What You'll Be Creating
In the following tutorial, you will learn how to create a purple monochrome portrait from a photograph, for GLAAD's Spirit Day, in Adobe Illustrator.
Millions go purple on Spirit Day in a stand against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. Observed annually since 2010, individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, and public figures wear purple, which symbolizes 'spirit' on the rainbow flag.
1. Prepare Your Photograph
I'm going to be using a reference image of a friend from Envato Studio, Jordan McNamara, taken by fellow Envato staff member, Natasha Postolovski.
I've chosen this image as it's a clear, high-quality image (see the tutorial assets for a higher resolution download) and Jordan is smiling! For such an occasion, I feel we need a nice positive image.
After cropping the image in Adobe Photoshop, I'm going to change the colour scheme of the image.
If you're creating a basic, line art style portrait with minimal shading, I would recommend turning your image black and white to make it easier to work from. I went to Image > Adjustments > Black & White and used the preset Maximum White to neutralise as much of the shading as possible. I then used a purple tint to get some palette inspiration.
Once I'm happy with the minor change to the image, I'm going to save it and get ready to use it in Adobe Illustrator. I'll also save a copy of the photograph in the original colours so that I can work from both images.
2. Set Up Your Adobe Illustrator File
Create a new ******** and File > Place your photographs onto the artboard. If you're going to resize your images, be sure to select them both and resize them together so they are both aligned.
I then set up my layers as shown below. In the "BG" layer, I include a white filled rectangle set to Opacity 50%. This is so that I can easily see the images underneath. I prefer to work in this way rather than dimming the layer, as I can easily turn the layer on and off by using hide/unhide.
Using the Artboard Tool (Shift-O), I change the dimensions of the artboard edges and effectively crop the image. When doing this, pay attention to your Navigation panel as this will give you a clearer idea of the composition.
3. Create Taper Brushes
As this style requires the use of lines, it's worth creating your own taper brushes. I have a collection of home-made art brushes I use for such occasions.
The two main ones I'm going to be using are tapered at both ends and are a triangle taper brush. They both originate from a simple circle and have had their points modified and height reduced.
Then via the Brushes panel, I create two new art brushes with the following settings: