Life & Style tutorial: Master painting in Illustrator

Transform your sketches into stunning textured artworks.

Transforming your sketches into detailed, textured digital paintings takes time and patience – but the ability to magic up a scene and create it with flair is a key skill for any digital artist.

In this great tutorial, Patrick Auletto shows you how to develop a piece from a pencil sketch into a richly-coloured, stunning painting. The key to creating this type of illustration is to think of your document as a blank canvas, ready for paint.

By overlapping several layers of highlights and shadow, you’ll create the illusion of depth. Throughout the tutorial, you should be experimenting with layer transparencies to find the look that works for you.

01. In a new Illustrator document, go File > Place and select drawing. jpg from the cover CD. This is a sketch I created; you’ll see that it has a number of different elements. Create and label new layers for each key item in the illustration, as this will save you time later on. In the Swatches panel, click on the corner tab and select Open Swatches Library. Select one or more of these colour options – this will give you quick access to your colour palette.

02. Use either the Pencil or Pen tool to trace the basic elements in your artwork, putting each element in its separate layer. The Pen tool is great for tracing objects such as the glass, liquid, and bottle, whereas the Pencil excels with the more free flowing shapes likes flames. Fill each item with colours from your Swatches palette. Once you trace out an element, lower the transparency of your object so that you can still see the sketch.

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