There are many alternatives to Adobe products here in the MPS lab, so today I am going to teach you how to create a vector by tracing an image on iDraw (an alternative to Adobe Illustrator). This process be very helpful for creating logos and texts. Vectors retain an excellent quality as you increase their size, which makes them great for shapes/logos and texts. I do not recommend creating vectors with photos – the image quality will be lost.
As an example of how to use iDraw, I decided to trace the Duke blue devil logo. This is the design that I began with:
When you open up iDraw, you have the option to Create a New Document, Open and Existing Document, or Open a Recent Document. In this case, I created a new document.
The next screen prompts you to choose the type of document – Blank, Gradient, Grid, Graph Paper, Notebook, etc. This is helpful for drawing your vectors. The type of background does not necessarily determine the background of your vector. For creating a logo/design, I recommend the Grid, Graph Paper, or Blueprint format. For creating texts, those formats or the Notebook format may be the most helpful depending on your end goal.
There is also a prompt for the width and height of your drawing space, which iDraw automatically puts an 8.5 by 11 (a standard letter). Feel free to adjust that according to your project needs and goals. It’s always easier to have too much space than not enough.
To import an image that you would like to trace into a vector (i.e. the blue devil logo), simply copy the image and paste it into iDraw. (so easy!)
Similar to Adobe Photoshop, iDraw works in layers. Before you begin to draw, create a new layer by right clicking on the right hand side of the screen near the “Layers” section. The layer that is closest to the top of the screen is the layer that appears on top in your drawing board.
To begin, I traced and filled in the Duke “D” with the line (creating straight lines), arc (creating arcs), and brush (freestyle drawing) tools located in the Toolbar on the left side of the screen. The thickness of the brush tool can be adjusted on the top left through “width.” “Smoothing” is a percentage that reduces the pixel-quality of the vector in the brush mode by smoothing it into lines/arcs. The higher the percentage, the smoother that the drawing will be. I recommend using around 20-25%.
I initially traced the Duke D in black and later changed it to be blue (so that it can be seen more easily). However, you can trace your image in whatever color you would like from the beginning.
After drawing the Duke D, I changed the color of the vector by going into the “selection mode” (cursor on the toolbar on the left) and highlighting all of the lines. Then, I changed the color under “appearance” on the toolbar on the left.
Next, I created two new layers to trace the white portions of the Devil and the inside of the D behind the Devil.
For more precise drawing and tracing, you can zoom in by clicking the magnifying glass on the toolbar on the left side.
You can hide other layers by unchecking the other layers. This enables you to see one (or a select few) layers at a time.
If you want to rearrange/move part or all of a tracing, select the potion you want to move by highlighting it and move your cursor into the desired position. Below, I relocated the Devil’s eye.
Then, I highlighted the Devil in the selection tool and changed its color to white.
If it is an intricate design, it is a good idea to use the “lock” feature. Highlight the image in the selection tool and right click. Choose “Lock” to prevent all of the tiny vectors you drew from accidentally moving while you work.
When you are finished with your vector drawing, uncheck the image you initially traced (hide it) to see how your new vector looks.
If it looks the way you want it to, delete the ORIGINAL layer (the image you traced) by right clicking that layer.
Save your project!!! File –> Save as..
To export the vector, go to File –> Export. Choose the format that best suits your work. I recommend saving as an SVG or PNG, as those formats can easily be adjusted to different sizes without losing quality.
This is the end product. GO DUKE!