Midterm Portfolio: Illustrator

US Eagle Symbol

This project was one of many that taught me and refined my skills with the pen tool in Illustrator. I chose this exercise as an example of this because it was while working on this project that the principles and ideas behind using this small but mighty tool finally started taking shape and making sense. I feel that this is the project with which I finally grasped all the ideas I had been hearing for weeks. Closed paths, strokes, Bezier curves, time saving tricks like drawing only half of the symmetric eagle and then flipping and joining the two halves to form the whole. Finally this all made sense! From the original, I added an effect to the circles surrounding the cluster of stars to give them a different look. Also, I changed the color of the branch stem in the eagle’s foot and refined the background gradient.

"My Favorite Ride"

The “My Favorite Ride” project was the true test of my knowledge of the pen tool! This project also required careful attention to layers and effects, such as the gradient mesh tool and transparencies. While experimenting to find just the right effect grew frustrating and time consuming, the end result made me proud of all the hours I poured into it. I was able to use the skills with the pen tool I had acquired from previous exercises such as the eagle symbol. But I was also able to play around with new techniques and effects such as feathering shapes, using transparencies, and creating subtle gradients to give the car the illusion of being 3-D. The “Ride” project was also my first introduction to large-format printing, which turned out to be much less frightening than it originally seemed. After turning in this exercise, I made several changes. I added a reflection to the left grill and added a connecting piece between the side mirror and the frame of the windshield. Also, I darkened the wells behind the tires and adjusted the bottom edges of the tires on the driver’s side, making them more realistically shaped.

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