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How to Vectorize - Illustrator Question

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Erica McPhee:
This is what I really need to learn. This is a rough of a concept I am working on. Normally, I wouldn't do a draft in pencil but would start a draft with a pointed pen and then do around 50 - 100 versions (no exaggeration) until I had it just the way I wanted. So here is a pencil sketch of what I would like to do. I am sure if I learn Illustrator I could do either a pencil sketch or the lettering and then fine tune it in Illustrator and save myself some time. For sure, there are times when I want to do all those iterations (for practice or because I like the organic design that develops). But other times I just want to get it done!

Alan, any tips or suggestions would be most welcome!  :D

I know there are others who want to learn Illustrator. What would you hope to learn in the perfect "Illustrator for Calligraphers" class?

FrenchBlue Joy:
Oh yes, what Erica is describing above is *exactly* what I would love to learn to do with Illustrator.  To go from pencil sketch to finished logotype...  It would be amazing to have that knowledge.

I AM going to take the Illustrator plunge this year! 

Linda Y.:
I read this on IG recently & there seems to be 2 different camps when it comes to vectorizing in Illustrator. One camp suggests using the Width Tool along with the pen tool to create the hairlines and the swells. Another camp suggests only using the Pen Tool and literally drawing out the shapes of the letters with it (using Pen & Bezier). Both make really valid points.

I have an older version of Illustrator, so I have not had the experience of using the Width Tool (Illustrator CS 5 and up). When I vectorize, I am of the latter camp that draws out the shape of the letters. I'd love to hear from those who have had experience using the Width Tool and how it compares with just using the Pen & Bezier.

I'd think for something like what you posted, Erica, that using the pen and width tools would make the most sense. If you were doing something thicker like Fraktur, I'd use Live Trace and then just clean up the extra anchor points.

You can easily click and trace your letters almost as fast as writing it with the pointed pen, then micromanage all the swells and hairlines.

I used just a corner of your image, Erica to show how you can draw the path once (easy!) and then can adjust the widths (or curves) of everything endlessly. (Pardon the sloppines!)


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