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Kristin James

Writer, Cooker, Hobby Hobbyist

8

4

Gonna Earn the Champers

I've worked in design studios for almost a decade, albeit not as a designer. But I have a lot of love for the art, and I thought I'd finally see what I'm capable of. Hoping to do my designer friends proud! I've never worked in illustrator before so I wanted to pick something that was for the most part simple but presented some challenges. I also wanted something with great letterforms. This poster will hopefully help me keep my eye on the prize...when I'm finished it's Champers time. Yay!

1st update:

What I'm learning so far is that my overly-anal ways are going to either be my best asset or my utter undoing into pen tool madness. I'm starting off by just tackling the straightforward letters in the poster while I get used to the pen tool, since even though I've "opened" illustrator before I've never actually done anything before this morning. Plus I'm working for one of the first times on my husband's computer because he's the one with the Adobe Suite -- so on top of learning a new program I'm getting used to his special crazy mouse that works with Pro Tools and stuff. I'm getting the hang of it (yay!) but working slowly so far.

I've paused about halfway through the form building lesson just to practice on some of these easier letters before moving on. I'm really happy I didn't go with some of my alternate poster choices which would have driven me crazy making sure everything is all aligned. Though the more I practice the more I'm seeing how the program helps you out on this. Then I'll go back and finish up with the curvy letters.  Here's where I'm at so far, which might not look like much to some of you I'm sure but for me it's huge progress. I can make the word"HAM" now!

2nd update:

Spent a few hours on the curved letters. Blergh. Not the funnest but towards the end I thought I started to really get a hang of it, and figure out where the best spot to place the anchors were. I suspect that I might be going back to redo some of them because they just look a little messy to me, or maybe even later learn a better way to create these aside from the pen tool. On some of the letters when I went to fill in the color the path got messed up along the way so it's not correctly filled. So for now they are not colored in. LIke I said I suspect I'll be redoing them eventually, or learn something along the way that fixes this. Or feel free to jump in and suggest something! Next up building with shapes. Can't figure out if I should start with the gent or the glass...the glass looks like it will be easier to build, and mostly it's just complex because of the finishing. For now I've left off the "A" behind his head because I'm also not sure how I'm going to tackle that. We'll see!

3rd update: 

Woo hoo, now we're getting somewhere! The building with shapes lesson helped me get the outline of the champagne glass down, plus a little help with the pen tool for the stem. And I got the bottom half of the gent down with a combination of shapes, pen tool, and paintbrush. At first this section just looked like a blob and I thought I'd have to build it free form, but once I started adding ellipses, triangles etc it was easier and easier to break down, and he quickly filled out. I'm pretty happy with him so far.  

It looks like the next lesson is going to help with cleaning up some of the forms and also finishing this guy up before moving on to colors and finishes. When I was working on the second round of letters it was a little frustrating but now I feel like I'm getting the hang of these tools more and more. Looking forward to finishing up and moving on to new projects for practice!

4th update:

So getting close! Finished the guy and the rest of the letters. I have a lot of cleaning up and figuring out to do though. The letters in white still won't fill in properly, so I might be redoing them and see if that helps. I also added in a layer for the background color and I cannot get it to be the layer in the very back. I'm hoping this was just everything being finicky, so I set it off to the side to deal with later. For now I'm just going to be happy that I'm so close to finishing! Yippee. You will be mine champers...you will be mine. 

5th update:

So this is the fun part? Sure it is! Actually this wasn't super bad, it just took me a long time to get the bottom of the champagne glass remotely close to the effects of the original. Lots of trial and error, doing and redoing. I'm still not convinced I have it there yet. It feels overdone so I'll take another stab at it tomorrow when I'm finishing off the top half. Or maybe while doing the top half I'll come across a better method. The shine on the very bottom is what is bothering me the most. I used a combination of paint brush tools and effects for all of these features. Think some simplification is in order.

I'm also not sure how to get the texture in the background color. Or even if I can.

And as you can see I am still having issues with letters. Need to redo the "C" and "G" in champagne, somehow, to get them to fill properly. 

Also the color of the gentleman is way off. When I look at the original he is pretty John Boehner-ish. So going to bring in some fake tan. 

Overall though I'm really happy with this! I don't have the steadiest hand and I cannot draw, paint or sketch to save my life. I had some real doubts I'd be able to pull this off but each time I tackle some of the poser I'm pretty amazed I've been able to do this over the course of the week in my spare time. 

6th update: BREAK OUT THE CHAMPERS!

Finally got the last of the letters to work out and played with the stroke weights. Yay!

Finally got to a happy place with the champagne glass, though I'll admit I could probably fuss with it for a whole other day and still not be perfectly happy with it. But I managed to get all the right elements in, and even pull back some of them because I felt it was getting way too fussy. Lots of experimenting with different brushes and effects went into this. It really was just a matter of seeing what worked and in some cases going back to redo other elements when I found something I liked.

I didn't end up getting a texture on the background color. I did get some effect but not really the same. I won't complain though because it's still mighty fine.

Here is a side-by-side of the original and my completed. I'm so happy I went through this course and stuck with it, even during the time I though I'd never get that bloody "C" to work out. Cheers everyone!

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