I'm trying to find the fastest way, to draw on a high-end level. I am decent in Photoshop, but find myself using a lot of time with details and cleaning up my drawing.

So I started to research and I found Illustrator... learned the basics, and encountered the problem that every vector should be closed. And that's a problem for me, because it means I might as well draw in Photoshop, because I still need to draw an extra line and add an unknown number of layers to the drawing in order to reach a complex goal in Illustrator.

THEN I FOUND LIVE PAINT AND MAKE LIVE! Such wonderful idea, but sadly it doesn't give my Photoshop skills the tools they need (since it seems that only a weak base color and some gradient can be used).

Long story longer... I wonder if it's possible to draw for example a complex AND realistic face with gradients in Illustrator? I found some guides and found them very realistic (mostly flames).

Link to the tutorial: http://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/create-a-burning-vector-match-using-gradient-meshes--vector-4349

But can those techniques be placed on a face, to reassemble a realistic color scheme? Can gradients be used together with live paint, on the same level as the guide, or should I only focus on the gradients? (it seems to be a thing to learn for itself).

If so: Do I then have like 1000 weird shadows, due to the edges of the strokes, i'm using? and do I need strokes upon strokes?

In the end my simple question is... Can I ever reach the skills required to draw realistic monsters like the ALIEN? or should I just go back to Photoshop and its layer system.

I can't seem to find my way, all I know is, that if this does work, I could save 3–5 hours next time I need to draw something, while still being satisfied with the result.

Please guide me.

  • short answer short: yes. Keep searching for tutorials, you'll find some – Luciano May 4 '16 at 8:16
  • 1
    Photoshop and Illustrator are not equivalent, they serve different purposes. It's like asking should I use pencils or oil paints. If all you want to do is draw, then there are better options than either Photoshop or Illustrator, neither of which were really designed for drawing. – Cai May 4 '16 at 8:19
  • Hi Kim, right now it is very unclear what you're asking. Please edit the question so it only has one focal point. Like Shorouq Abbadi answered, "Should I go back to PS and its layer system" to be met with you saying what you want to know is if gradients can be used with live paint... Currently there are 7 questions inside your post. Please narrow down the scope to something more specific, so all answers will be to the question you really want to know. – Ryan May 4 '16 at 11:45

This is more like a long comment.

Moving from pixel graphics and natural media thinking to vector graphics is a huge mental leap to quite many users*. It takes some effort about a month or 2 of very intense effort to really get into it. The fastest way to learn is to actually start from scratch.

  1. Every vector does not have to be closed.
  2. Live paint is not very great, instead its much better to use shape builder. If you double click on the tool you get to adjust the gap detection in settings. So no to fill even then your lines do not need to meet.
  3. You can do realistic faces with vector graphics using gradient mesh tool search and you'll find a lot of examples.

But theres no reason why you can not do both work in illustrator and Photoshop.

* Its a bit like moving to 3d graphics

  • Well gradient mesh tools does come very close to my expected result. Do you have any ideas as to how much time consuming that technique is? – Kim Allan Moberg May 4 '16 at 8:31
  • @KimAllanMoberg I dont know what you consider time consuming, it gets easier if you use something like mesh tormentor or something else that lets you loft instead of use the default interpolation. – joojaa May 4 '16 at 9:20

Similar in principal to joojaa, here, my post concerns itself with the whys and tries, more than the whats.

If you're at a plateau in your learning for particular digital processes then why not take a step back? Perhaps you can achieve more in a completely different way. Sometimes I find, for instance, that the perfect image cannot be created digitally and I revert to either pencils, ink or brushes. Or even, if you think that it will work for you, mix it up; create your layers in your digital artwork with brushes then scan them in.

I do find that digital interfaces tend to get in the way of creativity to a certain degree.

There are so many mediums to work with that I was tempted to mark this question as too broad!

  • Couldn't agree with this more. Relying too much on the same interfaces and buttons is a creativity killer. Forget about the software, mix it up, try something new! – Cai May 4 '16 at 9:30

Well, you can always just go on learning how to paint in Photoshop, it's usually the number one choice for Digital Artists. You can also try out other programs like paint tool SAI, just do some research. I personally love using Photoshop, it was really lame at first, but you should get better, faster, and more organized with practice.

If you want to know how to draw portraits in Illustrator, there are some tutorials out there, like this one: http://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-create-a-greyscale-monochrome-vector-portrait-in-adobe-illustrator--cms-25748

Good luck.

  • Thx very much. I found that exact tutorial, and i think that it will take a long time to do, and give an average result. what i would like to learn is, how far can i get with gradient, gradient mask, and live paint.. can i use gradient mask while in live paint? I'm searching for answers on google also. – Kim Allan Moberg May 4 '16 at 8:21
  • Try using gradient mesh, I think it'll give you the result you're looking for. It's a bit tedious to get used to it though. Here is a tutorial: youtube.com/watch?v=r8LEKLzRhN0 – Shorouq Abbadi May 4 '16 at 8:27
  • Thx, it does look like it's what i'm looking for. – Kim Allan Moberg May 4 '16 at 8:38

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.