Gouache in Adobe Illustrator: How to Successfully Vectorize Your Paint

——   Created by Melissa Lee

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Course
13
Lessons
1h 17m
Lesson time
intermediate
Skill level

More about this course

Bringing my gouache work into Adobe Illustrator and vectorizing it, so that I can use some of the awesome tools that Illustrator provides is one of my favorite methods for combining traditional and digital media, and I’m often asked about my process for doing so. So instead of just explaining it, I wanted to provide an in depth, visual demonstration that I can point people to. And thus, this class was born.

In this class, I’ll show you how I paint and ink in order to get the best results in Illustrator and make the digitizing process as easy as possible. Then I’ll walk you through vectorizing your work and assembling the elements. I’ll also go over all of the most common Illustrator tools I use for drawing, coloring, and assembling motifs. I love working both traditionally and digitally, and this method is a really fun way to combine the best of both worlds.

I’ve noticed in my time in various online art communities, that figuring out how to incorporate watercolor and gouache into Illustrator is something that a ton of traditional artists with a love of texture struggle with time and time again. I struggled with it myself. How do I keep the integrity of my traditional work using Illustrator? The unfortunate truth is that it's just not possible to keep every detail once you vectorize something. The sooner you understand that, the better. I essentially spent three years developing a style in Illustrator that I’m happy with, so if you’re feeling frustrated by this process, you’re not alone. And hopefully this class will provide you with an option for creating a traditional-esque effect that you can feel happy with.

Some familiarity with Illustrator is recommended, but I will be going over all of the tools I use in detail, so even if you’re a beginner, you can still follow along just fine. 

So get out your painting supplies and let’s get started.

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Adobe, and Adobe Illustrator are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe in the United States and/or other countries.

The course project

It’s time to create your own gouache influenced vector illustration! Follow along with the videos to get your project underway, or look to the following steps for a refresher:

  1. First, remember that your workflow doesn't have to match mine exactly. If you find certain things that work better for you, edit them in to make your own custom workflow.
  2. Don't be shy about looking to reference for help. If you plan to make a floral or fruit illustration, consider buying some flowers or fruit to take pictures of, or use Pinterest/Google/etc. to find images that inspire you. Just remember, if you use the internet, be careful to not trace other people's work line by line. Instead, think about which elements inspire you. Composition? Color? Different ways to apply line work/details? Variation in shape? Abstraction or detail? Etc.
  3. Paint and ink your motifs! Just start. Try not to overthink it at first. Embrace happy accidents; they just might end up working for you later on!
  4. Bring your work into Illustrator to vectorize, color, assemble, and compose!
  5. Don't forget to post your class project!

MATERIALS

13 Lessons

0:02:20
Introduction
free preview
0:05:40
Materials
free preview
0:07:02
Painting and Inking
0:04:13
Scanning Your Work
0:09:50
Vectorizing Your Work
0:05:32
Selection, Direct Selection, Duplicate, Scale, Rotate, & Reflect
0:11:49
Pencil Tool, Pen Tool, Blob Brush Tool, Smooth Tool, Shape Builder Tool, Scissor Tool, & Puppet Warp
0:06:22
Artboards, Align, & Pathfinder
0:03:40
Choosing Color
0:07:57
Applying Color
0:07:42
Assembling the Elements
0:05:04
Final Steps + Saving Your Work
0:00:43
Thank You!
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Class benefits

  • Certificate of Completion
  • 30 day satisfaction guarantee
  • 24/7 streaming access
  • Project included
  • Direct teacher access
  • 1h 17m of on-demand video
  • Have a coupon?

About the instructor

Hi! My name's Melissa Lee, and I'm an illustrator and surface designer living in the hilly forests of Northern California. Alongside doing freelance and art licensing work, I've spent much of my time cultivating my love of sharing what I know and encouraging others to nourish their creative side through …

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