I'm an AI newbie. I've been asked to make the word "TV" in line art with the T as a woman crossing arms. What's the best way to achieve this in Illustrator? I started creating it with the pencil/brush tool but it only gives one width, also I have to add stroke if I want the lines to be visible.

I want to draw like this: TV People Silhouettes

enter image description here

  • 1
    Hi there, and welcome to GD! This question is way to broad for our format. If you could add some screenshots and show us what you have tried and where exactly you get stuck, that might help. As your question stands now, the answer is: practice, practice and practice more.
    – benteh
    May 24, 2014 at 23:37
  • it can give you multi width but in this case your better of designing the outline.
    – joojaa
    May 25, 2014 at 9:35

3 Answers 3


The example you show, is simply from a Shutterstock vector file.

enter image description here

There are also fonts out there made of human shapes

If you still want to draw this yourself, you have a few options. These all require you to have a photo or other image of the shape you want:


  • Draw it manually, paper and pen, then scan, then trace
  • Find or take a photograph you can trace

You can find a how-to here: Convert a line drawing from raster to vector

Draw manually:

  • Draw it in Illustrator directly. You can take your image into illustrator, then:

  • lock the layer with the image

  • make a new layer on top
  • use the pen tool to draw the outlines shape

To do this well requires a bit of practice, but it is the simplest solution. You can of course also draw it directly in Illustrator without using an image as a guide. The success of this is depends on how good you are at envisioning the shape you want.

Here are some more posts that might be helpful:

Converting B&W to vector line art?

Vectorise scientific pencil drawings

  • Purchase the file and be done with it. Tracing it is copyfright infringement so you'd still need to purchase the file either way.
    – Ryan
    May 30, 2014 at 12:51
  • I was not suggesting the OP should trace copyrighted material.
    – benteh
    May 30, 2014 at 19:21

I have created silhouettes by drawing or photo of what I would like as a base. I then take it into illustrator and trace it with the pen tool and fill it. You can also image trace and edit anchors to your liking.

You could always purchase vectors but they may be hard to manipulate nor exculsive to your client.


Conceptually you're asking a similar question to this, and some of your answers will be there. Perhaps read it first, then come back to the more specific answer at the bottom of my tirade here...

Filling drawing

Illustrator (and most design software) does not work how you'd imagine it would or could. This is because it's all old.

It is all based on long forsaken programming paradigms for onscreen drawing that were themselves based on even older hardware technologies of computing that predate Windows and were trying to solve problems that weren't yet solved any other way.

So you have to come to terms with how these programs "view" screen based illustration before you can see how to solve problems like this with their VERY limited drawing tools.

You could argue that the mouse was never intended to be used for onscreen drawing, as the same guy that invented it had already spent much time working with onscreen digitisers/pens and saw them having different roles.

He envisaged the mouse as a selection tool in conjunction with a contextual interface for the left hand that further empowered the mouse's operability and functionality. Mostly this was all to do with textual editing, list making, etc. What we now consider "Office" software was the intended purpose of this interface, most certainly not illustration as the interface for that had already been solved - a digital pen.

But computing took a trip through the dark ages the moment the mouse was adopted because it was seen as a "one thing does it all" device and we never got the promised pen computing interfaces so sorely needed for creativity because Microsoft managed to successfully "enterprise" the entire world around doing the utterly mundane with computers and that being their prime directive.

As a result all the use paradigms of drawing software are complete rubbish and relate neither to artists nor to the potential of pen based input that's finally more frequently accessible.

If you're not yet committed to Adobe's Illustrator, I'd suggest backing away from it. It's not great. It's not even good.

You'll get this same thing done far faster, with much less agony, on an iPad with one of the drawing programs there. Oddly, most all of them suffer from being Adobe Illustrator clones. But at least they make a little more sense with direct manipulation than a mouse does for this kind of thing.

In Illustrator you have to think in terms of outlines and shapes.

A shape is nothing more than a closed outline.

So for this you need to complete the closed outlines into shapes, and then fill them with Black to get the desired outcome.

However nothing about working with outlines for drawing is fun.

If you can get an iPad it'll be far more enjoyable to use that.

  • 3
    Why not go the extra mile instead of excessive words in your answer and possibly provide a software solution other than simply suggesting to use an iPad. Furthermore, you critize someone elses answer yet you post nothing constructive to his question other than a complaint/rant about Illustrator.
    – user9447
    May 25, 2014 at 3:36
  • 3
    Gotta disagree vehemently with this. Vector illustration software tools like AI are merely a different way to go about it. Not a better/worse way. In your opinion it may not be 'fun' but that's hardly any sort of universal opinion.
    – DA01
    May 25, 2014 at 4:29
  • 2
    Far too much negative opinion vs very little usable advice, -1. I'm not going to give any details because it would take too long.
    – Dom
    May 25, 2014 at 13:06

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