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Abstract art is so diverse that it seems almost impossible to define and describe – which is why it brings so much freedom and happiness!

Everything is extremely individual in abstract art, from the methods and shapes to art forms. However, there are two main abstract movements that we can distinguish. 

In one, the artworks are based on the lines, colours, shapes or light, without being tied to or inspired by any specific, real object. The key thing here is the content, the message of the entire piece. It can be hard to find, but sometimes, with the help of a caption, one can better understand the meaning and even find it in the painting.

The other abstract art movement is based on reality, but it doesn’t depict it realistically – instead, the artist presents the viewer with a very simplified version, hinting at the object with representations of some of its features rather than depicting it.

Therefore it is obvious that each abstract artwork is met with a variety of opinions, often as different as can be. An original approach, balance, but also disparateness, simplicity or complicatedness – all those things can be and are valued in abstract art. The saying that the sky’s the limit is especially true here.

However, you still need an idea, a message, to create a captivating abstract artwork, since the message is essentially the most important part of abstract art! Your job is to create and explore new, hidden horizons and present them to the viewer.

Now, since great ideas and creativity are skills that you can practice and even colour splashes can be done professionally, you can learn abstract art with us too! Come to Draw Planet to enjoy beautiful, vibrant colours and creative freedom as you learn from the best of the best!

  

Ilustrator

In this article, you will find useful advice for making your logos. We’ll discuss the basic tools and how to use them first and then move on to making a retro café logo, step by step!

Lesson details: 

Software: Adobe Illustrator

Difficulty: intermediate

Time: 1 hour

Final result:

Discussion with the client, brainstorming

The first thing you must do before you start making anything is to talk with your client to get as much information from them as you can. The more you know about their company or product, the easier it will be to come up with a good logo.

The internet is full of articles with lists of must-ask questions that will help you learn as much as you can about your client’s business, so we won’t delve into that. The key thing to keep in mind is that you are working for the client and their brand, which means you must respect their wishes and preferences if they are adamant about them. It was the client who came to you, after all, which means they respect you and your skills, and it’s up to you to prove they made the right choice by trusting you. 

As far as initial sketches go, it is key to offer several options to the client. How many exactly will often depend on the client’s brief, but most professional designers provide around 10 initial sketches to choose from. Next, you need the client to select two or three they like best. Make sure to ask the client why they chose them and take notes to have the client’s favourite features on paper. Discussion and dialogue are key at this point, as you will usually need to make two or three more detailed versions of every sketch.

At this stage, the client is always right. You, as a designer, may think that version X is better than version Y, but you must put your own emotions aside and act like a professional. Listen to the client, to their ideas and wishes, and try to gently put their not-so-great ideas on a better track. Avoid reacting too quickly or too harshly, as you’ll only damage your own name.

Making sketches

In this tutorial, we will be making a logo for the Vector Coffee brand. After some research, we learned that the company prefers a clean, vibrant design with a modern or retro twist.

The company’s fonts, colours, and any shapes that are or might become a part of the brand’s identity are important here, and you must clear this up with the client before you get down to sketching. The final logo must also be usable both online and in print, so keep in mind that while some effects or colour transitions might look good on the screen, they can lose quality or be too expensive in a printed version. Keep your colour scheme on the minimal side and image the logo on different backgrounds. Readability is another key feature, and the dangers are the same – a text that is perfectly readable on screen can lose readability when printed on an envelope, for instance. Make sure that your logo retains its quality at smaller sizes as well. If it doesn’t, you need to reconsider your design.

For this logo, the key idea was to combine the words “vector” and “coffee”. We explored various combinations of coffee beans and drops with general vector graphics concepts like the Pen Tool and reference points, finally arriving at a classic round shape with a wavy edge and text inside. After discussing the idea with the client, we added a symbol representing coffee to our list of elements as well, choosing a drop of coffee that also resembles a pen that, in turn, represents the Pen Tool in almost all vector graphic editors. For the colour scheme, we chose black to represent the hot aspect of coffee, golden yellow to bring feelings of warmth and joy into the design, and a rich brown colour representing freshly brewed coffee.

1. Create a new document

Now that we have our sketch, it’s time to move on to the next part of the process – the vector image. Avoid working with raster versions to prevent any doubt about your professionalism in your client.

Start Illustrator and create a new document with the necessary settings.

2. Create a wavy shape

Step 1

We have our digital canvas, so let’s get to work.  We’re not going to import the sketch here since we only did a very rough version, but you can import yours if you want to. 

Select the Star tool (it’s right under the Rectangle Tool) from the tool panel. Activate the tool by clicking on its icon, then left click your canvas. A Star options window will pop up asking you to choose the number of peak points in your star. Enter the values you see in the screenshot. When you have your “star”, click on Window-Transformation and set the size to 448×448 pixels. Next, turn the star 90 degrees counterclockwise to keep the top point of the star where it needs to be.

Step 2

Select your star shape by clicking on it and go to Align (Window – Align) and select Align to Artboard, then Vertical Align Centre and Horizontal Align Centre.

Step 3

Once your star shape is centred on the canvas, go to Appearance (Window – Appearance) and choose the brown colour (which was specified in the brief provided by the client). Next, click on the Effects button in the lower part of the Appearance panel, choose Stylize – Round Corners and enter the values shown in the screenshot.

Step 4

Select the Ellipse Tool and click anywhere in your canvas, then make a circle 406 x 406 pixels big and centre it like you see in the screenshot.

Step 5

Click on the Selection Tool, hold the Shift button and select both the circle and the star shape. Next, go to the Pathfinder panel (Window – Pathfinder) and select the second icon on the left called Minus Front to finish your star shape. 

3. Outer and inner rings
Step 1

Use the Ellipse tool to create a 400×400 pixel ring and centre it on your work.

Step 2

Go to Appearance (Window – Appearance), remove the fill and add a yellow stroke 5 pixels wide (we are basing the strip’s properties on the information we have on the brand).

Step 3

Go to Object – Expand Appearance. This command will prevent the rows from changing their size value when the logo goes into print and its size is changed. Now, your logo will always look the way you intended.

Step 4

Make another circle close to the centre, to balance the text that will be added later. Select the Ellipse tool (shortcut: L) and make a 190 x 190 pixel circle, placing it at the centre.

Step 5

Go to the Appearance panel, remove the fill and add a 6-pixel stroke in a nice, vibrant red.

Step 6

Finally, use Object – Expand Appearance again.

4. The coffee drop
Step 1

Go to Window – Layers and turn off layer visibility by clicking on the eye icon next to the layer name. By default, it should be “Layer 1”. Then, create a new layer – you should have two of them now, with the newest being on top and visible.

Step 2

Select the Ellipse tool (L) and make a 300 x 300 px circle, then make sure to centre it on your canvas.

Step 3

Using the Ellipse tool, create another circle, 70 x 70 px, and centre it too. Make it a different colour so you can work more comfortably.

Step 4

Right click the smaller circle and select Transform – Move (shortcut: Shift-Cmd-M) and enter the parameters shown in the screenshot.

Step 5

Choose the Selection Tool, hold Shift and select both circles at the same time. Next, go to Object – Blend – Blend Options, make sure that the “Smooth Colour” option is on and click OK. Finally, create the blend by navigating to Object – Blend – Make (or press Alt+B).

Step 6

Navigate to Object – Expand Appearance. This will create many layered, overlapping circles.

Step 7

Go to Pathfinder (Window – Pathfinder) and select the first icon on the left (Unite) to unite the shapes.

Step 8

At this stage, there are many anchor points that need to be removed. To accomplish that, zoom in, click on the Direct Selection tool (or press A) and drag the selection to the unwanted anchor points. Keep in mind that the top and bottom anchor points must remain intact though! Once you have selected all the anchor points you want to remove, press Backspace to remove them. Finally, go to Path – Join (Cmd-J) to close the open paths. This step must be done twice.

Step 9

Now let’s give some love to the drop shape. Use the Ellipse tool (L) to make a 60 x 60 px circle of any colour that is clearly visible against the drop.

Step 10

Select the Rectangle Tool and create a long thin rectangle 10 px wide going out through the top of the drop.

Step 11

Navigate to Selection tool (V), press Shift and select both the circle and the rectangle. Next, go to the Pathfinder panel (Window – Pathfinder) and select the first icon on the left (Unite) to unite the shapes.

Step 12

Hold Shift and select the drop and the circle with the rectangle, then head to the Pathfinder panel (Window – Pathfinder) and click on the second icon on the left (Minus Front).

Step 13

Navigate to Transform (Window – Transform) and click on the chain icon to the right of the height and width window to limit height and width changes. Enter 90 px in the Width window and centre your object to the centre of the canvas.

Step 14

Select the Ellipse tool (L) and make a 182 x 182 px circle, as shown in the screenshot. Now select, right click and go to Arrange – Send to Back (Shift + Option (Alt) + [). Next, switch to the Selection tool (V), hold Shift and select the two shapes. Go to Pathfinder (Window – Pathfinder) and select the second icon on the left (Minus Front) to change the colour to brown.

5. The red part
Step 1

Go back to Layer 1 and choose the Ellipse tool (L) to make a 460 x 460 px circle, fill it with red, and centre.

Step 2

Switch to the rectangle tool (L) and make a long rectangle, 125 px tall and wide enough to overlay the circle.

Step 3

Now hold Shift to select both the circle and the rectangle. Go to Pathfinder (Window – Pathfinder) and select the third icon from the left called Intersect.

Step 4

Next, go to Appearance (Window – Appearance) and select Effects in the lower part of the panel, then go to Stylize – Round Corners and enter the values shown in the screenshot. Now go to Effects and select Warp – Bulge and enter the parameters shown in the screenshot. Finally, navigate to Object – Expand Appearance.

Step 5

Select the Ellipse tool (L) and make a 195 x 195 px circle.

Step 6

Switch to the Selection tool (V), hold the Shift button and select the circle and the warped rectangle. Navigate to Pathfinder (Window – Pathfinder) and select the second icon from the left – Minus Front.

Step 7

Select the Magic Wand Tool and click the red shape. Go to Pathfinder (Window – Pathfinder) and click on the first icon on the left called Unite.

6. Adding text
Step 1

Select the Ellipse tool (L) and make a 295 x 295 px circle, then remove the fill and stroke.

Step 2

With the new circle selected, go to Type Tool (T), hold the Alt key and select the highest anchor point, then change the font colour to the same brown and write VECTOR using the font chosen by the client. In this case, we are using the Lubalin Graph font. Go to Paragraph (Window – Type – Paragraph) to make sure your text is centred.

Step 3

Click the Type Tool and adjust the alignment as shown in the screenshot, then switch to the Selection tool (V), grab the corner of the frame and rotate the text to centre it.

Step 4

Using the Selection tool (V), copy the path (Ctrl+C) and bring it to the foreground (Ctrl+F). Navigate to the Type Tool again and change the text to COFFEE, then flip the text to have it mirrored. Click the Type Tool and select the Flip option, then click OK.

Step 5

Now let’s adjust letter spacing. Select the two Fs and set the alignment value to 90, then do the same between F and E and the two Es.

Step 6

Use the Selection tool (V) to select all text and go to Object – Expand.

Step 7

Now let’s add more elements. Use the Type Tool (T) to write TUTS and adjust the text size accordingly.

Step 8

Make the text bigger and use the Rectangle Tool (L) to draw rectangles above and below the text, making them as wide as the text and 3 px tall and placing them 4 px from the text.

Step 9

Use the Selection tool to select both rectangles and the text, hold the Option (Alt) key, then click and drag the selection in any direction to duplicate it. Next, align the text and adjust the rectangle width to match the width of the text if needed.

Step 10

Select the text and go to Object – Expand, then press Cmd+G (Ctrl+G) to group the text with the rectangles, but do not merge them! You should have two groups – TUTS and PLUS – when you’re done.

Step 11

Select the TUTS group, place it at the centre of your canvas and select Transform – Move (Shift+Cmd+M, Shift+Ctrl+M) and enter the parameters shown in the screenshot.

Step 12

Now select the PLUS group, place it at the centre as well, then right click it and select Transform – Move and use the parameters shown in the screenshot.

Step 13

Use the Selection tool (V) to select both pieces of text and the red shape, then go to Pathfinder (Window – Pathfinder) and select the second icon called Minus Front.

That’s it, the logo is now finished! Keep in mind that some of the elements created with the Pathfinder tool have no background, so the logo can be placed against any background – it’s entirely up to the client. Save the logo as a lower-quality file to present it to the client. After the logo is approved, you can provide the client with the AI file, or prepare a PNG or a JPEG for them. 

Sign up for our Adobe Illustrator course and learn to make much more than just logos!

 

How to copy a reference image

19. February 2022

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There are several methods  you can use to copy a reference image. In this article, we’ll focus on the grid method – a method that allows you to copy the reference exactly as it is or on a different scale. Although the grid method is slower than using a projector or tracing paper and can become extremely time consuming, depending on the image size and level of detail, its main perk is the fact that it will help you greatly improve your drawing and observation skills.

Simply put, this method involves drawing a grid on your reference picture and then drawing the grid on your working surface (paper, canvas, wall…), keeping the same grid ratio. Then you start copying your image square by square, until you have copied the entire thing. Once you are done copying, simply erase or paint over the grid and continue working on your perfectly scaled drawing or painting.

The most important thing is to always keep the 1:1 ratio for both grids – if you don’t, the proportions of the copied picture won’t match the reference. The 1:1 ratio means that you need to have the same number of rows and columns on both grids, resulting in perfect squares. Still not clear on how that works? Let’s take a look at the grid method using a practical example.

Let’s say our reference grid is 5×7 squares. If you want your picture to be the same size, then drawing your grid is easy. But if you want to make your drawing bigger, you can use a 10×14, 15×21 or 20×28 grid. Where did these numbers come from? They are the same ratio as the 5×7 reference grid.

 

See? No complicated math required.

This is also why you need to consider what paper, canvas, or board sizes are available in standard art supply shops. You can use any size you want if you make your own canvases, but if you buy ready-made ones like most people, then you will have to work with whatever sizes are available to purchase.

Back to the grid method now. Let’s say you want to use a 10×14 size for your work.

Every square is 2.5 cm2. To draw your grid, place a ruler on the upper edge of the picture and make a small mark every 2.5 cm. Do the same on the bottom, left, and right edges, then connect the marks to make a grid. Use the same method to draw the grid on your paper, canvas, or whatever surface you are using.

Great, now your grid perfectly matches the grid on your reference picture! Good job!

To make your drawing bigger, you will need to do some math too.

The proportions of the enlarged image must match the original proportions exactly. If you are not sure whether your math was correct, count the number of squares in every row and every column and check the following:

Does the number of rows and columns in my grid match the reference grid?

Are my squares perfect squares, like they are in the reference grid?

If you said yes both times, then your grid is correct!

A good idea to keep yourself from getting lost in your work, especially if your canvas is big and there are many squares in your grid, is to mark your grid with letters and numbers, as if you were preparing a grid to play battleships. Keep the numbers and letters small and don’t apply too much pressure to make sure you can erase them later. This is what a numbered grid looks like:

And here is the same numbered grid applied to the reference picture.

Now that you have your grid, you need to copy what you see in the reference picture, square after square. Personally, I prefer to start in the upper left corner when I use the grid method, working my way down and across. Now, since the A1 square of our reference picture is empty, let’s move on to A2 to copy its content exactly as you see it:

As you can see, the grid breaks the reference image down to smaller elements, making it easier to understand what goes where. Here you can see that on the reference picture, the left side of the small bowl goes right through the lower left corner of A2 square, so you draw a line from the corner to the middle of the lower end of the B1 square.

Well that was easy. Let’s keep moving on, shall we?

As you can see, you only need to pay attention to one square at a time, without worrying about the other squares – their time will come. Try copying the contents of each square as exactly as you can to the corresponding square on your canvas, paying attention to placing every line correctly, like this:

Continue working in the same way, moving on to other squares:

That’s it! Surely you must have a perfect understanding of the grid method now. Keep working each square one by one until you have completed all of them, thus copying the entire reference image to your canvas or paper. By focusing your attention on individual squares, you will only draw what you really see, not what you think you see or even what you think you should see. When you are done, you should have a rather exact copy of your reference image, ready for next steps that you have planned.

Gently erase the grid when you are done copying. Great job – you are ready to continue working on your art piece!

Want to practice with us? Simply sign up for one of our courses – we promise you will learn a lot and have fun, even as a complete beginner!

 

Draw a tulip in 8 simple steps

19. February 2022

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Do you like flowers? Would you like to enjoy them even in the seasons when finding real tulips isn’t exactly easy? Well, why don’t you go ahead and draw one instead? You can put it in a frame and enjoy its beauty until the real thing becomes available again! And if you’re intimidated, don’t fret – we’re here to help!
So, what are the basic principles of drawing flowers?


Drawing flowers might seem daunting – maybe you already tried and felt like something was missing from your artwork. If only you could pin-point what it was…See, details are very important when it comes to flowers. You won’t just get away with a stem and the flower – you need to focus on small details; the lack of them might be the cause of your previous attempts not turning out the way you expected. Beginner artists also tend to lack the patience and the experience – something you can gain only with regular drawing and painting practice.
Still, anyone can draw a tulip, even a child! Plus, it’s a great way to practice your patience. So, how does one draw a beautiful tulip? By following these eight steps!
1. Draw an oval in the middle of your paper – this is a base of your tulip’s bud. Next, draw a line passing through the middle of the oval and going down, curving slightly to the left. This is your stem.
2. Draw petals inside the oval, with the largest petal taking up the foreground in the middle and the smaller petals around it. Give a slight curve to some of the smaller petals on the sides.


3. Draw a stem coming out of the bud’s bottom part, adding leaves around the stem. Make them long, wide at the bottom and narrowing toward the top. Don’t try to make them identical – they aren’t identical in reality either, so why should you?

4. Outline the flower with a black pen – this will allow you to hide the lines that are not meant to be seen but were necessary for the drawing’s construction.
5. Make the petal edges yellow, adding a bit of orange as well. Try to make smooth transitions, just like on a real flower, making your strokes go inward, from the flower’s edge to the centre.
6. Colour the centre of the petals in red, creating a smooth colour. Keep your strokes going from the outer edge toward the centre to create the right texture. Try using a wine-coloured pencil to add shadows to the petals to make them more realistic.


7. Now grab some greens for the stem and the leaves. Use light green on the leaves’ edges, moving towards darker shades of green as you get closer to the centre.
8. Final tip: use a black pencil to accentuate important outlines, perhaps even using a black marker on some of the petals.


Voila, you just drew a tulip! Isn’t it beautiful? Was this experience inspiring enough to make you want to learn more, perhaps how to draw other flowers, animals, portraits or still life pictures? Sign up for our coloured pencil drawing course for beginners and learn everything you need from the best! We promise you will have fun and create amazing artworks that will make you proud.

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Before we begin, let’s get some anatomical terms sorted out to make sure the instructions are not confusing.

1 – Eyebrows, 2 – eyelid crease, 3 – upper eyelid, 4 – lacrimal caruncle, 5 – sclera, 6 – reflection, 7 – eyelashes, 8 – pupil, 9 – iris, 10 – lower eyelid. 

 

Now look at the eye drawings below, paying attention to different viewing angles. Notice how different people have very different eye shapes, eyelid sizes, and eyelashes.

Now, let’s get started! Draw two circles, one inside the other – the eyeball and the iris.

Next, add lines representing the edges of the upper and lower eyelid, then continue by adding a pupil and the edge of the face.

Use an eraser to remove the lines above and below the eye, then create the basic eyebrow shape using a few short strokes.

Next, add another line close to the upper edge of the lower eyelid – this will be the lower edge of the lower eyelid. Add an elongated drop shape below the eye, to the right, then place an oval above the eye, still to the right, and finally, add the lacrimal caruncle. Add a light reflection into the pupil as well.

Now move on to hatching. In our model picture, the hatching shows where the darkest areas are. Pay attention to the direction of the hatching lines – they must follow the facial shapes! Use HB and 2B pencils to hatch the darkest spots, paying attention to areas with no hatching at all – these are the lightest spots in the drawing. Let’s say we’re drawing brown eyes – that means that the iris will be dark too. Use a midtone for light brown, blue, or green eyes and make sure to keep the iris very light and contrasting for light blue, light green, or grey eyes.

Now use 2H and HB pencils for cross hatching, adding volume by creating a wide range of tones, from very light to very dark, almost black. Darken the iris.

Use HB and 2B pencils to add midtones, taking time to carefully study all shadows and half-shadows. Pay extra attention to areas that have to remain light. Contrast between light and dark tones is important in drawing, adding realism and volume to your work.

Use a 2B pencil to add a shadow to the inner and outer eye corner, then use sharp 2B and HB pencils to draw an eyebrow. Next, grab a 4B and 6B pencil to shade the iris, making sure to keep some light reflections in the eye. 

If you wish, darken the areas above the eye by adding more lines to the existing hatching. Darken the eye corner and continue to work on the shading. Use an HB pencil to draw eyelashes and keep in mind that they grow from the outer edges of the eyelids. Finally, add some thin, crooked lines to represent the veins. 

Wow, this was quite a detailed tutorial, don’t you think? Still, the best way to master drawing skills is by learning from an expert 😊 Come join us at Draw Planet and sign up for our drawing course for beginners! Or perhaps we’ll see you at our portrait drawing course? Choose the one that calls to you and come learn with us!

 

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