Sketch Sessions - Sketching with Vectors in Affinity Designer.


15 minute sketch session created using Affinity Designer on a SurfaceBook 2.

While working on another vector project in Affinity Designer I needed to represent bushy hair. This stumped me for a bit because I wasn't sure how to approach this in vector format. If I were working on a bitmap image, I'd simply use crosshatching to create the texture needed to represent bushy hair. But there was some apprehension as to whether this approach would work in a vector based application. The main concern being the accuracy of the lines created at speed. If Affinity Designer couldn't keep up with fast strokes then the process wouldn't work. So I gave it a try using the pencil tool in the Design Persona in Affinity Designer and it worked!


Original test of sketching with the pencil tool in Affinity Designer

While working on the image directly above, I took a break from it to create some sketches to further test the process. Great results overall! More testing will take place in the future to further perfect the process but I'm happy with the results so far.


Why sketch with vectors? Good question, glad you asked. Vectors are excellent at generating stylized art. Generating more photo realistic designs or highly detailed projects are also possible but can be very time consuming due to how vector applications generally work. Manipulating points and lines can feel more like constructing as opposed to drawing. Key positives of creating with vectors are the incredibly clean results and the ability to scale the image to incredible degrees with absolutely no loss in quality. Some negatives of vector art are the time it takes to generate certain designs and vector art can look far too similar even if comparing the work of a large number of different designers. That "samey" trend, the homogenized design language can become maddening. There is much to be said about creating something that is unique, something that truly represents the creator as opposed to trying to fit inside of a box that's already overflowing with people.


Sketching with vectors can allow an artist's creative characteristics of their work to shine through more so than if working using standard methods of vector creation. The other option is to sketch a design idea on paper or using a bitmap creative application and then trace that in a vector application. This works to great effect but as mentioned, it can be very time consuming as well. There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way, only what works best for you to get the desired results. I'm just trying to find my own way.


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