Introduction: Illustrator Basics
Before I begin the steps, let me explain what tools I mostly use when I create my illustrations. I'm not going to show how to use all the tools, it is your job to read the manual that came with the software and practice using them. Lastly, whatever I draw in Illustrtor, I like to think of them as "objects". If I were draw a simple line, that would be an object. Then if I were to draw a circle next to it, that would be another object.
Selection Tool (V). Simple tool to move an object around.
Direct Selection Tool (A). A tool that allows you to move indivdual points
Pen Tool (P). Imporant tool, allows you to create curves.
Gradient Tool (G). I don't use this tool that often but it comes in handy. This tool basically creates a gradient.
Eyedropper Tool (I). A simple tool that picks up color.
Scissors Tool (C). This tool allows you to cut vector lines.
Zoom Tool (Z). Allows you to zoom into the document.
Fill (X). Fills the object with any color you select. Select a color by double clicking on the box.
Stroke (X). Allows you to change the object's stroke color.
None (\). If you want no fill but a stroke, click on the fill box and then this button. The same goes if you want a fill but no stroke.
Creating Illustrator Objects
The three objects above were created by using the circle tool. All three are the same but 1a has a fill and a stroke, 1b has a fill but no stroke, and 1c just has a stroke.
You can also create your own shapes by using the pen tool, make sure you connect the end point to the beginning point to create the shape.
In 2a, 2b, and 2c, you connected both end and beginning points to create the shape. If you don't connect the point and just have a stroke (no fill), you basically created your own line (using the Pen Tool of course).
Using the idea from 2c and 3a, you can create a line that changes in thickness.
Step 1: The Secret Behind Hawk's Illustration
Let me tell you the secret behind all my illustrations. Before I even start up Adobe Illustrator, I sketch out what my illustration will look like. Most of the time I sketch the idea carefully on a regular computer paper with a pencil or blue drafting pencil. The purpose of the sketch is so you will have a guide when you work in Illustrator.
Using my Spider-Man / Mary Jane sketch as an example, I did the sketch on a regular piece of paper and scanned it at 300 dpi. (Yes I over did it with Mary Jane.)
I scanned the sketch in, I took it into Photoshop and made it lighter. I want
it light enough so I can see everything and tell the difference when I start tracing it.
I saved any changes I did to the sketch and brought the image into Adobe Illustrator. You can bring the sketch into Illustrator couple of ways; you can copy and paste it or go to File->Place and select the sketch file.
When you bring the sketch in, Illustrator loads the image into the first layer. I always call that layer sketch and lock it. Make sure you lock the layer that contains the sketch; you don't want it moving around on the window.