I Illustrate Why I Illustrate in Illustrator

I know it’s not like me (cough), but I ordered a book: Adobe Illustrator for Fashion Design by Susan Lazear.

I am not interested in painting, I’m interested in colour and line, in illustration. That’s my thing, and I do small pen and ink and watercolour illustrations. Here is an example of using a photograph pasted on cardstock, covered with a light coating of gesso, and inked with a marker and coloured with watercolour pencils. I get a kick out of doing these now and then. You can just see enough of the underlying photograph to get the proportions right, and then it’s up to you. These two don’t look anything like the original photos and that’s part of the fun.

I have had one version or another of Adobe Illustrator for seven years. I go so far in the program and then I stop and never really learn it. I’ve had Illustrator CS for a few years, and I have done simple things in it, but I’d like to do proper illustrations.

My problem with such things is that I need a practical project in order to learn a program. I learned Photoshop this way and eight years later I am still discovering things. I rolled huge jars of coins in January to get enough money to finally upgrade from the old Photoshop 6 to Photoshop CS2. I use it every day for pleasure, and I use it for my business too. I couldn’t live without it.

But Illustrator languishes. I had planned to do some poetry postcards in Illustrator, and I still will once I get a template made, but I am so hesitant on how to do things in the program that I need something to work toward, my goal is to learn the program, not fiddle drawing circles for appliqué templates. So I thought I could photograph my fashion dolls and use photos as a template in Illustrator for fashion illustrations of them. Or I could use photos of people; I’ve wanted to practice sketching the human body for some time, and I would like to be able to do digital sketches of people too.

Years ago I did a sketch of a fellow in Illustrator 8 from a photograph. It didn’t look like him but it did actually look like a person, so I have hope that I can work through this new book and start doing some interesting, fresh digital work. Here he is in all his glory–think I did this in 2002. I could do hair better today!

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