Vector Art Headaches: Take 3…

Alright… After a few months, I finally have some time to sit down and try my hand at it again. I keep telling myself to take it slow and illustrate something quick and easy with little detail or no shading to make it look very simple, but by the time I get it all done, I want to add more and more detail. That’s my biggest set back right now…

I spent most of the afternoon and night taking my time with this and it eats up time faster than you’d think. One minute I’m doing the outline and coloring… Next thing you know it’s time for dinner. It certainly is a painstakingly long task but it rewards you with a very accomplishing feeling when you leap over some hurdles.

In my last few posts about vector art, I had mentioned that I was having some trouble with shading, polygons and gradients. My friend Jose that reached out to me a few months ago that has been ‘mentoring’ me in the arts of Adobe Illustrator has been kind enough to provide detailed instructions and tutorials using my own art as examples. He’s even made a small video explaining step by step on how to carry out certain functions. For a person who’s never touched Illustrator, something as simple as a video and DIY’s tailored to me – it’s earth-shattering in terms of making progress. Thanks again to Jose for guiding me through this process! I’ve made a promise to him that I’ll get one project done soon with his help…

Anyway, here’s a new project I started. I know I said I would finish with Jackie’s S2000 first but his proved to be too advanced for my level… So I’ll start it off with the Weld FRS with a little bit of my personal touch…weld-techniques-frs

The original image – but with my Arise Sports bumper. 🙂


The progress I’ve made so far. This may not look like much, but this has been 5 hours in the making. The line work itself takes a few hours. The shading using polygons and gradients is a different beast to tackle on it’s own… I’ve been experimenting using different methods and layers and I love when I stumble across a new technique. Hopefully this time, I’ll have more progress on this rather than just being stuck at a standstill and then quitting…

Anyway – hope you all had a Merry Christmas! I got some goodies I just haven’t been able to take pics and share yet but I’ll hopefully have some time soon!

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Holy shit I just realized I never posted this!

I had EJ over at do a commissioned piece for me to help me envision what will be coming together over the long winter months. I’ve been kind of keeping it under wraps because I really wanted it to be a surprise, but once he finished the rendering, I couldn’t help but share. A big part of me loves Rocket Bunny and despite every one else having it, I still love it. However, I really wanted to venture off the beaten path as I have tried with my previous builds. Don’t get me wrong, all the hype around GT wings and wide bodies is hype that I love so so so much (if you know me, you know I’d put a GT wing on anything within reason). I think that it’s just so hot right now that everybody just picks up the same pieces.

I tried creating a render myself through photoshop but it’s particularly more difficult when the kit barely exists anywhere other than on Ben’s car from AJ-R and of course the demo car in Japan. With such limited shots and angles, there isn’t much I can do in terms of chopping it up and molding it to fit with photoshop skills. Instead, I go to individuals with skills to create photo-realistic renderings which is the next best thing.

EJ and his work, along with many others have been the reason for my inspiration to learn vector illustrations and be a little more creative. I wanted to do it myself but I couldn’t – and I hate that. In the meantime, I will live vicariously through the works of and the like until I can create works of art like this.


So what do you think? I’m actually super stoked with how this is all going to come together. It was exactly as I envisioned!

Now all that’s left is to wait for the wing and kit to arrive and find some way to acquire the rear diffuser without getting raped too bad… Almost there!

Vector: Jackie’s Honda S2000 Progress

I’ve been on a mission to try and get better at this sooner rather than later. I feel like I’m so close but I always get to a stage and get stuck and it’s frustrating as f***. I’m pretty confident in myself in outlining the car and all other details. I’ve got a tad better at colouring but now I’m stuck at shading and highlights. I can’t figure out how to shade properly for the life of me. I can do closed areas like vents but that’s pretty much it unfortunately.

I suspect that after I get over this hump of trying to learn how to do shading/highlights, I’m going to have a hell of a time with headlights and wheels. Anyway, thought I would share my progress on this… I’m hoping I can have a finished piece that’s worth looking at by the end of the year. Baby steps until then… I’ll keep posting progress as I go!

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Here is the base I decided to work with this time.



After about an hour and a half, I was able to get the line work done. I’m starting to find different techniques as I go that look better than others. Ie., thicker lines for the outline, thinner lines as I move to smaller details on the inside. It sort of looks like the game Auto Modellista on PS2 if any of you guys played that a long time ago…

I’m also finding that it’s probably best to try and stay away from small details that don’t really matter that can make the project a little more difficult and messy for an amateur. Things like windshield wipers, small grooves, etc. Little things that people wouldn’t necessarily notice or miss when they look at it. I was overall pretty happy with the linework of the S2000, most lines came out smooth and the car doesn’t look as beat up like my FRS did.


And finally, I got the base colour down. This takes no time at all, and makes it look half decent, but it’s really missing the reflections/highlights/shading. I am absolutely clueless on how to do this so if any of you vector pros know how to do it, help a brotha out!

As you can see on the front bumper, I was able to do some knife work on the vents to get partial shading which I was super proud of myself for, despite it being a super simple task. I tried creating highlights and ended up removing them because it looked like poop. I’ll take another shot at it tonight to see how far I get…

Vector Art Headaches: Part 2

I was finally able to get Adobe Illustrator from my good friend, Andrew – who also helped me build my current PC power plant to do all my editing. I was practicing my pen tool skills in Photoshop since that’s my go-to program, but it’s just not the same because you aren’t creating “true” vectors. So I asked him if he could help me out with this too, and without fail – he came through!

After long hours and multiple files of different cars to practice on, I made a somewhat acceptable piece. It is rough like no tomorrow but I guess practice makes perfect. I think I’ve put about 10 hours into learning the absolute basics. The saying that it takes you 10,000 hours to master something is probably true in my case – so I have 9,990 hours to go…

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Here is one of many bases I decided to work with. At first, I had picked out a very difficult base with tons of reflections, tons of complicated lines and I was just getting no where. I then chose a side shot of a car – which is a bit more simple – but still complicated due to the detail in the wheels. After several more bases that I gave up half way on, I decided on going with this.

Not the best base because it lacks proper reflections, it’s dirty, and it’s half in the garage and half out of the garage. The line work overall was easier to do and that’s what I wanted to practice.


Line working is probably the most tedious part of it all. If your lines suck, then your drawing will suck. No different than actual pencil and paper art – details matter here and you learn that quickly when vectoring. The trickiest part is creating curves because they are created through an anchor point, straight lines, and an adjustment point – AKA a Bézier curve – a fancy mathematical equation to do fancy things.

Anyway, I think I got the handle of lines – I still have a few things to figure out like how to create nicer curves over longer distances (see on top of the diffuser, roof line, and bottom/top portion of the wing). I would say the most difficult part is coloring and shading. For the most part, I just made up shaded areas on my own using fancy lines since the lighting wasn’t ideal in the original picture for me to follow. Lights are a solid colour because I have yet to learn how to do reflections and gloss. Carbon is way out of my league, but I think I have gotten a handle on gradients nicely – peep the noob titanium tips.

Overall – pretty decent but no where near where I’d like to be. Hoping to keep practicing on my own to get better at creating my own work. The toughest part is not having someone to ask for help and spending hours trying to figure out one thing properly through tutorials or youtube videos… Patience is a virtue, I suppose.