Cartoon Logos 101: What Is Vector Art? • Episode 03

An in-depth, and hopefully not too boring discussion on what the vector art digital format is, and why it’s important for your cartoon logo to be created as vector art. I discuss the differences between vector art and raster art (also known as bitmap or pixel art).

You will learn why the resolution-independent format of vector art is far more ideal when it comes to logo illustrations.

You can read up further on this topic over at my vector art info and overview page. It also has some images with examples and comparisons of both types of digital art.

This is the third first podcast in my “Cartoon Logos 101 For Clients” podcast series, where I walk you through all aspects of creating a cartoon logo.

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Photoshop Cheatsheets and Reference Cards: Free Downloads

Great resource for Adobe Photoshop users — reference cards for quick overviews of Photoshop’s interface, specific and often-used tools.

Includes links to versions for Photoshop CS3 and CS4 as well as both Macintosh and Windows versions.

Some of the “cards” are actually links to Adobe’s own online help (which is where the default Help in CS4 apps now takes you). But the rest of the cards look helpful in learning or referencing common tools such as the Pen tool, the Marquee tool, and the Brush tool. Worth a look and a download for the reference cards that suit your workflow. Sure to enhance your productivity.

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Zen Of The Pen

Vector pen tool icon artSharon Steuer’s free “Zen Of The Pen” PDF is an excellent introduction to the inner mysteries of the vector pen tool in Adobe Illustrator.

Update: Sharon has kindly asked me to remove the link to that PDF, she’s working on an updated version. I highly suggested you head over to her website and sign up for updates. Sharon is the mastermind behind the excellent Illustrator WOW! vector tutorial books for Adobe Illustrator.

The pen tool is one of those obscure graphics programs tools that everyone tries once, and then gets so confused by that they never get any further with it. And understandably. It looks like a fountain pen, but it doesn’t act like one. Click and “draw”, you get weird “handles” sprouting out from a dot. Ignore that, and some annoying rubber band line gets stuck to your pen tip, all distorted out of — not even a straight line! Right there most Illustrator users think to themselves “this program sucks”.

But they couldn’t be further from the truth…

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Color Theory Resources

Color Wheel artwork

Primary, secondary, tertiary, complimentary, analagous, brightness, hue, value, saturation, tints, shades… do these words mean anything to you? They should.

A post by cartoonist Matt Glover points out ColorFAQ – very basic web guide to color theory. It got me poking around on the internet for some other sites with some more depth on the subject. Sometimes I forget how much I use color theory every single day, it’s just something that sometimes goes on autopilot and is an easy topic to forget to recommend to others.

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Pencil Grades: An Overview

Bunch of pencilsI touched on the awesomeness of using multiple pencil grades in a previous post on essential cartoonist tools before, but there’s a great overview specifically on pencil grades by cartoonist Matt Glover. There’s some decent additional pencil grade classification information over at Wikipedia as well.

Find out what those cryptic “2B”, “HB”, “6H” and the rest really mean. Knowing the difference, having a full set of pencils with all the grades in the range is a must. This is the way to lay down very thick, dark blacks in your drawings as well as fine, light grays. It’s all in the blackness and hardness my friends.

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Illustrator tip: Preserving transparency & effects on the clipboard (using copy/paste)

Ever find that you are trying to copy & paste ( or drag & drop) vector art from one Illustrator file to another, only to find all your transparency and other Appearance effects gone? I have to Google this every time it happens, so I thought I would make a post for it so I can look it up for myself, and help a few others along the way. Of course remembering this would be helpful, but I can’t count on that! Continue reading