Fans of Dan Paladin, the artist of popular video games such as Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers, are going to be really excited about this week’s installment of Deke’s Techniques. Deke McClelland uses a few predrawn elements and a template to create a Paladin-inspired 2D walrus warrior with Adobe Illustrator. By tracing Deke’s template, you’ll re-create his steps and learn vital drawing techniques to help you create your own characters. To get started on the helmet, watch the video and use the steps below to help you along.
A proper “bleed” ensures the ink extends to the very outside edges of a printed page, leaving no margin or whitespace around your artwork. And though there’s no way to set it up automatically, in this week’s Deke’s Techniques, Deke McClelland shows you how to precisely align your artwork to the bleed in Adobe Illustrator.
This week’s installment of Deke’s Techniques returns to optical art territory. Deke McClelland starts off with some very basic path outlines in Adobe Illustrator, and then converts them into a seamlessly repeating tile pattern. Let’s see exactly how it works!
To get started, follow along with Deke in this week’s free video and use the companion text below to help with each step.
If you’re a lynda.com premium member, you can use the exercise files Deke provides with the course, or simply use the instructions he gives in the first part of the video to create your own version.
In this week’s installment of Deke’s Techniques, Deke shows you how to create a pattern of morphing, color-changing inset circles inside Adobe Illustrator. We’ll do this by blending multiple groups of circles. Then we’ll blend and re-blend those groups to get a couple of different iterations of the effect. To get started, follow along with Deke in this week’s free video and use the companion text below to help with each step.
If you’re a lynda.com premium member, you can use the exercise files Deke provides with the course, or simply use the instructions he gives in the first part of the video to create your own exercise file.
In this week’s installment of Deke’s Techniques, Deke McClelland shows you how to create a pictogram of the universal male symbol, originally created as part of Otto and Marie Neurath’s ISOTYPE, or International System of TYpographic Picture Education, collection. Learn how to create this pictogram with stroke effects applied to a single vertical path outline in Adobe Illustrator. Follow along with Deke in this week’s free video and use the companion text below to help with each step.
1. Create a new file for your artwork and use the Line tool to draw a vertical line segment.
2. Choose Window > Appearance to bring up the Appearance panel, which allows you to stack multiple fill and stroke effects on a single path.
3. Create the right leg first.
a. Click the Stroke option in the Appearance panel and change the Weight to 28 pt and the Cap to the middle Round Cap option. Be sure to click on Stroke inside the Appearance panel or Options bar to get to the Cap option.
b. Choose Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. This command allows you to create and alter the stroke independently of the path outline.
c. In the Transform Effect dialog box that opens, turn on the Preview check box to reveal your changes and change the Vertical Scale value to 70%. Select the bottom point in the reference point matrix. Make sure Scale Strokes & Effects are deselected. Be sure to change the Horizontal Move to 19 pt. This ensures you scale the virtual path that Illustrator is stroking here, but you do not scale the line weight itself. Click OK.
4. Duplicate the right leg to build the left.
a. Select the stroke in the Appearance panel and click the page icon at the bottom of the panel to duplicate the stroke.
b. Twist open the properties of the new stroke and click the Transform property to open the Transform Effect dialog box. Change the Horizontal Move value from +19 pt to –19 pt, turn on Preview, and click OK.
5. Now it’s time to create the body.
a. Select the first stroke in the Appearance panel, click the page icon to duplicate it, and change its stroke to 66 pt.
b. Click the word Stroke to bring up the Stroke panel and change the Cap to Butt Cap to remove the rounded edges from the path.
c. Click Transform to bring up the Transform Effect dialog box and change the Vertical Scale to 40%, the Horizontal Move to 0, and the Vertical Move to 54. Select the top middle point in the reference point matrix and click OK.
6. Create a rounded negative space between the legs with a white stroke.
a. Select one of the leg strokes in the Appearance panel. Option+drag (Mac) or Alt+drag (Windows) it to the top of the stack to duplicate the stroke.
b. Click on the swatch of your new stroke to bring up the Swatches panel and select white.
c. Reduce the stroke to 10 pt.
d. Click Transform to open the Transform Effects dialog box. Click the center point in the reference point matrix to scale the stroke from its center. Change Vertical Scale to 20%, Horizontal Move to 0, and Vertical Move to 54. Click OK.
7. Now to add the arms.
a. Select one of the 28 pt strokes. Option+drag (Mac) or Alt+drag (Windows) it to the top of the stack to duplicate the stroke.
b. Change the weight of the new stroke to 24 pt.
c. Open the Transform Effects dialog box and reset the reference point to the center. Change Vertical Scale to 26%, Horizontal Move to 55 pt, and Vertical Move to –18. Click OK.
d. Duplicate the new arm by clicking its stroke in the Appearance panel and clicking the page icon.
e. Click the Transform property of the newest stroke and change the Horizontal Move value in the Transform Effect dialog box from +55 to –55. Click OK.
8. Create the shoulders.
a. Duplicate one of the arm strokes by selecting it and clicking the page icon in the Appearance panel again.
b. Click the new stroke’s Transform property. This time, change the Rotate Angle to 90 degrees. That rotates the stroke so it’s perpendicular to the path outline.
c. In the Transform Effect dialog box box still, set the Vertical Scale to 28%, the Horizontal Move to 0, and Vertical Move to –56. Click OK to commit your changes.
9. Create negative white space underneath the arms to simulate rounded joints.
a. Select the 24 pt stroke that represents the right arm. Option+drag (Mac) or Alt+drag (Windows) it to the top of the stack to duplicate the stroke.
b. Click on the stroke’s color swatch and change it to white.
c. Change the line weight of the stroke to 10 pt.
d. Click the stroke’s Transform property and change the Vertical Scale to 24%, the Horizontal Move to 38 pt, and the Vertical Move to –16 pt. Click OK.
e. Copy the right underarm stroke to the left by clicking the stroke in the Appearance panel and clicking the page icon to duplicate it.
f. Click the left underarm’s Transform property to open the Transform Effect dialog box. Change the Horizontal Move value from 38 pt to –38 pt and click OK.
10. Now draw the missing head.
a. Move the fill from the bottom of the Appearance panel to the top of the stack.
b. Change the fill color to black by clicking on the swatch and selecting black from the Swatches panel. Note you are not actually going to see anything change immediately because you’re trying to fill an open straight path outline.
c. Click on the fill to make it active and choose Effect > Convert to Shape.
d. Choose Ellipse as the shape in the Shape Options dialog box. Select Absolute from the Options and dial in Width and Height values of 52 pt each. Click OK.
e. The fill needs to be moved upward on the canvas. Choose the fill from the Appearance panel and choose Effect > Distort and Transform > Transform. When the Transform Effect dialog box opens, type in a Vertical Move value of –122 pt. Click OK.
Side note: Positive horizontal values move things to the right; negative values move them to the left. Positive vertical values move things down; negative vertical values move them up. It is a little counterintuitive, but that’s the way it works inside Illustrator.
11. Now you need to convert the strokes to path outlines.
a. Return to the Layers panel.
b. Option+drag (Mac) or Alt+drag (Windows) your man layer to the top of the stack to duplicate it.
c. Double-click the new layer to open the Layer Options dialog box. Change the Name to paths and select a new color for your outlines. Click OK.
d. Choose Object > Expand Appearance.
e. Choose Path > Outline Stroke to convert all the strokes to filled path outlines.
f. Then merge all these path outlines according to their colors. Choose Window > Pathfinder to open the Pathfinder panel and click the Merge icon.
g. Choose Object > Ungroup to ungroup the white paths that are nested inside the black ones.
h. Press V to switch to the Selection or black arrow tool, click off the path outlines to deselect them all, and then click one of the white outlines that represents a void space. Go to the Options bar and click the arrow next to the far right Select Similar Objects icon. Choose Fill Color from the popup menu to select all the paths with white fills. Press Backspace (Windows) or Delete (Mac) to remove them.
i. Now you can rotate, size, or manipulate the figure however you want, as he’s now a single merged path outline.
For members of lynda.com, Deke has another exclusive movie this week called Building a universal woman with strokes, in which he shows you how to create the female companion for your figure. Plus, stay tuned for next week’s tutorial, when Deke shares a special Valentine’s themed project in Illustrator.
This week’s Deke’s Techniques video celebrates the New Year by showing you how to create a one-page full-year calendar in Illustrator. The idea for using hexagons in calendars was originally inspired by the 2010 oeuvre of illustrator Germán Ariel Berra, but it seems Gérman has moved on from calendars in the past few years, so it’s Deke’s Techniques and Illustrator to the rescue for 2013.
The project begins by drawing a simple hexagon in the upper-left area of the artboard by using a shape tool set to a Radius of 98 points and a Sides value of 6 (naturally.)
By default, Illustrator draws its hexagons with a flat side up, so Deke uses the Rotate tool to turn the shape 30 degrees:
Since this particular hexagon will eventually become the month of February, Deke sets the fill to medium blue, which he’s chosen to represent that month. He thickens the stroke to 2 points and sets it to white.
Note: You can choose any color you like, as long as it says “February” to you. I’m using the colors that have been stuck in my head since my parents gave me my first cool calendar (with stickers on the back!), likely to have been created in the early ’70s. It just so happens I like medium blue for February, too:
Next, Deke duplicates the first stroke and applies a Transform effect at 95 percent scale to give the hexagon a double ring.
With the entire hexagon selected, Deke then drags duplicates into place to complete a row of four. The trick here is to click and drag the upper-left point of the original hexagon until you sense it snap into place on the right, holding down the Alt key to create a duplicate. After that, you can use Ctrl+D (Command+D) to create duplicates in the correct places. He then sets the colors for March through May accordingly.
Next, he selects three of the four hexagons, and drags a duplicate row into place. These shapes are colored for June and July 2013 respectively. (Deke and I apparently agree that July is red.)
Next, the appropriate number of hexagons are copied into place and colored appropriately to finish the year.
Next, Deke creates the February month title by first clicking inside the “February” hexagon (not on the edge).
To align the month properly, Deke switches to the Outline view, turns on the shape centers, and then aligns the February text to the center of its hexagon and drags out copies to the next three months. After changing the text appropriately for each month, he selects all the month text and uses the Move tool to set them at a distance of –41 points. This way all the months are centered properly and equally positioned from the top of their respective hexagons.
If you’re creating this project on your own, rather than using Deke’s files, you can drag copies of the months out to the other cells, position them using the same commands, and retype each of the names. (A year of Februaries would be short and cold and full of too many Valentine’s Days.)
To make the days of the week and the days, Deke has a very smart and efficient approach that he demonstrates in the second video of the week. (It’s like having two Tuesdays in one week; only it’s Wednesday!) In this video, you’ll see how creating a table of text allows you to quickly adjust each month for its appropriate number of days and starting day of the week. Here’s my completed calendar with my own type choices and color connotations.
For members of lynda.com, there’s yet another exclusive movie this week called Branding your calendar with a field of logos, in which Deke shows you how to create a pattern of your logo to fill out the rest of the calendar.
Deke will be back with another technique next week. Happy Hexagonal New Year!
In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques episode, Deke McClelland uses Adobe Illustrator to recreate the classic Spirograph toy effect. Rather than watching this work take shape with a pen stuck into a plastic gear, Deke shows you how to grow your Spirograph shape with the simple application of dynamic transformations viewable in the Illustrator Appearance panel. In fact, all you have to do for this effect is draw one single circle in Illustrator, then duplicate and transform your circle’s stroke to create the hypotrochoidic shape. (Deke’s Techniques, bringing you great graphic techniques and free vocabulary expander words!)
As you can see in the video above, Deke begins this technique by selecting the central circle in a simple circular logo design:
By simply selecting that circle, using the Transform command to make the circle an ellipse, and duplicating the ellipse over and over with variations, a familiar Spirograph pattern begins to quickly take shape. You can see from my Appearance panel screen capture below that this effect is the result of multiple transformations.
In the end, the skeletal logo we started with becomes the intricate, refined logo we see below, complete with outer circle, thin edge around the inner circle, and intertwining ellipses in the center created by transforming the original outer circle.
Even if you’re new to Illustrator and not particularly gifted at drawing, you can achieve this technique with some concentration and Deke’s advice. (And if you are new to Illustrator, this is also a good lesson on how to use the Transform effect.)
For members of lynda.com, Deke also has an exclusive movie in our library this week, called Tracing scalloped gear teeth around a circle, in which he dynamically adds gear-like teeth to the outer circle of our example logo using a similar type of dynamic Illustrator approach.
Deke will be back with another free technique next week.
In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques video, Deke McClelland shows you how to create a spiral in Adobe Illustrator. Actually, he shows you how to make a couple of different spirals. One is a logarithmically defined spiral created with the Spiral tool (in other words, the kind of spiral that Adobe engineers may think you want). The second is an arithmetically defined spiral created with the Polar Grid tool (or, the kind of evenly spaced spiral that Deke set out to create in the first place).
To orient you to the swirling mass of spirals, Deke explores the built-in Spiral tool and demonstrates some of its limitations, for instance showing that the point where you begin your spiral has no predictable bearing on how your spiral takes shape in a document. You’ll also see which keyboard commands are available for swiftly changing the size and shape of the spiral swirls.
The logarithmic spiral—where the distance between the curves changes as the spiral moves outward—is not what Deke had in mind. Rather, he was on a quest for what mathematicians (and diligent readers of Wikipedia) call an Archimedean spiral, where each curve is the same distance from the next along a polar axis.
To tackle the Archimedean spiral, in the second phase of the video Deke creates a set of evenly spaced concentric circles using the somewhat obscure Polar Grid tool. After ungrouping the bottom half of the circular grid from the top, he then deftly moves the bottom half of the grid over one circular increment, reconnecting concentric circle number 13 on the bottom half to concentric circle number 12 on the top half to form two intertwining, evenly spaced spirals that would make Archimedes proud. After selecting one of the spirals and setting the stroke to red, Deke arrives at this mesmerizing effect:
For members of lynda.com, Deke also has a movie available in our library this week called Drawing a perfect nautilus shellin which he shows you how to create another type of spiral from a single triangle, with this result:
See you back here next week when Deke returns with anotherspiral-inspired Deke’s Techniques tutorial.