Yesterday we had an induction for Illustrator. I found it really interesting and useful to learn, not having used it before I found the pen tool a bit awkward to use at first; however once I got the basics down I found it quite easy to create the shapes I needed.
The first exercise we did was to trace of specific lines in order for us to get used to the pen tool and the way you can create curves. After this I got to trace over Totoro, with this I learnt lots of different ways to either shortcut the process or to add colour and effects. If an image is symmetrical you can just draw half of it and then copy and paste it in place before flipping the section to line up with the other half. Another technique I learnt was to add colour into my image using 'Live Paint', by doing this it would allow me to block fill areas in with a certain colour. The only problem I had with this was that I didn't put the eyes onto another layer so that's why the colour of them are the same as the body. To create a gradient effect, I used a tool called 'Gradient Mesh Tool' by changing the colours you are able to add in areas which can suggest highlights or shadows. It can work really well, especially when used subtlety, however it can be quite difficult to get to grips with. Not always will it create the gradients in the right place and when you add another both may seem disconnected from one another.
I also created one of the poses of my character in Illustrator. I traced over the image and applied the skills I learnt in the induction to add colour and gradients. Again I found it difficult to add them into certain places so I think to overcome this I may do as much as I can in Illustrator; but do the rest in Photoshop. At the moment I think my character is turning out quite nicely and I am becoming more accustomed to using Illustrator, in some ways I find it easier to use in Photoshop as it is much simplier, especially when it comes to adding colour and it filling the whole desired area you want. It can be quicker to use as well, I find that I normally take hours to create something in Photoshop, even when drawn and scanned in to edit, yet with Illustrator I managed to get most of my character done within about half an hour.