Illustrating an Icon Set: Design a Cohesive Series | DKNG Studios | Skillshare

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Illustrating an Icon Set: Design a Cohesive Series

teacher avatar DKNG Studios, Design + Illustration

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Sketching & Concepting


    • 3.

      Setting Up


    • 4.

      Icon One: Arrival


    • 5.

      Icon Two: Deadpool


    • 6.

      Icon Three: Mad Max


    • 7.

      Final Touches


    • 8.

      What's Next?


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About This Class

Design a cohesive series of icons in this new online class from DKNG Studios, the design and illustration duo who have taught more than 20,000 students on Skillshare!

Join Dan Kuhlken and Nathan Goldman of DKNG Studios as they share their process for creating small scale, iconic design sets. Inspired by their poster of 100 icons, each representing a different Paramount Pictures movie, this class reveals the design tactics they relied on to create one unified series from movies as different as Pretty in Pink and An Inconvenient Truth. From sketching and concepting to the final series, you’ll learn how to:

  • Establish design rules to ensure consistency
  • Distill complex subject matter into basic shapes
  • Create a limited color palette that serves a variety of subjects

After taking this class, you'll be able to use consistency and simplicity in a variety of projects, from branding work to logo design. Whether you're new to design or an Adobe Illustrator whiz, you'll gain an arsenal of tools to illustrate efficiently, use customized colors to your advantage, and create a design style that is uniquely yours.

Learn more from DKNG in their other Skillshare classes, like their top 10 Adobe Illustrator Tips & Tricks.

Meet Your Teacher

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DKNG Studios

Design + Illustration

Top Teacher

DKNG is a full service graphic design studio with a focus on the entertainment industry. We work directly with bands, venues, promoters and a range of independent and corporate clients.

Dan Kuhlken and Nathan Goldman were both drawn to music and design at an early age, but didnt combine their talents until 2005 when the duo founded a design studio with the goal of fusing these two creative avenues. The pair has found a niche in linking a personal and unique aesthetic to the worlds most talented musical artists.

With dynamically different skill sets ranging from fine art to film production, Dan and Nathan bring diverse talents and artistic perspectives to every project. DKNG strives to provide their clients with the image and recognition that they deserve. Their past client... See full profile

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1. Introduction: I'm remembering in the last class like every time a new video starts, we just have these sheer shit-eating grins on our face, because we were laughing so much and just like trying to fight through it. Every sentence started with, "[laughs] Okay, so anyways..." [Upbeat music] We are DKNG that stands for Dan Kuhlken, Nathan Goldman. We're Design and Illustration Studio based in California. We got our start working in design for the music industry doing gig posters for the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Now, we do work for a range of movie studios, corporate clients, and a lot of that work is designing in a very iconic style like what we're going to work on today. The purpose of this class is to create a series of icons. When we say series, we mean anywhere between three or more icons. You can pick whatever we want. We're using movies as the example here. If you really want to do your favorite books or any other subject matter that you're able to research or take a look at reference imagery, that's all it's required to get started. The Perma poster came about from a gallery in Los Angeles called Gallery 1988. We originally did a poster for them celebrating Bill Murray Films. We couldn't pick one film, so we made one poster celebrating every movie that has ever been in and the gallery owner actually reached out to us saying, "Would you be interested in doing another poster that would be celebrating 100 films for Paramount because they're just about to celebrate their 100th anniversary?" In thinking about icon design, it's important to think about both the icons standing on their own as one cohesive design, but also thinking about it in terms of the series and making sure that things like style and color really feel cohesive as far as the whole thing being a set. We're going to start off the whole thing with creating sketches and the sketch process really consists of concept development, getting a rough idea of what you're going to be doing in terms of shape, composition, content, and then we're going to bring that into a vector form in the Adobe Illustrator. With this class, we're hoping that you'll take away a set of new skills and the ability to take complex information and really distill it down to a basic shape in the form of an icon and think about how a concept can be used to explain what might seem like a more complicated idea in its simplest form. Once you get started, we'd love to see what you create and please share it to the Project Gallery. Let's get started. 2. Sketching & Concepting: The first step of this process is concept development or concept in the form of sketching. So, for this class, we picked out three movies that we're going to use to create our icons. The movies are Arrival, Deadpool, and Mad Max. We picked those because we're going to attempt to create a person, a place, and a thing for each icon just to show some different types of imagery that you can illustrate in an iconic style. So, we'll start just by doing a Google search for Arrival, the first movie that we're going to illustrate, and just see what's out there as far as imagery. So, in this case, we can see various versions of the movie poster. I'm sure some of this is fan art that people have created. Amy Adams, you can see some of the main characters. But I think one thing that comes to mind for us is this main spacecraft that appears in the movie and the fact that it appears in multiple locations around the world. So, that could definitely be a direction for it. Yeah. The idea is to find something that is truly unique and special for this specific movie and it can't be interpreted as anything else. I guess one other thing that we should talk about is when we start sketching, we usually like to have some type of template and we'll provide you guys with a template for creating circular icons. You can really do any shape but we'll provide a PDF that you can print so you have a starting point with the container, some guidelines, and just a rough way to start working within that shape. If you don't have a printer and you just want to start off with simple tools, you just need a pencil, a piece of paper, and if you want to make a perfect circle, something as simple as a cup, you can trace around and get started. So, I guess if you want to jump in to our first thumbnail sketch, we know we definitely want to include this main shape of the spacecraft and I think placing it in some type of city, so in this case it's Shanghai, as a background would be a good direction for it. So, to start off, I'm going to just draw circles really quickly with a cup and you don't have to do this if you print out the PDF, obviously. So, there's two circles. It always helps to give yourself more grid within this so I'm going to just make halfway points both vertically and horizontally. If you want to go even further, you can make a rule of thirds or something like that. Let's say I wanted to make this into thirds. Doesn't have to be perfect but just enough to give yourself a little bit more of a platform. One reason why the rule of thirds is nice for something like this movie is if we're going to be working on some type of scene or landscape. It could hint at where our horizon line is going to be and also just thinking ahead that this is going to be a series, perhaps some of these lines are going to line up in other icons as well. So, to start off, you want to think about your main elements, what the foreground is going to be. Typically, with icon design, you're really trying to portray one image. In this particular situation, it's technically a place with a thing being the overriding image. So, we have this huge spaceship and it's clearly floating over some environment. So, what we're going to try to do is draw the main spaceship and then try to integrate a city behind it. So, there's plenty of ways to illustrate an icon and you don't have to have it in a perfect circle. It could be in a square, it could be in any shape that you want. It doesn't have to technically be encapsulated in something. When we say encapsulate, it's more like inside an environment and that could be interpreted as the main shape. So, in this particular circumstance, it's a circle. So, what we're going to try to do is draw this within that circle and also try to break the plane which means taking the object slightly outside of the circle so it feels like it's more in the foreground. All right. So, just to start off, I'm going to draw the spaceship from the back and I'm just going to keep it inside the circle. It's pretty self-explanatory. We have a shape like that. Whereas breaking a plane, if I were to do the three quarter view of the spaceship, I'm going to just draw it like this, for example. I think in this case, since this shape is somewhat ambiguous, it's just like an oval, that that second option give us a little more detail, makes it a little bit more specific about this movie. So, I think that's probably a good way to go. As far as the city, we were looking at this poster that shows the city of Shanghai. So, let's take a look at the Shanghai skyline just to see how the background's going to start to work. Shanghai has very unique buildings. The more common one is the Pearl Tower and it's this long tower with these spheres that are basically on the top and bottom of it. So, I'm just going to add that in as the background. I'm going to just throw it in a pocket here, seems like it would work well in this area. Because within the horizon of the city, that's a pretty iconic building. We know we don't want it to compete too much with our main image as well. So, I think the scale you have it at now makes sense. Yeah, and don't feel wed to this sketch at all. I mean, we may change this in the computer but at least now we have some type of roadmap of knowing where we're going to head with the final illustration. So, the second movie that we are working on is Deadpool. So, I'm going to take a look at what they have. Right off the bat, it's really clear that, unlike Arrival, this is really a character-based movie. You want even as person that hasn't seen this movie to still know what the movie is. I know from living in LA, these billboards of his face with a white background and really make it about his upper torso was a big part of it. We have to ask ourselves if that's information that we want to put into this icon. So, let's try a couple ideas. Let's start off with something very obvious, so his head, his shoulders, and see how that fits into the main shape of the circle. So, his head's basically an oval and then his shoulders are pretty straight so do something like that. What's cool about this already is that it's breaking a plane similar to the spaceships. So, we're starting to find similarities in our sketches, so I'm liking that, and to try another shape, I'm going to just see what it would look like to do something a little bit more unexpected. So, maybe let's try the side profile and see what that looks like. He's got his hand up with his finger over his mouth. It's already feeling like it doesn't really fit our system that we're trying to create. I think symmetry works really good for icon design and this is really asymmetrical so let's go back to the frontal view of him. Let's just throw in some of these main shapes that we're finding. So, already, you can see that our landscape in the first sketch and this head and shoulders shot in the second, they're totally different subject matter. So, once we get into our series, it's going to be really important to keep things consistent as far as style to make these feel like they're part of the same family. Something like that rule of thirds is definitely, even if the person looking at it for the first time doesn't recognize something, there's going to be familiar things that almost subconsciously make the icons relate to each other. One thing to think about, too, is lighting and shadows and where your light source is. Obviously, we're making a light source here which actually made me want to flip this because I drew my shadow over here but it clearly feels like light is hitting the ship from the right side. So, maybe if I flip it, it'll look more natural leaving a shadow going to the right and having light on the left. So, for example, maybe all the icons could have light coming from the left and even in this poster, it looks like that's happening. So, maybe we can just try to give the right side of his face more shadow and think about how that might hit on his shoulders, for example. Maybe get some of the details in of his actual shoulder pad things. That already makes it feel like more of a family if every icon is going to stylistically have a light side and a shadow side. So, moving on to the third icon, we're going to take a look at Mad Max, Fury Road. Something that initially comes to mind with this movie is all the vehicles involved, the scenery in the desert. The trick is going to be taking some of these very complex scenes from the movie and figuring out how we can interpret them in a super-simplified form. The two main vehicles that come to mind, I think, are the most iconic are this main one that is one of the villains who actually ends up being not a villain, spoiler alert, his main car, and then the semi that's being chased the entire time. That is a very long, long vehicle. I'm not sure if that's going to work well for this series but maybe if we look at maybe the front of it, for example, and see what that looks like. Maybe we should try multiple options, maybe the front of that vehicle and then see what it looks like to do the side of the other vehicle. I can already see the front of this truck. It has some cool details but because it's almost a perfect square, I feel like that would fit well with the symmetry we're going for. Like Nathan's saying, it's basically a perfect rectangle sitting within this shape really nicely. One thing to think about these main shapes we're throwing in is the amount of negative space that leaves around it. For something like this Arrival movie, it's a very skinny shape which gave us the opportunity to show a lot more background. Something like Deadpool is pretty much taking up the entire circle leaving almost no negative space. This is kind of in-between. We have a good amount of space still but not too much to show too much information. So, that's just something to think about in terms of what we want to illustrate outside of this. Let's move on to the other one and see how that fits in the shape before we make a commitment. So, yeah, this is a car that looks great sideways so I'm just going to throw that in. Since we're already breaking a plane on these first two, I'm guessing it would look pretty good if it broke the plane on this. Its front has these poles coming up, those could break the plane. Then it's got more poles coming in this way. It's getting complex but that's the main gist. What's not happening here, though, is it's not leaving very much room for more visual interpretation of the movie because I'm basically making it on the floor here which is most likely going to be a desert. I think we're also seeing a relation to the other two icons. We now have a very flat horizontal shape, whereas here, we're using a lot more vertical space. So, I think this might be the solution as far as doing something that fills the space a little bit more. If we just do the truck as you have it, we still have a lot of negative space so maybe we could fill in with some other vehicles a little bit. Some of these ideas may be too complex for your icon but, again, these are just ideas. You can decide if you can omit any of these things in your final design and still keep the meaning of what you're going for. This is definitely more complex, I think, than the others so I think it makes sense to make all the stuff that's around it as simple as possible. Yeah. I could see how things like the background in Arrival could be similar in simplicity to the background dunes in Mad Max. We can start to look for similarities between the icons but I think these are in a good shape to bring into the computer and start illustrating. 3. Setting Up: We got all our sketches into our file. What we are going to be doing from here is lining them up with some sort of grid system. We all want to make sure that this is on its own layer, everything that's here. So, let's go ahead and call this layer sketches. Then we'll create a second layer called art, and that's going to be on top. Now, going back to the sketch layer, we could make this all on its own opacity. We can grab all or we can do a global selection and just make their opacity like 25 percent. In the art file, after you lock your sketches, go ahead and start making a grid system. So, I'm going to go ahead and put a background on this right now, and obviously can't see anything if I have it like black or color. But the way you can is, if you globally select, click to target on this layer and then go to multiply. That way, you can see everything behind it without actually multiplying the actual shapes that you're drawing. So, I'm going to go ahead and just copy and paste these main shapes. What I mean by making a grid system is kind of finding the similarities in all these. One quick way to do this is to turn on your rulers, which is command R, and make halfway points. If you have your smart guides on, you can see the center of these squares, and that's a halfway point for all of these. You can probably do the exact same thing vertically, which I'll do for all of these. Now, we're starting to find this quadrant system for each of them. They're all going to be using obviously circles. So, what you want to do is draw a circle in the center of this and just kind of see where it lands from the sketch that you drew. Color isn't important at this point. You're just making basic shapes, but that looks pretty good to me. We can see how I line them up and how they line up with others. It's a little bit small for the other ones, just from a visual standpoint. So, I think, we can just make a rule that the circle is nine inches. This could be a custom guideline, for example, that you make. One way to do that is just take this exact shape, copy and paste it in place, and undo command five, and now you have a shape that has been turned into a guideline. So, I can move this circle, but I still have the guide to help me. Another thing that we want to do is probably make thirds for this. So, one quick way to do that is to take the square which is 12 inches and divide it by three, which is going to end up being four inches. You want to do it horizontally. This could be the way that you make perfect thirds. So, now we have guides for everything all set up. I want to add these circles back to these guys too, so you can just copy and paste within our board and select both of them, command five, make your circle. Do you want to do thirds vertically as well? It depends on your design. We probably won't need to do thirds vertically, but if you are doing more stuff that is different shapes, it probably helps. So, I'm just going to copy and paste this background element and make it into thirds, I mean, vertically. So, now we have both horizontal and vertical guides. Just to be clear, the rule of thirds that we're talking about is for the background element. You can make it for the inside if you want to, but for our case, I'm already seeing the horizon line that we created on our original sketch working at this one third line for prioritizing our background. So, I'm just going to use that as the main element. 4. Icon One: Arrival: So, even though we're dealing with very simple shapes and icons, this piece is going to have a style to it. Even if you're trying to just keep things simple, there are going to be elements that are going to make it look different than how someone else might design an icon. So, one thing we often think about is a set of rules such as what angles are we going to use? How many colors are we going to use? Are we only using solid fills versus outlines? So, where would you start? I would probably start with horizon lines, your main biggest shapes, for this like the ocean is a big deal. So, what I'm going to do is actually throw in the ocean line here with a shape. At this point, I'm just going to start using very random colors. But obviously, I want this to be inside some sort of clipping masks. So, I'm going to copy and paste the shape in the front and turn it into a clipping mask.I would like to use this one as like the main thing, the main shape. Doesn't have to be high resolution or anything but if you can make it around the same size and try to use that as a reference point, that's a great way to start illustrating. I know that we wanted to flip it, so this is flip the spaceship's. This is probably a good starting point for us. We do know that this is probably an oval, you can play around with making this oval shape, get the main gist of it and to see what it looks like in the center of your design. I do know that maybe this side is not as rounded, so you can see if you bring it back, how far it goes in. That's actually pretty close to what the actual shape is. So, this is where you can start customizing things. So, it's that shape for the main element, if we want to get something a little bit more custom for the front, we can literally take the same shape that we've created and draw on top of itself and see what that looks like. Obviously, this is something that has been cut up but I'm liking where that is going. So, what I'm going to do is actually take this shape and this shape, and make a new shape out of it. Once you're moving into more elements, maybe you can start thinking about color. We want this to be representative of water behind it. So, I think blue would look good. We can update that if you'd like to a different color. The backgrounds, let's say it's eye drops, you like that color and so it looks like. So now, we have like two blues, this color of eye drop it's most likely going to be like a black and eye drop this color, it's more like a gray. So, this is getting closer to the actual movie poster. We don't necessarily probably need to use red, this could be the black color. Now, we're getting an interesting vibe on these colors. One thing that's also happening here is, we're using black on the back of this space ship but we're also using black as our background. One thing that we like to emphasize and design is that, you don't have to show everything to portray a message. It's pretty clear that this is finishing without actually having to show the outline. So, it's an implied outline as we would put it. So, your mind can to complete the picture without having to actually show all the shapes. So, at this point, we have a color scheme happening here and this is a good time to grab everything and make your color group. What we mean by color group is basically a folder of colors that are all global. So, you just go to new color group here and you can name anything you want. But the cool thing is that I'll make this folder down here with all these global colors. Let's say down the line we want to change some things about this, we can just double click on this blue and on the fly, we can change the blue in this. This is representative of all the blues that are being used throughout the whole thing. Now that we have our color situated, we can start adding more detail to this. Obviously, we need to get the city in there and this again could be used as a reference point when you're illustrating. So, what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to go inside of my clipping mask with this reference image and start designing with it side-by-side. It's a pretty simple shape and the whole point of this process is to design something that is as simple as possible that gives the message across as quickly as possible. So, we have these two main circles, nothing special here. It's just a rectangle in the center. One trick we sometimes use when trying to distill things down to their basic shaped is you can literally just squint at this image and that will reveal to you what are the most obvious and bold shapes that are included Anything that's really detailed will start to disappear. So, there are a lot of architectural details in this building; entryways, and windows, and whatnot but we're just really looking for the shapes that define it. I think there's no way that this can be confused with another building, once those spheres and their relationship to each other are in place. This is also a good time to look at the fact that the spire that comes out the top of the building is super pointy and narrow at the top. But if this is an icon that's going to be used in a very small context at times, we don't want to go too tiny with it. So that'll probably become one of our rules. You can see Dan put a rounded corner on the top of it, that could also become a rule. So, we're still in this mode of establishing the style of our icons here but these first few things that you make will help to reveal maybe the direction you'll head with the whole series? This is the first time we're using a stroke in this design and this is a question which you probably want to ask ourselves of, do we want to use strokes? If we are, what's the size of them? You probably want to be a pretty memorable stroke size, so you can keep it consistent. That looks pretty good and that softens a 10 points. So, let's say that that's the stroke size that we should be using throughout our process for now. Just to speed things up, it's pretty self-explanatory but I'm just going to start throwing in these buildings. We basically just wrapped up creating all the buildings in the skyline during that last session of design. So, we can also start getting into our color scheme a bit and thinking about how would it look with different elements being represented differently, in this case, having a red. We know as we discussed earlier, we're going to want to use red for Dead Pool. So, I think that's looking cool with the skyline. Yeah, I think the only thing that's weird about it is that the background is so cool and this foreground so warm. I'm wondering if it would make more sense for it to be like brighter and also a little bit more on the warmer side. I think for something like this, we could start adding in these colors to our palette and what you do is just drop it in there and make it global. Same thing with the red, this could be added in and made Global for example. Make sure that your strokes and your fields match that. We are using reference imagery to get these buildings in place but you can see how it's interacting with the circle and how it's interacting with the foreground. You can see that there are some areas that probably need some tweaking. For instance, I think that this Shanghai building could actually not be in the clipping mask and outside of it. You can see it breaks the perimeter there, which is nice. You can see I'm already diverting from the sketch a lot. The sketch was there to basically be a guideline but if you were to turn it off, then you get a nice clean look at your close to 50 to 70 percent done design. So, I think that this is probably in a decent place. The rules that we created, while we're creating this is we created a stroke here and we found that it looks good at 10 point. So, it's also being used as a stroke rate here at 10 point. We can double check our work in terms of like, how does this line up in terms of moving it over into another area? Is that also a similar size and it pretty much is. Like, even it a custom shape, it's around the same width and having the consistency of these shapes interact with each other makes everything look more like a family. We do want to add clouds, we do want to add a helicopter. So, I think we should move into that before we really dive more into this city. But I do want to make a rule in terms of how far things can go outside the perimeter, and I'm finding that this goes out a certain amount, this goes out a certain amount and this one seems that goes out even further. So, you almost can make another guideline to tell yourself like how far you want things to go outside of this perimeter. So, I'm going to copy and paste this background and and right now, it's 8.5, let us see what 9.5 looks like. You can see that it is pretty close to what we already visually put together. If you turn that to a guideline, then you can update things. So, I'm going to make that a little smaller, I'm going to make this actually a little bit bigger and you can see your rules are starting to work for themselves. In terms of clouds break in the perimeter, I can probably add one maybe behind here. Clouds probably need to be represented in white, at least for this particular illustration. So, maybe this is something that we have to consider in terms of color scheme. If I were to add white, does that work for the rest of the other illustrations? It does because we know that like Dead Pool coming up, it's going to use white eyes and that's probably okay, to start adding this as a new color. Think about basic shapes too, that was completely made with three circles and a rectangle and I just rounded the rectangle. You want things to be as simple as possible. Also, helps to group things. So then you can just go into it, as an isolated image and update it if you wanted to without having to move all these individual shapes. The bill looks pretty good. One easy way to get another cloud is just to duplicate it obviously. It's a bit of a cop out, you don't want to just do that. So, one way to like make things look more individual is reverse it and then go back into the shape and start updating it and just trying to make it look a little bit more like it's its own unique cloud. So, I'm going to start taking away shapes, and updating them but I'm keeping its base pretty much the same. We have to also check our work in terms of how much that breaks the perimeter. So, we can see like this one's pretty outside of it. We're going to bring it in a little bit, this one's really outside of it. So, I'm going to bring that way and just basically get it to a point where I feel like it feels like it's part of the system. One thing that's coming to mind with this illustration is the shadow. So, since the light source is coming from the left, I'm going to just draw a shadow making a basic shape. That definitely helps makes this feel like it's floating above the water. Again, we're creating an illusion here where there's an implied outline here. We don't have to finish the shape for your eye to understand that that's the perimeter of a circle hitting another circle. So, we have all our basic shapes in place, we have somewhat of a color scheme even though it's super primary. We have all these cityscapes and clouds and the main shape, all where we want it to be. The only other things I would like to add are maybe the helicopter but that seems like a more complex item. Before I jump into that, I'd like to like fill out the other icons and see where they go in terms of complexity and just understand how complex that helicopter needs to be based off of what's going to be created in the future. But at this point, I think this is 80 percent done, it's probably a good time to move on to the next cycle and we can always polish and tweak this as we go. 5. Icon Two: Deadpool: So, we're getting started on the second icon which is Deadpool. We've added a few things to the art board here, our reference imagery of Deadpool from the sketching phase, and we also just added our existing color palette as swatches on the art board just so we have some quick reference to that. Right off the bat, we know that second icon is very different in that it's a likeness of a character as opposed to a location. So, we're going to want to be especially mindful of the rules that we've already set up, but we also want to remain open to the fact that we might learn some new things with this new icon that we would want to go back and apply to the first one. You can see we're using a lot of colors here so far. Ideally, it'd be nice to narrow this down to less colors. The less colors are used, the more complicated it's going to get in terms of how you design it, you're going to have to be more creative. But it's also going to look more elegant and more simplistic. Actually, the icon style is going to work better if you have less colors, otherwise, you're going to the illustration realm. So, we'll see how this goes, but pretty much, I think that all we need to really use here is red, white, and black, maybe this gray, but let's play around with actually making this. Probably best to start off with regular shapes like an oval. Obviously, this is not exactly how he looks. If you were to bring it over, his head definitely flattens out more at the top. So, we can customize this and try to get it to a point where it looks a little bit more like him. I'm going to ahead and line this to the art board and make his head a little more customized by actually bringing the same shape and helping myself cut it. So, it looks like it's taking on like the shape of a more natural circle, like maybe that big. This is where you can use something like the Pathfinder tools. So, I can take those two pieces, divide them, isolate it, and I can take out the pieces I don't want. Then you have something like that. His chin isn't as pronounced in terms of as wide, so I'm going to go ahead and turn this into its own unique shape and then customize from there. So, it's a little more pointy. That can be fixed just like bringing in these handles for example. You can also make a new shape and then do the same thing I just did with Pathfinder, but that's a good starting point. Where does his head lands? Fortunately, it lands right around that perimeter there, so that's probably a good space for it to stop. I'm going to make it a little bit bigger. I can continue using basic shapes, probably to create something like this. Let's go out and try to finish the rest of the face with basic shapes. So, we're pretty close to finishing the face here. Basically, we're just adding in all the basic shapes, get in some of the main elements in place. Obviously, not completely polished yet, but I just wanted to get that ready so that we can move onto the body and keep developing a style. One tool that I was using that I mentioned before and I'll go a bit slower this time is getting the symmetry involved. For something like this body, it's pretty much exactly symmetrical. The left is exactly the same as the right in terms of the main shape. So, what I'm going to do is just rough it in. We can see the way we drew the neck, it's not exactly just a vertical line, it's actually probably more like 45 or maybe a little bit less. Just to keep the rules going of 45, zero, and 90 degree, let's do 45 here and then take the shoulder to a new type of angle. It is basically drawing one side and using the guide system to create a perfect half. To get that to the other side perfectly, all you have to do is copy and paste in place by doing command C and then command F. Grab your reflect tool. Then while you're holding option key, grab the center of your illustration and just press okay and it'll flip. So, what that did was it basically created the exact same side on the other side. So I'm going to just go ahead and start making the body here. So, we have a roughed in body shape. Some of the decisions that we made while we're creating the face was that we saw that we're using red, we are using black and white. Those are obvious colors. But in order to get a light source involved, we introduced gray, which is being used in this other illustrations, so it seems to be working pretty well with this current color scheme. Again, we have our colors up here and I'm noticing that we've ditched this color, so maybe that's a color we don't use anymore. But we are using all of these still. So, we'll see how we go along and designing this and see if there's anything else we can minimize. So I'm going to go in to this actual illustration of the body and start adding some of this detail. For the rest of his body, while I'm adding in like just starter points, it's pretty simple. I mean, we have these shoulder pads, we can rough those in. What I'm going to do is start off with the basics shape like a circle. Let's see how that feels. It's not exactly a perfect circle, it's more curved. We'll see what that looks like. One thing to keep in mind when you work with basic shapes is that if it looks obviously like a basic shape and is not that customized, then it's going to feel the kind of vectory. One thing I'm noticing here is that it straightens out at a certain point, so you can start to add your own customization in there. Now, it starts to feel like a bit more of a shoulder pad. Besides the strap, there's not really much going on on his chest. But there is this linework happening here and that might be something we want to include. We've only really introduced strokes once and it was just for the legs of this building. If we try to do strokes again, we probably should try to make them the same width. So, we can just experiment with drawing those in and see what it looks like. So, we have a body pretty complete here. While creating this, we decided to use the addition of strokes and they're all 10 point according to our rules system. I also decided to throw in this line as a subtle addition to the face. I think overall, we're getting more of a consistent filled in feeling here. One thing that is coming to mind is that the background on this is blue. But if we are going to have these side by side, it probably makes sense for their background to be the same. So, I'm just go ahead and move this to the blue realm, sorry, the black realm. You could see that what happens with that is we have things that are touching the edge that are bleeding off. But I still think that it's legible and it feels like it's still with encapsulated within a circle. So, I think we don't need to really change anything. A couple of things that haven't been added are handles for these swords, and just to get the angle right, that would be 45. But I think it's more iconic if we just keep the angle similar to what we see here. I'm going to just throw that in as a stroke on its own and let's see what that looks like really quick. One thing that's nice about keeping these strokes live as opposed to working with actual shapes, is that we can change them on the fly. So, if we ever decide, for example, that our 10 point stroke rule is too thick or maybe too thin when we start to look at these icons at a smaller scale, it's really easy to select the same stroke weight from your entire file and change everything globally rather than have to pick it apart. So, that's another way to work a bit faster when you're dealing with a large number of icons like this. So, this is we're at with the design. I mean, I would say this is about 80 percent done too. One thing I'm noticing is that we're not using the blue anymore and this one is. Another thing that I'm noticing is that the gray that we've chosen is really similar to the blue. I mean, if you were to squint your eyes, where do you see contrast? I'm not seeing very much contrast between these two. So, I wonder if there is a way for us to merge these two colors into like a cool gray or just more of a dulled down blue and make them all the same. So, right now, what I'm going to do is just make this water gray and just take out blue altogether, and we'll have that as an unused color for the time being. Right now, that looks a little weird, the gray colors, so let's try to get it back to the blue realm by going to our global colors and playing around with changing it to be a little bit more on the cooler side. This is something we do a lot with our work is trying to find that happy medium color that can basically pull double duty between two different images. So, this is a color that we want to be able to represent water, but maybe it's also going to represent buildings or something more industrial feeling. So, I'd recommend always looking for these type of options for choosing two different colors and maybe just one color can serve its purpose. So, now that I changed these colors, we're technically now in the realm of just using five colors total. This is actually something that we run into a lot. When you're dealing with so many versions of movies and different concepts and different imagery, you need a class of colors that works for everything. We're finding that this primary set of blue, a yellow, and a red, and then the addition of white and black seems to work pretty well for pretty much everything. The only problem with that is that it looks very primary. So, from here, you can play round with your original yellows and your reds and try to make them a little bit more customized. So, here we go, adjusting red, pink's a little bit too hot pink. We also want it to be darker. So, maybe not lightening up too much. You can play around with taking away some saturation, maybe adding a bit more blue in it and making it less intense. So, I think this is another good opportunity to turn off the sketch layers so you can look at just your vector artwork and also zoom out, make sure these still feel iconic when you're viewing them at a small size. Even though we're dealing with two totally different subject matters here with landscape versus a character, there's still a whole list of rules that are being applied to both. I started jotting them down and that might be something you want to do to just to keep track of everything that you're trying to keep consistent. But the stroke weight, the angle, how objects break the plane, having a two tone light source in each icon. We're now using the same number, five colors in each icon. The container shape and size is the same, and then the corner angles that we're using within are the same. So, even though at first glance, it might look like two totally different things, there is a lot at work that's keeping these consistent and we'll apply those same rules when we move on to the third icon. Another thing to keep in mind too is when you do zoom out, you start to notice what colors are being used primarily in each icon, and it's pretty clear that blue is not being very used in this one. If we wanted consistency in terms of how much color is being used equally throughout the whole thing, perhaps this one could use more blue, and a quick solution to that could be just to simply make the right side of his background blue, for instance. So, I'm just going to go and take this shape and turn it into a blue shape, and that already does a couple of things. It makes the color more neutral in terms of how it's being used. We have blue being used equally in both icons and it's emphasizing actually has light source coming from the left side. So, I think that this icon that we just created is about 80 percent just like where you left the first one and I think it's a safe time just to move on to the next and polish these out a little bit later on down the line. 6. Icon Three: Mad Max: So, moving on to the third icon for Mad Max, this is definitely the most complex when looking at our sketch, and that we have a fairly detailed vehicle as our main kind of imagery, we have other vehicles flanking it, we have some background imagery. So, we're going to basically challenge ourselves to see how we can distill down its elements and really make it feel like it's part of this series. Typically the best way to start an illustration, especially something as complex as this is to start from the front and move your way back. So, what I'm seeing is the forefront of this illustration or this photo, rather is this grill. So if I start with that, then I can start working backwards until I get to the back of the actual semi. So, we've established that our rules are 10 point strokes, and these look like big Toli just be strokes. So, I'm going to go ahead and just start drawing out like what that stroke would look like. For instance, if I made it yellow at 10 points, that's still pretty much can work. So we know that this vehicle has let's say this many strokes, we can kind of like gets started here and bring that over to our illustration area. So, we know that this is basically the width of what the actual semi looks like, and I'm going to go ahead and space these out evenly and use this as a starting point. So, it's fairly wide, maybe it doesn't necessarily need to be that wide. So we can kind of make a little bit of a lie here and say it's about that wide, try to match a bit of a comma between the actual photograph and what we drew for ourselves in the sketch. We do know that once we start customizing this, we can bring down certain elements like these guys to match like the level of this, keeping your guidelines open so you can kind of see where you are. This seemed to be a little bit taller and the actual photos and then to bring them up. Its just kind of getting this first round going and then we move from there. So, I'm going to go ahead and finish up this grill really quick and we'll take it from there. So at this point, we have the beginnings of the front of the vehicle which is this grill portion and like I said before, we're kind of starting to the very front and moving our way back. So at this point, what's directly behind this, we have this upper portion of the vehicle where the engine would be or whatever and then like the tires are right behind it. So, we'll illustrate that. Then from there, move on to the next here, which is like the windows and then the top of the car. Another thing you can look for is ways to reincorporate elements you've already made. So example, if he wanted to have clouds in the sky in this third icon, might be a good opportunity to use the ones you created in the first icon. You can find other ways like that to make this process a bit more efficient. So typically, when we're creating a series of icons, it gets faster and faster as we go along. So, what I'm going to do is continue working on this icon and try to flesh out the entire vehicle and then we'll move on to the elements that are surrounding it. All right. So, we have a somewhat fully fleshed out vehicle here. It's all grouped together, so we can probably now move on to making it fit within the composition. We want to make sure that the background makes sense with it. Right now, just having it red doesn't make as much sense. Like we've done with the previous icons, we have a horizon line. So, maybe it makes sense for that to be consistent through this. So, let's go ahead and give it like a yellow horizon line using the guide system. We're going to throw that and took us really quick. You can see that certain things disappear when you do that, and that's okay. You can figure out ways to make it make more sense by giving shadow to certain elements. So I'm going to go ahead and like grab or like a red shadow and put it underneath the vehicle. Now, we have these elements still popping out. So that already feels like it's on a surface. Eventually, we're going to probably want to put these cars in there but we also want to make sure that the dunes are included. We can just simply use 45 degree angles if we wanted to. Basically, ruffle men. That kind of makes this pyramid look, it might not be exactly what we're looking for. But let's see how it shapes out. So, I'm going to go ahead and drop that into our same clipping mask and they definitely look like mountains. So, even though we want to use 45 degree angles, this could be another one of those rule breakers where we probably want to squish this down and make them a bit more subtle. So, I'm going to go ahead and just stop it at that point. I think that looks more like a dune and then we can round out the corners for instance. To me that feels a bit better. Right now, we lost her horizon line, so we're going to have to play around with colors a little bit more. Let's go ahead make our background white and this dune red and bring it to the back. So now, we have a clear horizon line, a dune in the background, and we can even go further and take the same shape, flip it, and make a dune behind it. What we have going on here is kind of a multilevel background that's starting to work. I'm going to go and change these clouds to yellow, so they pop through. So, I think that looks good for our background. Let's move on to adding those other cars. All right. So, I think we're at a point here where another 80 percent, 90 percent illustrated icon. We added some details here, these cars on the left and right, and we noticed that there's these skulls in the front of the semi which is definitely very Mad Max, so it felt appropriate to keep them in there. So, here we go with the skulls, and it's pretty fleshed out at this point. Before we continue tinkering around with it, that's a good point to again look back at the tire series and just kind of see how it feels next to everything. It definitely feels pretty close. I would say it's a bit more complex. But obviously, there's only so much you can do when you need to show something as complex as this. I'm not sure how much more we can take away from it in order for it to be more simplistic, but I wouldn't push it any further in terms of design. So, if we were to polish this if anything it would just be any way that we can simplify this illustration. I think it's safe to say to just move on and look at all these as a series together and see what we can do to unify them. 7. Final Touches: So, now that we have all three icons complete, we're just going to look at finishing touches and how we can make the series feel even more cohesive. So, a few things that come to mind right away is that our final Mad Max icon is feeling pretty complicated compared to the other two. So, in looking at our reference imagery, the desert skies, super bleak, there's not much cloud coverage. So, I think we can just remove those clouds just to help simplify that. Then, let's take a look at the other two and the idea of adding some additional details just to help again balance out the amount of content. One thing we're noticing on our Deadpool icon is that even though these background sword handles are breaking the play and the perimeter, it's not exactly in the same way as the other icons. So, how about we add some highlights there just to help add some definition and be a little bit more consistent with our rules. Probably, you want to make sure that these highlights are about the same width of our strokes. So, if I were to do that it matches the same look as that. So, we can eyeball it for now, but then we can also measure it as we go. So, I'm just going to go ahead and throw that in there. A cool thing that's happening here, is just how things line up and maybe that's one thing that you want to end up tweaking and making sure that everything does truly line up. But, I'm going to go ahead and throw in this highlight to the other side. That actually helps break the plane more, it makes it look like they're actually in the foreground versus just disappearing. So, we're getting a bit more complex there. Now, looking back at our first icon for Arrival, the background, is feeling a little flat, a little less detailed. So, we can do something like the two layered dune effect that we applied to our third icon, what if we add one more level of background just to also help bring in a bit more of our black color into that design. Again, we're trying to think about color balance, and having each color well represented in each design so the composition feels a little bit more balanced. We're not really representing any new buildings or recognizable buildings. Perhaps, it's more just getting the shape of what you would imagine a building looking like and giving the illusion of some on the coasts architecture. So, I'm just going to throw in some basic shapes to get us started. It's already looking like it has a bit more gravity to it. We also added the addition of the helicopter to this design, helps lend some scale to the whole thing and also a bit more complexity. So again, we're trying to match the other icons more. The helicopters is a situation where we broke 10 point stroke rule. It just didn't make sense to have those blades of the helicopter be that thick. You can see how that would look here, it's just a little too overpowering. So, there's definitely these situations where it's worth breaking the rules if it's going to make the whole design aesthetically more appealing. Same thing with these guys, they're supposed to look like poles, and if you made them 10 point they start looking weird. So, we basically, created a new stroke rule that if we have to use Suthon stroke the max is five rather than 10. But, as long as it doesn't throw off the whole balance of the thing it's probably okay. It's really just meant for detail. One thing we want to emphasize is that, typically the best design is going to come from when you can no longer remove any elements and just distill it down to its most basic components. So, if anything does feel off try removing something rather than adding something in. A lot of times that will point you towards solution. Another thing too is every time you make a new step or a new icon really consider looking at your color scheme again. You can become married to a scheme if you just keep watching it. But, it's always good to challenge yourself. One way we always challenge ourselves with the color schemes is don't typically just use a standard black or standard white. Look at the idea of maybe making the black, more natural to this color scheme. So, we have this really unique blue that we came up with. What if we try to match its tone to that so that it has a bit more magenta and blue in it. We find that it starts to feel a bit more custom that way. A little more unique to what you're trying to do. So, that's more a dark navy versus just your standard black. Then, white for instance, is so high contrast next to that, if we wanted it to look a little bit more on the vintage side you could always just go back in and change that standard white to an off white for example. It could just be really subtle, just enough to make it feel like you put effort into every single color. One final step that we're going to take with these icons is to take any sharp corners that are still remaining and round them. I would suggest saving a new file at this point because one thing we're going to do to accomplish this is convert all of our strokes to fills. So, if you did need to make any changes it's nice to always have a file to go back to the reference. So, I'm going to go ahead and start rounding corners we originally started working with point one inches. But, even at that rate it's totally rounding these complete rate, so it has like this circular edge. I'm wondering if we were to use points like zero five, what that would look like? It's a little bit more on the custom side. We're still getting that harder edge without it rounding completely. So, then we can start using that new rounds around in edges to like everything. So, I'm just going to go ahead and go through this whole thing and just play around with making at that point zero five for instance. You can just do that up here in your panel. Another thing, going back to the rounding corner, this whole city is using really hard corners. This is a good opportunity to go in and start using the rounded corner specification they came up with. So, point zero five seems to work pretty well. I would just be a matter of doing any outer corner at point zero five, but what's happening is as we're doing that it makes the whole thing a bit more on the software side and it feels a little more custom, whereas on the side it just feels like a bunch of rectangles. So, right now we have a finished polished set, we went in and rounded all the corners to these specific buildings, played around with moving them a little bit so that the're a little more spread out. Anything we can do to keep things more simplified, but more importantly make every icon look good together. So, a little bit more tweaking here and there maybe taking a little bit away from the semi and trying to simplify it. But, at this point, I would say all three of them look pretty good together, and we have a finalized icon set. So, thank you so much for taking our class. We really look forward to seeing what you create. Please feel free to share your progress in the project gallery as well as your final work. If you create an icon set and even show us the context of whether it's a website or a poster or whatever you create, we look forward to seeing how you use the information from this class. 8. What's Next?: way.