Vector Basic Training

Segmented Vector Illustration Style

Excerpted from Vector Basic Training: A Systematic Creative Process for Building Precision Vector Artwork (New Riders)

By Von R. Glitschka

If I have a signature style that is more readily recognized as “Von,” it would be this one. Like many illustrators, I was heavily influenced by the work of Jim Flora, a 1950s art director at RCA Records, to whose work my segmented style gives a subtle nod. I’ve worked in this style on projects for Adobe, a national restaurant chain, a book publisher, magazines, and, in this example, a self-promotional product I created called Keyboard Characters. I used the segmented style on this self-promotional item because I wanted to secure more assignments that would require the style.

My thumbnail sketches for a keyboard character called “Riled Rover,” from a larger set of self-promotional items.

My refined sketch for Riled Rover. Sometimes I re-draw something and tape it on top of a previous iteration, as I’ve done here.

My frankensteined but refined sketch is ready to be scanned in and used.

Most of my vector paths are built using the point-by-point method; I keep The Clockwork Method (TCM) in mind as I place my anchor points. But on the teeth, I used the shape-building method via the Ellipse tool (L) and the Pathfinder panel (Command-Shift-F9 or Control-Shift-F9).

Notice how I build my vector art to match my drawing. The only areas where I deviate from my drawing are the pieces that are easier build in digital, such as the spikes, dog tag, and the toes, all of which I created using the shape-building tools in Illustrator.

All of my base vector shapes are now complete.

I begin to work out all of my flat fill colors.

My final art for the Riled Rover keyboard character.

These are three more keyboard characters in the set: Pet Monster, DZGN-BOT, and Feed Your Imagination.

Press proof for the keyboard character set.

Color proof for the Riled Rover keyboard character.

The finished keyboard characters self-promotional product.

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Excerpted from Vector Basic Training: A Systematic Creative Process for Building Precision Vector Artwork by Von R. Glitschka. Copyright © 2011. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and New Riders.