Converting jpeg to camera ready vector artwork

This is one of the techniques I use to make editorial illustrations. To clean up a logo or convert any jpg image to a sharp vector artwork, more or less the same technique is used.  or It needs drawing ability and full control over the path tools in Adobe Illustrator.

I read the article thoroughly and decided to illustrate on the following line.
“It’s fairly safe to say that if criminal is not holding up a large sign with their name and address facing the camera, we will never find them out”.

illustration draft

illustration snap shot in jpeg format

First thing came into my mind was a burglar breaking a safe. To make his ID prominent I decided to use top angle view so that criminal looks like he is showing his ID to the camera, which is normally installed at the top corner of ceiling.

I draw the pencil sketch on a paper, scan it at 72dpi, converted into gray scale to keep the file size minimum.

I opened a new document in Illustrator, placed [File-Place] the scanned sketch.

Then changed the layer style into template [Window-Layer-Template] Created one layer on the top of the template. so that when I draw and send my shapes back and forth, the shapes do not get hidden behind the template.
2. On the second layer I started tracing the illustration using Wacom tablet/stylus with the Path tool in Adobe Illustrator, I set the outline and fill color to none. You can change outline to black or any color and fill set to none to see the shapes better. It makes easy to see the template. Tracing requires lots of patience and command over the Path tool. You can also make stroke thickness to 0.3 and light gray color to make it visible.

jpeg file being converted in vector file

converting jpeg to vector format

3. After completing some portion of the image ( change the stroke color to none, if you’ve choose light gray),I filled his face with gradation. keeping the Transparency level 100%. Then for each shape I used the same gradation but went on changing Transparency level and Mode ( multiply, soft light, hard light ) according to light and dark area.

color pallet

Color and Transparency pallet.

4. For background I created another layer and moved it one layer down. It is a good idea to lock the layer you are not working on. Using the same technic I colored the background. The advantage of using the transparency level and Mode is all the colors appear from the same family.

Delete the template layer. Here is the final artwork.

Final Illustration.

completed vector artwork

Finished illustration, converted into vector line art.

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