Setting Up Our Illustrator Files for Our Vector Self-Portraits

If you have not already done so, you must publish your idea for your Vector Self-Portrait. This blog post is worth 20% of your final project grade, and no credit will be issued for proposals published after today’s class. Yolie,  Bayleigh, and Brian have great examples of project planning posts.

Today we will begin creating our vector self-portraits in Adobe Illustrator. Make a folder (Right-click on the desktop, New-> Folder) drag your reference photo into this folder, and save your Illustrator document to this folder. You must keep your Illustrator file and your reference photo in the same folder, or the photo will disappear the next time you open the Illustrator document and you will have nothing to trace!

Steps to creating the vector self portrait Illustrator file

  1. Open Adobe Illustrator
  2. Create a new file. File -> New.
    Set the dimensions as follows (flip the height and the width if you want a landscape orientation):
  3. Place your reference photo. File -> Place. It may not fit the dimensions of the paper exactly.
    That is ok. You can scale the image to fit by holding down the shift key and scaling from the corner. Make sure you do this or you will distort your proportions! Also, pay attention to the box with the black border – the black border defines the edges of your paper, and anything that extends beyond the border will be cut off.
  4. In the layers palette, double-click to rename Layer 1 “Reference.”
    Then click the space to the left of the layer to lock it:
  5. Now press the new layer button new_layer to make a new layer, and name it whatever you plan on tracing over (ex. Hair, hair highlights, etc)
    You may also want to create and name a new layer for each image you plan to vectorize. You can group sub-layers within layers, and close and expand these layers like folders to organize your file.
    Start naming and organizing your layers right away, or your project will become a mess with hundreds of layers. If you can’t figure out what layer you are on, the teacher will not be able to help you, either!
  6. Use the eyedropper tool eyedropper to select and match a color from your reference photo.
    Use the pen tool pen_tool to trace create vector illustrations.
  7. Use the rectangle tool rectangle_tool to create boxes. (To color your background, you will draw a box over the entire page.)
  8. At the end of class, save your file as a PDF (File -> Save as -> PDF) and upload the PDF to your blog.
    Also, create a new folder with your project PDF file and any images you are using, and back it up to your Google Drive or USB drive.

Today we will:

  • create a new 11×14 or 14×11 file in Adobe Illustrator
  • place our layout sketch in this file
  • begin vectorizing our layout sketch
  • save our file as a PDF and upload the PDF of our progress to our blog

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