Swan | Skillshare Projects

Sandra Relf

Creative Decorator




(Permission has been given by Andrew Lyons to use this image for my project).

I'm a big fan of Andrew Lyons.  This is an illstration he created as part of his Strong project.

I like the effect of elegance that he is able to capture with minimal colour and shape. I expect it was quite difficult to achieve this effect. For me this illustration is simply beautiful. I'm also liking flat design and the colours that go with it and the whole flat thing.

Hi : ) I'm Sandra. In real life I'm a printmaker.  I recently took this Skillshare course in Surface Design and struggled with using Illustrator and creating the required designs. It was suggested that I sign up for this amazing course. So I put the other one on hold until I learn the ins and outs : )

25th September 13

Progress on this guy. I'm drawing in the basics shapes as instructed by Brad. I will get the colours correct later on. But I think he's coming along ok. I'm about to start the wings.


My progress is slow however things are starting to take shape with the wings. (I have some other projects taking up my attention) but I'm really excited to get to this one when I can.  I drew in the feather shapes and my computer did a forced restart when I wasn't looking so all feather shapes were lost, never to be seen again. No I don't have a mac. It's on my wishlist. 

I've drawn them back in. (I'm an expert at drawing feather shapes now)  Brad says to get all of the shapes down first but I think I will do the highlighting and shadows with this level first so all I will need to do is copy, paste and resize for the next two layers. I'm really enjoying recreating this beautiful swan.


I've worked on the shade gradation. And I'm also starting on the drop shadow effect.


Here is my progress. I've had enormous trouble figuring out how to do the shadow effect on the wings but I think I've managed to get something similar. I will work on making the shadow effect more subtle and I will remove out the shadow at the wing tips today. I've found that the eraser tool doesn't actually work like an everyday eraser so I the only way I can figure out how to remove unwanted shadow areas is to use the pen tool to outline the area and then I will fill with white to match the existing background.

Oky doky. After a few hours working on reducing the shadows I think he's looking a bit better now. Next time I will duplicate this section and make the next 2 layers of feathers.


I give full credit to Andrew Lyons. He makes it look easy!! I'm finding this very challenging (there are hours and sometimes days of work between each image that I post).  I think I've managed to create the 3 layers of feathers ok. I just need to bring the bottom most feather forward and add some shape to the wing base.

I've worked on the saturation of the feathers and creating the shadow behind the wing base onto the body at the top there. It's close to Andrew's {amazing work} but please don't ever hire me as an art counterfeiter.

Next I think that I'll duplicate the entire wing and add it to the other side and then work on the texture and correct colouring.


Yay! I've duplicated the wing and placed it on the left. It needed a little bit of gouping and ungrouping to adjust  the sizes of the layers to get it in line with the orignial.

This left wing side needs work with moving out the shadow spot behind his wing and adjusting the shadow of the base body to rid that light line on the curve. I'm happy to get this far I, I can see the end in sight! Soon I'll work on colour and texture. I'm thinking ahead to the background colour and wondering how I will adjust it regarding the wing shadows that I've removed. I'm thnking they will show up as white spots. If anyone has some ideas please enlighten me : )


I'm very confused about adding colour and textures without loosing gradient and shadow effects already applied. I was thinking it would be as easy as adding a colour/texture to an object and reducing the opaqueness to reveal the gradient or shadow but that idea doesn't work.

Brad explained how to add a texture to a solid colour in one of the final videos but not how to add colour/texture to already gradiented or shadowed objects.

I know it's possbile to do but at this time it's out of my Illustrator skills to acheive. Any guidance will be greatly appreciated : )


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