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A Good Example

It’s good to have a critical eye as you build your vector work to ensure that you’re avoiding the telltale signs of problematic anchor points and the Bézier curves they control.

But it’s even more important to recognize good anchor point characteristics. As your eye develops, you’ll be able to look at any vector graphic and pinpoint the good or bad characteristics of its anchor points and curves.

I should point out that the design shown in FIGURES 4.9 and 4.10 took me about eight hours to build. I had to rebuild several shapes a few times before I dialed in the vector art precisely. I mention this because it would be easy for me to say that if you follow my process, everything will be easy and work the first time. That isn’t true.

FIGURE 4.9

FIGURE 4.9 This complex vector ornament design contains no straight lines whatsoever. It depends on precisely built Bézier curves created from smooth and corner anchor points. You won’t find any of the “no-fly list” problems in this motif.

FIGURE 4.10

FIGURE 4.10 Final vector artwork for a die-hard Mac fanboy who loves his Apple iPad so much that he hired me to design this custom ornament, which he’ll get etched into the back of the device. common2.jpg

What is true about my process is that it’s a process. Part of that process is recognizing the good and bad characteristics in your own art and in the art of others. While creating this design, I had to remind myself of The Clockwork Method. I wasn’t following it, and my shapes were looking wonky.

Thank Goodness for Command-Z/Control-Z

Even with this systematic approach to building vector graphics, not every piece of vector artwork you create will be perfect. I still make mistakes every day. Placing anchor points and manipulating handles takes some trial and error.

The ultimate goals of this book are to dramatically reduce your potential for making mistakes, to help you to recognize when something isn’t right, and to show you how to fix problems quickly so you can continue building your designs. So when in doubt, Command-Z (or Control-Z) can be your best form of creative accountability.

Remember, the creative process is almost always a messy one. Don’t focus on perfection. Focus on your process, because process makes perfect.

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