Adobe Illustrator and I are not the best of friends. I’ve tried nurturing our turbulent relationship over the past year and a half, but I just don’t think Illustrator is that into me—or is it the other way around? (I think this may be one of the only truths we can agree on.) My lofty goal from 2016–2017 was to create a vector illustration each week, for a project called Illustrator 52. As with most projects, I bolted out of the gate with excitement and trepidation. I managed to keep consistent with the challenge for the first few weeks. But then I got bored and frustrated. Coming up with new designs was time consuming. And because it was a personal (aka not gonna get any money for this) project—even though I was cultivating useful design skills—it still felt like a giant waste of time. Especially considering that I wasn’t preparing to become a vector illustrator or fancy graphic designer. (I love InDesign. We understand each other. Our relationship is one of mutual trust and respect.)
However disappointing it was to abandon the Illustrator 52 project at not even the halfway point, I did manage to create worthy pieces that I would not be ashamed to share with the public. It also taught me the value of knowing myself and being honest about my capabilities as a vector illustrator. I am not meant to wield the mighty tablet pen and create gorgeous vector renditions that rival the best of photographs. It’s not a skill set that I need. Better to focus my efforts on what I’m best at—document design.
Here are a selection of my best and favourite vector illustrations.
This Designer Spotlight belongs to a super cool cat named Sarah Alonso, another fellow SAIT classmate with a distinct artistic style and a keen eye for design who also happens to be a great listener.
I originally created this banner for the church I attend, to be used on Mother’s Day as their main welcome media. They didn’t end up using it, but I love how the design turned out.
A composite mash-up created in Adobe Illustrator using the outline of a majestic stag and various stock photos from unsplash.com. The intent was to play with textures and layering, and take advantage of the clipping mask option in Illustrator to create a whimsical composition.
I recently had the privilege of creating a low poly rendering of a corgi for fellow designer Ricky Luu, to be put on a t-shirt as a gift for his friend (so this project is essentially for a friend of a friend).
My next Designer Spotlight features another uber-talented local designer, Melanie Luther, a fellow SAIT classmate, freelance illustrator, and all-around awesome human (because dog lovers automatically gain mega points in awesomeness).
Low-poly art is simultaneously invigorating and maddening. Focusing on finishing a piece is an accomplishment in and of itself; hours of meticulous, repetitive actions completed in a long chain. Really great tunes and a ton of coffee are definite requirements (for me, at least) to get through.
The first Designer Spotlight of 2017 is reserved for my friend and fellow designer, Ricky Luu of illuustrations. As luck would have it, our paths would cross while we were both walking new (and uncertain) paths; we converged in what would become our home (classroom) for the 8-week fast-track graphic design certificate program at SAIT, where we ended up sitting next to each other. This became a pretty sweet partnership that saw us rock an awesome presentation about printing on cans (“Fun with Cans”) and then knock it out of the park on our final group project.