Previous Tip  |  Next Tip  |  Design Tips   | [Bill's Home]

35. Tracing designs

As a child we were introduced to the joys of tracing drawings. In the digital world we can do the same, but the one thing that you should avoid is allowing a drawing package to trace an image for you. In most cases it will either over elaborate the image or under elaborate it. For example here's a quick sketch that I did on the way over to Lund, Sweden (after spending many long hours in airport waiting areas):

The network link graphic looks promising, so let's create a new layer on top of the original sketch, and draw lines on top of it, such as:


The colour, style and thickness of the lines does not really matter at this stage. First we can try out a few ideas, to see the colours, and style that works best:

1. 150-pixel width with linear effect for fill colour
2. 150-pixel width with ripple effect for fill colour
3. 150-pixel width with satin effect for fill colour
4. 150-pixel width with yellow fill-ins

So which one works best? I think No. 4 is the best, followed by No.2, then No. 3, and finally my least favouriate is No. 1. The contrast of the yellow against the black works well. So let's now go back to our design, and use yellow as the in-fill, and a darker yellow for the hair.

I've added a textured brush stroke to accenuate the shadows around the figure. This gives it a 3D feel, and lifts it off the page. Also, the background has been given an Alpha setting of around 50%.

Next we can add some text, with a drop shadow:

I really like the font used here. If you're interested it is Kristen ITC. It has a child-like look and, modern and crisp. Next we can add the text in the background:

and then the cloud is added to the background:

Of course it is important to see if the background actually helps the look of the graphic, so let's take the background away:

I hope you agree the previous version is the best, and more interesting. Finally we can give the image a little blur, and smooth the rough edges:

We could also just use the image of the person: