I am building a database with descriptions and various other information for strength training exercises.

One of the most important things is to actually let the user get a visual idea of how to perform the exercise, so I want to build a set of clipart pictures that show them. The best example of what I would like to do is this:

enter image description here


Their pictures are in .bmp format, but I don't know how they built them. What's the best/easiest way to accomplish this? Is there software out there that can help with this?

It seems like the best approach would be to be able to design a human mockup and then be able to manipulate its joints to show them in various positions. However, I have basically no experience in design/computer graphics so any help and directing me to relevant resources would be much appreciated.

  • My vote would be Illustrator.
    – ckpepper02
    Jun 27, 2013 at 17:31

2 Answers 2


Each figure is drawn independently using whatever method best suits you.

Drawing then "manipulating joints" isn't really how it's done unless you are thinking of 3D figures.

Final desired output would determine the best software to use. In general, using a vector application to create the figures would allow some editing of the same figure repeatedly. In addition, vector applications offer infinite scaling and output possibilities. However, most vector applications are not geared to "get this done today if you've never used our software." They can take some studying.

Realize your question is sort of akin to "I want to build an internal combustion engine, but have no experience. Where do I start?" The question is a bit broad and undefined. While illustration certainly is not rocket science, any software requires some knowledge.

  • Thanks Scott. I'm assuming Illustrator would be the right software to choose, as ckpepper02 mentioned above. I definitely realize there is studying involved which is why I asked for relevant study resources in my question. If you know of good resources for beginners I would be happy to hear them.
    – kwyoung11
    Jun 27, 2013 at 18:31
  • 1
    There are a ton of study resources for Illustrator. I don't think I could do justice to a list here. Google will turn up thousands of pages. If you are more prone to book-learning, Von Glitschka's Vector Basic Training is an excellent book. (amazon.com/Vector-Basic-Training-Systematic-ebook/dp/B004K1F7IU/…)
    – Scott
    Jun 27, 2013 at 19:00
  • I came from photoshop with virtually no experience in vector artwork at all only 1-2 weeks ago, but already I can easily make artwork similar to the exercise one you linked to. I'm sure that you'll be able to make what you want within a few days, if not a few hours. Maybe you won't know the tricks and will struggle through it, but it's really not THAT hard. Certainly not as hard as building a combustion engine.
    – sinθ
    Jun 27, 2013 at 19:21
  • I did post that it's not rocket science. :) Constructing is one thing..... constructing well is another. A 5 year old can build things in Illustrator... but that doesn't mean they reproduce as expected.
    – Scott
    Jun 27, 2013 at 19:24

Illustrator would be the best for redoing those designs. A great resource is this site: http://vector.tutsplus.com - there's tutorials from beginner to intermediate and also other links.

If there's something specific you need to do (like I see there's graphs as well as line drawings) check on the adobe help site as well as seeing if there's any adobe video tutorials on http://tv.adobe.com

You can use the illustration you have as a template that you can trace (place it into a layer, dim it, draw in new layer over the top). there is live trace (quicker) which can work well with high contrast however it is not always as accurate as manually tracing/drawing shapes (time consuming but once you have it as a vector then it has infinite uses.)

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