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Computer ArtsTutorial

Trace and paint

Use Adobe Illustrator CS2 to ink and colour a traditional comic-style drawing.

The modern, digital world may lead you to think that traditional methods of drawing and painting are long lost. However, for many of us, artwork begins life in sketches and scrawls on paper, drawing the lines we see and feel in our imagination through our hands. Until now it's been a struggle for those of us who work in this way to recreate the same flow of creativity directly on to the computer. Drawing with Bzier pen tools and brushes just doesn't cut it when compared to the feeling of drawing traditionally.

To get around this, many people scan artwork and laboriously trace around their original drawings to recreate the shapes, lines and colouring. Quicker alternatives are available with plug-ins and features such as Flash tracing tools, but all have limitations. Adobe Streamline is an old program which can be used to trace drawings, converting them into vectors for use in Abobe Illustrator. It's a pretty basic tool, though, and for a long time we've been crying out for a modern tool that could enable us to draw by hand, vectorise quickly and speed up the inking/colouring process.

Our wishes have been granted with the introduction of Abobe Illustrator CS2. Included in its arsenal are two powerful allies in the integration of traditional drawing and digital inking and colouring: Live Trace and Live Paint. This tutorial introduces these new features and shows you how to use them to digitally ink and colour a traditional comic-style pencil drawing.

Click here to download the support files ( 15MB)

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