Page 1


no 1 • january 2007

vexel + vector specialty magazine

IN THE ZONE Sarah Teer’s experiences DO YOUR THING Katie Holmes, Alicia Keys, Lilyjets and more...

a conversation with an outspoken artist

IN THE ZONE COULD YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF? “Well, my name is Sarah, and I’m a seventeen year old girl from Sydney Australia. I’m in my final grade of high school, struggling to stay awake most days with the amount of homework I have (hehe), and, well.. That pretty much sums it up! hehhehe. I love listening to music, drawing, vexelling (of course) and spending time with my boyfriend, who lives in New Zealand.”

WHAT IS YOUR STYLE IN YOUR OWN WORDS? “I always find this question particularly hard, because my “Style” is constantly changing. I’m never quite satisfied with what I do, so I will always find new ways to fix the problem in the next vexel I make. At the moment, its bordering on realism. There’s still aspects of a cartoon nature in there, like in my latest Delta vexel.”

HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT VEXELS? “It would have been about .. hmm.. At least four years ago now. I was a member of a forum called Nova Boards which a friend of mine (Linda) ran: Linda basically introduced what was then called vectors to me, and I started with a cheap version of paint shop pro. My first vexels were tragic, let me tell you! I used a tutorial that was similar to Linda’s current one on, except I had to alter it to work in paint shop pro. Using the magnetic lasso tool is a pain, I tell you!”


WHAT MADE YOU START MAKING VEXELS? “I suppose I was at that stage in my life where I needed to try new things all the time. When something was introduced to me, I’d lap it up and milk it for all its worth, and if I failed, well, it didn’t really matter. Luckilly I didn’t fail, because otherwise I wouldn’t be at this point where I am today!” WHAT INSPIRES YOU? “There are heaps of things, probably too many to list on paper, However, music,, other artists at, and my boyfriend are constantly inspiring me. I have so many vexels that i’ve started and not finished because something has inspired me, and I have a whole directory full of photos which probably will never get touched!” (laughs)

I use a fairly cheap logitech mouse. It’s an optical mouse, so it’s smooth and doesn’t get caught very easilly. I love it. I also use my Wacom tablet if intense amounts of dotting are required, such as in my major work vexels (explained later) When vexelling, I almost ALWAYS start with the face. If the face isn’t available, I’ll start with the highest part of the body which involves skin, such as the neck or the arm. When I pick colours, I either pick my own very carefully and vary them slightly (such as more red hue, more yellow hue, etc) or I pick them out of the image, which can get tricky after about 30ish skin layers. I will start with the darkest hues unless the shadows are too dramatic, and then I’ll start with the lightest hues. Clothing and scenery are normally the last thing I do. Blend modes are also my best friend. Soft light, using black (for shadows) and white (for highlights) works miracles. My program of choice is Adobe Photoshop. I use CS, however, PS 7 and above is good for my method. I use the pen tool, which provides a hell of a lot less drama than the lasso tool.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR OTHER ARTISTS AND BEGINNERS? “For the beginners: Yes, your first vexels might seem crap, but with practice, anyone can get better! Don’t give up, because that will get you nowhere. If I still had my very first vexel, I’d share. Honestly, time and practice can cure anything! And for other artists: Don’t let other artists get you down about your work. Yes, they may seem better than you, but nobody has exactly the same work as you. It’s all different. The context of your artwork is going to be different, so cherish that, and be proud of your work. Focus on the positives, rather than the negatives - you’d be surprised at how much people prefer it when you do that!”

YOU ARE CURRENTLY DOING A STUDY ON VEXELS. WHAT ARE THE PROJECTS YOU ARE WORKING ON? AND WHAT KIND OF STUDY IS IT? TELL US SOMETHING MORE ABOUT IT. “Well, actually, it’s not even for art school specifically! Art is one of the subjects I’m taking for my last year of high school. Because I’m doing this, it requires that I produce some artworks which all relate to the same concept which I submit for external marking. It’s incredibly scary, and must involve about 60 hours of work! Whilst I love drawing, painting, and the like, I’m not incredible at it, so if I was to submit drawings, paintings, and so on, for external marking, I probably wouldn’t get the mark that I want. After some thinking, I decided that I would use photoshop as my medium. I’m creating vexels, which are heavilly based on the surfing culture and the beaches of Southern New South Wales (Australia). Using my cousin as a model, I took many photos of her at the beach and surfing. About five of these were to be vexelled, but unfortunately, I’ve had to alter my concept, and as a result, I don’t have the photos required for what I need, so I have to start all again! That means new photos, and starting my vexels again! It’s very stressful, but so long as I put the work in I should be able to finish it. The artworks I submit are only half of the work I need to do though! The artwork is worth 50% of my final mark, and the other 50% is theory work on art history... (Bleugh! hehehe)” WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOU IN THE FUTURE? “Unfortunately, I’m not sure myself yet, which is the sad thing. Because I’ve had to restart my major work, most of my vexelling time will probably be spent vexelling the beach and my cousin (both of which I’ll probably never want to see again after I’ve finished.. hehehe!) However, at the moment, I have a vexel of my family, which is going to be a late birthday present for my Dad, a vexel of Mandy (, and a collaboration vexel with my friend, Matt, all in the works. Hopefully I will be able to finish those in my Easter break!” ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE? “I’d just love to thank Lilly for giving me the opportunity to be your featured artist for your magazine, and particularly, your first! It’s a great honour, and I love you dearly for it. I also thank all my friends at for giving me such great feedback on my vexels. It really pushes me along, and gives me the support I need, particularly when I’m so worried about my final marks this year for both art, and all my other subjects.”

“TIME AND PRACTICE CAN CURE ANYTHING” É   “Almost here” ft. Delta Goodrem, 18th March 2006

Å  Surf’s Lost, 2nd April 2006

vexel + vector specialty magazine • no 1

What’s the deal?

TOP5 NEW NEW ARTISTS ARTISTS The world of vector and vexel artists keeps on growing and gaining more and more artists every day. In this section, some of the outstanding new artists are featured. Their work is promising and shows that the artists have a lot of talent. We definitely wanna see more of them, so go and comment on their work, help them improve and encourage them to keep up the great work!

ARTIST: chrisb

ARTIST: OR Gregory Kulesza WEB: ART: Solstice “This time I wanted to make something personal. The illustration was based on a photo by kopytko.”

ARTIST: Matthijs Haak WEB: ART: Lilyjets “I’ve tried to make this picture look like a digital painting and I think I’ve done quite well. The girl on the picture is one of the members of the Norse band called Lilyjets. I don’t know any other artists with this style. I think this is because, just recently i’ve researched it more thouroughly. I have never written a turotial, because I’m not good enough yet to teach others.”

WEB: ART: No name “In my vector work, there are a few elements I almost always include. I usually try to mechanify every picture I can get my hands on, and I usually like to break things up or have something fragmented. This case is not any different. I always like to see if I can get something deifferent out of the picture than what it is portraying.”

ARTIST: Michelle, aka superficial ARTIST: Daisy Invinsibleforce WEB: ART: Keira Knightley “This is my second vexel and I attempted my first one about a year ago. It wasn’t good, so I stopped. But then I was bored one day and decided to start up again. I learned some new techniques which proved to be very effective. I picked keira knightley because I love her face and she is so beautiful. And I chose the specific image of her because it wasn’t complicated and did not have to many shadows or dramatic color changes. The only thing I should’ve realized was her extremely difficult hair. I almost gave up when I was up to the hair. But I stuck through it and now I love vexeling.”

WEB:   ART: Hayden Christensen “This is a line art featuring the oh so gorgeous Hayden Christensen. It’s actually one of the first vexels I’ve made using the line art technique, but I really like how it turned out. I know a lot of people like to go into great detail with their shading and such, but I actually prefer the more simplier look. I think its great if you can put in minimial detail and still make your artwork outstanding. I favourite part of this vexel would definiatley have to be the skin shading. (hands, face, etc) I chose more cartoony shades vs the more realistic skin tones. Overall, I think this is one of my best vexels. Also, browsing through (there’s some amazing work on that site, hands down) and I noticed how there’s a lack of vexels done of males. So while there’s no shortage of Angelina Jolie vexels (which I have shamelessly contributed to) there’s only about one or two other Hayden Christensen vexels that I’ve seen. I guess that makes me feel kind of special. Haha.”

vexel + vector specialty magazine • no 1

ARTIST: Stella Tu WEB: ART: Les Histoire d’A “This was my chance to practice with linework, which I have done several times before, but not to the extent with hair and so on. I kept the shading as soft as possible by using different blend modes from the norm. I kept the facial features flat to make them stand out a bit more. I made each element a brighter colour (brighter red lips, blue shirt, yellowish toilet, etc.) to contrast her light, fair skin. This vector is titled after the song by Rita Misouko, a French artist. “Les Histoire d’amour finissent mal” goes along the line of “Love stories end badly”. The reference to this vector is courtesy of splucy-stock.”

ARTIST: Ariel Fleurimond WEB: ART: Alicia Keys “This is a semi-realism portrait of Alicia Keys, an American R&B vocalist, songwriter and performer. It was created using Adobe Illustrator CS and Adobe Photoshop CS2.”

vexel + vector specialty magazine • no 1





ART: Myriad “This is a vector I completed not too long ago. I took the photo and divided it up into equal parts. It was a color study to see how normal skin tones would look in different shades. All major colors are represented; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink. I also vectored each part on it’s own, instead of vectoring the thing whole and changing the colors afterwards. I wanted a true color study.”

ART: I’ve been a bad, bad girl “This is a vexel of Fiona Apple, made in Photoshop CS with the pen tool and the use of gradients. Originally done in greyscale, but I then added some light color to add to the mood of this vexel. I used paths and the stimulate pressure for the hair and eyebrows.”

vexel + vector specialty magazine • no 1

ARTIST: Drew Kirschner WEB: ART: Nothing But A Day “This is a picture of the beautiful Katie Holmes. It’s unique style comes from the level of realism it is at. It was quite hard to make a realistic vector, still appear like a vector. But that is how this one was executed. The reason I find it such an intriguing picture is because of the natural look it holds.”

ARTIST: Ewa ‘Manitu’ Manikowska WEB: ART: Postcard from Nowhere “Work inspired by Elisha Cuthbert photo. Used techniques: solid colour blocks, gradients and stroke paths.”

vexel + vector specialty magazine • no 1

ARTIST: David Nanchin WEB: ART: Clarkson “I had intended this to be a black and white vexel, but from looking at the refrence photo, I thought that the colour palette used would be more effective to generate interest and give this piece a bit of an edge. I use Adobe Photoshop 7 and vector shape layers.”

ARTIST: Baz Pringle WEB: ART: The Candy Shop “I created many custom Photoshop brushes for this piece. They were used to add detail and texture to the vector illustration of the girl. I created the basic rendition of the girl in Illustrator, and then added the details in Photoshop. This is one of the first pieces that I started to incorporate some of my photography. Photos were used to create the graphic “Candy” element in the bottom left corner, and many of the smaller brushes used throughout the piece. The first thing I like to resolve in my illustration process is the colour scheme. The colours will dictate the overall mood and feel of a piece, and guides the rest of the design process. Experimentation is very important to me so I will try palettes that I wouldn’t normally gravitate to, and themes that may be challenging to me.” vexel + vector specialty magazine • no 1

ARTIST: Minakat WEB: ART: Maria Carla’s hair “A tribute to Klimt and the 1900’s art movement In Europe, mixing a beautifull but weird face girl with the Medusa myth.”

ARTIST: Sarah Teer WEB: ART: Aesthetics “Aesthetics was created for a competition in which I placed second. It consists of over 600 layers, and was probably my most detailed vexel I had done at the time “

vexel + vector specialty magazine • no 1

So, the big moment was there. I decided to show my vexels to my dad, something I didn’t fancy doing for quite a long time. Why? I don’t know – there was no need to and I thought he wouldn’t understand it anyway.

DO YOUR THING Me, with pride: Look dad. This is a vexel. Dad: …. Ooh. Me: What do you think? Dad: Well… I mean… I don’t know. It’s like a digitalized version of the reality, isn’t it? Me: Yeah. That’s the point of it. Dad: …. Me: Don’t you like it? Me, impatiently: Well? Dad: But look at her neck, if you would take away the face it looks like a moon landscape! And you see all these layers in it. Me: Ehr, yeah dad. You are supposed to see them. *duh* Dad: But do you think it adds anything to the original image? Me: I think it does, I think it’s beautiful. And I enjoy doing it. Dad, surprised and feeling awkward: Wait, YOU made this???!!!! *Dad starts telling me over and over that I shouldn’t care about what he thinks, as long as I think it’s pretty and enjoy doing it.* I was heart-broken, torn up, and sobbing in tears I left the room. I locked myself up in my room, ate tons of chocolate and swore I would never vexel again! Oh, and I nearly committed suicide too. Well, that’s not really true. It did bother me that my dad didn’t like it. Of course his opinion matters to me. But my point is that, whenever someone doesn’t like your work or you don’t get the most splendid reactions on your new style, you shouldn’t let them discourage you. Especially if you don’t even know the commenter in person. Lately I have seen some artists giving up their original style or thinking about it, just because people didn’t seem to like it much. To me this is such a big shame, cause I love seeing new styles. I am almost sure that if people don’t give up after one vexel because they didn’t get much feedback, eventually people will start noticing them. This is of course because you will master your style, but also partly because you let people see that you like the style and that you’re serious about it - that it’s not just another funny experiment. Try to do the opposite of giving up, and use the bad (or lack of) comments as a motivation to prove everyone who doesn’t see anything in your work wrong. Oh, the clichéness, might be going through your head right now, but this idea works out for me. I hope I made myself clear here. This is something that – in my opinion - happens to many artists in general. But to give a simple example, did Monet quit because his first “impressionistic” (a mocking name given by critics) work didn’t get received too well? So you might not be the next Monet, but you get the principle. Just do what you want to do and don’t let other people prevent you from doing it. Or in other words and to put another clichéd phrase in this article, “do your thing”. - Andrea


by vidrio_verde

Andrea (not me, we just happen to have the same name) is a truly talented artist. Her style is very unique and different from what I have seen on the site but also on Deviant Art. Especially her “Boy” vexel really spoke to me. The beautiful skintones and the choppy shapes make this work very special. Take a look at her gallery; creativity everywhere. portfolio: artwork suggested by Andrea

The Only Gay in the Village by michelleion

Michelle doesn’t have a big gallery but is certainly a promising talent. “The Only Gay In The Village” must be one of the most funny vexels ever and the style is amazing too – especially how she worked with the latex. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her work and I bet you now do too. Pay her Deviant Art gallery a visit as well, her drawings are worth it! portfolio: and artwork suggested by Andrea

Love Bird by brontobot

Love Bird is a vexel that Liz has put a lot of effort into perfecting. It has simple line art in combination with detailed shading and beautiful spring colors. The image is vexelled with permission from photographer Kadrip55. Liz worked on this image for about a week and it has198 shapes and 14 layers. portfolio: artwork suggested by LiL



Getting familiar with the Toolbar by Katy Or

Some of the icons found in the Adobe Illustrator toolbar might look familiar. However, if you are new to the program, the various tools can be a little bit more daunting. I’m going to do a general outline of the more basic and more commonly used tools found in the toolbar. Some of the tools I will not go over in this basic tutorial, however in the future when I write more tutorials, I will introduce some of the other tools or expand more on some of the tools I will be talking about here. Lets get started! 01: SELECTION TOOL This tool is used to select various shapes in the program and move them around. By selecting a shape you will then have a bounding box around the shape, which you can then manipulate to change how the shape looks. To do this, select an object with the selection tool, and then while still using the selection tool, click on one of the four corners of the bounding box and drag. 02: MAGIC WAND TOOL The magic wand tool is also used for selection. It is used in situations where you want to select more than one shape. The magic wand tools tends to select shapes that are close together, so it can save time when selecting multipe shapes or groups.

times. The shortcut to this tool is usually the spacebar. If you hold down the spacebar a little white hand should become your cursor. Feel free to drag about at that time to move around your work area. 08: DIRECT SELECTION TOOL The direct selection tool can also select shapes and groups but is usually used to manipulate anchor points. We will get into anchor points and their qualities in a later tutorial. 09: LASSO TOOL The main use for this tool is also, you guessed it, selection! However with this tool you can control exactly what shapes you select. Click in a spot and drag around the shapes you want to select, and then they will all be selected. This is great for having to move around other shapes you do not wish to be selected.

03: PEN TOOL The pen tool is the most famous Adobe tool of all time and can be found in almost every Adobe program. This tool is used to create shapes by making and manipulating anchor points. The pen tool and its sisters and brothers (the add anchor pen tool, etc) all deserve their own tutorial and we will be getting more into the pen tool with a future tutorial.

10: TEXT TOOL The text tool is used for just that, adding text! You can add text as its own shape to a piece, add text on a path, and many other things. Use the Character and Paragraph palattes to manipulate your text.

04: LINE TOOL To create a straight line, simply hold down the shift key when drawing a line. Grouped with the line tool is also the arc tool and some other neat tools. These can be easily mastered by simply playing around with them.

11: SHAPE TOOL Create shapes by clicking in the work area and dragging out the shape. Grouped with the rectangle tool you can find many tools that are used to create various shapes.

05: ROTATE TOOL The rotate tool is grouped with the mirror tool and can sometimes be extremely handy. To use the rotate tool, select an object using the selection tool, then click the rotate tool and click on the shape and drag around the shape until you have reached a desired location. Hold down the shift key to get a more equal rotation. Do the same with the mirror option.

12: PENCIL TOOL The pencil tool is similar in some ways to the pen tool. Unlike the pen tool, however, which creates shapes by clicking and making anchor points, the pencil tool is used by drawing a shape usually in one full swoop. Click on your work area and drag to make a circle to test out the pencil tool. Double click on the pencil tool icon in the tool bar to manipulates its properties.

06: EYEDROPPER TOOL The eyedropper tool is used to copy colors and settings from one shape to another. If you have one shape that has a brown fill and a orange stroke that is a weight of 2, and you would like another shape to look like that, select the latter shape and then click the eyedropper and then click on the brown and orange object. These properties are now copied to the latter object. However, if you would just like to fill the later object with the same color as the orange stroke, hold down the shift key while click on the orange border with the eyedropper. You will only select colors when the shift key is held down. 07: HAND TOOL This tool doesn’t have many uses except simply to move about your work space. He won’t select anything so its safe to use it at all

01 02

08 09

03 04

10 11 12


06 13: SCISSOR TOOL The scissor tool is used for cutting down shapes if they are not to your liking. Click on paths while the scissor tool is selected to sever paths.


14: MAGNIFYING GLASS TOOL Use this tool to zoom in and out of your work. Click on your work with this selected to zoom in. When you wish to zoom out, hold down the alt key and click down.

vexel + vector specialty magazine • no 1

13 14

Tutorials: Which to pick when? by Andrea

So you are a complete newbie to vexelling, and you really want to learn how to do it. But there are so many tutorials, and it’s all so confusing! Which one to choose? Which technique to go for? Here we will recommend some good tutorials to help you getting started with the basics and getting more skilled after that. STEP ONE: The pentool First of all, you need to know how to use the pen tool. It will take some time to get used to it, but eventually it will save you a lot of time and create much smoother shapes compared to par example the polygonal lasso tool. Turp has made a very good tutorial where she tells you all about the basics of this tool. STEP TWO: The shading basics Now, it is important for you to learn how to shade skin, hair, eyes, lips, etc. Linda has made a very comprehensible tutorial on this, but you should definitely take some time to read through it and understand it. You don’t learn how to vexel in ten minutes! The best thing to do is to choose a picture and follow the steps while reading them. You can find another verygood tutorial here:

STEP FOUR: Special techniques Now that you know all about realism vexels, you might want to know more about specific techniques to vexel specific parts. A stroke path (pen tool) tutorial by Linda: The vexel tip guide at useful tips for everything that has something do with vexelling. STEP FIVE: Get inspired for your own style Now that you know you are able to create realism vexels and know about different techniques, you might want to learn something about other styles to help you develop your own style. A walk-through by verucasalt82 on line-art:

STEP THREE: Getting more skilled Basically now you know how to vexel, but you want to get more skilled, right? Natalie has made a very good tutorial and shows us how she makes those incredibly detailed vexels. Definitely worth a read: Just play around a lot with the techniques you’ve just learned, you can do a lot with line-art.

Get experimenting!

Would you like to have your tutorial published in the next issue of VVM? Send the link and info to

Post-it! Share your opinion! Ask your questions! Show your talents!


! t i s t-


Questions about special techniques, skin tones, saving in good quality… or if you have a short message, story or anything else to say about vexels and vectors, you name it! This is the right place for you! Send your email and a reply might be published in the next issue of V VM! Post-it!

vexel + vector specialty magazine • no 1


in the zone