In this intermediate tutorial, I will show you how to illustrate a simple football clip art filled with cool digital effects that are not so difficult to achieved. Indeed, it is easy to feel intimidated by the image found below. Although this cartoon image is displaying a level of realism usually not seen in simple illustrations, adding these shadows, highlights and textures is not as difficult as it seems.
If you are able to work with a vector application and are familiar with the color gradient tool and how to play with transparency, then creating an illustration like this one is something you can definitely do.
First, we need to draw the shape of the football accurately. As you can see below, both ends are slightly bent towards the middle of the object. A long curved line is also drawn is the middle of the football. Make sure you get the shape of the football accurately right from the start. Nothing is uglier than an object that doesn't display realistic proportions.
Now that we have a simple shape to work with, let's add some details inside the illustration. First, you can draw two large vertical stripes on both sides of the football. Notice how these shapes are reacting when they are touching the horizontal line that is splitting the ball in half.
Next, we can draw the laces that are visible in the middle of the object. You can start by drawing a long horizontal rectangle (made from round corners) and then add eight vertical rectangles also made from curved lines. Small circles are also drawn near the tip of all eight vertical rectangles.
It's now time to add some colors! The football must be filled with a dark brown color. All stripes are still white for now. All little oval shapes located near the laces are colored in black. The lines that were used to create the outside shape of the object are now completely removed.
The first thing we can do in our quest for more realism is to use color gradients to create more volume inside the football clip art. Notice how the ball is much darker on the bottom and brighter on top. You can also use this effect on the large white stripes as well as the small laces located in the middle of the object.
In this step, we need to draw more solid shapes to create shadows below the ball, behind the laces and around the long horizontal line that we can see in the middle of the object. In this step, these new shapes are seen with a green outline and filled with solid color. However, to achieve this effect properly, you need to use transparency to make sure these new elements are partially hidden.
In this step, you can see how shadows must look like once all effects (like transparency) are added. It's now time to sketch a few lines inside the laces to create basic textures. Once again, you can use a soft color for these new lines and apply some transparency to make sure these new elements are partially hidden.
This step is pretty cool to draw (and pretty simple to achieved). Just draw a single (and small) circular shape and duplicate this one using the pattern shown below. Then, add a dark brown color inside these circles. Finally, apply some transparency so that the bottom of the texture is visible and the top partially hidden.
So far we have drawn shadows, textures and add color gradients to create a cool football clip art loaded with digital effects. In this last step, simply duplicate the shape used to create the football and reduce the size of this one (just a little bit). Complete the desired effect by coloring this new shape in white and add transparency by making sure the bottom is completely hidden.
You can also add some highlights on the laces by drawing new rectangles that are small and colored in white.
Remember how this football clip art seemed complicated to illustrated when you saw it for the first time? It was easy, don't you think? See how the textures, the shadows, the color gradients and the highlights are all working together to create a high-level of realism on a simple illustration mostly made from basic shapes and colors.
This lesson is a good example of how using simple objects to create stunning images can be easy. Instead of focusing on trying to draw complex objects loaded with details and complex elements, we just used a simple football clip art made from an oval shape to end up with an appealing illustration. You can draw more objects like this one here! Have fun and don't forget to practice as often as possible!