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Illustrating With Shapes

Lesson 19 from: Symbol Design for Branding

Mitchel Hunt

Illustrating With Shapes

Lesson 19 from: Symbol Design for Branding

Mitchel Hunt

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Lesson Info

19. Illustrating With Shapes

Lesson Info

Illustrating With Shapes

So I've picked out a couple of my pictorial marks and I actually kind of want to illustrate them a little more, a little more detailed and informed way and so to do this, I want to take a look at actual pictures of what those marks are representing. So one of those marks that I picked as a top hat. So what I did was I went online and I looked for pictures of top hats that seemed to be the most uh that they could be the most understood because when you're looking for reference images, you don't want something to be super specific or you know, if I were to find a steampunk top hat that had all these gears and stuff that's not going to be recognizable to everybody as a magician's hat, right? So I had to find something that was, that was easily translatable to a lot of people. So I ended up with these two images here and I could just as easily trace these and call it a day. But I kind of want to personalize them a little bit more because I find that when you do that, um the marks tend to f...

all flat and again, it's kind of like you're not really making your own, you're not really making it unique to the brand, right? So what I want to cover here is how you can take a photo like this and make it and turn it into your own sort of thing. So what do you want to do is you want to have your reference images picked out, you want to have pencil in hand and then you want to have a stack of tracing paper. So first thing we're gonna do is we're going to lay some tracing paper over our image. And what I want to do here is I want to start recognizing some simple shapes in the image that I'm trying to replicate. So I'm already noticing that this top piece of the top hat looks a little bit like a rectangle, right? So pretty simple rectangle. I'm just going to draw it over and then I'm also noticing that there's this sort of ribbon that is near the brim of the hat and that also to me looks like a rectangle. So I'm just going to abstract that as a rectangle. And then the bottom brim of the hat looks like a squashed circle or an oval to me. So again, I'm just sort of recognizing these shapes and tracing over to make sure that I'm kind of getting it right. So what I've done here is I recognize the shapes that sort of make up a top hat and now I feel that I can draw them on my own. So all this is made up of is two different rectangles of different sizes and circle, right? So if I wanted to make my own, I would just move over here and I'd say, and it's sort of exaggerated or or sort of try to transform what I traced into something that's more unique. So let's try this. I want to take that sort of rectangle that's at the top there and I want to actually extend it so I'm gonna make it sort of tall and dramatize that and a little bit more flat. See we have this sort of curvature that I traced from the, from the photo, but just to give it a little bit more style, I'm actually making it a little bit more geometric. The second rectangle that exists within the hat is closer to the bottom. Again, I want to exaggerate that and sort of push it even further down so it's even smaller and then I'm going to use that same sort of circle technique at the bottom here. So again, a top hat is a pretty simple shape. But what I've done to replicate it is just notice those shapes and pull them out and then push and pull them however I want. I still don't feel like this is that unique and I feel like I can iterate off of that and and turn it into something else. So I'm going to take some liberties here. And I noticed that in my original tracing there's a little bit of a slant to the side of this hat. I want to exaggerate that too. So my rectangle here, I'm gonna want to exaggerate a little bit more like these slants, right? So I'm going to redraw it in that way. So I'm drawing this sort of slanted line here, I'm going across the top and I'm going to draw that other line slanted inward as well. And I'm going to add another one for the ribbon, right? So I'm going to bring it back up a little bit and I'm actually gonna use this opportunity to divide, I'm going to use this opportunity to divide this rectangle into threes. Um, so I'm going to kind of market right there and again, it's like, I've taken liberties each time to make this ribbon a little bit different and I'm going to instead of using this circle at the bottom, I'm going to abstract that even further and make it a rectangle instead because I can just as easily see that making sense to somebody to one of my viewers. Um, knowing that that is still a top hat, even though it's a rectangle at the bottom instead of instead of a circle, it still looks like a top hat yet because we've taken that liberty, we've abstracted it further and we've really added a lot more character to this. So it's starting to look a little bit more symbolic. Right? Another thing I want to point out is we can add more details to it. So noticing here in this top hat, if I were to sort of trace over that there's a little bow here that I want to bring in. So and a little feather sticking out of that too. So if I wanted to trace that, I might recognize it as a square in the center. And I'm seeing that these, these bows coming out here a little bit more triangular. So I'm bringing those out like that. And for the feather I'm thinking I'll do a sort of diamond shape because it simply outlines and it doesn't try to draw every little detail of the feathers so it makes it a little more geometric and it gives it a little bit more personality. So I understand what goes behind my top hat in terms of shape language and I understand what goes behind the bow and a feather. So I'm not just gonna take this exact tracing illustration and pull it in. I'm actually going to take what I've learned here from how to build a bow and I'm going to apply that to the illustration that I'm making. So I know that there's this square that exists inside the center of the bow. So I'm gonna pull that and say that it's off to the side a little bit again, sort of cutting up my shape here into into some more interesting and pleasing shapes. And I'm going to take this sort of triangular peace. And I'm gonna put it there and I'm not even gonna show this other side of the bow because we can assume that it's hidden on the other side of this hat. Right? So again, speaking to taking liberties and sort of moving things around once we understand the shape of them and then this feather, I think I'm going to have that sticking out as that diamond shape on the right hand side. So this is what it looks like when I try to recognize the shapes in a simple photograph and a simple subject. But I want to take something a little bit more complex and show that this is still applicable. So my second symbol is of a rabbit and again, it's a little bit more organic. Of course it's an animal. Um and it's a little bit more of a complex shape that maybe we think can be pulled out um with simple geometric shapes, but it definitely can be. But one of the things I see a lot of people do is just trace animals or sort of organic subjects exactly, and they try to capture every detail they can. And what you end up with is this sort of stiff looking awkward shape and it's usually kind of blobby and and it honestly didn't capture all the right details. So and the worst is when you see this and then it's all silhouetted out and then you can hardly even tell what the thing was supposed to be to begin with. So I would caution against doing that. And again to say that this whole process of illustrating with shapes is meant to get away from this. Um so I'm just gonna do the same thing that I did for the top hat on this shape. So what I'm noticing first is the head that's usually a pretty easy circle, right? But this rabbit has a little bit of a snout to it. So I'm just gonna block that off using these sort of more angular shapes. And then I'm noticing too that the hind leg feels a little bit like a large oval. So I'm just going to sketch that out lightly and in the front part of the body feels like another oval that is maybe a little bit smaller and angled slightly more slightly more different. Mhm. And then if we go up to the ears, those seem to be ovals to me. And then down to the feet. These are also sort of simple ovals. And then the feet also seemed to be sort of simple ovals to me. And then the eye looks like a teardrop, The nose feels like a triangle, and then there seems to be some sort of mouth coming out and it looks like a U. Shape. And I'm noticing on my reference image here, there's not really a tale that's visible. But when I think about rabbits and I think when most people think of rabbits, they think about there being a tale. So this is an instance where I would say feel free to exaggerate and again abstract a little bit and pull out whatever detail you might think is necessary. So I'm just going to add something that I think might be considered a tail so you can see there that I've got all my simple shapes, right? And if I were to continue, I would end up with all sorts of different poses to just from the same set of reference images. So by doing all these different poses, I've also sort of learned the different ways that a rabbit can move. And I've learned that I can I can draw it on my own using these same shapes. So I'd encourage you to start looking for these simple shapes and everyday objects. Because the more you start to notice them, the more easy it becomes to draw something that might be a little bit more complex.

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