Angle Portrait in Illustrator

    ●   Create an Angular Portrait using the Pen Tool and a limited color palette.

    ●   Draw lines and shapes corresponding to the major angles of the face like the jaw, nose and eyebrows.

    ●   No Curves! Only Straight lines.

Learn About:

Pen Tool Tool Blending Tool Tool

  •   This tutorial is par of the Picture Perfect Project.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.


Step #1: Open a New Document in Illustrator ~

Open a New Illustrator Document in Adobe Illustrator with the following settings …

… find an picture you can use …

… go to: File > Place and place it into blank document.

Select "Convert Layers to Objects" (if necessary - otherwise skip it).

Step #2: Embed the Picture ~

If you don't Embed your image into your composition it will not save with your work. With your image selected, click the Embed button:

Step #3: Make it Fit ~

While holding to keep your image proportional, adjust the size to fit your Artboard.

Step #4: Template Layer ~

Now, click the drop down menu in the upper corner of the Layers Palette and select Template …






Changing a layer to a "Template" layer reduces the Transparency to 50% so you can see what you're doing, turns the eye  in to the template icon  and locks the layer lock.


Step #5: New Layer ~

Create a New Layer

new layer

Step #6: Pen Tool ~

Get the Pen Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (p) …

pen tool

… set the Stroke to Black and Fill to none


… and draw a line intersecting a major shape of the face, such as the nose, jawbone, cheekbones, etc. Stretch the line all the way across the edges of the artboard.

Step #7: Another Line ~

Switch between the Pen Tool (p) and the Selection Tool (v) by hitting the keyboard shortcuts (p) and (v). Then click somewhere on the Artboard to deselect. Draw another line following a major shape of the face.

Intersect the lines if you want. Make at least 3.

Step #8: Zoom In ~

Hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+Plus cmd-plus-zoom-keys.png to Zoom In …

Step #9: Continue Making Straight Lines ~

Remember, only straight lines following the major contours and forms of the face.

Be very detailed.

Step #10: More Lines ~

Continue making shape consisting of straight lines following the shapes and forms of the face.

Make shapes and lines connecting all around the forms of your face.

Step #11: Swatches ~

Click the Swatches icon or go to: Window > Swatches

… click on the Swatch Libraries menu …

… and go to: Gradients > Color Harmonies or any other library you want.

Step #12: Drag the Colors into Swatches ~

To make this work, you've got to drag the colors into Swatches. Click on the first swatch in the group …

… and then, holding click on the last swatch to select them all.

Now you can grab the whole group and drag them into Swatches.

OR - Just click on the folder of the swatch (if there is one) and drag it.

Step #13: Live Paint Bucket ~

Hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+A to Select All …

… go to: Object > Live Paint > Make

live paint make

… then get the Live Paint Bucket tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (k)…

live paint bucket

… hover over the shape with the Live Paint Bucket and click …

… scroll through your colors by hitting the Arrow Key right arrow key

… and fill the Live Paint area with color of your choice by clicking.

Step #14: Stroke ~

Once you get all your shapes filled, try deleting the Stroke to see if you like the way that looks. Hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+A to Select All and turn the stroke off. If you don't like the look, you can turn it back on.

Last Step: Save and Attach ~


save as

Attach it even if you're not done yet!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects using the following naming convention:

  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.

  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.

Other resources: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dggMEUg2ME8