common object example


Create a Superhero with your Face Traced Over It

    ●  Combine your head with your favorite superhero and trace everything to make an original creation.

Learn About:

Template Layers in .aiPencil Tool Embed Files

•   This tutorial is part of the Comic Book Cover and We Can Be Heroes! Projects.

1 - 294-superhero-ai.htm - 2 - 140-brush-libraries-ai.htm - 3 - 105-mesh-tool-color-ai.htm - 4 - 204-vector-eyes-ai.htm - 5 - 111-hair-ai.htm

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.


Step #1: Find a Hero Character and Open it in Photoshop ~

Go here or on Google and find a picture of a superhero, something flat, easily traceable, not too many colors and not too complex, copy or save it and open it in Photoshop.

Using the Quick Select or the Magic Wand

… select everything you don't need and delete it.

Step #2: Open a Picture of Your Face in Photoshop ~

Find a picture facing the same direction as close a possible …


… select the Magnetic Lasso Tool which is behind the regular lasso tool …

Magnetic Lasso tool

… trace around your head, neck and hair.

Step #3: Combine the Images ~

Copy and paste your face into one Photoshop document.

Step #4: Your Face ~

Using Cmd (⌘)+T, adjust the size to fit.

Step #5: Warp ~

Hit Cmt+T again, but this time, hold Cmd down.

Do a Good Job!

Step #6: Save Your Work as a .psd ~

Go to: File > Save as … and save it as a .psd document somewhere you can find it.

save as a psd doc

Step #7: Move to Adobe Illustrator ~

Open the template for whatever Illustrator project you're doing:

If you're working on a the Comic Book Project, open this template:

If you're working on your CD Cover Project,
open this template:


If you absolutely don't have any templates yet, make your document 800 x 600 px.

800 x 600

Step #8: Place your Photoshop Image ~

In Illustrator, go to: File > Place

file place

… and place the image into your document.

paste the superhero

Step #9: 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:


If you don't Embed the Photoshop image, it wont be there when you send it in!

Step #10: 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 #11: Create Another New Layer ~

Make a new layer above the template layer by clicking on the New Layer icon folder icon.

new layer above template

Step #12: Pencil Tool ~

Get the Pencil Tool, or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (n) …

Double-Click on the Pencil Tool icon …

… and uncheck both Fill New Pencil Strokes and Edit selected paths but leave Keep selected.

Pencil Tool Options


Also, raise the Fidelity and the Smoothness:


Fidelity: Determines how close the path is drawn to your mouse movement. Set it at a higher fidelity if your not good at drawing with your mouse.


Smoothness: The higher you set for smoothness, the less anchor point it produces, producing a smoother line.

Step #13: Color ~

Locate your Stroke and Fill colors …

… set your Stroke to Black and Fill to None none.

stroke black fill none

Step #14: Zoom In ~

Zoom in VERY CLOSE on your face by hitting Cmd (⌘) cmd key+ plus key

Step #15: Begin Tracing ~

Begin tracing your face.

Keep Going! Be Extremely Detailed!


Every line …


Every blemish …


Every hair …


Every eyelash …


✗ Everything!



The more detailed you are the better the result.


Last Step: Save and Attach your Illustrator Document ~

Save your work as -]

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.

You're not done yet! Go here when you are ready for the next step:

Other Resources: