I hit record, um, I do have my brush pen right here. Ah, this isn't the brand that I normally use, but it was the 1st 1 I grabbed from the box, so it should dio, um, I usually like to use pencil first because it just feels nice to use pencil. So we're gonna go ahead. I simply wrote he So we're gonna do that again? It's right, Hamlet. So kind of write the words multiple times because you want to see what style you want to actually write it in. Or maybe you want to Some flourishes and you're not sure how you wanted to go. You know, just give yourself options So now I'm gonna go ahead and grab my brush pin, and I'm gonna make it darker because we're in a scan. This and we wanted to be as dark as it can be. This is not my favorite. Not a huge fan of this pen. Oh, damn. I forgot. You see that? Okay, so that's a perfect example. So you can make mistakes as long as you know what I want, What you want it to look like. Um, I also did this. I'm not not this part, but, um, this spacing I on purpose kind of put very little space in between the letters because I want to show you that when you digitize, you can fix that. There is absolutely a way to fix your work. If you make mistakes. Sometimes you don't realize that there's something wrong with it until you start to digitize. Because when you're working closely like we're going to be tracing the's on your computer, we're gonna trace every single inch of this of this word when, um when we vector eyes. So when we do that, we're gonna look at our work not as a word, but as lines and a shapes and curves. So when we see those on the computer and look at them really closely, we're going to see the flaws. And that is OK. You are always, always going to see flaws. And that's a good part because at least you know, thought you can fix it. So we're gonna go ahead and scan this. If you just have a scanner that works, you can use an up. I call. I use an app. It's called Scannable. It is amazing. It is an app that, um, it's and ever note up. If you're familiar with Evernote, this is there's it is amazing. It is a great app to scan documents and images. It works. It works really great. So that's what I'm gonna be using you can. I mean, if you don't have a scanner or a scanner app, you can just you just take pictures of your work that also works. There's no problem with taking just taking pictures. I just like to scan because I like the white to become white and the black to become black . So in the next the next section we are going to be, we're going to start learning how to use the tools of a no B illustrator 5. Pen Tool Practice (part 1): So we're gonna go ahead and open up. Adobe Illustrator, you have been a new file and I usually like to you seem like a and I dio a three by four aspect ratio. Now, let's go ahead and name this line Hamlets directory file. So if you hover over these these tools, you can see, um, what they're called. And in the parentheses, that is the button that you click to go toe to switch the battle. So selection tool is V. Right now we are using the pencil. But if you click on agree, so what? Just two selections. Will. It's really simple. I normally don't use the key shortcuts. I'm just not used to it. I usually come back over here, but I'm gonna try to do that for you because I want you to practice to do this Us, um, as fast as you can. But, I mean, if you like Teoh, go back to the tool box and click on the tool you need. That's also perfectly fine. So we're gonna practice a pencil if you click and click and quick, you have a shape. Um, clicking. Doing single quicks gives you straight lines. If you want to constrain your lines, go ahead and click on shift. Did you see what I did there and made it so that it's straight? It's parallel to your, uh, to the sides of your of your image. It also does 45 degree angles. So you see that? Yeah. And we always want to go back to the first point. These are called anger points. Those squares that show up when you hover over them, Or like the corners. They're called anchor points, and it says right here. It says anchor for this particular project we want to always closed. Sorry. I'm so sorry. I should have turned out. Um, you wanna always close our paths. So let me explain the terms that I'm using right now. I'm gonna change this double click right here on my layer on a double click and change this to something that you can all see. Uh, strangers. Your lead. You've read. It's easy to see. So there you couldn't see you lighting off when you hover over that entire red area. Not in here. Just this. That's your path that is called a path. And it also shows up by your mouse if you have. If you have your guides on, by the way, let me show you how to turn that off. You're gonna go to Preferences, General. Um, smart guides? Yeah, for gentle works. Um, sometimes it's gonna be like a light green, and I don't like that because I can't see neon green against a white background, But you want to make sure you go to view and smart guides are on. Smart guides are like that. And when you're making your, um, your paths, it shows like, Oh, right now this is aligned to this thing that is your smart guide. This Right now, this point is aligned to this to this particular line. So that's what smart guides does. Something else that you can do with your pencil, which is going to be majority of what you're going to need it for, especially if you're gonna do. Calligraphy is curves, so if you click and drag, it creates this thing you let go. I moved your your mouth or your cursor, and this is what it shows. It shows you what curve you are currently creating. That's gonna be the path and then you click and drag one more time. Look in drag, click and drag, click and drag, click and drag, click and drag. So that's what we wanted, Dio. And when you close your path, see you right here. Right now we're about to close our path. You consume, we just click and you create like appointee Edge or you can click and drag That way you kind of make a curve a continuous curve all throughout. Now I want you to practice doing curves. I just want you to go pick up and down, up and down, left and right. Just want you to kind of get used to the tool. Okay, let me show you something. By the way, it's select. Um, So right now this is a Phil, and that is a stroke. Phil is the inside part, and stroke is the outline on right now. The Phil is white and the stroke is black. So since there's a fill, if he overlap it, this is on top like, yeah, since the newer it's gonna be on top. Um, you can't see what's behind it so you can go ahead and do none. That's what we're gonna That's how we're going to keep it right now. Gonna resolve that. So you want to make sure that this select the Phil and do none, And I want you to set the stroke to maybe three point. Yep, that is perfect. He and see it really well enough. Um, So I want you to practice with a pencil for a while. Give yourself about five minutes. Just doing that cars. And I want you to pay attention to which direction the curves go, depending on where you drag your mouse and maybe try to create some shapes while you're at it and make sure that you close your path. You want to go back to that first point that you created the first anger point that you created And when you close that you can either click to create, um, just just to close it just cause. Or you can click on their point and dragon so that you can create a continuous line. By the way, I forgot to mention if you're creating a shape and it selected, you have done with it, you wanna click on command or control. That way your mouse, your cursory switches over to direct selection tool we can't command and click away from it that way. It's It's just right there. I'm sorry I didn't say that earlier. Yeah, so you create your soup a man command and click away. That is how you Yeah, and you can select your selection tool. Teoh, move it around. 6. Pen Tool Practice (part 2): don't worry about not getting the curves the way you want them to be, because there is a way to fix them later on. You can most certainly fix them later on. Do not worry. Right now, we're concentrating on practicing the tools, so use these curves that you've been doing for the past five minutes. I hope you've been doing them. They're called tangent lines, tangent, curves, changes. They're tangent to each other. But now I'm going to teach you how to do non tension lines, meaning curves that that become pointy and clothes. What you want to do, that you wanna create your curve and then quick on option or Ault if you're using a PC and that's our PC's, too, right, Um, if you're using a non Mac computer, just go ahead and click on Ault Freezing back. Cook an option so option key and then click on the anger point and drag so up. Option key. Click and drag. Well, option key, click and drag. Sorry. And then, um, lead it to whatever direction you want, your perfect girl. So we're gonna go this way and then in a curve again, just click and drag and Then again, Option T and then you quick and draft men click and drag and then option key, Quick and Dr and click and drag. Then we're going to close our path this way and your command and click away from your path . Quote Teoh de select. So that's kind of how that one works. And I'm gonna show you a different way to do that. But I want you to not do this again. We're gonna show you something that I want you to not do ever do not do it. Just don't do it. So you wanna maybe you want to create the same shape. So we're gonna do that just like you're like, click and then create your curve, create your car, and then you like, click and I curve and then click. See, that also creates nontendered lines. I'm gonna show you why you don't want to do that. We're gonna go ahead and click on the direct selection tool or just click on a Okay, um and you're gonna click on the anchor point that brings out these handlebars that you've been using to control your lines? Um, the direct. So the regular selection tool the con ve That's your regular selection tool. It just basically moves around, rotates your path, Um, but it cannot edit your lines. So direct selection tool for a You can zoom in quick on your anger point, and we see these handlebars handlebars. You can click and drag. That way you can edit your curves, can edit your path to your liking. Unlimited Unlimited edits looks. Yeah, as much as you want, all of them every single one, you can even move anchor points. See now, if we did what I told you not to do, you're gonna click on that. And there are no handlebars where the handlebars there's none, and you try to move it and then look what happens. It just moves a finger out. That's the anchor point, but what's that circle right there? It's a circle. It's not. It's not a handlebar. It's just circle. Let's try to move it. Look what it did. See, you don't want that to happen, so never, ever, ever. Just click unless you know, unless that's what you're going for. So always click and drag. Always use your option key if you want to create pointy edges so that's that. I want you to practice during that Created shapes. Try. I'm goingto, um, provide you with, like, a worksheet with different, very simple shapes that I want you to trace using your pencil. So, yeah, um, gonna go ahead to the next lesson where we're going to start to trace the word that you just wrote. 7. Importing Your Scanned Image: So we're gonna go ahead and place the image that we scanned or to get a picture of earlier . You can click on file in place and you want hit option. Before that, you want to look for your file. This is my father. Sometimes this spots will be checked. It's called Link. I usually uncheck that box because, um, I sometimes work on different computers, and right now this file is saved on my computer and not my hard drive, which is what I take around with me when I work on different computers. If I click on Link and then the image is on my canvas and I take my hard drive and I take it to school and work on a computer in school and I open, I opened my project. This image will not be there because it's tryingto find it's going to say, Well, this says that I need an image right here that is in the Downloads folder downloads folder , and it's called Image 5588 dot PNG. But that image is not saved on the computer in school, so it's not gonna be able to import that image. So what I do is unlike it that way. It embeds it onto my workspace, and it's there forever. Permanently. But that was very un interesting to you then. That is fine. Oh, yeah. Okay, so sometimes your image gonna be too big and you want to scale it done. But make sure you don't distort it like that. So you want you want to do is you start to kind of drag it, and then you hold down shift. That way, you keep the aspect ratio that you want. Well, go ahead and gonna go ahead and keep it like that. And you want to let go of the mouse first before the shift key. I think I'm gonna place it there. This sommelier one. I'm gonna go ahead and double click right here and hit template and dim images to 50%. Or maybe 40. Go away, target. So it's kind of it's kind of faded now, that way we can draw on top of it, and it doesn't interfere with our our vectors. And we if you check template, it automatically locks your layer, you can unlock it, but we want to keep it locked. That way, when we're working on top of it, we don't accidentally move it out of the way 8. Vectorizing Your Word: go ahead and grab your pencil and you want just trace trees around it. Um, I think I wanted to just stay straight, so we're just gonna go ahead and do a straight line option T dry drag. Andrea, you can also use your option key to close. So, like I know you hit option teeth and then just do that. Then we can edit that and then move it so that it has has some personality, and I think I like how it looks right now. Then we're gonna do that for the next one. So some people like to create on entire path, like, kind of go this way and then and then follow through with the curbs. But I like to do as much position as I can, so I usually just I do as much paths as I can. What we can do this, my option key. And it's not gonna be perfect. Remember, we can always, always, always option key. Also, you want to try to use as little anchor points as you can, because that way flows a lot better and your handlebars can be as long as you want them to be through I'm not a problem. Option key on option keeping and command and click away. You're using a non back computer. The man is also control. Um, so, yeah, see what I did here? I went around it, and it creates clue. It creates lines that aren't They're not very continuous. And that's okay, because you can always fix it, See? So, like, right here, not following through a B, continue this line, which is kind of curving down. It does not go to this point. And this does not go to that point. So that's why I like to do it this way. Just overlapping them, Because I know that later on, we're going to remove the strokes and do the Phil remember the filth. We're gonna do that right now so you can see turning off the stroke, turning on the film, So Yeah, kind of How how it turns out later on. But we're gonna keep it this way. 9. Edit + Clean Up Your Path: you want to use your direct selection tool to and in all those curves that you want to fix , like right here that her books really funky right now. So you're gonna fix it? Sometimes you want to remove anchor points. Remember how we added one earlier on. We can remove some of them by using silly anchor point again. Just click and hold the pencil. My men like, drag your mass down to do it. And I wanna be now on a daily this. I just want to make this one super long and curve this one a lot. There you go. I do on hairline strokes, though at some point. Drug smaller. I think we do need that extra one. Add one. Now, this takes a lot of practice, so if you're getting frustrated right now, that's fine. I was also frustrated once, like, really frustrated. It took me a long, long time to perfect the pencil. And still I have problems of it, so don't feel too bad. If you're not getting your now, you will get it eventually. Just keep practicing. I'm gonna provide, like, a practice sheet for you that you can use to practice before you get into the calligraphy part, if that's what you want to do. Oh, no. See, right here. I don't use my option key. I forgot. I just clicked and clicked. And now this happens. Well, you can do I think, if you do that by mistake is to convert. So you want Click on that and then go up here and convert me our limits? Yeah. I don't know how to fix it. No. No way to fix it. That's why we don't do that. Because it is a point of no return. That's really the point of no return. I'm so funny. Um, yes. So I guess we can't fix that one anymore. But we're gonna fix this month. You move it up. That's what we can do. But we can't fix the curve we're gonna do. If you're familiar with calligraphy, you're gonna want to do a thin strip going up. So we're gonna do that. This is a Yankee curve, and we don't want that. So we want to smooth it out a little. - Wow . I cannot get this to work. Okay? That's Oh, no, it's not fix this point. So really all I'm doing is moving around. Anger points, moving around the handlebars also. Have you seen me doing this? That's just me making mistake. So you have to worry about that. But something you can do with that. Sorry. You can clean drive that selects all the anchor points, and then you can move them all together. That's what you want to do. Like that's not what I want. So if you accidentally do that, just click away and then cook again, then Yet another point here somewhat. Okay, so now you select that whole thing and then do know Sturtz, and then you do Phil, and you're all set. That is your h floor Hamlet, and then just do the rest. I suggest doing it one letter at a time because you want to make sure that you can edit as much as you want later on. And don't I mean, I did it right here to show you, like, what can go wrong if you did this. So I suggest, like for the letter T You want to do this one as one path and this one as a separate path. Kind of like what I did for this. This isn't one path, and this is like a separate one. But I would have separated this on this, too. Um, so, yeah, I'm gonna do the rest and kind of fast forward to show you how it ends up, and then we'll do some extra work. If you want to do some extra work after this, I'm gonna show you how to kind of do a shadow, a drop shadow, um, stuff like that. 10. Pathfinder + Timelapse: something that I forgot to teach you guys. So when you're working with holes like this one, I want to just create a path just created. Just make it. Don't worry, it's perfect. Then it and that hat using Aaron keys right now and then, um, you want to go ahead And so, like, outside one, make it black lips were you still see inside one And let's make that one white soon. No stroke. So if you like, how it looks to select both of those to select the outside path and then click on shift so you can select the inside path as well, and then go to window. We don't. Pathfinder. Mine's already open on this side. And you wanna do this? Exclude. See, now, that way you have this one path. Then you can always just change the color back to whatever color you want it to be. You you have that whole right there. And I was just one path and you can always still that it You still edit your path even after, But it's better to do. Before that were you know what it will look like. Okay, now let me continue. I get to you the others 11. Bonus Steps + Saving Your Work: Let's pretend that we're done. It's not perfect yet. I'm not completely happy with it yet, but I just want to show you how to go about saving it and finishing up and whatnot. So when you're done, you want to go ahead and either delete your template. Layer this layer right here, either delete it or if you want to keep working on it later on. But you want to see what it looks like without the template. Just go ahead and click on this, and it makes it invisible. So that's what it looks like right now. Like I said, I'm not happy with that yet. Um, but I'm gonna show you how to maybe change the color and add a drop shadow. Maybe, um, so go ahead and click on the color. Make sure this selected, and you can actually click right here, and it's elects everything. Either you click there or hit control A or command a and it's elects everything. And then you can change the color, too, wherever you want. Let's make it like dark red, because that's what Hamlet reminds me so you can go ahead and select all command A and then go command. See? And then you likely commanded. Quick, go do a new layer. This button right here and then dragged that layer below. No, you're too. Do you wanna? But on command shift? Now, let's make this layer invisible. Then the 2nd 1 is what we're looking at right now. You're gonna change that toe white. You'll see why, in a little bit. I want you, user. Um, Cherokee's down, down. Right, right. Just just trust me while it's selected. Down, down, Right, Right. And then you want to copy that one more time, Francie, do new layer. So let that new layer on command shift V and I want you to go down down, right? Right again. Do you like? Kind of like a Maybe black black works. And while you make the first layer visible again and you have that one's drop drop shadows that pretty you could also add it Like how much of that you can see to go ahead and select one more time? Click on the right of that circle. Just let her out. See how you like you can even change the color. Maybe like Teoh, like a blue baby. And then You can also move the white layer, but not pretty when you export export as you want to save it as well, usually Syria as if you want to save it as a an average. Go ahead and do PNG, P and G or J pay. But make sure that you keep a separate file that's either illustrator or E. P s file. That way you keep it as a vector, and that's it. That's your vector. I hope you enjoy this tutorial, and there's gonna be more coming soon. Some traditional calligraphy, some brush lettering, maybe more digital. Maybe some iPad lettering. But make sure that you stick around and watch out for more videos. Thanks for watching.