This time, I would like to show you how to make illustrations without using line drawings.
Illustrations without line drawings can be applied to thicker layers of paint, and understanding how they work will greatly expand the range of your expression.

I’ll explain it in detail, so even if you’ve never done it before, please give it a try!

1 How an illustration without line art works

In illustrations that do not use line drawings, shading is important when expressing shapes.
By capturing an object as a surface and adding shadows, we can create a sense of boundary and three-dimensionality.

Here is a simple illustration…

It will look like this


2 Making the shape

The first step is to draw a rough shape of the cup that we will be making.

Select the Shape Brush Tool and use the Ellipse and Line at the top of the screen to create a shape.

The top and bottom ellipses will align nicely if you take the center line vertically to avoid distorting the shape of the cup.

I also drew the handle of the cup in the rough stage.

The first step is to paint solid along the rough.

The layers are divided into “surface of the cup”, “inside of the cup” and “handle”.

By separating the layers in this way, it is easier to add shading afterwards.


3 clipping method

Next, let’s do some clipping on each of the separate layers.
First, place a new layer on the cup surface layer and click Clipping.

In the same way, place a new layer on the inside of the cup and the handle, and apply clipping.

By applying Clipping, no matter how much it overhangs the original layer of the illustration, it can be painted beautifully.

First of all, if you put the shadow only on the surface, it will look like this.

I’m going to put shadows on the inside and the handle as well.

At this point, try to think about where the light is coming from while adding the shadows.
In this case, the light source is on the left side, so the shadow will be on the right side on the surface of the cup and on the left side on the inside.

Next, we will change the Blending and Opacity to blend the shadows.
Change the Blending to Multiply and the Opacity to decrease as you see fit.
Let’s change these settings in all three layers of the Clipping.

After the change, it will look like this.

4 Creating a 3D effect

The next step is to increase the shading to create a three-dimensional effect.

First, I erased the shadows on the edge of the cup with an eraser to show the thickness of the cup.

Then increase the shadows on the surface of the cup to add depth to the shadows.

Let’s proceed with the inside as well.
On the inside, the left side will be in shadow and the right side will be brighter, so put a brighter color on the right side.

Acclimate the color to match the gradient on the surface.
I also added some brightness to the handle.
Don’t forget to add the shadow from the handle to the cup.

Next, we created the background. It will be painted with two colors of gray.

Shadows are drawn on the ground and the surface where the cup is placed, adding to the presence of the cup.

Next, add another brighter color to the edge and surface of the cup you want to lighten.
The wider the shading, the more three-dimensional the effect becomes.

Put a shadow on the bottom side of the cup, the surface where it meets the ground.
When drawing illustrations, if you feel that the character or motif is floating off the ground or does not stand up well, it is a good idea to draw a shadow on the surface where both the ground and the character touch.

Finally, add the brightest highlight.
Put it on the edge of the cup, the handle, or any other place you want it to shine.

And here it is, complete!

I hope you now have a better idea of how an illustration without line drawings will unfold.

Once you understand how to proceed, you can create both flat, gentle illustrations like picture books and powerful, thickly painted illustrations.

If you’ve never done this before, please give it a try!

(Text and pictures by Hiromi Arakane)