Illustration in Action: Creating Stylized Portraits | Andrea Pippins | Skillshare

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Illustration in Action: Creating Stylized Portraits

teacher avatar Andrea Pippins, Designer & Illustrator

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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.

      Finding Inspiration


    • 3.

      Using References Respectfully


    • 4.

      Choosing Your Subject


    • 5.

      Making a Word List


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Sketching for Layout


    • 8.

      Sketching for Likeness


    • 9.

      Sketching for Final Details


    • 10.

      Importing for Digital Editing


    • 11.

      Editing Your Paths


    • 12.

      Adding Color


    • 13.

      Preparing Your File for Print


    • 14.



    • 15.

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About This Class

Illustrate vibrant and thoughtful portraits with designer and author Andrea Pippins!

Join Andrea as she shares her unique process for creating stylized portraits with surprising colors, bold patterns, and expressive typography. Through Andrea's step-by-step technique, you'll use a mix of creative inspiration and illustration techniques to tell a visual story with unexpected results. You'll learn how to:

  • Gather references and sketch effectively
  • Digitize your work in Illustrator
  • Choose and add color

Whether you're new to illustration or a seasoned artist, Andrea's process will jumpstart your creativity and help you honor someone who inspires you, allowing you to create meaningful work and push your illustration styles to new heights.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Andrea Pippins

Designer & Illustrator


Andrea Pippins is an illustrator, designer, and author who has been featured in O: The Oprah Magazine, Family Circle, The Huffington Post, Bustle, and more. She has done work with brands such as Free People, Lincoln Center, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Andrea is the author of I Love My Hair, a coloring book featuring her illustrations celebrating various hairstyles and textures, and Becoming Me, for young women to color, doodle, and brainstorm their way to a creative life.

Andrea produces artwork with a mission to create what she wants to see and a vision to empower women and girls of color and people in underserved communities with visual tools to own and tell their own stories.

Illustration Credit: Andrea Pippins

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: I believe that it's really important for artists to be inspired constantly, to always be looking at the world around them, gathering references, gathering inspiration, to inform your work so that you can create something fresh and new whenever you're creating. I'm Andrea Pippins, and I'm an illustrator, author, and graphic designer. Most recently, I've been working on illustrating children's books and doing a lot of freelance illustration for companies like the Lincoln Center, National Museum of African-American History and Culture, and Free People. My illustration style is really rich with pattern, vibrant colors, and cultural references. I really try to create what I want to see. So, the product in this class is to create a portrait of someone you'd like to see celebrated or see more of, so I'm going to do a portrait of Angela Davis. Illustrating a portrait is a really great exercise for students who are especially interested in figure drawing or illustrating people. Some of the things we're going to do today is gather references, some inspiration. We're going to go through a sketching process, do some brainstorming, and then take our scan or our image into the computer. Then, we're going to Illustrator, start cleaning up the image, and making sure that we're working with some nice clean shapes. Then, adding some color to finalize. Then, to get our illustration ready for a final file. The important thing about doing an illustration for portraiture is to have fun, make it your own. This is your interpretation of the person that you're trying to represent, so have fun with it. 2. Finding Inspiration: I love to start off with sharing some of the artists that inspire me or some artwork and colors and things that I see out in the world that really influenced my work. One artist and designer who I really, really admire is Emory Douglas. He was the graphic designer, the official graphic designer for The Black Panthers. I recently got to see him speak and was able to buy some of his prints. So, this is a print that he was selling. I don't know too much of the history behind it, but I just love the flatness of this illustration. One thing that you'll see in my work that I've picked up from him is, he always tries to show his characters as, I would say activists in some way. At least, that's my interpretation of it, but he always has like a button or something on his figures. I've incorporated that into my work, which you'll see a little bit later. Another thing that I love about Emory Douglas is that, he makes his figures look really powerful. One way that he does that is with this kind of burst, which is a very old technique that has been done in illustration and graphic design for many years. So, that's something that I see in his work that I always try to play with and kind of experiment with my own work. Another contemporary artist, this is from Angela Pilgrim. This is a little beat up, but I really love her work. She shows a lot of figures in different hairstyles, and again, that flatness that I like. A flat color, not very layered or anything. It's something that I'm really drawn to because you have these really solid colors, these solid shapes, and I love what she does with the figure, with the portraits. So, I look to this as inspiration. I love texture, I love patterns, so seeing how the polka dots are layered in this print, and I don't know who the artist is for this. This is something that I just found at a market and decided to pick it up because I love the colors and I love the textures and the patterns here, and thinking about how I might be able to incorporate this into my own work. I am a hoarder of magazines. I love magazines and seeing how photographers capture an image or how colors are played into a work or things or layers. So, this is something in this, a function magazine. So, you can see all the different patterns and colors. So, I might look at this and say, "You know what? I want to try pulling this palette into my own illustration." You could see how the colors are playing up here. It's really, really beautiful. So, this is something I might cut out and put on a mood board or might photograph with my phone and have it as a reference for an illustration later. Some other random places that I might look to for color inspiration, this is a book from MICA, which is a school. This is a catalog slash, it's like a reference for what they're doing at the school, and you could see that it's really beautifully designed. But then, I'm really interested in just how the colors are being used. Like this really pale pinkish color with this dark blue. Not a palette that I would ever really think of, but it's like a palette that's already created, and I could just pick it up in my own illustration. I don't have to do too much work. Look at this beautiful, this green, and these kind of pastelley colors, and navy blue. Some might say, "Okay, I'm going to bring that into one of my own drawings." So, I collect things like this and have it. Again, I might cut it out, I might take a photo, just so I can have it as a reference. I might use it today or maybe a year later, but I just have it as part of my library of inspiration. So, I use Google images, I use Pinterest, and they're really, really great resources for being inspired. Really great stuff on there. But, you can imagine that other people are looking at the same things. So, I always encourage people to go to the library. It's old school but it's a great way to see things or find things that other people may not see or find. Even if you can't make it to a library, if you can just go online to the Library of Congress and do a search or a local library, they might have an archives online and search for a topic or something of interest. You might be able to find some really archival images or inspiration that is unexpected and will inspire something that you didn't even think of. 3. Using References Respectfully: So, let's talk about using inspiration respectfully to make sure that we're not taking what we see and making it our own. So, one place I'd like to start is just making sure that I'm being inspired by the attributes of something that I really, really like. So, if I'm looking at another artist's or designer's work, maybe it's the composition of the design, or the illustration, or maybe there's some really interesting ways that they use shape or color, and then I might try that for my own work. So, experimenting with the same kind of process that that artist or designer might have used. That's a great place to start. And then also looking at the details. Are they using something that's really intricate, or is it something that's really flat and just about shape? That's something that might incorporate into my work. In creating my illustrations, I love to show my figures in a really positive light. And the way that I do that is by adding halos, or crowns, or wings to show them being uplifted or being these really bright shining stars. And in terms of really pushing how those crowns or halos might look, I might look at some inspiration at religious iconography in early paintings or prints. I don't want to just take that and put it onto my figures or my characters. I see it they add res or add details, and then I try to think of about, "Okay, well, how can I incorporate that into my own illustration?" So you'll see that there might be a circular shape around the figures head, I'll play with the different points of the crown. So, I'm bringing in elements of that inspiration into my own illustration without totally lifting what I see in those paintings or those prints from earlier years. So, if I see something that I'm inspired by from another artist or designer and I want to incorporate it into my work, I try to make sure that I mention it somewhere. So, if I'm talking about it to a group at a talk, or if I'm doing a blog post, something on Instagram or in the description of the art, I try to mention who I was inspired by. It's a really great way to pay homage to the other artists and also to show that you know your references. So here's another tip in terms of using inspiration. If you are inspired by another artist, their process, or something that they've created, you can take those elements and experiment with it, play with it, do different things, combine it with your own style to make it your own. Make sure that you're really pushing the boundaries and making sure that you are being experimental instead of just lifting that element from another artist. So here is my favorite, favorite tip. Research as much as you can about your references. Dig deep, find out what they mean, learn where they come from, get a little bit of history before you're incorporating it into your work. The great thing about that is that it adds another layer of meaning when you're talking about what you've created, so that you know that you're not taking something and just using it haphazardly. I believe that it's really important for artists to be inspired constantly, to always be looking at the world around them, gathering references, gathering inspiration to inform your work so that you can create something fresh and new whenever you're creating. So, it really allows you to be experimental and to also to see the world in a different way when you are grabbing all others inspiration for your work. So, these are some of the things that I'm inspired by. But let's jump onto the computer so I can show you some things for today's project. 4. Choosing Your Subject: Today's project, we are going to work on a portrait of someone we'd like to see celebrated. So, it could be somebody in our family, so like a cool family member or a friend or even a celebrity that you don't get to see that much of. So, I'm thinking about who I was going to select, I just decided to start a list of dream portraits that I would like to explore. So, my list includes people like Kara Walker who's an artist or Bob Marley, James Brown. I just have this huge list. Then I starred the ones that I really would love to do with just like this pink marker. You could see like Octavia Butler, Spike Lee. Then I narrowed it down to like Queen Latifah and Angela Davis and Grace Jones. I decided to go with Angela Davis because I've drawn Grace Jones before and I've drawn Queen Latifah before. So, I thought this would really be a great challenge, and I love her amazing afro which I thought would be perfect to explore the crowns and halos that I do in my work. As you're thinking about your list and who you would like to draw, think about the different elements of this person. Think about their personality. Think about something that they have that you think would be really, really cool to draw. So in my case, Angela Davis, she has this amazing afro. I would love to experiment with that. But maybe there's a hairstyle or a particular outfit or clothing that you know that your person has and that you would like to play with. So, whenever I'm doing a portrait, the most important thing is to find references of that person, some photographs, some images of that person in live action. So, what I usually do is start by making a Pinterest page. Usually, it's private when it's for projects like this. I just start pulling images, do a Google search, go on to different websites and things and finding these really interesting images of the person. One thing I really love to do is to go to the Library of Congress and see if I can find images of a person, especially if it's a prominent person or even a celebrity. I found a really cool image of Angela Davis that I hadn't seen before. It was a Free Angela Davis Now photograph, and seeing her on the cover of Jet Magazine. Some of the things that I really start to notice was she always has this really beautiful big afro. She's always been shown in these photographs in front of a mic because she's a speaker, she's an activist. She might have her, fight the power piece, fist up. She's not usually smiling. So these are some notes that I'm taking as I'm trying to think about what do I want to draw for Angela Davis. So, things that people will recognize. But then also, I want to make sure that this is really speaking to my style. So, is it going to be from the bust up, which is usually how I draw my portraits. Is it going to be having her in action? These are all things that I'm collecting in my little Pinterest page for Angela Davis. So, I try to exhaust the possibilities in terms of finding images. I try to find roughly about 10 to 15 images at least just so I can really get a really great idea of how this person looks from different angles, and I can really play with if I'm looking at her straight forward or on the side in a profile. If I do want to do a full figure, finding some images that show her standing. But I try to have a range that I can really play with and that will help me reference when I sketch. So, in my space, to really feel like I'm in the element of this person, I do like to print out some of these images to have in front of me, especially if I want to step away from the computer. So I might print them out large scale, put them up on the wall. I'll also do something that's really interesting is listen to the person if they have any audio. So, in the case of Angela Davis, she's done a lot of speaking, so I might put an audio of her doing a speech or I might play a YouTube video of her just so I can really understand who this person is. It just really gets me into the groove when I'm ready for drawing. As I'm pulling references, I'm always looking at the shapes, looking at the the stance. I really love this image of Angela Davis with this necklace and this turtleneck because I feel like it puts her in a place and time. I'm thinking about the '70s with her afro. But then the way that this jewelry is worn over the turtleneck or like the pattern in her clothing, I'm thinking maybe that's something I can incorporate into my illustration. I mentioned that Angela Davis, she's known as being an activist and a speaker. So, having these mics in the photograph can really be an inspiration for how I'm going to treat the illustration. Then I really love this image here. We have all these different mics lined up, and she has this stoic face. So, I'm thinking maybe that's something I can also incorporate into my illustration. So, now it's your turn to pick your person, find your references, find your inspiration, put it up where you can see, so that we can get ready for our next step which is the sketching. 5. Making a Word List: So, this is my idea book and it's something that I've been doing for the last several years where I keep this regular moleskin book of ideas, goals, list of things that I would love to do in the future. Whenever I have a meeting with a client, or even with a friend and we're just brainstorming, this is the book where I keep everything. It's a really great reference later on if I can't remember what I wrote down for a certain project, I go back, or my five-year plan is in here. I have to-do lists in here, but it really is just this diary of ideas for me. I keep it separate from my sketchbook because my sketchbook is where I have my drawings and all of the visual kind of inspiration for a project and here's where I just have just the ideas. For our project with the portrait and for my drawing with Angela Davis, I have a page where I just started writing some notes, just some thoughts that I have about the illustration. Then, I started doing a little bit of digging online to find out more about Angela Davis and even making notes about what I want to recreate or what I want to include in my illustration. So, one thing that I started to do or play with is thinking about what are some of the attributes of Angela Davis that are really consistent. So, her Afro, which I wrote down. The way that her eyes are, they're these really big, beautiful eyes. Then, looking at her teeth and the way that she smiles. So, I was thinking maybe those are some things that I really want to make sure I incorporate into my drawing. When I was doing research of Angela Davis, I saw a lot of the Free Angela Davis Now texts. I do like to incorporate text into my drawings sometimes, so I'm thinking maybe that's something I could use. When I went to the Library of Congress, looking up information or images for Angela Davis online, I found some texts that read, "I am a reverent, missionary black woman." So, I was thinking, I have never seen that related to Angela Davis. I know that it's something that she probably thinks or might have said in different ways, but I had never seen the text in that way. So, I thought maybe that's something I can bring into my illustration. So, before I dive into my sketching, I try to do a word list of things that come to mind for that particular topic. So, again Angela Davis, she's known for being outspoken, she's an activist, she has these speeches, she's been referred to as a communist, a feminist. So, I just list all these words whether they're positive, negative, or just reflective of this person just so I can have it as a reference for when I start to sketch. So, I encourage you to do the same. Make a word list of all the attributes, all the things that come to mind for your particular person and just jot them down. It doesn't have to be organized in any specific way. You can do little sketches next to it. You can write down little ideas there. Just a little page of reference or multiple pages, it's totally up to you, of things that comes to mind for this person. 6. Materials: Now, I want to walk through some of the things that I use that you can consider. You don't have to use all of these things, It's really up to you and what feels comfortable. So, I always start with a mechanical pencil, it has a really fine point. I've had this pencil for years. It's great because it's sustainable, I just keep replacing the lead and the eraser, and I use this for all my preliminary sketches. The eraser is great, but I use a bigger eraser here, so I can get a nice clean erase. Then, I have multiple pens in different sizes. I used to be a really go hard fan of Micron, which I still am, I have tons of Micron pens, but I also use the Staedtler pens now more recently, because they're just really great. I love them. I get different sizes, so I have 0.5, I have 0.8, 0.2, and it really depends on the kind of line that I'm trying to create, how thick I want that line to be. So, I just have a range, so I can kind of play with it when I'm actually drawing. Another thing that I tend to sketch with is a Uni-ball pen. It has a really great line and I love to use this on my sketchbook paper more than the Staedtler pens or the Micron pens. These are for finals, these are for final drawings, and the Uni-ball I usually used just for the sketching stage. So, let's talk about where we're drawing. I don't have any particular, Ii guess, specifications in terms of my sketchbook. I usually just get something that has a nice size that I can carry around with me. So, when I'm traveling I can just toss it in my bag or toss it in my suitcase. So, I just have this regular drawing pad, the brand is just the store Blick, which is an art store and I don't have any specifications in terms of the tooth of the paper. I just like that it has a really clean nice creamy paper that I can use to draw on and that it may scan while if I decide to scan directly from here which I usually do. So, I have my sketchbook. This is where I get messy with my drawings. This is where I use my pencil, or my Uni-ball pen to sketch. But, the most important thing for me is my layout bond paper. The layout bond paper is where I do my final drawing that I'm actually going to scan in to the computer. The layout bond paper, it has very little texture to it, and it's a little bit transparent, so I can lay this directly on top of my sketch, my drawing and this is where I'm going to use my Staedtler pen or my Micron pen to get that really, really clean drawings. I could see through the paper and it doesn't have too much tooth to it, so that the line or the ink doesn't bleed. So, when I scan in it, becomes really, really clean. To adhere this to my drawing, I use this double stick tape. That way that my drawing doesn't shift or the paper doesn't shift when I'm actually moving things around within my drawing. So, the next thing I do is, I sketch. I pull up my references, have them around me, and then I get to work. 7. Sketching for Layout: All right. So, we're getting into our sketching phase of the project. As you can see, I have my laptop here, so I have my references on my Pinterest page visible. I have my word list here, so I can reference this if I get stuck or can't think of any ideas, and then of course my sketchbook. So, I'm going to just dive in with my Uniball pen and just start drawing and there's no specific parameters or anything. I just want to get my ideas out there, and that's the really great thing about sketching. You can exhaust all the ideas, play with variation, just have fun before you start your final drawing. I usually always have some kind of shape to contain my image. So, I'm just going to draw like a rough rectangle. It's more like a squarey rectangle. If I was doing this for a client and I had specific dimensions, then of course, I would map it out with a ruler. I'm just going to start here, this gives me a nice size. I'm looking at my reference of Angela Davis. I found this image of her kind of gazing off to the side, and that's where I'm going to start. In drawing her face, she has this afro that's covering her brow and kind of cutting over her ear, so I'm just going to mimic that shape. I'll start with her brow and this is really loose, really rough because this is just a sketch. I'm going to clean this up a little bit later. I have her afro growing around, and then her eyebrows. So, for me, the most important thing is capturing her eyes, that gaze that she has, like this gaze of empowerment, and then her afro which I've already drawn. Lately, with lips I've been just doing, just trying to make the lips in shape, catching the shape of her lips. I have her top lip here, and just catching the shadow of her bottom lip. I have another reference where she has a turtleneck one, so here I'm just going to look at her neck, but then I'm going to add like a little turtleneck because it narrates the 70's. The turtleneck is big. We want to put her in a place and time. I'm just doing the bust. In my drawing, because my style is really about shape and color, I want to make sure that everything here is a shape. So, I'm closing off any open lines because this is going to help us later on when we take this into the Illustrator. One of the references shows her having a beaded necklace, and I'm going to just add some circles to reflect that. It doesn't have to be too literal. Now, I'm going to start adding the elements that I love in my styles, the crowns, and the halos, and the wings. Again, this is really loose, so I don't have to make it too perfect. We're going to clean it up later. Can't forget her crown. Something else I'd love to add to my drawings is having some kind of text, so I can incorporate her name, or there was that message, "I am a revolutionary black woman," I can incorporate that, too. For now, I'm just going to play with her name in here, so maybe it's coming off of her afro in a banner, so really loose. The great thing about this here that her name in terms of the length. They're not the same amount of letters, but they're not too much different in terms of length, so they fit symmetrically into this composition. I'm going to have some bursts coming in from behind her, and then I want to add like bursts coming in from her afro. Then maybe, some other little elements like this star, both sides. Add some details to her wings. I mentioned that I like the element of adding a button to the figure like Emory Douglas. So, I'm going to add some buttons when we think of activists. When we think of people who are protesting, they're wearing buttons all over their jacket or their shirt. So, I'm going to add three buttons to her. So, one, big one. Maybe like a little one, and then I'll add a little bit of text in there, so I'm just going to put the word "no" because it fits nicely into this button size here. So, when you're doing your drawing, how are you going to celebrate your person, what are some things that you can add to them to make them seem like this special, really beautiful portrait of this person that you want to celebrate. So, are you giving them a crown, or are you giving them the medals, or are they in this really beautiful outfit or are you adding stars? Think about some elements that you can add to your drawing to make it feel really, really special. 8. Sketching for Likeness: So, we are trying to capture the lightness of a person in a portrait. So, I'm going to give you a few tips of how I do so with my Angela Davis drawing. All right. So, we are going to start practicing, capturing the likeness of our person in our portrait. So, I'm going to draw my little box for Angela Davis, and I'm going to start with her face. Whenever I'm drawing the face of a person, I try to get the overall shape of their face regardless if they're in three quarter or we're looking at them straight forward, I try to start with the face and then their hair. In the case of Angela Davis, her afro, it kind of cuts away from her face. So, I could think about those two elements together. So, she has a really strong sharp brow. I know that whenever I draw my brow, her eyebrow is going to be here, and then when the eyebrow cuts into the face, that's where the eye is going to be. So, that's always a tip. I mean, with every human being, that's a great place to start with the face or the eye, and then you could take it from there. So, she has these high cheekbones. Now, I'm just trying to capture the line of her face, and then her chin, which is like a square chin in jaw line. So, that's the shape of her face, and then her afro, cuts into her forehead. It actually lands like right on her eyebrows. So, I can bring that down, that line here, and that curves around her eye. I'm looking at this reference where her afro peeks from the side of her face, and it starts right near at her mouth. I know her mouth is going to be down here somewhere. I can even draw a line to show that, and then I'm going to pull her afro. She has this really beautiful, long elongated neck, and it starts right almost at the center of where her chin is, so I'm going to go ahead and draw that line there. That's her neck. Then I could start adding her features. So, just a little dark shape for her eyebrow, first eyebrow, and another one here. She doesn't have a very long nose bridge, so I'm going to make sure that I capture that. She has these really big beautiful eyes. Her eye doesn't really rests on the bottom portion of her eyelid. Then she has a crease that I have here. I'm going to add that, and then I'm going to draw her lips, so the top lip is always darker. So, I usually just make that one shape, then I draw the shadow for the bottom lip here. I've been giving her a turtleneck, but I'm going to give her a 70's butterfly collar here for this version. Something else you can think about in terms of your person, Angela Davis had these really cool aviator glasses, so that could be something else I could add. Is there something that your person wears all the time that makes you think of that person, you can definitely include that in your portrait. Let me have a little button here. So, in my drawing, because I tend to have really flat shapes, and I try not to be too literal with my figures. So, it means I'm not capturing every single detail. I'm not trying to make it super perfect in terms of the likeness of that person. I really try to make sure I have two to three things that make me feel like this references who I'm trying to create a portrait of. So the afro, the eyes for Angela Davis, and then any extra elements outside of the portrait. But again, for me, it's not really important for it to be super, super literal. I'm not doing a realistic representation. This is just something that is figurative and fun. The important thing about doing an illustration for portraiture is to have fun. Make it your own. This is your interpretation of the person that you're trying to represent. So, you can incorporate all kinds of elements that aren't necessarily part of that figure. It could tell a story about that person. It could be something that's just going around the figure, and you really want to make sure that this feels right for you in terms of how you're representing the person. This is about you celebrating the person, and it opens up to how this can look. So, have fun with it. 9. Sketching for Final Details: So, now that we're ready to clean up this drawing, I'm going to go into my layout bond paper and get a sheet here. I want to put this on top here. So, this sheet of paper is what I'm going to draw on with my pen. I want it to be a really clean drawing. So, I'm going to go ahead and start drawing. I'm going to start with her face. And there we go, there's our clean drawing of Angela Davis. I can still add things. I can move my sketch away and say, "Oh, you know, I want to add some details to my burst here and fill in here. I think we're good to go. So, in this example, this was really just to show the process, my technique of doing the sketch and then transferring it over to lay out bond paper which I'm actually going to scan in. But I have another version that I had already created for us, so I can show you how I take this into the computer and add color in Illustrator. So, this one is a little bit more detailed. I have a little more texts and a little more intricate so you could see how I work. 10. Importing for Digital Editing: All right. So now, we are taking our illustration into Illustrator. But to get there, we can do two things: we can either scan, or if you don't have a scanner, you can go ahead and take a photograph of your drawing, making sure you have a lot of light. Maybe use natural light if possible, and then send that drawing to yourself, so you can open it up in Illustrator. If you do have access to a scanner, I have a few tips about scanning in your image. So, typically, I try to scan in my image at least 200 percent. So, I double the size of my image. I get like a nice large, large graphic, and then I also try to make sure that it's a high resolution. So, I start at roughly about 300 DPI. At the minimum, I will do 150 DPI, but ideally, I start with 300, just so I have this really nice high resolution image, and I can use it in different places, and I have to scan it in again. For my illustrations, I use a Wacom tablet, and this one here is the Wacom Intuos Pro, it's a medium size, and I find that it's perfect because I can travel with it if I need to. The large one is a little bigger, a little more cumbersome for me, and then the a small one is too small for me to work on. So, this is perfect, and of course, it has the great tool here for me to draw, and I have like a really similar flow from what I'm drawing with a pen or pencil. So, before we bring our illustration into Illustrator, I have one extra step that I want to take, and this may not even be necessary for you if you have a really clean scan or a really clean photograph. But I find that when I scan things and it has like a little gray cast sometimes, and I try to scan in my images at grayscale, so I get a really nice clean pick up of the drawing line, but that tends to make the image itself a little bit grey. So, what I do is, I bring in my illustration into Photoshop. I open it up, and I want to just change the contrast. So, what I would do is go to "Image," "Adjustment," or "Levels" or just "Command L," and I play with the contrast, so I just bring my marker. This here changes the blacks, so it just gives me a nice rich black. Then, this arrow here changes the whites. So, you could see that my image is just being adjusted a little bit, so I can get a nice, crisp black and white image, because that's going to help me when I take this into illustrator. If there's anything that I need to clean up, any lines I've got wonky or any blots of ink that are messy, this is where I can clean it up before I bring it into Illustrator where I'm going to do an Image Trace. All right. So, I saved my image. Now, we're ready to open it up in Illustrator. So, now, my image is in Adobe Illustrator, and what I want to do is make all of these lines and shapes into vector shapes. I can do that using Image Trace in Adobe Illustrator, which is why I really wanted to have this to be a crisp white and black image so that the Image Trace will pick up all the lines as cleanly as possible. We may have to go in and clean it up a little bit, but I wanted to make sure that we don't have to do too much cleaning up in Adobe Illustrator. What you want to do first is select your drawing using the selection tool. So, you have your drawing selected, and you want to go to "Object," down to "Image Trace," "Make and Expand." Usually, if you have an intricate drawing, it will give you this message saying that it might take a little while to trace. You can see on my screen that my image is now a trace. So, now, everything has become a vector. Different points, different shapes that we can now play with any color, make changes, and alter the drawing as needed. But before we do that, the drawing is now all grouped and all but one shape basically. So, what I want to do is go into the Pathfinder and make some adjustments. On my screen, I already have Pathfinder visible, but if you don't see it on your screen, you can go to "Window" and then down to "Pathfinder," and make sure that it's selected. So, what I want to do is, break up all of my images, all of my shapes. I'm going to use this little icon here under Pathfinder's, and basically, it's going to break up all of the shapes that I have now. But what it does also is, it groups everything together automatically. So, I want to make sure that it's ungrouped, so that I can select all of these different elements individually. So, if you go to "Object," and then down to "Ungroup," now you have all these different pieces ready for you to select individually, so that I can go in and change color if I want to, or I can delete a shape if I want to. One thing that it also does is, it makes the background a shape, so the area that I drew on the white of the paper. In essence, is now a shape, so you could see I move it around, that's something that is. I can edit it, I can use it, or I can delete it, which is what I want to do. I don't really need that there, so I'm going to delete that image. Then, I can still select all of these different pieces. So, at this stage, you can do pretty much anything. You can keep things as it is. You can edit your shapes. You can add color. You can add different things. I'm generally at the stage like to just start adding color to see how things look, and that I can edit as I go. So, let's start there. Let's start by just adding some color. For me, I like to go ahead and just go to my color palette. Again, if your color palette isn't visible, you can go to "Window," and then make sure that color has a checkmark next to it, make sure that's selected. I always like to work in CMYK. I always imagine that at some point, these will be printed. I can always change it back to RGB, but I find that CMYK gives me a better understanding of how the colors work when I'm applying color to my illustration. Okay. So, let's see, back to black and white. So. I'm just going to throw it a color. This is a deep pink. I like to use the Eyedropper tool. So, if I want this shape to be the same color as this color that I just created, I can just select that shape and then select the Eyedropper tool. For some reason, it keeps jumping back to RGB, but I'm going to make sure it's CMYK. I don't usually have a line in my drawings. I'm going to go ahead and delete some of these lines because I generally just work with shapes. What I'm doing for things that I want to have the similar color or the same color, I select them holding the Shift key. I'm just going to add any color here, for now. A little quick tip with adding color. I always start with about two to three colors in a palette, and then add more as I go. I find that when you have too many colors, it can be distracting for the viewer who's looking at your portrait or your drawing, illustration. When you have a really basic color palette, it can tell a story, a very simple story about the image that you've created, and then also become this additional thing versus something that becomes really busy, and again, very distracting. All right. So, I'm just going to go in and delete some of this black line. Another little trick. So, you could see I have this shape here which is broken up with that text that I wrote. You could see it's picking up all the letter-forms. I want that to be a solid shape. I don't want that to have all of those broken shapes within a shape. So, what I can do is go back to my Pathfinder tool here. I'm going to go ahead and just break it up again. Actually, I'm going to move this over, so you guys can see what's happening here. So, I'm going to use this tool again. I'm going to break that up, and then I want to also combine it. You can see that it fills in and becomes this one solid shape. So, that way, it doesn't have all these complicated shapes within a shape. So, I'm going to do that behind here. So, basically, just cleans up my illustration. I want to go ahead and fill in Angela's afro. I'm going to do a dark brown. So, now up to three colors. I have this dark brown, this neon green, and pink. I'm trying to delete this black line that's going around Angela but it's connected to her eyes. So, that means I have to go in and break up this line here. What I'm going to do, I'm going to draw a little shape. To see you can see it, I'm going to add color to that shape, so that you can see what I did here. So, this shape is going to cut away the line of my eye from the line it's going around Angela Davis. So, I'm going to select that shape, and select the line, then go to my Pathfinder's tool here, and then making sure that I'm ungrouping that. Now, I want to delete everything except this shape here. So, I'm going to hold the Shift key to deselect that, and then delete. Now, I have her eye, her nose still there, but that black line that was defining all the parts of her is now gone. All right. I'm still going to add some color, so I'm going to add another color. So, now up to four colors. I just see this. This is something that's here, and I'm just going to use that for now. It looks like a good color for her. Okay. So, now, I'm going to continue on adding color and combining shapes. One thing that's happening here as I'm deleting some of the line, I'm not able to see where some of the shapes are. So, what I can do is change all those white shapes into color, so I can see exactly what I'm selecting. The way I can do that is by selecting one item that's white. So, this is part of her turtleneck. I'm going to select that. If I go to select down to same fill color, so everything that's white. So, I just picked a random color. It doesn't necessarily mean it's going to stay this color, but just so I can see exactly what needs to be added or changed. So, I mentioned before that because I need to work in shapes there, all the lines need to be closed up. You can see this is an example where I didn't close the shape, and therefore it became a line within my drawing instead of a full line shape. So, in order to make it a shape, I need to close this. What I'm going to do just with the direct selection tool here, I'm just going to select these points, or I can just select two of them here. I'm just going to drag them. Just so that it overlaps, so I can close this shape. Using under the Pathfinder, this is going to combine the shapes, so it becomes one shape. Then I can break it up and combine it again to make it a closed shape here. So, what I did was, I broke it up here and then combined it here. So, break up the shape, combine it, and then it becomes a closed shape. All right. So, I'm going to continue on deleting some of these black line. 11. Editing Your Paths: Now, I want to go in and fix this section here. This is where the live trace didn't really pick up that well. What I can use is the pen tool. Now, you could go in and just use your sketch as a guide and then use the pen tool to redraw everything. But I've preferred not to work that way because I love how the, sometimes the image trace will pick up some of the details of the line and make the line feel less perfect whereas pen tools can make it feel really really straight and boxy or sharp. But in this case, I need to fill in where that live trace did not work. So, what I'm going to do is delete the lines that didn't come in that well, and then go up with my pen tool. It kind of mimic what that drawing was supposed to look like. And, you can see that the line is really sharp in comparison to the line that I have here from my drawing. So, what I can do is, first, I need to make sure that this shape is selected. I go in with my pencil tool, and I can make the edge feel a little less perfect by just going along the edge. Let's see, did it do it? Yeah. There we go. So, it has a little bit more of the line that the rest of the drawing has. Then, I want to do the same here and I'm going to delete this. These are all scraggly lines, and instead of selecting them individually, I'm going to use this tool here which allows me to select multiple things in different sections. I can just delete them like that. Okay, so I'm going to keep on fixing any area that didn't quite pick up that well with the live trace. I want to delete this here because that didn't come out that well. Instead of drawing that with the pen tool, I'm just going to duplicate since I already have that shape here and I can make it bigger to fit in a little bit better. So now, I am going to refine my image before I finalize on my color. So, there are some things that I want to fix. For example, I can see here, this didn't really, the image trace didn't really pick up that well. So, it's a little raggedy and then, I still want to clean up this edge here. That's a little too sharp or the line here needs to be adjusted and these need to be broken up. So, those are all little things that image trace tends to do which isn't really great. But for me, it's worth to have to go in and make those quick fixes, versus doing the whole drawing in Illustrator. So, the way that I'm going to fix those, I'm going to use my pencil tool again. I want to make sure that those shapes, so any shape that I want to work on needs to be selected, and I use that with my selection tool and then I'd go back in with my pencil and I just clean up along the line that I want to fix. So, for example, this here, feels a little just raggedy, kind of messy, so I can go along that line with my pencil tool and make it the line that I think it should be or how it should look. In this case, there are some things that are attached or overlapping in a way that I don't want them to. So, I can go and again with my direct selection tool and select that point and adjust the anchors, move that point in a position that I think looks a little better. I can use my pathfinder tool to break up some things. Then of course, I have to go in and delete. I can make shapes to break up the line I'm doing here. So, I made the shape. I'm just going to fill it in with a different color so you can see, and then by selecting that and selecting the shape that I want to break up, going back to my pathfinder's tool, remember to ungrouping them, now becomes a separate shape. So, I will go through the entire drawing and cleanup as I need to. Just to make sure that everything looks really nice and clean. So here I have- because I drew my letter forms with an outline but I don't want it to stay in outline form. I want it to be just one solid shape. So you can see there's this outline here and I'm just going to select the center so you can see, select the center and added colors you can see that it's a separate shape. But I want these all to be combined. I don't want my letter forms to be outlined. It just picked up the way that I drew them. So I select the outline, I select the center and then going back to the Pathfinder I combine them. I'm just going to add that brown color using my eyedropper tool and I'm going to do that with all the letter forms. I just go ahead and delete all the counter forms of my letters because I don't need those. Then I want to do the same thing with the letter forms in Angela's name. So these are all outlined, I want all these to be one solid shape without the outline so I have to go in and combine these shapes. But first I'm going to select the banner and then lock it into place. So I don't move it by accident. So I select my banner, I go to object, down to lock, selection. So now I can't select it by accident. I'm deleting these counter forms, and actually I can do multiple ones at once. So I'm just going to select multiple letters. The reason why you see this white here is because these letter forms were all cut out of the banner. So what we're going to do is the same thing we did with that burst earlier. We're going to fill in that banner- the shapes in that banner to make it one solid shape. So you can see what I'm talking about, I'm going to unlock it. So if I go to objects, unlock all, it's going to unlock all of the things that I locked into place. If I move this there, you could see that those letters are cut out of the banner and I don't want that. I want this to all be filled in. So if I go back to my Pathfinder tool, and I break it up and then combine it, it fills in. So I'm going to do that same thing but back in place where the banner should be. So one more thing before I start adding color. There's some things I think can get bigger like these shapes here. In the crown. I think these can get a little bit bigger just to fill up some of that white. Okay, so one thing I talked a little bit about before is being able to go in and make changes to your drawing if you made a mistake when you were doing your sketch of doing your frontal drawing and then scanning it in and so having to make some adjustments. One thing I noticed is that the eyes here are still a little wonky. So this eye is closer to what I'm looking for, whereas here you could see it's little- it's kind of sharp and attached here where I want it to be detached like this one here. So what I'm going to do is break up this shape from here and that will give me some flexibility to play with the placement of the eye to make it look more human. So I'm going to go in and do the technique that I've been doing with the Pathfinder. So I'm going to draw a shape, where I want this to be broken up and just so you can see what shape I'm creating here. I'm just going to add some color. I'm just using the pen tool again to make that shape. So with that new shapes selected, and then my eyes selected, I can go back into my Pathfinder and then using that first icon under Pathfinder, I can click that, it's breaking it up and remembering to ungroup and I'm going to deselect the thing that I want to keep. So this is the part of the eye I want to keep and then this bottom piece I want to keep. That just deletes that portion, and that portion stays, and now I can clean up this eye. I'm going to use my pencil tool again to clean it up. So I just want to round it out. Then you move this down. Where I'm going to start with the pencil tool again and we're seeing this white here because again this shape is broken up by those, by the eye and the nose and the mouth. So I can use my Pathfinder tool again to break it up and combine. So it becomes all one shape here. Then I want to move the eye a little bit. So this is the great thing about illustrator, it makes it really easy to move things around. So the eye was a little low. I want to move it up a little bit. I can move the eyebrow up, and you can go back and look and look at your initial sketch or you can look at your reference image and see what are some things you can do or move to make sure that the portrait feels a little bit closer to the likeness of the person. So in my case, maybe I want to squash the nose up a little bit more or move the mouth down or move the mouth up. Those are little tweaks that you can make to make it really feel like it's the person that you're trying to represent. I think I want to move my eye. To move a little bit more. I wouldn't move my eye over just a little bit more, for Angela Davis and I think that feels a little closer to who she is, or what she looks like. Then you can also go in and make other changes. Like if I wanted to make this text bigger or smaller, I can, or move things around. So in my initial sketch I felt like the A and I AM A was a little too close to the AM. So I can move that over and move this over just to make it more legible. I can make REVOLUTIONARY smaller or bigger. These are all things that I can tweak and illustrate really easily. Then YVONNE, her middle name, I feel I can get a little bit smaller. It's starting to read as one whole name. So, just to add a little more space between the three names. Okay, now I think we're in a good place to start adding her color. 12. Adding Color: In the last section, you saw me use color as a placeholder. I generally go to a very similar color palette with as to the colors and pink, so I use that as a starting place. But again, it was really for me to see where the shapes are, and how I can adjust and change them accordingly. But now, I'm ready to add my final color palette which I decided to use for my young gifted and black color palette. So, you will see on my screen that I have seen swatches that are already pulled. I'm going to use them and start applying it to my Angela Davis illustration. All right. So, I am going to drop a color behind my entire entire illustration. I want this to be on a color instead of it just being on white, so I'm just going to make a square back here. You could see that it's going over my entire image and I could just send this to the back. So with that selected, I go to object, arrange, and then send to back. Basically, it just picked up the color, the last color that I was working with. But I want it to be this dark green here. Now, I'm going to just start selecting things and playing with color, seeing what should be what. As I mentioned before, generally, I like to start with two or three colors and then add colors as I go. I try to keep a limited palette as much as possible. So, some tips I have or one tip I have with creating a palette, is I always have a dark color, and that's something that I could use for hair or if there are any elements of line or something that I really want to stand out from the background or have a dark color. Then, I have a like a highlight so like a lighter color maybe two, three at the max. So in this case, I have my light blue and I have this kind of neon yellow, and then this orange. Then I have an in-between colors, so it's like this nice range you have dark and then really light color and then some colors in the middle that can kind of blend into the background if you want something to kind of not stand out as much. So, you're thinking about the highlights will pop, the dark will be a nice contrast and then you have this kind of middle colors that you can play to kind of be these subtle accents. I'm also using white as a color, it's not a little accent color, which sometimes I don't really count as a color or some reason but it is definitely color being used here. So right now, I'm at a place where it's getting close but I still I find there's a lot of neon yellow this neon and kind of greenish colors. So, I need to break it up a little bit and that's another tip I have. You want to think about a nice balance of color, so you have this nice contrast and making sure that it's not too much of one color, so that you have enough contrast. So right now, the thing that pops the most is probably her hair which plays nicely with the type. So, these are things that we really want to read. I want people to see this Afro immediately. Something like dark brown is great and then of course the lettering. But everything else is kind of falling away and I want some more things to pop. Then looking at her earrings, so this should probably be the color of her Afro and this is the color of her skin. I want her buttons to be different colors, so maybe one is white, maybe another one is put this white or orange, or maybe the type is different colors. So right now, this type is still black, maybe I can make this dark orange. So it really is just trial and error and seeing you know what works, what doesn't work. So for me, all of these little decorative elements here they're all the same color I think we can bring that up a little bit. So, maybe one of the stars becomes this blue color, another star becomes like this white. But then, I don't like that this White is next to the white of the wing. So, I'm going to change that back and make this star white. Then, maybe change one of these to an orange, this can be white. So, always looking at ways to balance the color throughout the composition just to make sure one place isn't heavier than the other. It adds like a nice flow of interest for the eye. So, where do you want the eye to go to along your drawing. So as I mentioned, you see this really kind of big, bold, darker color for the Afro to center. But then you know what's the second thing the person might read? Maybe it's the name because of the scale of the letter forms and because it's this white on this really dark orange. Then, the wings and the crowns and maybe the eye will go there. So just thinking about how do you want to direct the viewer throughout the composition. Now that I'm looking at this at the blues, I love these being blue. But maybe, this center can be a different color. So I'm going to select them and see what does look like if I play with that, I like that a lot. Now, there's still some pieces in here that are black from when we first brought in our image from image or to make it image trace. So, I want to make sure that those are not black, so I can change them to brown since that's my darkest color or I can add any other color to them. So, for example here, I think I'm going to make these the blue. So, I'm using the eyedropper tool. Then, I'm going to select one of these guys, one of these black elements. Goes to select, down to same fill color. So, that's going to select everything that's black in my image, and I'm going to change everything now that's black to brown. So, that selected her eyes and then these little like lines here, the lines in the wings. So now, those are all brown. Again, I could still change them if I decided it's not the color I want them to be. Maybe I change these to blue and I can see that this is a little line in there. There we go, we have color. But as I'm saying that, I think there's one place I can change the color. So, I have these little lines that are enhancing the bursts and the type and my bursts. So, I'm going to change those, I think these could be less distracting. We really want that type to pop. I don't think orange is the color. Yeah, that's better. So I made that neon yellow. That's it, now we have our colors. One thing to keep in mind when you are thinking about your color palette is that you don't have to be literal to skin tone or the way things are actually seen. So, if you're using like a plant life, or some kind of animal and your portrait, it doesn't have to stay true to what we actually see that plant life or animal would be in real life. So, I love to play with skin tone colors, it's like for my example with Angela Davis, I use orange as her skin tone. Because for me, it says enough that her name is there, her Afro, her features, feel like Angela Davis. So, I don't have to get too literal in terms of what color her skin is going to be. Use your imagination, have fun, experiment, color can bring so much life to your illustration. You don't have to just stick with the typical browns, and pale pinks or tans for a skin tone make skin tone hot pink if you want to. 13. Preparing Your File for Print: So, we are in Illustrator. So, some of these things probably only apply to Illustrator. So, keep that in mind if you're thinking about going back into Photoshop or something or InDesign and other program. But, if you are wanting to print this out of a printer either at home or sending it out to a company, you want to make sure that your file is saved as CMYK. So, CMYK is for those physical, printed items that you have if you want to make something that's physical. So, the first thing that you want to make sure you do is go to File, and then down to Document Color Mode. You could see that my file is in RGB, which usually I prefer to work in CMYK. So, I want to make sure you click CMYK, and going back to our Color Palette. So, remember, if you don't see the Color Palette open on your screen, you go to Window, down to Color, make sure that's checked, and then in there we're going to change it from RGB to CMYK. What I like to do in preparing this to print, I just like to have really clean solid percentages for each of the colors, and you could see here it has 18.75 for the cyan and then 87.11 for the yellow. I just like to have it round numbers, clean it up. So, what I want to do is select everything that is this color, and I'm going to round up or down the number depending on what you prefer. All right, so, the way that I can select everything, I'm going to go to this Magic Wand tool and if I select one color, it's going to select everything that is that color, every shape that is that color in my image. So, let's start with this light-blue that I have here, and you could see on my screen that everything that is that light-blue is selected. Then, if I go back to my Color Palette, I could see that my numbers are not rounded. They are all with decimals. So, I have this 45.7 percent cyan and then 35.16 percent yellow. That gets a little messy. So, I'm just going to do 45, and then 35. I'm going to do that for all of my colors. So, now, I'm ready to save this file. I can save it as an Illustrator file, or save it as a PDF and send it to a printer, or if I just want to print it at home, it's ready to go. Everything is nice and clean, the colors should be good. 14. Closing: Those of you who are looking to explore a path in illustrations, some freelance illustration, I really recommend that you let people know about your decision, about your new path that you're trying to pursue. Get it out there, let people know exactly the kind of work that you're trying to create and also share with your online presence. Make sure that you are posting online whether it's on Facebook, or Snapchat, or Instagram, or on a blog post. Let people know that you are going in this new direction, and again talk about the kind of work that you'd like to do. Another thing I really recommend is to practice, practice, practice. Create volume. Of course, you want to think about the quality of work, but the more that you do, the better you get, and the more you realize exactly what you want to create. So, that's where I would start. Then, you'll see that opportunities will start opening up for you. Different little jobs here and there, and then the jobs and opportunities get bigger and bigger and then next thing you know you are a freelance illustrator. There are three things I really would like for you to remember from this class. The first thing is, get off the computer to be inspired. When you're looking for inspiration, go to the library, get outside, read a book, do something different, so that you can bring another little element to the creation that you are making. Another thing that I'd like for you to remember is that your portraits don't have to be exactly like the person that you're trying to create. So, if you are doing something of a family member, or your best friend, or a celebrity, you're trying to capture the likeness, the personality, but it doesn't have to be literal. Have fun with the experiment, and remember that you can have two to three elements that remind us of that person, but it doesn't have to be exactly like that person. So, that takes a load of pressure off what you're trying to create. Then, the third thing is to explore many ideas, don't always go with the very first thing that comes to mind. Sketch. Sketch. Sketch. Have fun. Experiment. Try different things. Combine ideas. Then, start to look at the plethora of things that you've produced, and then decide. I'm going to go with this one or maybe try to explore two or three ideas at once before you actually finalize. Thank you so much for joining me and I really can't wait to see your portraits. 15. Explore More Creative Classes on Skillshare: