Today we are going to be making a skateboard design. I will show you how I turned a funky looking character into the skateboard you see. The great thing about skateboard designs is that there are no limitations whatsoever. You can make a skateboard design about anything you want and let’s learn how!
Final Image Preview
Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.
You should know that I am a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, and at times an artist, who’s been skateboarding for years, and who is extremely passionate about this art form. Let’s get to it!
The first thing to do is to scan the image of the character and clean it up in Photoshop. You don’t have to clean in depth. All you need is to increase the contrast and brightness to eliminate all grays.
So now let’s place the image onto a new Illustrator document. Make sure the color mode is set to CMYK, as for the size I normally work on something like letter size. There is no need to work on the actual size of the skateboard as it could slow down your machine. Once we finish we can always adjust the size.
Next we’re going to live trace the image. Go to Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options. I always use different values, depending on the illustration. Don’t use the preset settings, just select preview, to see how you have to adjust the values according to your image. You can then save that as a preset so you can use it on similar illustrations in the future.
Now that we have a traced image let’s live paint it. Go to Object > Live Paint > Make. This will give me the option to color my character and its background with the Live Paint Bucket Tool (K).
First, I color the character white and add a No Fill to the background of the character. I also place a skateboard template on the document to have some guidelines (make sure to Live Trace). For Vector Plus members this image is included in the “source” files. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), make two red rectangles on the bottom of the skateboard, this will become the name tag.
Using the Rectangle Tool (M), make a symmetrical square. To do so, hold down the Shift key while making the square. Make it big. Now make a smaller square on the top-left corner of the big square and copy and paste it seven times across.
Make sure the first and last are on the edges of the big square. Select all small squares and align the objects by clicking Vertical Align Center in the Align palette. Then distribute objects with Horizontal Distribute Center. Group the small squares, copy and paste it seven times down. Again lets align and distribute the objects, then Delete the big square.
Select all squares and group them. Now go to Filter > Distort > Free Distort. I want to simulate the corner of a disco floor.
Now using the Live Paint Bucket Tool (K), I colored the floor with two shades of blue and also added a No Fill to some of the squares. Place this in the back of your character. Now using the Pen Tool (P), draw a shape close to the floor. Make sure to leave a small gap between the squares and the shape.
Use the Type Tool (T) to type in "is Golden." For this I am using the Detectives INC font. Now rotate it so it’s upside down. Place it on top of floor. Go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp. Use the Arc style and check the Preview, so you can adjust it to make it fit.
Make sure the Bend is on 0%. Do the same for the "Silence" text. Only this time select a positive Horizontal Value in the Distortion. Afterwards, select them both and go to Object > Expand. You should be able to change the color of the letters. Just copy and paste up.
Using the Type Tool (T) type in "Silent Mike." I’m using the "Biliz Blur" font. Now go to Type > Create Outlines. Do this for both words. After this, Ungroup the letters and you should have each letter separated.
Now is time to start playing with the letters. I use the stick of the letter "L" in order to make some letters longer or to add details. Once you’re happy with your text transformation, change the color and add it to the skateboard. I also added "hello – my name is" using "Arial" as the font.
The final image is below and I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!
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