I'm trying to recreate a certain image with the pen tool.
I have already tried using Live Trace using the "Simple Trace" setting. Live Trace did a pretty good job but not with enough accuracy or fidelity to the original image as I would like.
I am pretty rusty with Illustrator now, but I remember from past lessons that the basic idea is that artwork in Illustrator is divided into layers, objects, and elements within objects. But one of the biggest principles with Ilustrator is the order these layers, objects, and elements are stacked. Elements are stacked to create an object. Objects are often stacked, each object on its own layer, to create the entire piece of artwork.
Also, the lower an element, object, or layer is in a stacking order, the further towards the back it appears in the image.
Also, the higher an element, object, or layer is in a stacking order, the closer to the front it appears in the image.
So, in Illustrator, you don't so much draw or paint a piece of artwork, but, instead, creating artwork in Illustrator is more a matter of building it or constructing it.
So, with all that said, below I have an object I would like to create with the pen tool. It is a fleuron. It is at least fairly complex.I am not sure how to build it or construct its parts. What would come first, second, third? What would be on the bottom layer, middle layer, top layer, etc.?
I know there is no one way to reproduce this object with the pen tool. Whatever way you would use or would like to share is fine. I guess, more specifically, I'm not afraid of rigor and working hard, but I'm also not necessarily looking for rigor. Instead, what I am looking to do is work smartly and efficiently. I'm looking for what might commonly be considered "best practice."
So, how would you advise I approach the object below? How should I build or construct it?
Thanks! : )
As for the simple graphic itself, this is what I would end up with:
One Group containing:
The reason I would compound the red paths and the white paths is simply so I could apply to them different fills with one move, should I want to.
The reason the two Compund Paths would be grouped is simply so the whole graphic can, when finished, be moved, rotated, scaled, flipped, skewed (i.e.; transformed) as if it were a single object. (Which it would be; a Group is a logical object, just as a "set" is a logical object.)
As for how I would actaully draw the graphic:
First I would roughly evaluate it to get an idea of what I want to end up with in terms of clean, tidy, paths (as already describe above.)
Second, I mentally devise a "plan of attack" by which to achieve that; just studying the shapes a little more deeply for anything that can be exploited to minimize the work:
Third, I always try to also consider whether the process of drawing the current graphic and/or portions of it might be of future use to me, and if so, can I exploit other software features to save me time and effort later. For example, consider a single one of the ess-shaped "coils" of the middle tapered "spiral" grouped together with its white highlight. Such a graphic, colored in black and white and stored as an ArtBrush with its Colorization set to Hues & Tints would let me stretch and scale that basic shape along other-shaped paths. Similarly stored as a PatternBrush, it might do multi-duty for many things suggestive of coils, like rope or jewelry chains.
Then I just start drawing the necessary paths, using my default Graphic Style (.25 black stroke, no fill). As I proceed, I store (as Brushes, Symbols, etc.) any intermediate things that I think I might find useful later. For the graphic at hand, I then optimize the paths I've drawn by combining them (cutting, joining, path operations) into the fewest, cleanest, and simplest paths necessary to define the shapes. I then store the finished graphic as a Symbol, Brush, etc. if I think it might be of use later.
Regarding Layers, Groups, etc., etc:
It sounds like you (like many beginning AI users) are way over-thinking the matter of stacking order. Yes, it's good to use some sensible amount of organization as your illustrations and designs become more elaborate, but you don't have to fret so much over it. The principles are very very simply.
Layer really don't even enter into my mind when creating such a graphic, because the paths of which it consists are all going to be grouped, and all the contents of a Group have to exist on the same Layer anyway. Multiple Layers would only come into play when this whole graphic is used as one element in the overall page layout. For example, suppose several instances of this object will exist on a page layout to serve as dividers between ads or stories arranged in columns in a page layout. I may choose--if it makes organizational sense to me--to put all the copies of this object on a Layer dedicated to them. The Layer on which they reside may or may not include other graphics; it's just a question of what makes organizational sense and editing convenience to me while I'm working the file. For example, having the copies of this graphic on a separate Layer would allow me to lock that Layer to avoid accidently selecting the graphics when I'm editing text objects that I've organized on another Layer.
Don't think of Layers as some oppressive "right or wrong" thing that you have to decide upon at the start of every little thing you draw. It's nothing but an organizational convenience that is driven almost entirely by common sense. The mechanics of it are really very very simple in principle.
Look: Everything you create or import in an Illustrator document is an object. Just like sheets of paper in a tablet, each of those objects (each path, text object, raster image) is going to reside somewhere in the z-order (think front to back) of the document's object stack. You can't do anything to prevent that. It's the way the program works. The file is basically just a list of things that the output device has to draw. Being a list, it has a first object, a second object, and so on. Objects higher in that list are nearer the "front"; objects lower are nearer the "back." Normally, objects in front obscure objects behind them, wherever they "overlap."
Now, considering that what you have is just a list of objects, as that list grows and grows, doesn't it eventually just make sense to be able to "bracket" or "label" contiguous portions (contiguous is key here) of that list for organizational and manipulative purposes? That's all Groups and Layers are; brackets around sections of the list.
Consider that an Illustrator file (like most computer files you create) is really just a text file. So suppose you have written a technical manual in a word processing program. Would you write that manual as one big, honkin' text string, or would you "bunch together" contiguous portions of the story under some labeling scheme of subheads? After that, wouldn't you similarly "bunch together" contiguous subhead sections as chapters?
So you can think of Groups as "subheads," and Layers as "chapters" in your Illustrator document's list of objects.
Sure; if you're working on a page layout document, sometimes it makes sense to go ahead and set up some of this structure at the start (just as when writing a book, it makes sense to start with an outline). So you might go ahead and define a Layer for printer marks, another for the diecut, another for text, another for images, another for background fills.
The very next designer might decide to structure the very same project a little differently. He might, for example, decide there's no reason not to keep the text objects on the same layer with the raster images. There's no hard & fast right & wrong her. You do what makes sense for the project at hand.
Now in this context, back to your simple graphic: I don't need a PrinterMarks Layer, a DieCut Layer, or a TextObjects Layer to draw this graphic. I just need the default Layer 1. For convenience, I may want to add a TraceThisStuff Layer onto which I put the original raster image, just so I can conveniently isolate it (lock it, dim it, etc.) while drawing the paths on Layer 1. On the other hand, I can really just as easily leave the raster image that I want to trace on Layer 1 and reduce its opacity and lock/unlock it at the object level. It's up to me.
But for that matter, revisit my "third level" of evaluation described above. In reality, I would very likely not even start drawing this graphic in the document for which it is intended. I would just as likely open an existing JET_Dingbats.ai or a JET_Ornaments.ai or CustomerName_StyleGraphics.ai file or template, draw the graphic there and when done, just copy it and paste it into the current document file. That's how you, over time, build yourself a reasonably organized "personal library" of re-usable resources that save you countless hours of repetitive work in the future.
I did not read all of the previous post bu the braided center section is one shape repeated and the ends are then distorted.
So you only actually draw half of the shape flop it vertically join those two shapes and the either blend or doa transform to get the steps then expand and manually distort the ends.
as far as the two end sections you do that with the widh tool outline the stroke and and easily figure out ohow to divide it.
Shouldn't take long