Creating Organic Vines and Scrolls in Illustrator (CS3) - Adobe illustrator

This is a discussion on Creating Organic Vines and Scrolls in Illustrator (CS3) - Adobe illustrator ; I hope I don't make a complete fool out of myself for asking this, but I'm new to illustrating with Illustrator (there's a tongue twister in there somewhere...) and I am thrilled to see some of the organic ornamentation being ...

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Creating Organic Vines and Scrolls in Illustrator (CS3)

  1. Default Creating Organic Vines and Scrolls in Illustrator (CS3)

    I hope I don't make a complete fool out of myself for asking this, but I'm new to illustrating with Illustrator (there's a tongue twister in there somewhere...) and I am thrilled to see some of the organic ornamentation being used in advertising. It's very Art Nouveau.

    Would anyone be able to point me towards any books or tutorials that explain how to do this in Illustrator? I'm not necessarily looking for training in the creation of laying down the design itself (though that would also be helpful!), but using Illustrator to create it. For example, by hand I can draw a curving line that ends in a slightly teardrop shaped "cap," but in Illustrator, how do I do that? Just draw the line, and create the teardrop separately, then put them together by "Join"? Zoom in 100s of %% and then draw down one side of the line, create a teardrop shape at the end, and then come back up the other side of the line (hopefully remaining perfectly parallel)? Or if I want the organic line to make a long taper to a point?

    I have similar questions about Celtic knotwork. I have some books that train someone to generate the knots, so I assume I can just do that in Illustrator, but how does one interweave the various threads over and under each other? I am beginning to suspect that for this, I just draw the line as one line, and then just go back and break up where they overlap? A bit manually intensive for carpet pages, but if that's the only way....

    I have a couple sites that show examples of the organic scrollwork I'm attempting to create:

    <http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-3431422-floral-design-elements.html>
    <http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-3438138-floral-background-vector-illustration.html>

    <http://www.soulcore.net/v/9/subpages/negativespace.htm>

    The first two show the organic vines. Please note that in the second image the lines have...???...bulges in them...and then taper back to end in a point (think snake with a "lump" in the middle).

    The third link shows a lovely Fraktur Capital, surrounded and embellished with lovely flowing scrollwork.

    I don't want to scan and trace, if I can avoid it (a false restriction?). I would like to do this from scratch--in Illustrator. I think Illustrator might help me finally achieve some of the stunning copperplate engravings I've always admired. I've tried Googling, but for the most part, what I find just doesn't seem to address this.

    I would be very grateful for any help any of you can provide, or any books you might be able to mention that I could buy.

    Thank you and best regards,

    Keith

  2. Default Re: Creating Organic Vines and Scrolls in Illustrator (CS3)

    There's a tutorial on Veerle's Blog about making curls:

    <http://veerle.duoh.com/blog/comments/swirly_curls_in_adobe_illustrator/>

    That's a good starting point, but it really takes mastering the pen tool and learning how to make your own curves.

  3. Default Re: Creating Organic Vines and Scrolls in Illustrator (CS3)

    There really is no substitute for learning to use the Pen tool. That's number one.

    But that said, there are some things you should explore in an experimental way which can help reduce the tedium of tracing around both sides of curly shapes that have changing widths--while also ending up with smoother curves.

    One is Art Brushes. Sometimes, the fact that an Art Brush can stretch and bend, for example, a whole rendering of a pencil into the shape of a pretzel causes users to overlook some of their more practical uses. The most useful Art Brushes to me are the ones made from very simple geometric primitives.

    Another is the often-overlooked Reshape tool.

    For example:

    1. Draw a tiny circle, black fill, no stroke. Drag that to the Brushes Palette and define an ArtBrush.

    2. Get the Spiral tool and draw a loose spiral with just one or two coils.

    3. Apply the Brush to the spiral path. Now you have a spiral which gets gradually thicker toward the middle of its length, and tapers thinner at both ends. To increase/decrease the amount of thickening, just change the spiral path's stroke weight.

    4. With the whole spiral still selected, get the Reshape tool. Just click the spiral's outer endpoint. A little square should appear around that point. Now drag that. You should see the opposite (inner) endpoint remain where it is, while all intermediate points move, but in decreasing amounts. The effect is like stretching a spring.

    5. Also play with the "perspective" trick of the Free Transform tool. Mousedown on one of the corners of the spiral path's bounding box. Press and hold Ctrl, Shift, and Alt. Then drag. This is tricky to get the hang of, but you should see the bounding box become distorted ito a "wedge" shape. But unlike just an ordinary Envelope, you should also see the points of the artwork shrink toward the side you are manipulating, in an "accellerating" fashion.

    6. Also consider the possibilities inherent in the ability to make sort of "compounded" Brushes. Grab the brushed spiral you already have to the Brushes palette to make another Art Brush. Then apply that Brush to the same spiral path you just used to define the second Brush. The swirly shapes that result would be rather tedious to trace around both sides of, by hand.

    Make yourself a collection of Art Brushes based on very simple paths. Draw a tiny square, rotate it 45, delete either the left or right point. That will give you a Brush that causes any path to taper from thick at one end to thin at the other.

    Make another tiny circle. Use the Convert tool to simply retract the handles of either the left or right point. DirectSelect the converted point and drag it some distance horizontally to make a teardrop kind of shape. An ArtBrush made from that will cause the path it is applied to to taper toward both ends, but the thickening bulge will be skewed toward one end.

    Make a football-shaped path from a circle by converting two opposite points to cornerpoints with retracted handles.

    Anyway, I could go on, but you get the idea. Don't go nuts with it--experiment to find easily repeatable and controlable methods for a few interesting shapes. Then combine the method with more direct point-by-point drawing with the Pen.

    JET

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