by infinite_resolution


April 24, 2009

Differences in approach

Contributed by David Macy, Illustrator Sr. Product Manager

Do you sketch digitally? Is your working style in Illustrator tight or loose? Do you plan everything before creating a new .ai file or do you make it up as you go?

Here are a couple of almost diametrically opposed approaches that both lead to very impressive results.

Well known Salem, Oregon Illustrator Von Glitschka shared with us not only his beautiful, inspirational and technically pristine artwork, but also a lot of fantastic detail into the technique itself. Von is a great artist and also a very good teacher, so his tutorials are well worth checking out.


He contributed “Loyal Order of Wormwood” as one of the samples included in the Cool Extras folder of CS4. (If you don’t have CS4, you can download the file and the tutorial here ). Von even went further on this project and posted an extremely detailed “Step by Step” tutorial on his blog, which you can download from his blog.You’ll see that Von’s approach, which is in fact used by many professional Illustrators, is very careful and methodical (in the best sense of these words). Before ever firing up Illustrator, Von has gone through lots of thumbnail sketches, roughs and finally produced a tight sketch that he will scan into Illustrator to use as a template he “builds vectors”.Wormwoodtightsketch.jpgVon’s workflow in Illustrator is also very methodical – he “builds” all of the vector paths and carefully organizes the artwork on layers before starting any coloring. Of course, since he’s working in vectors and he has organized everything so well, he can make small (or large) changes easily at any time. ( note to Von’s clients: just because I said that late stage changes are easy doesn’t make it true! )On the flip-side of technique, a couple of us recently came across this interview on Vector Tuts+ of Dutch illustrator Jelle Gijsberts and were really impressed at seeing a very loose, on-the-fly approach and the amazing artwork he creates with seemingly little prior planning. You’ll spend 15 minutes in awe watching this video and seeing him jump between Illustrator and Photoshop as he draws a cartoon cowboy in a bar scene.
Illustrating a Cowboy in Photoshop and Illustrator from Jelle Gijsberts on Vimeo.Of course there are both stylistic and technical differences between working strictly in Illustrator vs. a combination of Illustrator and Photoshop, but what really strikes me is how differently Jelle’s mind seems to work compared to Von’s. Jelle works very experimentally and is able to make decisions on color and composition throughout. He completes parts of the drawing before starting on others. In this cowboy example, he almost works from the center outward.I guess that is really an important part of successful creativity – tapping into the way your brain works and developing an approach that takes advantage of your individual strengths and pleasures.


  • By mutuelle - 1:20 PM on April 27, 2009  

    Von Glitschka’s technique is normally how thing’s should be done!I guess that depends what “normally” means. I agree that if you are working with a client on a project, most of the time the client will want to sign-off on a tight sketch or comp before you go too far. But there are all kinds of artists doing a wide variety of non-traditional work who may not think anything is abnormal. – David

  • By Neeraj Nandkeolyar - 11:37 PM on April 30, 2009  

    His discipline and methodical approach is inspiring.

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    good article,thank you

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