Illustration by me


During the lockdown I have taken the opportunity to do some training and brush up on certain skills. I recently completed an online course in Adobe Illustrator and as a result I drew this digital poster tribute to one of my favourite movies Back to the Future, and I am really pleased with how it turned out.

Illustration by David Smith

Although I am not selling myself professionally as an Illustrator, I believe learning this new skill and expanding my knowledge of this field will greatly benefit the video production I offer.

Graphic design has always been an integral part of the video production work I do; for example, creating titles or animating logos, and now more often clients are in need some sort of graphics for video.

I have been using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects for a long time to work alongside my preferred video editing software, Adobe Premiere. However, I had recently been given some Adobe Illustrator files to work with for a project and I realised there was a gap in my knowledge that I needed to fix. This is what the catalyst for me to learn by taking a course in Adobe Illustrator.

So, what is the difference?

Well primarily Photoshop is meant for to be used for photography and Illustrator for perhaps create drawings or graphics from scratch. The clues are in the application titles. However, there is a lot of cross over with both as they have very similar tools.

The main difference is that Illustrator is what is known as a ‘vector based’ programme as opposed to ‘pixel based’ like Photoshop. You are probably well aware of what a pixel is but just to clarify; if you have ever tried zooming in to a photograph very close eventually you will see that the image is made up of lots of different coloured squares, similar to your TV. A 4K TV for instance has more of these pixels than an HD TV and therefore can produce a sharper or clearer image (depending on the quality of the content).

However, with a Vector based programme if you zoom really close into a vector graphic you will not see that pixelation. This is because the shape is determined by a mathematical equation rather than pixel data. So, in theory, you can increase the size of a vector graphic to any size you want and you will not see any loss in quality. For example, a Billboard.

I really enjoyed learning about Adobe Illustrator, as I can see the possibilities and potential uses for this programme for my future projects. It works seamlessly with Adobe After Effects, to create animations and there are so many tools at your disposal.

Simply getting to grips with the navigation, the layout and how the various tools operate did prove to be a bit counter intuitive at times as I was used to work with Photoshop, and these things are just not quite the same. There is also so much to learn with this programme and I really admire the professional illustrators that work solely in this field.

I did however get myself a pen and tablet to make the brush strokes more fluid than using a mouse and of course it is really enjoyable and relaxing when drawing; like being a kid again.

I hope to learn more, for now, I certainly put these newly acquired skills towards an exciting animation I am working on (I can’t say what it is right now, but watch this space, I’ll be sure to share it when I can).

If you are interested in doing the same course I can highly recommend it. Domestika are the course providers and the course is called Vector Illustration for Film and the teacher is Wes Art Studio who has some incredible illustration work you should look at.

Thank you for reading my blog.