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Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide

Rise Together by Christian San Jose

Adobe速 Illustrator 速 CS5 How-To Guide

Christian San Jose is a 20-year old graphic designer and illustrator based in Pasig, Philippines. In 2007, he worked for Team Manila Graphic Design Studio Inc. as art director. His list of clients include Nike Philippines, The Coca-Cola Company Philippines, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, and OctoArts Films, among others.

As a freelance artist, Christian has collaborated on the branding and merchandise of big-name bands, such as Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, Cobra Starship, Family Force 5, Worth Dying For, Plain White T’s, and Forever the Sickest Kids. He currently works full-time as a Senior Designer for Internet Marketing at US Auto Parts Network (Philippines) Corporation.

How I work I work mostly at home on a desktop computer, where I surround myself with fun and colorful things that reflect my personality. I also work with a Wacom Intuos3 6x8 tablet. At times I go out and take my work with me on my notebook computer, likewise using the things I find around me for new inspiration. When I start new artwork, I usually grab a piece of paper and draw first. I don’t do long planning and usually do little research, just creating with what I have in mind about the subject at that moment. This keeps things very fresh, creative, and spontaneous. I usually scan the rough sketch, import it in Adobe Photoshop and adjust levels, then transfer to the image to Adobe Illustrator to create vector shapes.

The inspiration for Rise Together The Rise Together artwork stemmed from a recent calamity that forever changed my country, the Philippines. Tropical Storm Ketsana ravaged the Philippines in September 2009, bringing rains and floods in record amounts. At one point, about 80% of the capital, Manila, was submerged under water. Many were affected by the typhoon but it didn’t take long for us, as a nation of Filipinos, to bring our country back. The day after the typhoon, everybody went out and helped each other through donations, relief and benefit projects—regardless of age or social standing. The typhoon dealt a huge blow to our whole country indeed, but the social action and togetherness it brought about among countrymen was something never seen before. For me, the camaraderie—everybody rising together out of such tragedy—was an inspiring idea to focus on for the artwork.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


Getting started First I sketched my ideas on paper, then I scanned the sketch in at 200dpi. I opened the scan in Photoshop and adjusted the levels to make the lines cleaner.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


I next placed the scan in Illustrator and locked it onto a bottom layer. As a guide,I added a new layer and created blue stroked paths to serve as an outline of the base typographic shapes.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


I started tracing the scanned sketch using the Pen tool with no fill and a 1-pixel weight stroke. You can see here that I’m in Isolation Mode, which makes working on this group easier.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


Variable width strokes Here is where I found a new Illustrator CS5 feature that’s perfect for me. I used the Width tool to adjust the width of parts of my paths to give the strokes variation and a more natural, organic feel. You can see that each side of a stroke can be controlled independently at wherever point in the path you want it.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


At this point, I added more details to the artwork using the Pen tool, and I used the Pathfinder panel to merge and remove shapes to get the look I want. After I finished with the typography layer, I set it aside by hiding the layer temporarily. Next I started on the background.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


The background For the background, I wanted to illustrate hands reaching out, so I found some stock photos. I gathered these images and placed them on my Illustrator artboard, locking them into place.

To sketch the hands and other background elements, I created tapered paths using the Pen tool, and turned them into Art Brushes by dragging them to the Brushes panel. To make the brushes pressure sensitive for my pen and tablet, I adjusted the Art Brush options the way I wanted.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


I created 3 new pressure sensitive Art Brushes to create the different varied strokes with my tablet. I sketched around the hand shapes until I was satisfied with the line art.

Using the same pressure sensitive Art Brush method I created other elements for the background of my artwork, such as birds.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


For the other elements of the background and for the composition of it, I drew a sketch on paper, scanned it, and imported it into Illustrator. As with the other reference images, I placed it on a bottom layer and locked it down.

I traced over the background sketch with new stroked paths, just as I did previously with the typography layer.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


I wanted to taper out the ends of some of these curved lines, so I used the Width tool again to pull the open ends of the path inwards to create the taper.

Another thing I used with Variable Width strokes is the creating and saving of width profiles that you can use again and again. I applied saved profiles to the stroked paths in the background to add to the level of detail in the artwork.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


When all the background elements were created, I placed them on one layer and locked them all in place temporarily. And at this point, I removed all of my scanned reference images and guides.

Next I brought back the hidden typography layer, nudging it and adjusting the placement until it looks good on the background and I feel I have finished the composition.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


Applying color For applying the color, I created a new layer right below the typography layer. I added colors by filling the paths I created with the Pen tool.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


I then created paths for the 3D sides of the middle line of text shapes and merged them to create one compound path.

Using the new Drawing Modes feature in Illustrator, I quickly changed this compound path into a Clipping Mask. With the compound path selected, I clicked the Draw Inside option on the toolbar. I then painted on the 3D sides with my strokes automatically clipped by my mask.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


The Bristle Brush Here’s where I got to use the new Bristle Brush in Illustrator. I wanted softness in the 3D depth shapes and used the Bristle Brush to paint these tones. I found I could make natural, fluid brush strokes that felt and looked like traditional media such as watercolors or oil paint. I tried a variety of brush shapes, such as the Flat Fan and the Round Point.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


After painting the letter depth, I adjusted the opacity of the clipped group. I also created a new filled compound path above and adjusted the color using the Transparency panel with the Color Blending mode selected.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 How-To Guide


Finishing up After adding color to the background, and with several more color adjustments, the artwork was done.

Rise Together was commissioned by Adobe and created using Adobe Illustrator CS5. Christian San Jose has chosen to donate the proceeds from this work to help rebuild his country, the Philippines.

For more information Adobe Systems Incorporated 345 Park Avenue San Jose, CA 95110-2704 USA

Product details: Adobe, the Adobe logo, Illustrator, and Photoshop are trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Š 2010 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. 04/10

Rise Together How To  

Adobe ® Illustrator ® CS5 How-To Guide by Christian San Jose Christian San Jose is a 20-year old graphic designer and illustrator based in P...

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