Vector outline. Working on outline color in cartoon illustration

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Post 4 of 8

Greetings to all devoted readers and guests of my blog! Today we’ll deal with another batch of questions from the busy life of a vector artist. Let’s take a look at the vector outline and see how can we work on it in a cartoon illustration.

vector outline

I’ve already mentioned in my article on «vector illustration work with color», that vector outline might as well be black/white, or being colored. Generally that depends on particular tasks you’re facing and goals you want to achieve.

In this article we’ll reveal some more details on the matter of vector outline in color. Today’s examples will demonstrate precisely:

in which cases it’s acceptable to leave a black outline, and when it’s better to be recolored
the significance of stroke weight in color illustration

Vector outline and its role in cartoon illustration.

Outline plays an important role in cartoon illustrations, it clearly frames the object, separating it from the other surroundings and nearby colors.That way our main object pops out and it’s easier for us to perceive the picture.

vector outline

And the more realistic a picture is, the less outlines it has. Put away your computer for a minute and look around you, at the objects in your room – the image of the space is perceived as a whole, without bold embordering outlines, is it?

The understanding of this effect helps a vector artist to manipulate with perception of the image and its space. It can be reflected in a way that illustration becomes more plain or on the contrary gains more volume. And it can easily be achieved simply by measuring the vector outline, its color, weight and stroke.

When is it acceptable to leave a black outline?

If your drawing contains a lot of small details and thin lines, it is very advisable to use a black outline in this case. It keeps you from getting confused in such amount of colors, keeps it more simple and prevents your picture from being turned into a mess of spots.

vector outline

Let’s take another example. Suppose you work on an advertising character or some kind of isolated object, it can also be an icon for a website, situated on a local background, isolated from everything else.

vector outline

There is lack of complicated composition here, so the viewer’s attention will be entirely concentrated on this single object. In this case you can add to your image more volume by coloring its vector outline. Preferably, the outline color tone should be the same as the main object’s, slightly darkened or sometimes brightened.
It’s easier to explain the difference of these effects on a direct example. This way I will demonstrate you directly its importance without falling into vague discussions.

vector outline

Weight matters

I’ve already mentioned the question about outline weight of the objects here, so if you haven’t read it, I advice you to do so first. Adding to that, I must mention that managing some technical manipulations with the outline thickness one can achieve very interesting visual effects.

vector outline

For example, in a complex graphic illustration where you have a lot of details and assorted elements, altering the outline weight can help you capture the viewer’s attention on the most important parts of your picture. If there is a character in the picture, and we need to separate it from the background, vector outline should be done thicker. This way we should treat all the other elements in the picture, which need special accents.

How about you, what methods do you use in your vector illustrations?

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