Vector Illustration

Vector illustration has been a topic I have wanted to learn for a very long time, and now with the skills I’ve learned through my visual communication projects and the software I have learned through my software inductions I feel confident to take on the task. Two inspirational vector artists, whose work I’ve followed for years, are James Gilleard and Mark Usimani. Both use vectors skillfully to create beautiful imagery however their styles are distinctly different.

The illustrator / animator James Gilleard is from London, England and is currently producing work. He has many distinct styles however his most popular are his very detailed vector illustrations. In Illustrator he will build up an image through the use of layered vector shapes, varying in colour and tone. He will also add textures to these images, removing the often ‘over polished’ look present in many vector artists work. From a distance you may not believe that these images were produced using vectors due to the detail and three dimensional form created through his style.

Japanese Food by James Gilleard, 2016

His also produces very abstract vector work. Since completing the spatial awareness project I can now see a clear link between the project and the work of James Gilleard. As well as using shapes, like I did for spatial awareness, he has taken it further by introducing colour and tone. I am eager to explore experimenting with more complex forms like those seen below as well as adding colour and tone and seeing what effect that has on the emotions and feelings conveyed through my work.

Abstract Things Series by James Gilleard, 2016

Abstract Things Series by James Gilleard, 2016










In contrast to his work is the highly polished vector work of freelance American designer / illustrator Mark Usmiani. His work compared to the work of James Gilleard is far more playful and child like. The content of his illustrations mainly focuses on fictional fantasy weapons and armour that he designs. This playfulness is also conveyed in his style, which consists of bright bold colours and highly polished bubbly vector shapes.

Loot Series by Mark Usmiani, 2016

Both artists use vector illustration effectively to convey different moods and feelings. When experimenting with vectors I feel it would be beneficial to experiment with both of their styles which would give me a broader understanding of the topic. I often feel mainly designers decide to use the more polished vector style, which personally I enjoy a lot, but being able to successfully create work in either style will grant me more flexibility if I choose to use vector illustrations in future university projects or industry briefs.

Introduction to Adobe Illustrator


Photoshop uses pixels to create imagery which can be used to describe fine detail whereas Illustrator use vectors, these are mathematically plotted points which means quality isn’t lost when the image is blown up to a large scale. This is useful for producing graphics for brands and companies where the imagery needs to be used at a variety of scales, such as billboards. Vector images are also useful as they have smaller file sizes than images consisting of pixels. In conclusion Adobe Illustrator is a very important software for me to learn due to how useful it is within graphic design.

We covered selection, placing images, tracing images, creating paths, joining and editing paths, paintbrush tool, pencil tool, blob brush, geometric shapes, expanding objects, shape builder tool, gradients, appearance panel, type, templates, the pen tool and creating patterns. Adobe Illustrator offers a lot of features unique or vastly different to other Adobe softwares, such as the pen tool, although present in other software it is primarily used in Illustrator. Previously I had tried to self teach myself the software but found this difficult due to the large amount of new tools to learn, where as the workshop allowed me to not only have it explained to me in a way I could understand but to also try it for myself and have my progress reviewed.