Vector Art Tutorial Part 1 – Template Layers

This is dedicated to Lola… This project might be among the last project to be accomplished for Days Without Miracle. So I hope that my fellow readers will enjoy it. (Lola…thanks for waiting). You might want to check this out too.

Direct to the point…!

Step 1 – Choosing a good picture

This sounds a bit negligible but beware because you will spend hours staring at that picture. So the picture better be someone you like/love to see. In my opinion even the most beautiful person, I will by time felt boring.

The picture must be in good/resolution, if not it will be so hard to see exact lines to follow for tracing. Digital Camera photos would do but can hardly done for “old” phone camera images.

So in my case I choose Leighton Meester from Gossip Girls as Blair Waldorf. A face worth staring hours!

File> Open…

Step 2 – Making Template

The analogy, we are using a photo behind a piece of thin white paper to trace the image onto the white paper. now I will put Meester picture behind the paper. How?

Double-Click on the picture layer previously

A dialog box above will pop up.

Rename the layer – this is a good habit because we’ll have hundreds or thousands of layer later. Renaming made life easier.

Leave Color default – this is just representation color so that easy for us differentiate our layer

Select Template – We change layer to template so that the layer treated as template and never change througout process

Dim Images to 75% – to create the “behind white paper effect”

Above is what well get. A slightly whitened picture. Note that in Layers tray our “Beauty” Layer has made template and Locked.

Step 3 – Another Template Layer

To make life easier, I will always use two template to assist me tracing the image.

Posterise the picture – sadly this step I don’t know how to do it in Adobe Illustrator. So I use ACDSee 8. Open the picture using ACDSee and apply effect called Posterize on it put brightness level at 7.

We’ll get something like above. A posterized image. Now you observe that there are clear threshold/line between color on her face.


Now we want the posterized layer above the “Beauty” layer.

Drag the Posterized photo from explorer window into Illustrator window on top of the “Beauty” Layer.

Adjust until the Posterized layer to be absolutely exact on top of the “Beauty” layer. You might need to do some Zooming.

Rename then select Template and dim to 75% like what we did to “Beauty” layer.

Rational of Two Templates

The original (“Beauty” Layer) is the ultimate reference. I will always refer to this layer for correction. This layer usually have better resolution.

The posterized is the simplified reference. We can easily follow lines in posterized than in original photo.

To Be Continued …


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