Which drawing tool in Illustrator? (newbie question)

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by PkennethV, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I've just got a Wacom tablet for use with Photoshop but since I also have Illustrator I thought that I'd give it a try. I've watched some training videos on Lynda.com and think I've pretty much got the hang of each of the tools.

    I'm about to start my first "real" illustration and am thinking that a contour line shoe drawing I did in art class might be a good one to start on (scan and trace then play around with color etc.). The question I have is which of the drawing tools should I use for tracing the actual shoe. I'm not sure if I should use the pencil tool or the paintbrush tool. I do want the variety of appearances the paintbrush tool can give though. I guess another question would be if there's a way to just get the basics lines down first then tweak them later.

    thanks a bunch for all suggestions
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    creator2456

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    jerryrock

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    #3
    For tracing or defining an object, the pencil tool and brush tool will act the same with a Wacom tabet in Illustrator.

    The pen tool would not be a good choice for tracing.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

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  5. macrumors regular

    nfocus design

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    #5
    I use the pen tool for tracing all the time, but I don't use a tablet. Just the mouse.

    Live trace usually does okay on line drawings, but not always the best choice in every situation. If you're new, I'd start practicing with the pen tool. Just my 2 cents.
     
  6. macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Pen tool, but use it in outline mode (Cmd+Y). I personally think it's way easier to use the pen tool with the Wacom pen over a mouse. I find it easier to drag the handles out to where they need to be. That's my take on it.
     
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    JasonElise1983

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    #7
    seriously? The op asked for help using a wacom tablet in illustrator... And people answer him "live trace"!!!

    On the subject... Use the pen tool. It's much more precise and you can add the same brush effects to it.

    -je
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #8
    These words are wisdom ... the pen tool is the key to using Illustrator. It's hard work, but absolutely worthwhile.

    Curiously, everyone I've ever met who is remotely competent in Illustrator seems to have an entirely different way of using the Pen tool (I have two entirely different approaches myself, dependent upon the job). It sounds like zen mumbo-jumbo, I'm sure, but it's still true ...

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  9. macrumors member

    JE-Illustration

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    #9
    I will say the live trace is greatly improved in CS2 from other lower versions. However I've seen other designers use the live trace... I personally can't let myself use it. As a perfectionist live trace really stinks. Unless you don't want the art to be precise and look bad.

    I just bought a wacom tablet to, but haven't used it in illustrator. I'm a huge pen tool guy and use a mouse to do it... never tried with the pen yet.

    Dabbled with it in photoshop and painter, but can't see how people get use to it lol.
     
  10. macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

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    #10
    my 2¢...

    Line drawings are done with a regular pencil and paper, then scanned into Photoshop, outlined with the mouse and pen tool, then rendered/shaded using the tablet.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    nfocus design

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    #11
    Why do people draw in Photoshop? If you're going to take the time to draw something, do it in Illustrator so you can have it in vector format.
     
  12. macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Because people believe Photoshop is the best design program out there. I'm sure none of you believe that though. :p
     
  13. macrumors regular

    nfocus design

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    #13
    I love Photoshop for editing photos and a few other things, but for drawing, I prefer Illustrator. Like I said at least you'll have it in vector format if you use Illustrator. If you use Photoshop, you're stuck with the original image size or smaller.
     
  14. macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Oh yes, I completely agree. I love Photosho, but not for everything.
     
  15. macrumors regular

    nfocus design

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    #15
    I think Adobe gave us a pretty good clue by the names they gave the software.
    Illustrator = illustrations
    Photoshop = photos

    Not to say they can't be used for other things. To each his own.
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

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  17. macrumors regular

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    #17
    You sir could not be more correct!! The pen is your friend....you just have to show it love:p
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Hi everyone, so the pen tool it is! Here's my first piece (I'm pretty happy with it actually). I'll be working on some shading and maybe a shadow next.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. macrumors 65816

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    #19
    That's pretty dang amazing for your first time using the pen tool and working with illustrator! My first attempt looked nothing like that. I tried to draw a pipe wrench and it turned out ok. Not nearly as much detail as you have there. 'Grats on a job well done!
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    phiberglass

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    creator2456

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    #21
    That's pretty good for learning the pen. I wish I could find my first Illustrator exercises.

    A suggestion to understand the handles and curves better. Draw a couple ellipses/circles with the ellipse tool/+shift then trace them with the pen tool. Remember that the fewer point you use, the smoother the result.

    Here is what I have been working on for my graphic design class this semester. We chose the object the first day of class not knowing what we were going to do with it. The 1st thing we did was the analytical drawing (top left) followed by the graphic translation (bottom right). Next was the abstraction (bottom left) and finally the icon (top right). I am still working on the graphic translation to get all the curves working together and smoothing them out.
     

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  22. macrumors regular

    nfocus design

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    #22
    Well, here is my first pen tool drawing from back in 1995. Our project was to scan a photo and then bump up the contrast so it would be easier to trace. The picture is my nephew. I think it turned out looking kind of like Bobby Hill from King of the Hill. The other 4 drawings are from more recent days. I'm still not as good as I'd like to be, but I have improved. I don't get the chance to draw as much as I'd like.
     

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  23. macrumors 6502

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    #23
    i mentioned live trace because the OP said he was going to trace a drawing.

    just like the pen tool, it takes practice but the good thing is you have fully editable paths after you use it-you are in no way stuck with what it gives you!
    (Live Trace Options is your friend-my students were grumbling until they had a grasp of the myriad option available, then most of them loved it)

    great job on the first time with the pen tool! much better than my experience. when i started in the mid 90s, we had to type the alphabet then trace the letterforms with the pen tool-yuck!

    that project with the padlock looks good too, creator
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    JasonElise1983

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    #24
    but live trace is not drawing and has nothing to do with someone wanting to learn how to use their wacom tablet with illustrator. yes, i've used live trace, and yes it's good...but the end result is not original art. it is a photo with what essentially is a filter applied to it. and i also cringe at the idea that someone is teaching their students to use this.

    -je
     
  25. macrumors 65816

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    #25
    My teacher showed it to us, and then followed up by saying he'd know if we used it in any assignment. He'd then follow that up by applying a lower grade to the said project. I've only used live trace in a real world environment once, and that was at work. We had the store logo save as a .jpg, pretty large .jpg, but a .jpg nonetheless. I placed it in Ai and used live trace to convert it to an .eps file so we could have it stamped on jewelry boxes. It worked out beautifully for that. I'd never consider using it otherwise.
     

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