Educating Myself To Fit My Illustration Needs

With many loves and passions, my work seems to go through phases.  I'll work on projects within the same areas like a fiend till I feel that I have accomplished what I have set out for (or just completely burn myself out for a bit). 

Though I am still knitting, I have been focusing my time more recently on drawing, sketching and illustrating.  I am very lucky to be able to work on illustrations for work and for pleasure.  Having "work" illustrations to do lets me prioritize practicing my skill set and allow for growth in an area I wish to expand into.  If I didn't have the pressure of "work" drawing, I may not put aside the time I really want to for that passion.  So here's some of the branding I have really enjoyed doing the last 6 month for The Yarn Underground.

It has been a very educating process trying to figure out the best ways to get the graphics from hand drawn sketches to digital, printable graphics that have the same essence and high enough quality.  I have found that by illustrating by hand in black and white pen only, it allows for me to have a bit more flexibility with the work.  

My process has been:

1. Find inspirational photos to work from to create the composition and idea that we are looking for. 

2. Sketch in pencil the light outline of the illustration.

3. Use a Micron or Copic 005 pen to fill in the drawings with detailed lines and a 01 pen to darken the outline and edges. 

4. Scan or take a high quality photo of the image and open in Adobe Illustrator.  

5. Use Image Trace in black and white.  Adjust the paths, corners, and threshold, take away all noise, and always ignore white.  Ignoring the white is very important as it allows for your image to only trace the black lines and later save as a PNG. This part is finicky and takes some trial and error but well worth it. 

6. Once you expand the trace, you now have a drawing with no background and completely vector.  This is awesome as you can leave it be as black and white or go through and digitally render the illustration. 

7. The other thing I like to do is drop the vector drawing into a Photoshop document so as to save as a JPEG and PNG file.  These seem to be the most compatible files for uploading images online and are very helpful to have in addition to your AI file or EPS file. 

Here's a small montage of the process below 


On another note, I have also started toying with the idea of a Knit Sister comic strip and am hoping to expand into publishing one every couple weeks or so here on the site.  Here's a sneak peak at a picture on a first draft: 

Stay tuned with more to come of the strip :)