Taking a bitmap scanned sketch to a vector artwork can be handled in various ways. Here French illustrator Olivier Blanc breaks out Illustrator’s swirl and star tools to do the job.


Digital illustrator Olivier Blanc reveals how his stunning new work, Cinq Femmes, was created using Adobe Illustrator. The brief for the illustration was to create an image based on the theme of the human ‘melting pot’.

His idea was to create a mix of different kind of women from our society, with the premise that society is in effect a melting pot of different people (and therefore, for this piece, different women).

They are all the same as human beings but all different as individual people. Olivier always starts his work with sketches to clarify and develop his ideas before importing these into Illustrator. He works on these with black pens and markers.

Here are the different steps he took to arrive to the final version of Cinq Femmes. You can see more of his work on his Web site.


Step 1
When you have finished your initial sketch for the piece using a black pen and marker, scan it in as a high-resolution file. Saved the image as a JPG file in Adobe Photoshop with maximum quality settings. Next, create an Adobe Illustrator file. Then, go to File > Place to insert your image.


Step 2
With the sketch now imported, the next step is to transform the scanned bitmap into a vector image to make it easier to work with – and also to allow us to improve the quality of the final image. Select the image with your mouse to highlight it. Go to Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options. A table with different options will appear.