Adobe Illustrator Celebrity Portrait


A print made by the silk-screen process.

Silk–Screen Process

A print made using a stencil process in which an image or design is superimposed on a very fine mesh screen and printing ink is squeegeed onto the printing surface through the area of the screen that is not covered by the stencil. Each imprint, or application of color, is printed above its previous layer. Separate artwork is generated and applied to individual screens, each carrying their own unique color blend. Typically flat, and opaque color is represented and specified through the Pantone Matching System (PMS). Unlike professional offset printing, silk screen inks lay flat and offer no transparent blending of color.

Project Three: Part One

| Project Three: Part One

Project 3: Reductive Portrait
Illustrator Project —1.1

Appropriating The Master Appropriator

Pulling from his background in skateboarding graphics, Shepard Fairey is a modern master of reductive design-based art. Using a similar process throughout his body of work, he has managed to create an impactful and recognizable style that has found a home in areas ranging from street art and graffiti to presidential campaigns. We will be using his work as a base of inspiration for this assignment.

Your first task is to seek out a relatively high resolution photograph of a famous person to use as reference. You will be working on an 11”x 17” layout (portrait, not landscape), so plan to crop/resize your image to fit. Much like Fairey’s famous Obama poster (the HOPE poster), you will reduce your image to four (4) color planes. Each color plane should exist on its own layer in the ILL file. Place the photo on the bottom layer, so you can see it as you trace over it. For an added challenge, you can incorporate a small amount of text into your final portrait.

You will be turning in TWO final files. The first is the original drawing. The second is the original drawing with textures and effects applied to it. This will be introduced further in Project 3 Part 2. 
We’ll look critically at both.

Work in layers. Since you are using only 4 color fields, make sure each color field is on its own layer. Remove the original image from the file for turn-in, but be sure to turn it in together (just not as a flattened layer).

Alternate Tutorial; for thinking about, and working with, Vector portraits

Adobe Illustrator: Celebrity Portrait

| Project Three: Part Two

Project 3: Alternate Textures
and Patterns
Illustrator Project —1.2

Pattern & Texture alternative

For Project Three Part Two you will be examining the use of texture and pattering to effect and alter your current portrait. Illustrator has strong editing tolls. Adding textures from alternative sources can change your designs quickly. Adding raster based PSD files into illustrator files can create supper dynamic richly texture images. Knowing how, and when, to use what file type is essential. You will be looking through the graphic collections offered by Media Militia to alter your design by adding texture and pattern.

You will be turning in TWO final files. The first is the original drawing. The second is the original drawing with textures and effects applied to it. We’ll look critically at both.

Examine several of the Media Militia artwork collections. Determine which is appropriate, and with its addition, can enhance your portraits. Download any of the collections (or all of them for future usage)

  • Examine what type of media files contained in the collection. There can be; eps- AI file type, vector AI file type, png-PSD raster images, often in black and white or RGB, these files most often have transparent backgrounds; JPEG files.
  • Both vector and EPS files can be used directly in Adobe Ill. You can change the color, weight, and scale proportions freely.
  • PNG, JPEG and other image files can be manipulated with limed editing possibilities in AI, or…
  • PNG, JPEG files can be opened and altered in PSD for greater control.
  • Files can be turned into greyscale, then converted to monochromatic bitmap files types; lastly, saved as a TIFF file, which allows greater color control within AI.

Use existing outlines and color shapes as clipping masks and layer the new artwork in/onto your existing artwork.

  • Copy outlines or main color fields
  • Add a layer;
  • Place your new artwork
  • commnd– “F” or ‘paste-in-place’ your outline, which will shortly become a vector clipping mask for the placed imagery
  • Select both the outline & the image
  • Choose Object >clipping path – your image is now inset into the artwork.
  • Under layers you can access the clipping mask, and/or the placed image independent from each other
  • Use color to create subtle color shift, white to reverse out from main artwork
  • Examine transparency or layering blending for subtle color shifts
Alternatively — you can add or create AI patterns of icons or other graphic elements to inlay into your portraits. For example: you could create a vector peace sign and apply it as a pattern.


Media Militia is an online resource of patterns, textures, PSD brushes, AI (vector) illustrations. Each library contain different file types which can be used to enhance and change your portrait. Several of the libraries are more versatile than others; some more stylistic. Ultimately it is up to you to use them in subtle ways, and retain creative control without taking too many of the borrowed visual properties.

Media Militia — Freebies



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