Illustrating from Sketches

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in the previous chapter, you learned how to create stunning illustrations from existing photography. That is an excellent method to create bold and sharp works of art when you have the appropriate materials to trace from. However, what do you do when you lack photographic resources, and all that you possess is an idea of what you wish to create? The answer to this question can be found at the end of any pencil: start with a sketch. Quickly sketching onto paper is a tried and true method for recording visual ideas, and an integral starting point when it comes to illustrating. However, as much as sketching is an integral part of the illustrating process, it is what you create from that sketch within Photoshop that will transform your basic idea into a professional piece of finished art.

As with tracing photography, we'll be using the Pen tool to create the regions and define the outer edges of our artwork. However, when working from a sketch, it is necessary to refine the artwork as you go. You'll need to not only trace the art, but also create smooth line work of a uniform thickness, add sharp areas of detail, and define regions of varying color. Whereas, when tracing photography, the idea is to simplify, reduce detail, and use what is already there in a stylized manner. Also, when working from sketches rather than photography, your subject matter is not limited to your available photographs, you're only limited by your imagination.

When working with a sketch, always remember that it is merely a starting point. Photoshop provides all of the tools necessary to improve upon and embellish the artwork along the way. Using Photoshop to create artwork from sketches allows you to create finished art that is true to your original idea in terms of concept, but vastly superior when it comes to execution.

1 I Begin by opening up the sketch.psd file. This is the scanned drawing we're going to use as the basis for creating the illustration on the opposite page. As you can see here, the basic idea exists within the sketch. However, when you look at the finished art on the opposing page, you can see that a lot of refinement and embellishments were made to transform the sketch into a finished piece. The first step in the transformation is to carefully define the outer shape of the figure. Select the Pen tool.

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Photoshop Secrets

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