Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory – Part One

01. Creating a polygon-styled illustration

Making of a low-poly style illustration based of an actual picture of … a bear. 

The basic process:

  1. get the picture
  2. divide it in polygons and trace it
  3. import tracing into Illustrator
  4. create paths along the lines
  5. get color palette based on light and shadow
  6. color it correctly
  7. correct and adjust

I started with my iPad and made a screenshot of my chosen picture: a bear from the side. Then I started tracing it on a sheet of paper, placed on top of my iPad. The polygons didn’t go as I intended and so after uploading it to Illustrator and starting making the paths I aborted it. The Illustrator-part of this endeavour is quite tedious. And it’s easier to see it through when you believe in something from the start, then when you hope it will look better when colored.

So I started a second bear pic, this time one roaring into the camera. Here I didn’t try to print it (colored ink is empty/expensive) but went via overlay method in Illustrator.

I made the paths without any tracing beforehand. This one-polygon-at-a-time method, without any preplanning, is far from perfect. Although it may be possible to plan certain parts in your head, whenever you make a polygon which is even a bit off, you compromise all nearby shapes around it.
This compromise can be seen in the difference between nose/upper-mouth and the chin/lower-mouth. When you shift your focus steadily downwards you see that certain polygons aren’t made in the best shapes possible but in a polygon which fits with the other polygons.

While it isn’t a perfect work, the low-poly style certainly is really forgiving in it’s final product appeal. The random color palette may be the most random element of this graphic, a brown color was “eyedropped” and  a scale made based on brightness in steps of 5%), but even it is able to bring out dimensionality and perspective.

All in all I give myself … a grade above failure (D-).

It passed the requirement of teaching me the basics and some of the potential of this style. But because of the lack of a plan the arbitrary constellation of polygons lacks in essence and passion.

Template:

My Submission:

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