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Are these illustrations done manually by hand or in Illustrator? Is there a easier way to reproduce these kind of illustrations?

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More examples here.

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Given that the collection is called "Scratchboard art", I'd guess those examples are done by hand. – Andrew Leach Mar 12 '14 at 13:17

4 Answers 4

While I think your examples are hand crafted scratchboard illustrations. If you are looking for something automated and quick, Alpha Plug Ins has the Engraver II plug in which is designed to generate some scratchboard-like appearance.

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I think those are like comic book drawings, whether on paper or on Illustrator both cases they are manually drawn.

However there's an easy way to create something close to that on Photoshop using filters, here's how:

Open the desired image in Photoshop:

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From Filter menu go to Filter Gallery --> Sketch --> Graphic Pen:

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Play with the numbers (Stroke Length - Light/Dark Balance - Stroke Direction) until you get the best result:

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Hope you find that useful :)

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Engraver III

Engraver plug-in indeed are powerful. But Engraver II is obsoleted as I can see. Now Engraver III is available

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How is this any different than previous answers? – Scott Sep 24 at 17:03

All the drawing techniques you have described are all hand-created. Although one could argue they are all graveur- engraved- they all have different media and methods of accomplishing the art. The archetypal "engraved" image as you might see in 19th-century books and high-quality prints is called scratchboard, sometimes called "scrapeboard". You would be well advised to read up a little on what scratchboard is, how it is done and why (to replicate near-photo-quality for cheap in mass production prints). So- one hint right there- scratch-board has a basis in B & W photography.

Now- how can this be automated somehow? IMHO Engraver and actions are a simplistic mimicry of real "graveur"- it's not my cup of tea. But- the picture illustrates how it works. Engraver appears to render darker tonal areas using different crosshatch. There are plenty of hand-engraving cross-hatch explanations and examples on the internet tutorials and explanations on the web about the common half-toning & crosshatch techniques.

Returning to the Engraver treated image given in the Answers- it first seems overwhelming. But no- it is a black and white image then tinted. If you desaturate it- you get a black/grey & white photo with what I'd argue as white, 50% grey, and black. In negative space about the hand- the extreme background- is a horizontal set of wavy parallel lines in mid-grey with some randomized defects and discontinuities applied to give the appearance of hand-drawn. the hand is a photo on top of this. with its hand covered in a layer of wavy parallel lines approx 30 degrees parallel- we'll call this background hatch 1- BH1. BUT- where the white; 25%; & 50% grey occurs- BH1 is not present. In areas of 75% grey to black- BH1 is cross-hatched via perpendicular series of parallel lines (foreground hatch 1: FH1) in black. Yet- where black occurs a rule is displayed: BH1 is inverted (turns white). So- from this analysis we can see that: 1- the hatching follows strict rules and can be accomplished easily in PS or Illustrator via replicated parallel lines with some randomness. These hatchings can then be hidden or brought to prominence, say via masks or (my old-school brain way would be use "Eraser"). If an action- a set of predefined algorithms and commands can do it- then the greatest computer on the planet- that between our ears can do it too. It might not be done at the flick of a switch (little bit cheating IMHO) - but a comparable effect can be accomplished in PS or Illustrator.

I am a designer, very much old-school in my approach to Illustrator and drawing, I got very interested in Duerer and silverpoint and other old masters and now trying my hand to scratchboard. I suggest Youtube search on scratchboard a great start for resources on scratchboard and engraving- it will demystify it and you can see how it's not as overwhelming as it first appears. And it's far from a dead or lost art Michael Halbert draws Ben Franklin .

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