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How To Create a Vector Logo in Illustrator
by Jessie Schueler
* Intermediate lessons require you know how to scan in a drawing / image for tracing
* Be familiar with basic tools in Illustrator - know how to select with the selection tool and be familiar with layer palette and tool palette
Step 1: Open your scanned image in Illustrator. Make sure your Layers Palette is showing (Window - Show Layers (F7).
Lock the original layer that your drawing is on by clicking the square to the right of the eyes in the boxes. You will see a lock icon appear to let you know the layer is locked. This is done to prevent any changes to your original artwork.
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Create a new layer by clicking the icon at the bottom of the palette (it looks like a piece of paper with the corner folded over.) You can double click on the layer to open the Layer Dialog Box, and rename your layer "dog cat".
This is going to be the start of your drawing.
Step 2: Use the zoom tool (looks like a magnifying lens) on the bottom right side of your tool palette to zoom in on your original drawing. Select the default fill and stroke icon in the lower-left corner of the Paint style section. Click the white fill and change it to None (the clear box with the red line in it ) so that only black remains in the stroke box.
Now select the Pen tool. Yes, we are going to trace the image using the pen tool. This may take some practice before getting the hang of bending bezier curves. Although this tool is frustrating and confusing to use, it is the most important tool to use and is a must have for anyone wishing to illustrate on the computer.
To start the drawing click on the outline of your drawing, and then go up further in your drawing and place another point. Don't release the mouse yet! Drag and pull your line until your bezier curve matches the outline of your drawing. Hold down option (Alt) key and bring the anchor point back to the outline. If you don't hold down the Alt key and bring your anchor point back, you will see an anchor point and a line extending to where you dragged with a control handle at it's end. For a smooth drawing you want to have your control handles placed along the outline. With practice, you eventually will start to master the Pen tool. Here are some tips to get you on your way:
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Drag approximately 1/3 of the length of the next curved segment.
Control handles pull the curve towards themselves. If you fight the natural pull, your illustrations will look funny. Always drag the control handle in the direction that you want the curve to travel. Make segments as long as possible - try to use the fewest anchor points possible.
Step 3: Once you've mastered the Pen tool and have drawn successfully around your entire outline, it is time to correct a few things. Clicking the white arrow (direct select or selection tool) allows you to click on the anchor points and adjust the handles of the outline you just drew with the pen tool. In other words, you can easily make your curves better - adjust points and make your illustration nice and smooth.
Once you get the drawing the way you want it, click the arrow on top of the stroke / fill boxes in the Paint style selection toolbox. This will swap the fill and the stroke. Your drawing should now be filled in entirely black, and you should see a dog and cat silhouette.
Step 4: Now it is time to draw the heart. Create a new layer by clicking the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette. You can double click the layer and name it "heart" as I have done. I also have locked the dog cat layer, to avoid any changes to that layer, and have selected the "eye" icon next to the lock icon, which makes that layer invisible. You should only see the original drawing like we did in step one. Have you saved yet? REMEMBER to (command )Ctrl S - save your work often.
The heart is going to be drawn the same way as the dog and cat. Click the pen tool and draw curves until you finally have a heart shape. You should be using a black stroke and no fill. Tip: Ctrl D sets the colors back to default black and white. Then select the white arrow and modify the curves and points until your heart looks almost perfect. There is an exact way to make a heart using the pathfinder, but that will be saved for future advanced Illustrator tutorials.
Once your heart is drawn, select a Fill color from the swatch palette, or as I have done, by double clicking the Fill color box. This opens a color palette for you to select from. I chose a dark pink / red color, which I later toned down before adding the text. Click the eye icon on the dog cat and your drawing should look something like this. Make sure the heart layer is on top of the dog cat layer, or you won't see the heart.
Step 5: Next create another layer and call it "EARTH". Select the ellipse tool from the tool palette and choose a black stroke with a turquoise fill. Start drawing a circle on top of the dog and cat, pressing shift for a perfect circle. Drag and release when
the circle gets to the size you want ( should look like they are sitting on the Earth) We are going to leave this layer on top until we get through the next step.
Step 6: Now we are going to add some continents to the Earth. Again, create a new layer above the Earth layer. Select a black stroke with a green fill. Select the Pen Tool. For the continents, I used just a hand drawn image I had in my head of what the
continents look like from space. It was not very exact, and as you will see, most of it is covered up by the dog cat image. If you prefer, you can draw something, scan it in, trace it and bring it in to this drawing. Illustrator is a vector-based program,
which means you can easily re-size drawings without losing detail. Do whatever works best for you and your drawing style.
Step 7: Now the earth and continents layers can be moved below the dog cat layer so that it now appears that they are sitting on the Earth.
Have you Saved lately???? Ctrl S
Now we are going to add some text to the heart. First I selected the heart and changed the color to a softer pink. Next open the Character palette (Ctrl T). Select the Text tool from the tool palette and type in "Itsy's (hit return) Fund" Select the text with the direct selection arrow, and change the font to something else. I used SwingSet, a playful font that I got for free at www.1001fonts.com .
Also change the size of the font, depending on which one used, to a size that is large enough to fill up the heart.
Step 8: Almost finished! Now we are going to add some text under the Earth.
Select the ellipse tool with no stroke and no fills selected in the paint box. Draw a perfect ellipse (hold down shift) so that the bottom is under the Earth where we want the text to go. Type "Helping One Animal at a time" at the top of the circle and press Ctrl + shift + C to center the type.
Choose the selection tool and click the top of the I bar marker, dragging it down to the bottom of the center of the circle. Before letting go of the mouse button, center the type, making sure it is readable from left to right. The text should be on the inside of the circle on the bottom.
Step 9: Lastly, click the eye icon over your original artwork so that none of the original sketch appears. You can select all layers (make sure they are unlocked ) and hold shift while dragging the corner up to quickly resize the image and make it bigger. You may also want to flatten the image and make it one layer to reduce the file size before