Tracing in Adobe Illustrator

bike

bike sketch
Original sketch

I love the printmaking effect that I can get by converting one of my sketches into a vector graphic in Adobe Illustrator CC 2018. I’ve reproduced this image at almost its full screen size (the original sketch is much smaller) because I didn’t want to soften it by reducing it too much.

I’ve downloaded the program this morning as part of my year’s subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud and I’ve been going through the beginner’s tutorials as it’s so many years since I last used Illustrator.

I’d never come across the option to automatically trace a scan or a photograph of a drawing and turn it into crisp black and white vector artwork. I immediately started thinking of how I might use that in my work.

The Pinder of Wakefield
George-a-Green, the Jolly Pinder of Wakefield, before and after vectorisation.

For instance, I’m currently working on a historical article for the Dalesman magazine and I feel that vector graphics could give the effect of a woodcut. Even after a lot of practice, I’m more used to drawing with a pen than an Apple Pencil, so this might be an effective way of combining the freedom of drawing with the graphics effects available on the computer.

In both of the examples above I went for the ‘Shades of Grey’ preset in the Trace Image dialogue.

Link

Adobe Illustrator CC

 

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