Portraiture in Illustrator

This assignment is very detail oriented, you need to make sure to pay attention to every line and color in order to have a successful portrait.

1.Obtain a portrait of a person that is looking straight at the camera – the more pixels the picture has the better. Go to http://www.dannyst.com/gallery/portraits-of-strangers/  

2. Copy the photo into your assignment folder.

3. Open a new document in illustrator and make sure to have the below settings

4.File>Place and find the picture on your desktop. Before pressing place make sure that the Link and Template boxes are not checked.

5. Place the photograph in the center of your paper and enlarge it until the person’s head and part of their shoulders fill as much of the paper as possible.

6. Go to Window>Workspace>Tracing then go to Object Live Trace>Tracing Options. A following dialogue box will appear. Preset=Custom; View=Tracing Results; Mode=Color; Palette=Limited.

7. Open your layers panel (go to Window and make sure Layers is checked) and lock the layer with your picture in it.


8.  Select the pen tool and make sure that the fill and stroke are set to  or else you will not be able to see what you are tracing.

9. Go to your layers panel and create a new layer by clicking on the curled paper next to the trash can.

11. You will be creating all of your lines in Layer 2.

12. Begin by dropping an anchor point on the bottom left corner where the shoulder begins and make your way around the head and finish on the other shoulder. Control D will end your pen line.

13. Make sure to click and drag anchor points when you need the line to curve. Remember to check your progress by turning Layer 1 off and on to check your progress. YOU DO NOT NEED TO USE A LOT OF ANCHOR POINTS.

14. Once you have the outline of your person done you can move towards the face. Make sure that all lines touch another line or else you will have a hard time painting.

15.The more detailed you are the better your portrait will look. You need to make lines for the different tints and shades.

16.Once you have completed your outlines turn off your layer one and check your work.  If it look goods make a duplicate of layer two.

17.Now go to Layer 2 copy select all the lines  and change the stroke to NONE and then go to Object > Livepaint > Make in order to paint all the shapes that make up your face.

18.Use the eyedropper tool  to select colors from the photograph to paint your portrait.

19.Use the panels below to obtain different tints and shades.


  • Make sure that the portrait fills as much of the page as possible.
  • The “person” is NOT centered in the page. (To the left or Right)
  • The top of the head and part of the shoulders are visible.
  • Use a minimum of 10 tints and shades for the skin tone (this will make it look more realistic).
  • Create a background color and pattern to be placed behind the portrait
  • RGB color mode
  • Labeled correctly (last name,firstinital_portrait)



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