Hey there, I’m Melissa Lee, a designer and illustrator living just outside Sacramento, California. There are so many different ways to mix traditional media with digital, but for years I only really used Photoshop. It’s the first digital program I learned how to use, plus it’s pixel based, rather than vector based, so it just seemed like the obvious choice. But then I learned Adobe Illustrator, and after using it for five years, it’s now my preferred program.
Bringing my gouache work into Adobe Illustrator and vectorizing it, so that I can use some of the awesome tools that Illustrator provides is one of my favorite methods for combining traditional and digital media, and I’m often asked about my process for doing so. So instead of just explaining it, I wanted to provide an in depth, visual demonstration that I can point people to. And thus, this class was born.
I’ll show you how I paint and ink in order to get the best results in Illustrator and make the digitizing process as easy as possible. Then I’ll walk you through vectorizing your work and assembling the elements. I’ll also go over all of the most common Illustrator tools I use for drawing, coloring, and assembling motifs. I love working both traditionally and digitally, and this method is a really fun way to combine the best of both worlds.
I’ve noticed in my time in various online art communities, that figuring out how to incorporate watercolor and gouache into Illustrator is something that a ton of traditional artists with a love of texture struggle with time and time again. I struggled with it myself. How do I keep the integrity of my traditional work using Illustrator? The unfortunate truth is that it’s just not possible to keep every detail once you vectorize something. The sooner you understand that, the better. I essentially spent three years developing a style in Illustrator that I’m happy with, so if you’re feeling frustrated by this process, you’re not alone. And hopefully this class will provide you with an option for creating a traditional-esque effect that you can feel happy with.
Some familiarity with Illustrator is recommended, but I will be going over all of the tools I use in detail, so even if you’re a beginner, you can still follow along just fine.
So get out your painting supplies and let’s get started.