Adobe Illustrator: Marilyn Monroe Portrait

January 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

Monday morning tutorials are now back with Stephen and he started the new year off with Adobe Illustrator. He had given us a Marilyn Monroe portrait to vector. The good thing about Monroe is the pop art theme works really well with her, making it easier to design a ‘less detailed’ portrait for us who are less experienced with portraits. Also – hello bright colours! Here’s the photo:


Before we went about starting the portrait, we had to ensure or file was set up correctly. We were informed that for Commercial Printing we were to use CMYK and for web/screen (or printing at university) we were to use RGB.

  1. Change the opacity of your main image to around 60% so that you can see what you’re drawing clearly.
  2. Object – “lock selection”
  3. Create a new layer and re-name it “Basic Outline”
  4. Start with your pen tool on a 0.25 stroke, you don’t want it too thick.
  5. Trace around the head but ignoring the detail around the hair line.
  6. Once you’ve drawn the head (and the neck), select the object, object – path – simplify – show original and adjust the slider to 97/98%. This adjusts the curve precision and softens the sharp edges you might have accidentally added.
  7. Change the colour of your pen and begin on the hair (repeat the above steps)
  8. Now you need to create a new layer labelled “features” and copy and paste the outline onto the features layer (turn off the outline for the time being).
  9. Select the head and neck outline and colour it with a skin tone (R:232 G:217 B:200).
  10. Select the hair outline and colour it a vibrant yellow.



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