Step 9
When you finish the colouring process, create another layer for your background elements. That way if you need to go later for more colouring, or more line art, you can, besides, keeps the file really organized.

Step 10
I generally take advantage of clip art elements or create my own elements like hair, or little flourishes that I can throw all over the piece. This is where you can have fun with the piece and just let it become you. That’s really what this illustration is all about. It’s not about copying this skull, but it’s about your own perspective and take on this skull (or whatever you are illustrating).

Step 11
I also recommend just playing around with bitmap files or dirty vector files and place it on top or around the piece to give it a little bit more of the raw effect.

Step 12
At this point, you are pretty much done. I would expect at least 3-6 hours for a decent vector illustration, maybe more depending on how detailed you really want to get with it. Also don’t be afraid to rehash elements in it if it saves you time. Hair is a great thing, because if you do it right, you can pretty much rotate it and now you have a whole different piece to work with.

Who: Joshua M Smith is an extremely cool US designer specializing in vector- based illustration and design. He has created work for the likes of Evoke LA, Flicker Records, Boom Magazine, E360 Magazine, Comet Skateboards, and apparel for the likes of Ripcurl and Quiksilver. He has recently redesigned his Web site, which features a wide variety of his work.
Software: Adobe Illustrator
Time to complete: 3 hours

On the CD or download: All files for this tutorial can be downloaded here.