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An Illustrator Tutorial

06-06-2003, 08:12 PM
feel free to ask questions folks. but i will ask that the illustrator users like RuneArt and others please help me answer the questions if you would. it was hard as hell writing this thing and i would appreciate if you guys would pitch in and help out the newbies. also a different view or technique would help everyone. i think we should share ideas and not just hear my view. thanks guys :)

This tutorial has been done at a screen resolution of 800x600. it keeps the picture sizes down and easier to see and work with ok?

ok here goes fellow car artists:

this tutorial is not reeeeal in depth as it would take forever and be waaaay too complex to read. So, here i'm gonna construct a car from nothing but a photo and show you the IMPORTANT steps and trix guys like me use to get those nice effects ok?

You need the following palettes open on your screen. You can find them in the WINDOW menu if you need:

(a) Swatches
(b) Stroke
(c) Layers
(d) Transparency
(e) Gradient
(f) Tools - (the long skinny bar with the pen tool etc)

Lets do it:



we're gonna cheat by tracing a photo. this is a real good way to learn illustrator. it aint cheating really because we use the photo to get the shape and dimensions of the car as accurate as possible. even if you do a shitty job on shading or coloring the car it will still look good coz the car shape is exact. right?

(1) first start a new document. go to file/place in the top menu bar and locate the picture of the car you want to place in the document. when it's in place, lock that layer in the layers palette and while you are there create a new layer above the photo layer. this will be the layer we will begin drawing on. the layer with the photo remains permanently locked so we dont draw on it and also so we can turn the car on and off to check our progress. do this simply by making the visible/invisible in the layers palette again.


(2) trace the outline of the car using the PEN tool. it takes a bit of practice and the pencil tool is easier but the pen is accurate as can be. Take your time folks. it will take time but the more time you spend and the more accurate you are, the better your final car will be. below is my outline of the honda. I'm real fast and this outline took around 2 hours. the direct select tool (white arrow tool) is my best friend during this step as if any lines are out of place i grab them by their little points and move them into the correct position. be accurate here and the car will be better than excellent. look close and you'll see ive done all the body lines including doors, air dams badges etc. the more detail you do now.. the easier later. got it?


(3) ok, the body of the car is complete enough, now lets do a wheel. wheels are really cool to do and are fun coz they look good when they are colored in. my wheel here is just a series of elipses (bent circles :) ). draw these babies exact and careful and your wheel wont need much work later. when the circles are done, now draw the outline of the spokes. make this ONE object as you can fill it in a grey color and it will look good.


(4) now add the fine details to the front wheel and Dont forget to do the tyre now. ive done mine in 2 circles but i reccomend you just do it as one circle. now do the same with the back wheel. it's all elipses as well but not so much detail as it's further away from your eye. look at my wheel nuts. they are teeny hexagons. you can find the tool underneath the elipse tool in the tools palette. the H logo was hand drawn with the pen tool.


(5) now comes the fun part - coloring the car! select the body outline and apply a gradient to it. the gradient can be any color but should run from dark->white->light. dont understand? then look at my gradient in the pic. use a bit of mathmatics you learned at school and change the angle of the gradient so the white 'hilight' runs down the side of the car apporximately where the crease in the metal usually is. mine is at 105 degrees. REMEMBER here that when you type angles into the gradient that you can also use NEGATIVE values eg: -105 deg. look at my pic and see how the white runs just above the wheel arches... looks cool huh? make yours look the same. now anthing you add to the body will look good as long as this basic body color is correct ok?


(6) i have now applied the shadow to the body. study your photo and look at where the shadows are and draw them over the car as i have here. believe it or not my shadows here are 50%grey and applied using MULTIPLY transparency. do this by selecting the shadow shape and going to the Transparency Palette (F7) and selecting MULTIPLY. This palette is your bestest friend from now on. Use it on just about anything you apply to the car from this point forward. i'm using 50% grey now and it looks ok but check the next picture and it looks better coz ive changed the grey to about 75% dark green - looks real eh?


(7) now lets get to them thar wheels and have some fun. me and the boys have always said you need to think in layers... now is the time. you can move each individual elipse forwards or backwards by selecting it and using the ctrl+[ or ctrl+] key combination. learn it now coz you cant complete this car without it. THINK ABOUT IT NOW before you draw.... the outermost circle goes to the back.. the innermost is at the front. imagine a stack of dinner plates... big one in on the bottom the teeny one is on the top. fill the outer circle in light grey first and send it to the back ( ctrl+shift+[ ). now select the next outer circle, fill with a different shade of grey and then repeat with each circle until you have the rim done. the innemost of these circles goes black coz it's the hole behind the spokes. look at my pic and see how i did it. you can later change the colors to look real by applying a dark grey to white gradient to each individual circle... trust me it looks shit-hot! the innermost blue circle is the brake disk. at this point i have also drawn the headlight. it is only a black shape with a light blue shape and a grey shape drawn on top of it....


(8) now for the spokes in the wheels. very light grey and about 75% grey. simple but effective.


(9) now for my favourite part of drawing cars. one simple move will suddenly make your car 3 dimensional and actually not look like a drawing any more. it will now look like a CAR!. do this:
make a layer below the main body of your car. now draw a shadow in black under your car and up around the wheel wells so it's now all black behind the wheels.... wow! it looks cool now eh?


(10) ok, the body is now about complete. lets add the windscreen and interior. this is done on a new layer BELOW the body parts you can see. i suggest creating a new layer just above the photo and begin outlining the bits with the pen tool again.


(11) now using various shades of dark grey, start filling in stuff just as we did with the wheels .

(12) VIOLA!~!! instant car!!!

(13) yaaawwwwnnnnn.... it's late at night and i've had enough. notice how short the instructions for step 10 & 11 are??? i've run out of energy. i hope you can understand this tute and feel free to ask questions of me and RuneArt and any other experts here ok? have fun!


06-06-2003, 08:26 PM
very nice but i dont wanna get into illistrator..

and why didnt u just post a reply containing tut 2 in this threaD?

06-06-2003, 08:30 PM
guess i must be dumb eh?

ya just cant have it all

06-06-2003, 08:59 PM
nope ya sure cant... but we dont accept post whores here, your going to have to leave


06-06-2003, 11:59 PM
Wow, Yellowdoor.

That is awesome. Excellent job.
You did a ton of work.

I appreciate what you did for us. :)

I downloaded the entire tut to my pc, well I just copied and pasted it.


06-07-2003, 12:44 AM
That's pretty sweet, but I don't have Illustrator. Where can you get it and how much does it cost?

06-07-2003, 08:22 AM
very good tut, but i just cant do it:( it wont look good, and i allso can't color:o

06-13-2003, 07:49 AM
Wow Yellow. You definatly can use that Gradiant tool. I do ALL of my shading with shape to shape blends. Lets me add more detail, plus I couldn't use that gradiant tool to save my life. Over all you did a VERY nice job on the tutorials though. Might I mention though that when you trace the image using the Pen tool, don't forget to drag the mouse. This makes curvey lines nice and smooth. I remember when I did my first car it was a TON of clicks...lol needless to say the body looked very...pointy, lol.

Nice work Yellow.

In Harmony

07-01-2003, 01:00 PM
Hey Rune art, I try to use the pen tool, and drag it, but dragging seems to make my lines even pointier...Could you tell me how you make such smooth outlines? Here is what happens when I try to do an outline (this is a murcielago):

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