Color Portrait with Eyedropper in Illustrator

    ●   Open a picture in Photoshop and crop it.

    ●   Then import that file into Illustrator and create a color portrait using the Pencil Tool and the Eye Dropper.

Learn About:

Paint Behind Feathering Pencil ToolEyedropper

  •   This tutorial is part of the Picture Perfect Project.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.


Step #1: Open your Image in PhotoShop ~

Open your image in PhotoShop (you'll be moving to Illustrator later).

martin luther king

Step #2: Crop Tool ~

Get the Crop Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (c) …

crop tool

… and crop the photo as small as possible - keep only as much image as you need.

Then go to: Image > Image Size and set the resolution to 72 pixels per inch (if necessary.)


Step #3: Save the file as a .psd (PhotoShop Document) ~ ~

Save your file somewhere you can find it.

Step #4: Open the Image in Illustrator ~

Find your .psd, Right-Click it and open with Illustrator (yes you can open PhotoShop documents in Illustrator.)

SteStep #5: 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 .


Step #6: New Layer ~

Create a New Layer above your template layer.

Step #7: Pencil Tool ~

Double-Click on the Pencil Tool to open the dialogue box …

… check "Keep selected" and uncheck the other two.

Step #8: Stroke and Fill Off ~

Set your Stroke and Fill to "none"

Step #9: Zoom In ~

Zoom In on an area with high contrast by hitting the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+Plus

… and draw a closed shape.

Step #10: Eye Dropper ~

Get the Eyedropper Tool or hit the keyboard shortctut (i) …

… and choose the color of the area inside the shape.

Step #11: Draw Behind~

Below your colors is the "Draw Behind" button. Select it.

Now when you draw a shape and fill it with color, it goes behind the other objects.

Step #12: Feather ~

Select the inner shape with the Selection Tool

… go to: Effect > Stylize > Feather

… and set the Feather Radius of the inner shape to whaterver setting blends the edges slightly.




You don't have to use these exact settings!



Remember the goal is to smooth the edge a little.


Step #13: Continue ~

Continue with the Pencil Tool to create shapes and match them with your colors.

Be detailed with your shapes if you want this technique to work.

Last Step: Save and Attach ~

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.

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