In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to give a photograph a hand drawn style in Adobe Illustrator. We are going to apply some filter effects and then perform a Live Trace on the photo to achieve a stylized hand drawn effect directly in Illustrator. Lets get started!
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Step 1: To begin, choose your photo. The image I am using is by dazzle-stock on DeviantArt and can be found at THIS LINK.
Step 2: The first thing I do prepare the image. First, load the image up and Photoshop and then Desaturate the image (Image > Adjustments > Desaturate). You can also bring up the Levels adjustment to get a little more contrast if needed.
Step 3: Next, I isolate the model. This process is up to your preference; I simply used the quick selection tool and deleted the background.
If you want your final design to have a dark border around the illustration, select the isolated subject, then go to Select > Modify > expand. Depending on the size of your image, enter the number of pixels you want the border to be. For my image, I used 2 pixels.
Step 4: With the selection still active, create a new layer above your main image and fill the selection with black (Edit > Fill). Merge the main image and outline layers. Save your image as a .PNG, OR just cut it in Photoshop and paste into illustrator.
Step 5: With your image loaded up in Illustrator, select it and go to Effect > Artistic > Paint Daubs. Change the Brush type to “Simple”. The brush size and sharpness will depend on your image. For my image, I needed to lower the brush size down to 7, which is where I start seeing the details in her face. The Sharpness, I set at 11. Hit OK. You can always go back and adjust this through the Appearance panel if needed.
Step 6: With the image still selected, go to Effect > Brush Strokes > Accented Edges. Lower the “Edge Width” to around 2, put the “Edge Brightness” all the way down between 2-5 and lower the “Smoothness” to around 4. Again, these settings will depend on your image. Click OK when you are happy with the results.
Step 7: With the image still selected, go to Live Trace > Tracing Options…
Step 8: First, under the Preset, select “Comic Art”. Make sure you have the Preview turned on.
Step 9: Under “Threshold” lower the number until you start to see more details. For my image, 72 Threshold is where her face clears up.
Step 10: Next, change the “mode” to Grayscale.
Step 11: Once you are happy with the results, click OK and then with your image selected, click on Exapand. What a mess! I know. Don’t worry, we are going to clean it up.
Step 12: First thing to do is ungroup everything (Ctrl + Shift + G). Now, we are going to separate out the different shades onto their own layers. Start with the darkest shade. Simply select one of the objects that is filled with the darkest shade, then go to Select > Same > Fill & Stroke. Hit Ctrl + X to cut, create a new layer, then hit Ctrl + F to paste in front on the new layer.
Side note: if you wanted to create just the outlines, you can just delete everything but this layer and call it a day! Continue through the following steps if you want to keep the shading.
Step 13: Lock the black outline layer. I also like to hide it so I can easily spot the next darkest shade. Do this for each shade of gray until everything is on its own layer. You should end up with 6 layers. 4 shades of gray, 1 black, 1 white.
Step 14: To help find the bits that need to be deleted, I create a new layer under all the other layers and place a colored background. This way, I can get rid of the white parts that don’t belong. Also, go around the edges of your art and clean up any gray bits that are outside of your outline.
Step 15: Now to clean up the layers. Start with the White layer. First thing I do is offset the path. Go to Object > Path > Offset Path. The offset amount will depend on the size of your image. I have set mine to .5, which is just enough to enlarge the shapes just a little bit. This will help get rid of some of the unwanted jagged lines.
Step 16: After you apply the offset, select everything on the layer and through the Pathfinder, click on Unite.
Step 17: Finally, go to Object > Path > Simplify. Put the Curve Precision to 98%. You can see the difference by turning the preview on. My white objects had 9,823 points, with the simplify, it lowers it to 3,687.
Step 18: With all of the white objects still selected, make a copy (Ctrl + C) and paste in front (Ctrl + F) on your lightest gray layer. Change the white objects to the same color gray and through the Pathfinder, click on Unite. Apply the same Offset and Simplify to this layer.
Step 19: With the gray1 layer still selected, make a copy of all the objects and again, paste them onto the next gray layer. We are going to do the same thing for each gray layer. You can see this makes our gray layers nested on top of each other rather than having a bunch of un-connected shapes.
Step 20: Once you are done with the gray layers, move the black layer to the top and apply the Unite and Simplify to it. If you feel like you want your black lines thicker, you can also offset the path for this layer as well.
Step 21: Now to adjust the shading. For a sepia tone effect, change the Gray layers color to #ECE6DD. For “Gray 4”lower the opacity to around 90%. For “Gray3” change the Transparency mode to Multiply at 45%. “Gray2” Multiply at 75%. “Gray 1” Multiply at 100%. Change the white layer to #ECE6DD and the black layer to #4C3F2F. Both the black and white layers will be 100% normal transparency. I also put the background color at #ECE6DD.
Step 22: To break up the background a bit, I made a copy of the black layer and removed the larger areas so that it is mostly just the lines. I changed the color to white and placed below all the drawing layers, but above the background. I then rotated the whole thing around a bit.
Step 23: To add some more texture, I applied one of our Light Grunge graphic styles on a new layer on top of all the others. I set the color of the texture to #542D20 and set it to Multiply at 60%. I also changed the outline “black” layer to the same #542D20 color.
Congratulations, you are done. Have fun and experiment with different photos.