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Advice on how to finish an iPad drawing to create a vector to sell online

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  • Advice on how to finish an iPad drawing to create a vector to sell online

    Hi everyone... I am new to this forum and graphic design,

    I am an illustrator, using good old pen & ink on paper but I would like to start selling my illustrations online (iStock etc...). I could do with some advice!

    I want to use an iPad Pro and apple pencil so I can draw as I usually do but straight into a digital format. I would like to know what steps i have to go through, after finishing a drawing on the iPad, to turn it into a vector that is acceptable for sale. (I have never used any graphic design software before)

    Thank you

  • #2
    The only way I know to do that is to save the file in a format that can be imported into Adobe Illustrator on a desktop or laptop computer. The conversion would then require using illustrator's image tracing feature. Unfortunately, the tracing may not turn out like you expect.

    It's possible to get a near-photographic trace in Illustrator, but it makes the file so gigantic and so complex that it's practically impossible to make alterations to it. The underlying code in a raster image is fundamentally different than a vector image, so there is no one-to-one transfer or conversion.

    That being the case, and for a number of other reasons, it doesn't make a whole lot of practical sense to do a tracing like that. A less-than-photographic tracing will reduce both the complexity and size of the vector file, but it will also eliminate lots of detail and make solid shapes out of similar, adjacent areas, sort of like a paint-by-number painting. Sometimes this technique is used in a pinch to convert raster to vector, but the results are never especially accurate. It's also possible to use the raster-to-vector trace to accomplish an artsy sort of look, that is if you're actually wanting a paint-by-numbers kind of look.


    • #3
      Thank you, although not the answer I was hoping for, it is the information that I needed. My work is very detailed so paint-by-numbers effect is not what I am looking for. It looks at though I will have to learn how to create vectors, I dont suppose you know of an iPad app that can create vectors that don't need to be exported to a desktop program to be finished? (I can't afford an iPad pro and a laptop/desktop). Or any site that sells drawings in non-vector format?


      • #4
        There is Draw to do this. It's a free app where you can save as .ai, .pdf

        More info:


        • #5
          Much of the success you're looking for in creating vector illustrations will be determined by whether or not your style and what you're hoping to achieve in your artwork lends itself to a vector approach. You mentioned never having used design software before, so you might want to start out researching whether what you want to do is even practical with vector artwork.

          Just for the sake of an example, it would be impossible to duplicate an oil painting using a charcoal stick. Both can produce great pieces of artwork, but they're not interchangable mediums. You mentioned, pen and ink, and, depending on the nature of your illustrations, that's probably one analog medium whose results can be mostly reproduced as a vector file.

          If you do a Google image search for vector illustrations, you'll find dozens of good examples of complex pieces of art, but the kind of art you might see there can often be extremely technical and difficult to create. Vector drawing programs are most often used to create rather simple graphics and illustrations that consist of shapes, lines and gradients. Getting beyond that level requires many long hours of practice to master the difficulty of working with the technology.

          My experience with vector illustration is almost entirely with Adobe Illustrator on a computer for graphic design purposes. Using an iPad with Autodesk Graphic or Adobe Draw (as Carlo suggested) is something I've only played around with. However, they might very well provide you with tools that you'll feel more comfortable using since they're reasonably simple to use and don't include the full-blown tool set of Illustrator that you likely won't need (at least at first). What they will do is let you draw directly into a vector format instead of dealing with the inevitable compromises involved in autotracing raster art into vector. After a while, if you like what you're able to do with those apps, you might decide you need more capabilities and move up to a full version of Illustrator on a computer using a drawing tablet, like an Intuos or something similar.


          • #6
            Most of the time, vector artwork that is ''sold'' is bought for a purpose. If you are just talking about cranking things out that you hope might be bought online as image stock, good luck. On more than one occasion (as with photos) I've contacted stock sites when vector art turned out to be unusable for any number of reasons. AutoDesk isn't exactly high on my list of suitable softwares for vector stock and if the work is produced as splines, that would be one of the crash landings as far as the art is concerned.

            Intricately detailed vector art with lots of datapoints are deal killers as well.

            If you are talking about producing vector illustrations for some other purpose you will most likely need to hand off in a format the end client can use, not some online app.

            If your art is pen and ink, why not have it scanned or photographed at a service bureau and offer it as a raster image? I get artwork converted to digital done all the time. It's getting harder these days to find a scanner over 11" x 17" but there are more and more scanback cameras out there. If you have a local printer who does fine art prints for artists, they should be able to hook you up. The rub here is it really sounds like you want to sell something without putting any money into it. A scan or scanback shot will run you some money. More if you want it to be a really large file. Because of the size of the work I output, some of the art I have scanned costs me nearly 3 bills. But for iStock and the like, it won't be anywhere near that. Be sure though, where this is raster, that you don't hide yourself behind an alias, and allow people to contact you to arrange higher resolution scans. I've done that too, contacted the artist directly through their website in order to pay to get a higher resolution scan. We also tend to avoid using images by folks who have very strange aliases. It's very hard to do a serious exhibit for a national museum and have a photo credit that reads something like ''Pugsley's Uncle /'' My clients tend to balk at that.


            • #7
              Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
              AutoDesk isn't exactly high on my list of suitable softwares for vector stock and if the work is produced as splines, that would be one of the crash landings as far as the art is concerned.
              I think AutoDesk Graphic is based around bezier geometry instead of splines. I'm not certain there are no splines involved, but I saw no signs of them in the illustrator-like tool box -- it's definitely not typical AutoDesk CAD or 3D. It exports directly to SVG, and I opened my quick test SVG in Illustrator without problems. Personally, I wouldn't trust what it produces to RIP on a mission-critical job without running it through Illustrator first and doing a bunch of tests.

              Another thing AutoDesk Graphic supposedly does (didn't try it out) is convert raster to vector. I'm quite certain the converted artwork would be a mess, and I don't know how it compares to Illustrator in that respect.

              It's only a $9 download, which is dirt cheap and sets off all kind of alarms. I no longer have an iPad to try it out further, though. Apple bricked my iPad with one of their updates, so I switched to a Galaxy tablet and haven't looked back.

              I haven't used Adobe Illustrator Draw for tablets, but just downloaded it from the Galaxy Play Store. My first impressions are that it's just a fun little sketching app (a toy), but that's based on all of four minutes worth of messing around with it.

              Another personal opinion, but professional work really ought to be made using professional tools. I'm having a hard time accepting a $9 iPad app as being suitable for much of anything other than playing around with, but hey, who knows. i could be wrong.


              • #8
                Hi Mayaj1 and welcome to GDF.

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