Create a Steam Punk Inspired Portrait in Illustrator

In today’s tutorial I’m going to show you how I’ve created this Steam Punk inspired portrait of a friend using Illustrator CS6. I’m going to show you the whole process from sketching with the Blob Brush Tool, to drawing the many shapes and then the coloring.

You’re learn how to follow a professional vector illustration workflow to create this stylized, aged work. So let’s jump straight in and have some scalable fun! View Now

Tutorial Details
  • Applications Used: Adobe Illustrator CS6
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Estimated Completion Time: 6h +

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Final Product What You’ll Be Creating

Step 1

My steam punk portrait is going to be based on a photograph of a friend of mine. I’ve simply made it grayscale in Photoshop and then File > Placed it in a New document in Adobe Illustrator, then set up the layers as shown below.

Within the “BG” layer folder is a white fill Rectangle (M) with a 50% Opacity. It’s worth noting that I’ve View > Hide Artboards. When it comes to the sketching, I don’t want to feel restricted by any predetermined boundaries.

Step 2

I’m going to use the Blob Brush Tool (Shift + B) to sketch out my illustration before I draw over it with the Pen Tool (P). However, first I’m going to Double-click on the Blob Brush Tool in the Toolbar to access the tool’s options. I’m going to reduce the size to 3pt, set it to be influenced by Pressure from my graphics tablet, and then set the variation to 3pt. Finally, click on Ok.

Now I just sketch different ideas over the portrait. I know I wanted to include dreadlocks and goggles, but I wasn’t sure of the rest.

Step 3

So I’ve organized my layers to have the sketch underneath the white fill Rectangle (M). I locked all my shapes and my sketch concept, which I decided to use for the illustration. Time to get started on the line art.

Step 4

For the line art, unless otherwise stated, I’m going to be using the Pen Tool (P) with an off black shade stroke. The color is irrelevant right now, as it will change at a later stage. I’m starting with some very basic shapes for the face, the headscarf, the neck, the necktie and the sweater. Use Smart Guides (Command + U) to ensure your lines intersect and are flush to each other.

…and that’s the end of the preview!

View The Tutorials

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