Improving my Ilustrator Skills

Since authoring Erec Makes a Fire I’ve become quite familiar with Illustrator. Though Lain took care of drawing all the characters and objects I spent months of man hours reworking the layout, extending the scenery and modifying his artwork based on reader feedback to keep up with each iteration of the story. That being said, creating an illustration from scratch is VERY different than editing one already made.

Motivated by new concepts I’m working on (such as books, apps, and websites), I wanted to bridge the gap between my offline art skills with that of my digital to be more self-reliant when original artwork is needed. I wanted to take the more directed “deliberate practice” approach to learning this new skill and decided to post what I am creating for critique.

I really like the flat UI look, so my goal is to get to a point where I can replicate that look and feel – at least to some reasonable degree.

I needed a horse for an intro scene I was putting together for an app I was building, so I figured it was a good time to crack open Illustrator and give it a shot. Here is the first version. Sadly, this took me many hours to create. Much of the time was learning how to manipulate the tools, but even more came from the constant iterating (or resolving in art speak) to something I can be happy with.


I thought the tail was too boring, but I also didn’t want to over complicate the simplistic nature of the illustration. After another few hours of trial and error I came up with the final horse below. I  got a bit carried away in the fun and ended up creating a sprite that walks a bit, then turns to look at the viewer and blink.



If you have any useful tips, or feedback to improve the horse, please let me know.

I really enjoyed working in this medium and look forward to continuing to lear more about it.