In my Digital Design class we just updated to CS6 and are learning the way of Adobe Illustrator. I tell all of my students how difficult and painful the pen tool can be to learn. Any designer, illustrator, or artist will tell you it is also the most valuable. I was blown away by the work that my students created last week (in ONE week – five 40 minute classes) using the pen tool. I proceeded to blow them away on Monday by demo-ing “Live Trace,” which is now called Image Trace.
The assignment asked them to take one of their own photos or sketches and turn it into a Vector Illustration. You will use the pen tool to bring life to your illustration. My newest addition to the class said it best when he asked if we were, “making it look like a comic strip?” Precisely. Simplify the image. Start with the large general shapes, move to the specific details.