Create your own vector art

Contemporary pinup artist Brian Gibbs explains how he created his distinctive vector artwork

Fancy making your own pinup vector art? Brian Gibbs follows up his Q&A yesterday with his top three vector art tips...

Tip one: create a rich black 100% of every colour

  • I work in CMYK; this way I know what I create will print correctly.
  • The rich black lets you create dynamic backgrounds, and blending of other colours with layer options is also easy – for example, the latex look.
  • Draw a shape that needs a highlight, draw another shape with rich black, click the highlight point with the gradient mesh tool, then select any other colour. This will create a perfect highlight.

Tip two: build a custom colour palette

  • A quick and easy way to do this is by placing a photo into Illustrator then using the live trace – I use the 16 colours option. Expand the rasterised image, grab the different shades and add them to your colour palette. You will only need a few colours, as the next step will explain.
  • Now we have our colours, changing the tint and layer options will give you endless colour shades inbetween. Most common is the opacity – change Normal to Multiply, change the tint and the colours will blend into each other seamlessly.
  • Play with the Gaussian Blur filter. This will give even more control with how the colours interact with each other and can also make a crisp vector art file look exactly like a Photoshop image. Create a canvas around 1-2 metres – this will let you draw elements at a good size and offer better options when using the Gaussian Blur.

Tip three: upgrade

  • Adobe Illustrator CS6 is so much more powerful now than either CS4 or CS5. I can now draw images that CS6 just handles without any delays or worries – 200MB vector images are now common even with only 4GB of RAM installed.
  • Get yourself a good brand tablet; I'm using a Wacom Intuos PTZ-630. This will help you create a freestyle look with vector elements and cut down the illustration time considerably.

To see more of Brian's work, check out his Facebook page or his website.

Illustrator tutorials: amazing ideas to try today on our sister site Creative Bloq