This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

September 10, 2014

Cartoon colors in Adobe Illustrator

There are a lot of reasons to use Adobe Illustrator for cartoons, drawings, logos. The main reason that I've found that a lot of people don't use it is that they simply don't know it. They may have taken a class, and left just as befuddled as when they started. And it's probably because most classes in Adobe Illustrator focus on the technical side of the program, instead of the fun side. I like the fun side, and that's what I teach.

The very best part of Adobe Illustrator is that you don't ever, ever, ever have to be concerned about resolution, or pixels, or anything of that stuff. I'm terrible at math, and calculating pixel dimensions just makes me nervous. I can do it, if I have to, as I use Photoshop, but I'd rather not. I just like to draw. An Adobe Illustrator drawing is done in vectors, so it can be saved to any size, with no loss of sharpness.

Line art layer
Mostly I draw cartoons. And the line quality that Adobe Illustrator gives really appeals to me, and works well for my style. At first I started using a Wacom tablet, but it's not really necessary. The trick is to use the brush tools, and combine them with a basic understanding of vectors. Back in the old days, drawing black lines was done with a brush, or a pen. As a kid I learned to work with brush and pen, but when they invented Adobe Illustrator, I was an early adaptor. And since I've used a mouse all of my adult life, it's actually easier for me to *ink* with the mouse.

Color layer
But it gets better! And it's all about the cartoon colors that you can do in Illustrator. Not only can you get that beautiful, consistent, bright color, it's ridiculously easy to change. All you have to do is know a little bit about layers, and put the line drawing on one layer, and the colors on another layer.

Remember, it's not Photoshop, so you don't need a lot of layers. Just two. One I call artwork, and one I call colors. The artwork layer sits on top of the color layer, so you don't have to be terribly precise with your colors, I just click along, staying pretty much in the lines. If you can color in a coloring book, you can do this! Did I mention that this is fun?

And it gets even better! As a professional, I am working for clients, and there's nothing a client likes to hear more than *no problem changing the colors!* And it is, if you set up the drawing correctly. In the industry that's called *Best Practice*, but I just call it fun!

If you're not using Adobe Illustrator for cartoons, logos, that sort of thing, it's probably because you don't know it. If you took a class and some boring teacher talked about bezier curves, and other such dry, dull, stuff, go get your money back. And talk to me!

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