Digitizing your Artwork in Illustrator – Part 3


In the previous two posts, I wrote about vectorizing the art and editing the paths.

In this post, I’ll wrap up the tutorial by completing the editing and adding some colour.

Most of the lettering is complete, but I still need to add some details. This is why I draw these elements on separate sheets.

I’ll place the sketch with the additional details on a new layer and position using the register marks on the corners. I’ll use the Image Trace function to vectorize the art.

Below, (left) I’ve zoomed in so you can see where things aren’t quite lined up. While the register marks help, I still need to do some small adjustments. I’ll grab those parts with the Selection Tool (Keyboard: V) and drag into position (centre). To “delete” those small details from the background, select both the foreground and background parts, and go to Window > Pathfinder and choose Minus Front (right).



As with the main lettering, I’ll delete any inner paths, and run the compound path function to make a hole. I covered all that in my previous post.

NOTE: Sometimes the compound path function can be stubborn. If it doesn’t appear to be working, select your art, and go to Window > Attributes. On the right side of the window you’ll see two square icons with circles inside. Try toggling between Use Non‑Zero Winding Fill Rule and Use Even‑Odd Fill Rule.



Now that all the paths for the lettering are complete, it’s time to bring in our robot friend. Below is my original sketch.



I imported the robot art onto a new layer. As I did with the lettering details above, I ran the image trace, cleaned up the paths and created the compound paths.

Below is my art after I’ve done most of the edits. I apply a different shade to each portion for some contrast. This will help when I line everything up.



Now I’ll position all the robot parts using the registration marks (below, left). They won’t be perfect. I just want to get them close enough so I can do some final tweaking. I’ll position the parts and bring some forward or backward as necessary (below, right). To do this, select the part, and go to Object > Arrange and select either Bring Forward (Mac: CMD-], PC: CTRL-]) or Send Backward (Mac: CMD-[ , PC: CTRL-[).



One thing I noticed was I forgot to include his body! I did a quick sketch and dropped that in. I also deleted the mouth and neck details from the background using the Minus Front pathfinder command.

Once I’m happy with robot guy, I’ll delete the registration marks, and drag him into position with the lettering.



However, he isn’t filling out that space quite the way I like. I’ll use the Free Transform Tool (Keyboard: E) and make him a bit taller. I’ll also use the free transform to tilt his head to the right.



Now that all my path edits are done, it’s time to start dropping in some colour. I want to have a limited palette. The art will have to be replicated at small sizes, so legibility is an issue. Below is the final art. I made one small edit—I wanted to fill that gap between the “A” and “Y” at top, so I added another screw head.