Step 2: Nothing Wrong With Tracing
After the sketch is scanned, placed into illustrator, and locked into place. It is time to start tracing the sketch by using the pen tool and creating vector lines and shapes. This is where my little introduction comes in. If you have not read the introduction by now, please do so.
Before I start tracing the sketch, I create a new layer above the Sketch layer and call it Line Art. At the same time, I create a new layer above the Line Art and call it Border. I like to have a border around my illustration, so I put it in this layer. Since the Border layer will only contain the border line, I lock the layer.
I'm on the Line Art layer now... I make sure I zoom in very close to the sketch before I start tracing. When I start tracing the sketch lines, I start with the black areas. What I mean by that is, anything that will be a soild black color, I will do first. For example, I start tracing Spider-man's eyes with just a stroke.
After I trace around the whole eye, I switch the stroke line to fill with no stroke. Now If you find your shape looking a bit off or weird, you can you the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the indivdual points until it looks right. After I go around and fill in all the solid black shapes, I start tracing the rest of the sketch with strokes. Remeber you can create strokes that changes in thickness by creating thin fills. Look back in the introduction if you don't know what I mean.
Yes I left out Spider-Man's costume webdesign on purpose. I'm planning to use a dark red instead of black for those lines.
Step 3: Base Color
Now that I have a clean line art of my sketch, it is time for some coloring. I could take the line art into Photoshop and color it, but then it would be more of a painting than an illustration.
Everytime I add something completely new to any artwork, either in Photoshop or in Illustrator, I create a new layer. Layers are what makes any artwork look good.
Now I have a line art on one layer, I create a layer under the line art and call it Base Color.
IMPORTANT: I make sure I lock my other layers so they don't get distrubed.
Now I have a layer to hold my base colors, I decide where to start and what color to use. The way I drew Spider-Man was pretty simple so I decided to start with him. Since Spider-Man is mostly red, I started to color all the red ares on his costume.
How do I color in Illustrator?
Simple, I take the pen tool and start creating vector shapes with no stroke but with a red fill.
Step 4: Primary Shadows
The base color is all set, but there is a problem. The illustration looks completely flat. I need to make it look more of a 3d illustration. One way to do that is by adding shadows to the characters. If you ever went to your art class, you learned how light and shadow works on an object. The way I work with shadows/shades, I pick a light source. The light source for this artwork would be at the upper-right hand corner. Picture a flashlight at that corner aiming right at Spider-Man and Mary Jane.
Since the shadow is new to the artwork, I create a new layer above the base color, but under the line art. I always like to work with couple of shadows, so I call this layer First Shadow.
Creating shadows is simple. It is just the same way when creating the base color. I pick a color and start creating vector shapes with no stroke but with a fill. For example, when I create the shadow on Spider-Man's costume, I pick his base color and then change that red into a darker red. The same goes for Mary Jane's pink-purple shirt. I pick the base color and make it a little darker.