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Drawing figures from photos

Over the next few pages we take you through the process of creating a 'real life' character using Illustrator CS2. The main character in this illustration is John C McGinley, from the TV show Scrubs. He was originally drawn for a feature in a magazine in which readers submit their real-life questions to a different celebrity each month. To save money on photoshoots, publishers often commission designers to illustrate celebrities. What follows is a step-by-step guide showing you how to do just that.

The tutorial begins by explaining the importance of good, proper preparation when drawing a real-life character and how sourcing strong reference material is crucial to starting off as you mean to go on. And (obvious as it may sound) we address the importance of drawing what you see in this reference material, rather than what you think you see.

We give you some advice on how to visualise characters and outline the benefits of doing so before you begin to draw them on screen. You might feel stupid striking poses (especially in a studio full of other people), but it's worth giving it a go, because it definitely helps with what you draw.

There are also tips on using layers effectively so that you can manage or amend specific parts or your illustration without too much difficulty. Plus we tell you why it's good to outline fonts.

Finally, you'll see why the Pen tool is king (that's all you'll need to use), why the Pathfinder palette rules, and how simple strokes and fills can act to add effective highlights or shade just by setting different transparencies.

Click here to download the tutorial for free

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