Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Waft Of Fresh Marriage

hey, I need some help with Illustrator. It took me a million steps to do what I thought should have been simple processes. Is there anyone in the north valley who knows how all the basic tools work that can show me. I'll do a drawing for you or make you a cheese sandwich if you help me.

33 comments:

RooniMan said...

Dogs can sniff it miles away.

Luis María Benítez said...

Illustrator is not so hard to use. I could help you, though I'm far away.

Roberto Severino said...

Now that's what I call "marking your territory," and boy, does it stink!

Omar Momani said...

i can help

Paul B said...

Wow! What are you doing now John? You're developing some new cartoons??

kurtwil said...

Nice expressions!

Dogs can apparently remember smells for years too.

I'm way too far away to physically help, JK, but can see why this took a lot of steps to make in Illustrator.

Down the road, why not take a look at Toon Boom Studio? That costs much less than Illustrator, has similar tools, and can create animation as well as stills. Toon Boom also offers excellent storyboard tools.

Marty Fugate said...

Couldn't get into Illustrator. Will post on that later.

To stay on topic, I know an artist who can make that program dance and sing -- Austin McKinley.

Austin illustrated a script I did based on the premise that "The Jetsons" was really a dystopia.

We have totally different styles, but his style was perfect for the script, and mine wasn't. (It's a riff on the Jetson's original character/background design, not a direct steal. He hit it out of the park.)

Here's a link to the art:

Marty Fugate said...

this! It's a really cool website I

zmerrill said...

Love is in the air...literally.

Marty Fugate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peggy said...

I'm a bit far away to come give you a hand, but here's some tips:

- Double-click on the pencil tool and turn off "keep selected"; turn on "fill new pencil strokes" and "edit selected". This will make it actually useful for drawing with a tablet - I find the default settings to be completely unusable.

- My general rule of thumb is that any line or shape I find myself drawing-and-undoing with the pencil tool three times is one I need to switch to the pen tool for.

- Pen tool fundamentals: Pull curve handles out to about 1/3 of the line segment they control; don't try to curve through more than about 90º between two control points, don't try to do an s-curve between two points. Follow those rules and your curves will be fairly easy to control, and look more pleasing.

If you're trying to achieve a final piece that looks like the image you posted, it is possible, but it's kind of a pain in the butt.

I don't like using it myself, but you might want to try using Live Paint to fill in areas with color, then do object->live paint->expand and paint inside the colored areas to create shading. (Easy if you have CS5 - select the area, hit D twice (you'll see little dotted corners appear around the shape you selected), shift-apple-A to deselect it, then pick a color and draw some stuff. Harder if you have an older version; draw the stuff you want to go inside, push it to the back with apple-shift-[ or pull the bigger shape to the front with apple-shift-], select interior bits and big bit at once, then object->clipping mask->make, which "helpfully" removes all color on the shape it's clipping everything into.)

- When you make color swatches, double-click on them and turn on the "global" checkbox. This will let you alter your palette later in the piece with no fuss, just double-click on the swatch and fiddle with the sliders. This, more than anything else, is the killer feature that made me decide AI was for me.

Hope that helps some!

manuel said...

c'mon, just send it and I tell what you need to have fixed...

Neutrinoide said...

All vector based drawing program are evil.That my opinion :)

Geneva said...

Hi, John. I live too far away to just stroll on over to your house to help, but I'll tell you that I can use Illustrator for most purposes. Sometimes you have to fight it to get it to do something sensible and useful for what you'd want. What exactly are you trying to do that's causing you so much trouble?

Marty Fugate said...

I found Illustrator intimidating and user-hateful. Vector graphics are different in kind from lines created with a pen or pencil. The logic is different. You’re not drawing the image; it feels more like you’re building it. If you try to use the logic of drawing, the program fights you – like a horse trying to kick you out of the saddle. You have to think the way it wants you to think. You start to.

Illustrator pushes you in a certain direction. You tend to create art that’s super clean and slick-looking -- pure geometric shapes with perfectly defined contours that are next to impossible for a human hand to draw. Some artists can – Al Hirshfeld or Arnold Roth for example -- but it ain't easy. Illustrator makes it easy. Absolute perfection! No skipping pen lines or hesitation marks! Before you know it, your style changes. You create the kind of art Illustrator wants you to create.

Illustrator hates energetic lines. It loves cartoon modern. Or cartoon post-modern.

I have a hunch that the ubiquity of Illustrator is one reason contemporary animation tends to have the same look. (Artists create their original designs in Illustrator -- and I think you can import the designs as "objects" into animation programs and go on from there.) The program’s inner logic makes animators simplify, simplify, simplify their character designs and backgrounds. Their work approaches the realm of pure abstraction -- as in "The Powerpuff Girls" or "Samurai Jack." We shape our tools; our tools shape us.

I like a little sloppiness and energy in my own cartoons-- as in Rodriguez or Feiffer. If anything, I have to fight the urge to be slick and overwork my drawings.

So, I gravitated away from Illustrator. I stick with creating physical drawings, scanning them in and cleaning them up in Photoshop. I use the line tool to clean up curves, contours, etc, but that's about it.

This is not to say Illustrator sucks. It’s a great program and people create great art with it. But it works beautifully with some styles, and badly with others. It didn’t like my style. My spider sense says it wouldn’t like the John K style.

But, hey, I’m a quitter. I may be wrong. If I’d hung in there and made it through the steep learning curve, I might have a different opinion.

Marty Fugate said...

I tried to learn Illustrator about five years ago. I gave up. For me, the program was intimidating and user-hateful. Here's what I found frustrating:

Vector graphics are different in kind from lines created with a pen or pencil. You’re not drawing the image; it feels more like you’re building it. If you try to impose the logic of drawing, the program fights you like a horse trying to kick you out of the saddle. You have to think the way it wants you to think.

Illustrator pushes you in a certain direction: art that’s super clean and slick-looking -- geometric shapes with perfectly defined contours that are next to impossible for a human hand to draw. Some artists can – Al Hirshfeld or Arnold Roth for example -- but it ain't easy.
Illustrator makes it easy. Absolute perfection! No skipping pen lines or hesitation marks!

Before you know it, your style changes. You're creating the kind of art Illustrator wants you to create.

Illustrator hates energetic lines. It loves cartoon modern. Or cartoon post-modern.

It's a great program and people create great art with it. But it didn't like my style.

I have a hunch it wouldn’t like the John K style.

Brandon Lyon said...

hey john, i know my way around illustrator pretty well, i've been using it the past 6 years or so. i can show you the basics and then some if you need. i get back to california in about two weeks so if you haven't found someone by then, let me know.

Cristian Avendaño said...

Illustrator! Damn it! If I lived close, I would be already eating that sandwich!

I agree with Marty, vectorized drawings always seem a little weird. But hey, I wouldn't blame the state of modern animation on a computer program... I think it goes way beyond that!

Scrawnycartoons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oscar Grillo said...

Ask Matt Cruickshank:
http://crookiesblog.blogspot.com/

mr paal said...

took me ages to figure out illustrator. i found it pretty counter-intuitive but i like to use it to block out layouts & tweak colours easily.

Yr drawing looks great regardless.

ANSIS PURINS said...

John I thought you might like to see this
60's wooden Fred Flintstone Im selling on Ebay

Im also an illustrator and have avoided using the program for years.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Fred-Flintstone-Arne-Basse-Vintage-Wooden-Figurine-/250693657651?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a5e81a433#ht_500wt_1154

Chris Cockcroft said...

Hi John,

I live a bit far away (Nova Scotia) to stop by and show you hands on how to work quickly and efficiently in Illustrator, but I really appreciate the work you've done (and still do) and would love to help any way I can.

If there're any particular concepts or tools that you're having problems working with efficiently, I'd be happy to create a video tutorial or something along those lines to help out. Or even if you just have some basic "How can I do this?" type of questions, feel free to drop me a line.

Best of luck,
Chris

chris co @ east link .ca (<- take out them spaces...)

(PS please ignore the ridiculously outdated portfolio site linked to by my profile. Someday, it will be updated...)

Pedro Vargas said...

Wow, I really like the mood in this one! The background colors remind me a lot of Clampett's nighttime fence scenes like in A Gruesome Twosome and The Hep Cat. The overall colors are great though!

Brian Romero said...

It's funny that some people think Illustrator can only to hard geometric lines when I've inked a bunch of stuff for John using it. You have to use a Wacom tablet and adjust the brushes to react like a real brush. Recently I've gone back to using a Windsor Newton Series 7 brush and Speedball ink just so I can have original artwork again.

Illustrator isn't that hard to use, but you have to take the time to learn it. You can't expect to just jump into it without understanding how it functions.

Calvin said...

I can help!

Carmine said...

Beautiful piece! I love your painting techniques and your approach to digital tools. You are a true inspiration.

Daniel Og said...

i will, dammit! i will!

craftycouture said...

i can help. been on illustrator since the 90's. i work up here in the valley on Disney's Kick Buttowski. i enjoy your blog & would be totally satisfied with a trade, i might go with the sandwich though ;). on friday my wife will be out of town for a week & i'd be happy to show you the ropes.

hello@BenjaminSoto.com

Tim said...

Hey John.

I'm in Burbank. Used to teach illustrator courses. Been using it for over 10 years. Drop me a line if you want help.

Tim

www.timbobko.com

smackmonkey said...

All the keystroke combinations and short cuts make Illustrator seem absolutely foreign to artists used to traditional media... and most are not needed for the kind of work in your pic. It's more a question of approach.

Rather than spending time drawing shapes with outlines and filling them in thus requiring you to repeat the time consuming task of accurately matching every nuance (easy with traditional media but not with Illy) a second or even third time, instead simply layer your work from the background to the foreground with overlapping shapes thus cutting your workload in half. This way an outline becomes a simple solid shape overlapped with another shape. An illustration like the one you've posted could easily have several hundred layers all containing a single simple shape. It's not like working with cells where you are constantly concerned with self-color lines and fitting everything into a half dozen layers to avoid color shifting nor is it like traditional illustration where painting on top of successive layers is messy and problematic. Illustrator doesn't care how many layers you jump. The color is always a perfect match. Couple this approach with a little mastery of opacity, masks, and knockout groups and you'll be set.

If you must use a brush tool to provide an out line don't let yourself get too caught up looking for the kind of results you'd see with india ink or the like. Just make your stroke an then use the *convert strokes to outlines* command. You can then go back in and fine tune everything with the bezier handles - or whatever they're called.

I rarely come to the SFV anymore so I hope this helps a little. Maybe this is old hat for you. North valley, huh... Are you in an Eichler?

Sherm said...

Hey John...Illustrator has a lot of non-intuitive shape tools, but the key to inking freehand cartoony art is the freehand brush tool. Simple and intuitive, just like a real brush. Most people don't even know about it. Take a look at my videos here:

http://bit.ly/Inking-Illustrator

If you like the video. email me and I'll be happy to help. -- Sherm

Taber said...

Illustrator is a great tool! I especially love it for inking drawings. You just have to know the right tools and settings.