Archive for the ‘Illustrator’ Category

Free Illustrator Tutorial

Free Illustrator Tutorial

Family friend ‘Uncle Vince’ has recently discovered ‘social networking’ on the internet, so, as a bit of fun, I set about creating a custom illustration in Adobe Illustrator for him to use as an avatar. I often joke that he looks like an east-end, hardman character out of the movie ‘Snatch’ or ‘Lock, Stock and smoking Barrels’ in most of his photos. So we picked a photo that looked more like his true character of friendliness and good nature!

Nice! The first task was to try and work out some shadow areas, I ran the photo through the posterize filter in Photoshop to see what it would come up with in the way of shadows….

Not brilliant, but it gave my an idea of some areas to work on, so out came the tracing paper and a pencil (for the younger generation, this is a long wooden stick with black stuff in the middle, used for writing and drawing in the old days before mobile phones). Allowing for hair loss, the pencil lines were then fortified with black felt tip

The next step was to scan the shadow trace.

The scan was then placed into illustrator, locked then traced using the pen tool.

I tend to trace in Illustrator using a magenta stroke and no fill, It really helps to see where you are going. Take your time on this part and try to enjoy the process, once you are engrossed you will be surprised how quickly you can do it.

All the shadow shapes finished were then converted to black fills, then printed out on tracing paper and overlaid onto the original picture to sketch in some mid-tone shapes.

There is a certain amount of trial and error here, I find it helps to blur your eyes a bit to help make decisions where the mid-tone line is. But keep going and any parts that don’t ‘look right’ when you trace can be adjusted in Illustrator after.

Again, scan the mid-tone trace and place in Illustrator to trace.

The mid-tones were then carefully traced (on a new layer), coloured and I then went to work on the eyes….

I decided at this point to add Uncle Vince’s trademark of designer glasses, he often wears them and he seemed more recognisable with them on. Back to the eyes…. The eyes were created using the sphere tool and gradients to match eye colour. A few highlights and they began to look good. The eyes, for me, are a main point of focus on the face (unless someone has an ugly wart or huge nose) so spend some time getting them right.

By this point you should end up with something looking like this (previewed in outline mode).

Next I added some highlight details using illustrators blend tool between 2 shapes. The bigger shape being the same as the base flesh colour and the smaller a lighter shade.

Then a few finishing touches, a floral pattern for the shirt, ear rings with highlights and some light shading on his glasses and Bob’s your uncle! (well, vince then), all done!

With a broad keyline added and a snazzy background the result works quite well large and small. This is a good technique for creating portraits for stickers or screen printing where colours are limited. Uncle Vince is happy with it and most of the family seem to recognise who it is and that’s good enough for me….

(actually, now I look at it again and if it were a commercial job I would tidy up the chin shadow a bit… )


Apaganza Creative CoolKits now available!

Apaganza Creative CoolKits now available!

Apaganza Vector CoolKits, Texture CoolKits and PS Brushes are now online and ready to go. At just $4.99, yes you read it right, ONLY $4.99 you are getting a great big box of creative ammo! What’s more, the crazy dudes here, have decided that the first five customers will get one FREE* Vector Coolkit pack for each one purchased. Be the first! get these creative tools first and get more FREE!!

*After your PAYPAL payment goes through, we will email you and ask which FREE CoolKit you want, and we will send it to you within 24 hrs.


Free Vector Graphics

Free Vector Graphics

In order to promote awareness of and to prove to the world what a generous bunch we are. We are giving away FREE some cool vector graphics. So, tuck in, fill your boots and enjoy. These vector images are released under creative commons copyright licence, which means that you can use them in your personal or commercial projects in part or whole. You may NOT re-distribute or host these on your own site as freebies without permission from Apaganza. That out of the way here is the free stuff…

90‘s Technology (Isometric)

These elements were originally drawn by Ivan Longland in 1998 for Apple Centre, Reading, UK for use in network diagrams. Now they are free for you to enjoy…

You can download this graphic from by clicking HERE

Laughing Chinese Buddha

This highly detailed laughing buddha vector graphic is a free sample from our, soon to be released, Vector CoolKits. This example is from the Oriental Statue Kit. The CoolKits will be live, here NEXT WEEK!

You can download this graphic from by clicking HERE


Vector CoolKits

Vector CoolKits

Real designers don’t use clip art! well under normal circumstances there is an element of truth in that statement BUT it is possible to offer creative, original designs by modifying or using elements from off-the-shelf grahics.

We thought it would be very useful to other creative people to originate some off-beat, detailed graphic elements, that we could offer other professional designers.

After months of work in the studios of Apaganza we are proud to offer some very interesting, highly detailed vector graphics kits at ridiculously low prices…. Apaganza Vector CoolKits.

Coming in January 2010….

Also on the horizon PS Brush sets, Texture Packs and FREEBIES!


Creating a character animation in Adobe Illustrator

Creating a character animation in Adobe Illustrator

This project was initially a visual for an opening sequence for the HD TV show ‘Robert Hagan’s Splash of Color’. The concept was dropped for another idea (more on that later) but the animation was re-used as a device on another of Robert hagan’s shows ‘Let’s go painting’.

In this case study, I will show you how to do a simple character walking cycle. The Robert Hagan character was drawn in illustrator for one of Robert’s books. So I already had my character style but I decided that a simple line version would be better for the TV show.

Next I found a walk cycle reference from

Now, studying the movement from the reference I created 4 generic parts of the character: The head, body, arm and boots.
The legs I decided I would draw freehand.

Then it was a case of overlaying my character parts on the animation reference and move/rotating the various elements.

Then I added a paintbrush to Bob’s left hand…

The next step was to import each frame into Photoshop as a layer,
Adjust the positioning and using the layer-to-frames option in Photoshop’s animation palette exported this animated gif.

The final insertion to the Show was done using Final Cut pro by editor, Simon Harrison, with extra frames that I created to show bob at the easel, drinking coffee and taking a step back.

You can order ‘Let’s go painting’ on DVD from Robert’s website if you have an interest in oil painting…

Happy vectoring!

Ivan Longland –