The easiest way to vectorise an image is to use an Autotrace tool like the one featured in Illustrator. You've probably already tried that, and discovered that the results aren't always satisfying. So, in this tutorial, I'll show you how to use FreeHand to create high-quality photorealistic illustrations path by path.
Compared to many other vector programs, FreeHand's Path tools are easy to use, which saves time and doesn't require you to fiddle with handles and control points. The program itself won't relieve you of the hard work all together, because there are still some tasks you'll need to bear in mind. For example, study the original picture carefully before you start, and try to figure out which parts are key to the overall effect - not all the details will have the same importance.
This tutorial will give you the good technical grounding needed to create a vector illustration. I'll show you how to use a range of preferred tools, and give you an example of the colours that could be used.
With a little practice, you'll be able to concentrate on the illustration rather than the techniques, rely on your eyes and develop a feeling for colours and shapes.