Tattoo Inspired Vector Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

Hello everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back again with another video tutorial Today we're going to play around in Adobe Illustrator to create a tattoo inspired vector illustration of a sparrow with a stylized appearance, by constructing it from simple shapes

We'll make all the linework using Illustrator's powerful shape tools, then we'll give it that classic tattoo feeling with some stipple shading, using a free set of Illustrator brushes that I released on my website a couple of weeks ago So begin open up Adobe Illustrator and create a new document As always the document size doesn't matter too much when we're just creating cool art because the vector elements can be scaled up and down at a later date to suit any application Grab the Ellipse tool and hold the Shift key to draw a circle on the artboard Clear out the white fill leaving just a black stroke

Duplicate this circle then stretch it vertically while holding the ALT key Select the Pen tool then hold ALT again to toggle on the Convert Anchor Point tool, then click the top and bottom points to change them into corners Position the circle over the other shape, aligning the bottom right side of the circle with the lowermost point Go to View > Outline to turn on Outline Mode, then zoom right in and make sure the two paths match up perfectly Go back to View > Preview to exit out of Outline Mode

Turn on Smart Guides by going to View > Smart Guides, then select the large shape and clip the path with the Scissors tool where it overlaps the circle Hit the delete key to remove this unwanted portion of the path Clip the smaller circle where it intersects with the other shape, then also add a cut in the upper right area of the path and delete this leftover segment Draw a small circle and move it into position to represent an eye, then select the Polygon tool and drag out a shape Before releasing the mouse press the downwards cursor key to reduce the number of points to three to create a triangle

Stretch this triangle shape a little then rotate, scale and position it onto the head circle Select the Scissors tool then clip and delete the portions of the triangle that overlap into the inside of the circle Double click the Arc tool to check its settings and make sure the Slope is set to 50, then begin creating the outline of the wing by dragging a line from just under the head, outwards from the body Hold the Shift key to make the curve a perfect quarter circle Using the green smart guide tooltip draw another curve to continue the path

Before releasing the mouse press the F key to flip the curve in the other direction Extend this one out to form the main wing outline Extend the shape a little more to form the tip of the wing Press F to flip the direction back but don't hold Shift this time to create a narrow bend Use the Smart Guides to find the point between the previous two paths then draw an arc between this point and the starting point of the wing

We'll use this line as a guide for the feather placement Draw a curve from the wing tip and extend it back towards this temporary line, allowing it to snap to the path Continue drawing evenly spaced feathers back towards the main body, offsetting it slightly each time When you're done, delete the temporary line to leave a series of feathers than naturally follow the same curve Select the main body shape then use the Scissors tool to snip away the path that overlaps the wing

Draw a selection around all the paths that make up the wing, making sure no elements from the head or body are captured, then right click and select Group Go to Edit > Copy then Edit > Paste in Place, then head to Object >Transform > Reflect and select the Vertical option to flip the copy of the wing Move this duplicate wing into place on the other side of the body, roughly lining it up centrally, judging by where the shapes overlap Use the Scissors tool to snip the overlapping paths from the wing, then use the Direct Selection tool to select and delete these paths Draw a new Arc to form part of the tail feathers, overlapping the start point with the main body shape

Continue this path back towards the centre, aligning it with the point at the top of the body shape Remember to press the F key to flip the direction of the arc Select these two shapes, copy and paste in place then go to Object >Transform > Reflect to make a duplicate for the other side Move this piece into place, snapping it to that centre point Select the main body shape then use the Scissors tool to cut away the overlapping area in the middle

Then finish off the linework by adding any extra details, such as a couple of curves flowing from the eye Draw a large selection containing all the paths that make up the illustration, then under the Stroke panel increase the weight to 5pt, then select the Round Cap and Round Join options With all the elements still selected choose the Live Paint tool and click on the artwork when the red highlight appears Choose a random colour for the fill then click the Live Paint tool on the various segments of the illustration to apply this solid fill Next, go to Object >Expand then select just the Object checkbox

Right click on the artwork and select Ungroup, then click on the background fill to make sure it can be individually selected Give it a white fill then copy it to the clipboard so we can use this outline shape later Open the Layers panel and lock the current layer then contains all the linework Add a new Layer then download and install my free Stipple Shading Brushes for Adobe Illustrator, link to which can be found down in the description area below Set up the Brush tool with a black fill but no stroke, then choose one of the stipple shading brushes that provides some fairly light scattering so we can build up the shading

Begin dabbing and painting with the brush to apply areas of stippling to shade the design Aim for the corners and fade the shading out into the main body Don't worry too much about straying outside the lines, we'll tidy those up in a minute Once you've finished stippling, draw a selection over all the brush strokes Under the Transparency panel click the Make Mask button

Click on the mask thumbnail on the right to enter into Mask Mode, then go to Edit > Paste in Front to paste in the filled body outline we copied earlier Check the Clip option to trim the stippling to the outline of the bird Deselect everything then set up a Blob Brush with a black fill Begin painting around the artwork to erase away any excess stippling within the illustration Click on the thumbnail on the left from within the Transparency panel to exit out of Mask Mode, then lock the current layer and add one more

Activate the brush tool, set up a black fill then select a stipple brush with just some light scattering Add some subtle shading to the overall design to eliminate any empty areas of white and texturize the artwork slightly Draw a selection around these brush marks, then apply an Opacity Mask and paste in the same solid fill shape we used before Remember to Clip the mask then click the left hand thumbnail to exit out of Mask Mode Don't forget to unlock those working layers, then that wraps up our tattoo inspired vector sparrow illustration

So I hope you enjoyed this video tutorial If you did I'd really appreciate a thumbs up on YouTube or a shout out on Twitter or Facebook to help spread the word and share the guide with your designer friends Don't forget to subscribe on YouTube to be the first to see my upcoming tutorials and head over to my website at http://spoongraphics to check out all my other written tutorials and free design resources So as always thank you very much for watching and I'll catch you in the next one

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