How to make a logo from your pencil illustration- step by step guide.
My most recent logo was made from a drawing initially done with traditional HB pencil, transformed in to a vector file.
I thought I would share these inside tips because I know when I was learning how to transfer my hand drawings in to Illustrator it took me quite a while to figure it all out. I thought maybe I could make it a little easier for someone else in the future!
Step 1: sketching
Step 1 involves sketching out the design with pencil and paper. Once I am happy with the overall look I go over the most important lines, and prominent lines, with a black ink pen or felt tip maker. I used Uni-ball Gel Impact for this art work, but I often use an Artline Felt Pen in 0.4
For this logo I also added shading to my leaves and flower using the HB pencil, for depth.
Step 2: getting the drawing in to the computer
(NB I always use Adobe Illustrator to make my logos. Illustrator creates vector files, which means the image can be scaled up to any size without losing resolution- not like a photo which becomes blurry, because a photo is a raster file. So the following steps are using Illustrator).
I use 3 main techniques for getting my image in to Illustrator, depending on the type of image I want.
1. Sometimes I draw on my iPad (using Apple Pencil) on to the app Procreate. This app lets you save images as a JPG or photoshop file, which which you can then place in to Illustrator. The cup cake logo is an example of one I drew on to the iPad. Once I have drawn my image on the iPad I then use the steps 3 onward to change my image in to a vector file.
2. For simple graphics I use Adobe Capture on my iPhone. With Adobe Capture you click on “shapes” on the very left hand side, then you simply take a photo of your artwork, save it to your adobe library, and then you can access it in Illustrator - already as a vector! Easy as. Although the only issue with this method is that it doesn't tend to pick up as much fine detail as method 3, which is why I use it for simple images.
3. For a more detailed artwork, like the example I am walking you through today, I take a photo of the art with my iPhone- as this tends to pick up more subtle details. Then you use whatever technique you prefer to get your photo on to your computer (I usually just open it in Photos on my Mac, or Airdrop it), then you place the image on to your Illustrator file.
Step 3: changing to a vector
Once the image is placed in to Illustrator I then use "Image Trace" to change the image in to a vector. The image trace menu automatically pops up as soon as you open a photo or image in Illustrator. You can either just click on the trace button, or you can click the drop down menu for more trace options.
Often I just click the button, however when I need the trace to pick up the fine details (like the shading in this example) I either pick “16 colours” or “shades of grey” the latter of which I used for this artwork because the artwork is all grey tone. It can warn you it will take a while, I always just hit ok and be patient :)
After completing the trace I then “expand” the shape in order to make it a vector. This turns all my lines into pathways. As soon as you do this you will find that the artwork is automatically grouped, which means I need to “ungroup” it in order to delete the background, and fix up any weird lines.
This process of refining the image, smoothing the lines and deleting unwanted pathways takes a while, as I can get a little perfectionistic and want to fix lots of anchor points and pathways! But once this process is done, then you're finished! Hooray!
(Tip: sometimes I find that the trace has created a mammoth amount of anchor points- which often happens for a detailed artwork- and I find that this makes the artwork look quite jagged. So I go to "Object", down to "Path" and then to "Simplify..." In here you can dramatically reduce the amount of anchors, which gives the art a smoother look. I always click "preview" and almost always set the Curve Precision and Angle Threshold to their highest amounts- this makes the art keep to its original form the most, while still reducing many of the anchor points).
In this example I decided the image looked better on it's side, so I just rotated it after cleaning it up. Then you have a vector and you can change the colour, change the scale, and alter it how you like!
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