Eelco van den Berg is an illustrator, painter and graffiti artist based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He can often be found freaking out in the studio with Adobe Illustrator or outdoors with spraypaint and latex. Eelco’s work stands out in its strong use of colours and outlines, combined with highly decorative elements. His portfolio illustrates the diversity of his work and clientele, ranging from Bacardi to the fashion trade show Bread and Butter.

In this tutorial, Eelco van den Berg lets you behind the curtain to see how he creates his incredible vector portraits by turning a photo into a ‘poppy’ vector illustration.

You will learn quick and easy Photoshop adjustments that prepare artwork for translation into vector shapes. He shows you how to trace the basic shapes using the main tools in Illustrator, and how to use layers to organise the photos and your new vector artwork.

You will discover how to create the feeling of light and shadow, build a simple brush to work with and use the Pen tool for more geometrical shapes. You’ll also discover the possibilities of the Pathfinder tool, and how to draw with the brush to create a looser feel. We’ll also show you how to play around with elements of the portrait to build up the background and how to use a simple raster to give it some texture.

Time to complete

3-4 hours


Adobe Photoshop CS3 or higher, Adobe Illustrator CS3 or higher

Project Files

Click here to download this tutorial's project files

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