This week I’ve had the pleasure to produce some illustrations for a project at my day job. It’s a rare opportunity, so I’m pretty eager to get good results.

Working through some sketches for game assets. These will be produced as vector illustrations in the end, so there is a long way to go. Working with Copic marker and exploring ideas is definitely the best part of the process for me.

It’s always important to understand one’s own weaknesses – or more appropriately, one’s own neurosis – to be efficient and be able to deliver on time. My particular problem is always the tendency to be precious and obsessive with very specific details or shapes.

Once an understanding of that sort of weakness is achieved, it’s important to pick a production tool that works with, not against, these problems.
Unfortunately, Adobe Illustrator is not this tool. Vector illustration emphasizes the worst kind of obsessive tendencies I have. It is a tool for achieving perfection, and perfectionism is my weakness – whether I’ve ever achieved it or not.

Traditional media like Charcoal, markers and paint are great for my weakness. Even digital painting has the potential to be, but Illustrator is a nightmare of obsessively anal adjusting, readjusting, and infinite changes.

There is a decent solution to this problem built in to later versions of Illustrator. The “blob brush” allows you to paint organic shapes with the tablet, with pressure-sensitivity and fluidity, that result in relatively clean vector shapes. There is nothing to stop you from obsessing about the points that are created, but it’s a nice compromise for more organic images.