Learning new illustration techniques

A few months ago, I was asked to create an illustrated logo for A Girl Who Climbs , a blog about bouldering. The client wanted an illustrated version of a photo she used on her blog, a climbing crimp with four screws attached that looked like limbs. After seeing the photo I immediately knew that I could make it into a cute little character, but the illustration turned out to be more difficult than I thought! 

The client really liked some of my Photoshop illustrations from a few years ago that had lots of texture and asked if this style could be used in the new logo. Initially, I thought I would make the basic shape in Illustrator, then put it into Photoshop to add texture. However, after reading some tutorials about adding texture in Illustrator (such as this one from Creative Bloq) I decided to try some new techniques.

Logo 1_grain textureVersion 1 – experimenting with grain effects in Illustrator

After making the basic logo shape, I added texture with different grain effects. However, this didn’t work very well as the grain effects were not close enough to the real texture. The next thing I tried was to take some textures into Illustrator and convert them into vectors. I tried this with my stock of textures including brick, cardboard, fabric, pencil, and charcoal until I found one that worked – cork. This was a texture from the bottom of a drinks coaster I scanned years ago and hasn’t been much use until now. When I converted the cork texture into a vector I was surprised at how similar it was to the rough, grainy texture of the climbing crimp.
G_Ward_Logo-01Version 2 – converting a cork texture to a vector created the right effect

With the texture sorted I was able to complete the logo and send it to the client, who was really happy with it. The logo took a lot longer than I anticipated, but I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of this illustration and I’m glad that I learned some new skills along the way. I have started using this technique in my other vector illustrations to add some texture to the flat colours.