Great shirts start with great art. Creating your own artwork can be a challenge, especially if you’re not into hand-drawing. How do you make a design look original without drawing your own? With a vector pack, you can create countless designs without drawing a single line. In this video, Golden Press Studio’s art director Cory Romeiser shows you how to create a rad design without drawing at all.
CREATING A DESIGN WITH A VECTOR PACK
The first challenge is to choose a theme and a vector pack that fits. Cory uses the Summer Vibes Vector Pack because he wants to create a summer-inspired T-shirt design. You can make T-shirt designs completely in Adobe® Illustrator, with no drawing necessary.
If you want to test-drive a vector pack before you buy it, you can with this pack. Golden Press Studio is offering a free sample pack of the Summer Vibes Vector Pack. The pack includes three designs so you can check it out before you buy the full pack.
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STEPS TO CREATING A DESIGN
Creating a stand-out design from a vector pack involves a little bit of work. Cory breaks the process down into four simple steps.
STEP 1: CHOOSE THE ELEMENTS
Create a new artboard in Adobe® Illustrator and choose the elements you want to use in your design. Cory chooses a palm tree, a surfboard, and a message in a bottle. All three are from the sample pack. He holds “Alt” and drags the elements from the sample pack to the art board.
STEP 2: RESIZE AND EDIT ELEMENTS
When you move elements to your art board, they’re probably not going to be the size you want them to be. Cory shrinks the surfboard and flips it around, so it looks like it’s stuck in the sand. The bottle is also too big. No problem. Cory simply shrinks it and reflects the element, so it’s leaning right instead of left.
The elements are the right size, but they aren’t meshing together yet. All you have to do to make your elements a cohesive design is remove unwanted lines so the image flows together. Hit “A” to bring up the direct selection tool.
Cory decides to tackle the surfboard first. He drags a line in the sand from the palm tree element over to the bottom of the surfboard. Then, he hits “V” to highlight everything in the design. Find the shape builder tool on the left hand toolbar, hold option, and click on the lines you don’t want in the design. This will delete those unwanted lines. Cory’s surfboard now looks like it’s stuck in the sand.
The message in a bottle is the right size, but Cory wants it to be stuck in the sand as well, rather than floating in water like the original element shows. He uses the direct selection tool again and double-deletes the lines he doesn’t want. What about the lines touching the bottle? Cory has a fix for that, too.
He presses the letter “N” to bring up his pencil too. Using the trackpad on his laptop, he draws a straight-ish line down the side of the bottle to cut off that water ripple. If you don’t draw a straight line the first time, don’t worry about it. You can always undo (Command/Control Z) and try again.
When everything is edited the way you like, use Command/Control G to group the whole design together.
STEP 3: TYPING
Adding text to a design always makes it pop. To curve text, you’ll need to type on a curved path. Cory goes through the whole typing process of framing a design in text.
CREATE A PATH
Grab the rectangle tool from the left-hand toolbar or press “M” on your keyboard to draw a rectangle. Draw it as big as you want: Cory draws a rectangle around his entire design. To curve the top of the rectangle, grab the two anchor points at the top of the rectangle. Pull each anchor point down to create a tombstone shape. Place your design wherever you want in the frame you created. Cory sets his design so the base of the palm tree is in the center of the tombstone shape.
TYPE ON A PATH
Head to the “type” tool and hit “type on a path.” Click on the tombstone shape to use it as the path, and type whatever you want. Cory types “Summer never ends.”
Once you’ve written out the words, it’s time to choose a font. Cory chooses a font that vibes with his design and enlarges it so he can see the text.
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MAKING IT PRETTY
The text is big, but it’s wrapped around the bottom of the design, not the top. To change this, grab the anchor points at the top of the tombstone path. Drag each handle down to the opposite corner. This will cause the text to wrap around the curve of the tombstone at the top.
Set the size and tracking of the text however you want. Cory sets the size to 66 points and tracking to 500 so the text wraps to the bottom corners of his path.
STEP 4: FINISHING TOUCHES
Once you’re happy with the text, expand it. Use the shape builder tool again to erase any unwanted lines. Cory erases a bit of the “E” in the word “never” so it looks like the palm tree is covering part of the letter. Once you’re happy with the final look, make sure to save the project.
BONUS STEP: CORY’S SECRET ELEMENTS
Every vector pack that Cory creates contains textures and elements that aren’t part of the pack. These are usually locked. However, if you unlock them, you can use them in your designs. To unlock the secret elements, head to the right-hand toolbar. Hit “layers” and click the padlock icon to unlock the layers. You’re ready to go!
Cory chooses two birds to complete his design. By adding these elements, you can take your designs one step further.
That wasn’t so hard, was it? Every design takes a little bit of finesse, so be patient with yourself if the design doesn’t immediately fall in line with your vision. By following these simple steps, you can create a rad t-shirt design without drawing at all.