Graphic Design-Technical Illustration

I’ve been busy in my 3rd semester of Graphic Design and thought I’d share some of my Technical Illustration projects. I believe this is where I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learned as a draftsman/Auto-CAD detailer. The first project is a isometric view of a bracket, which we created from a 3 sided drawing; top, front and right side views.


The turn down radius really threw some of the other students off and if I hadn’t learned drafting I wouldn’t have seen how it should go. I’d had to get so much help from the other students that it was nice to be able to give some help back.

Our next project was to take this isometric and create a Patent drawing. I decided to use my motorcycle as being what this machined bracket was for. Keep in mind this is not really a motorcycle part, just creating a poster. Also, keep in mind I’m not trying to infringe on any copyrights of Harley Davidson, this was just for a school project. I found a free blueprint background download and used a photograph of my 2007 Harley Davidson Street Bob. I then opened in Illustrator CS6 to add my isometric and text. After trying to create the effect I wanted and was unsuccessful I Google on you-tube and found a tutorial on creating this effect. How to create a Blueprint effect in Photoshop CS6 by Altustek was awesome and easy. Thanks Altustek!


Next we had to do a exploded view in oblique, either 45 degree or 30 degree. I enjoyed learning gradients and applying to create the effect I wanted.

GPeppers-Exploded View3

The threads on the inside of the nut proved to be harder than the threads of the bolt. I also had trouble with creating a lock washer so, with suggestion from awesome husband, substituted with a flat washer. I still want to learn how to create a lock washer, using Illustrator and not just “eyeballing”.

Next post I’ll share some of my projects from my Digital Photography class (favorite class so far).

Typography Typeface Portraits

Fun with font could have been the title of this post. My latest creations are two typeface portraits; one of Amy Winehouse and a self portrait. These are for my Typography class and were supposed to be done in Adobe Illustrator, black only, on a 10″ x 7″ art board. We had to pick a famous person and do a self portrait.

To start this project I began by searching for tutorials in YouTube on doing typeface portraits. Only one tutorial showed up in Illustrator, the rest were done in Photoshop. Since I’m learning both programs, and I thought the Photoshop creations had the effects I wanted, that’s what I went with for Amy Winehouse’s portrait. I used two fonts; Cooper Std Black for the shadows and Corbel Regular for the mid-tones. Learning the clipping paths took a few try’s, but finally managed it. I used the lyrics to her song Rehab, from the album Back to Black. I think it came out nice, just not in Illustrator.


For my self portrait, which I knew had to be done in Illustrator, I tried using the same principles that I used in Photoshop. Frist I picked out three fonts; Cooper Std Black for shadows, Constantia Regular for mid-tones, and Corbel Regular for highlights. Created an layer with a rectangle filled with each font of the correct size, 7″ x 10′. I did adjust a few effects for each font, kerning and tracking, to get the right shade. Then so I could edit, I changed the font to outlines. Using the lasso tool I began deleting what I didn’t want and leaving what I did. This sounds easy but you have to think backwards. Instead of selecting the dark areas for the shadows layer, you have to pick everything else. I’m learning how to use negative space and I think this was a good exercise for that.



I used Amy Winehouse’s song lyrics for the words because I already had them ready to use. I think the Photoshop effects look more professional, but hopefully the Illustrator portrait will get a passing grade. I really don’t want to do it over.

Learning more Graphic Design

Here’s another project I had to do…
Editorial Illustration Project

Client: Major national magazine publisher

Task: Create an editorial illustration for an article in a magazine

Size: 8″ x 10″ total page area. Will have to factor in text and title elements.

(start with PhotoShop file provided on the server)

Choose an article of your choice from one of the following magazines:

1. Road & Track

Requirements: Needs to be more than just a photo or collage of photos. All PhotoShop tools, filters, image adjustments, vector capabilities, 3D stuff, and fonts are available for this project.



There were multiple magazines to choose from but I picked Road & Track because of the convenience; copy in bathroom and my husbands restoration projects provided plenty of photos.

The article I picked was by Peter Egan, Side Glances: Cars of Occasion, August 1, 2013, print. It was a very enjoyable article expressing the need of more than one vehicle  in todays world, and more importantly the need of cars (or trucks) for certain occasions. Egan discusses everything from trucks to convertibles to jeeps.

I collected photos of my favorite projects Mac (husband) has restored; ’63 split window, ’63 Impala 409 SS, and ’69 Corvette roadster. I then found my favorite photos of my vehicles: BMW Z3 Roadster and my current ride, 2006 Jeep TJ. I had this grand idea of using them all because, well, basically they fit the article. I ran into problems managing the text in Photoshop. I wanted the text to be in 3 columns and going around some of the cars. Not that easy in Photoshop if you’ve never tried it. Remember I’m learning the program and trying to learn how to design. I finally figured out how to create a shape and have the text follow it.

I decided to use the ’63 split window corvette mainly because of the quality of photo, plus it’s very iconic and recognizable.  If I were a guy (that was into cars) flipping through Road & Track and saw a ’63 split window I’d stop and see if it was worth reading. So, I clipped the car from the background, then went to the filters to see what I could make happen. The “poster edges” under the Artistic  Filter gave the car some cool effects I thought.

I then created the road & mountains using vector shapes. Using the eye dropper tool I pulled some color out of the car to help pull it together. I decided that the tail lights needed some help so I painted them a bright color to appear being on. I really liked how that came out.

Any critiques or comments will be greatly appreciated. Or any comments on how to use Photoshop to accomplish effects more efficiently would really be appreciated. Such as, is there a way to get vector shapes to “lock” together other than zooming in and eye balling?



Leonardo da Vinci in Huntsville, Alabama

The US Space & Rocket center in Huntsville, Alabama hosted a traveling exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci provided by Grande Exhibitions & the Anthropos Association. The Italian Artisans, headed by Modesto Veccia, a Vincian expert from Florence, have for the past decade been studying Leonardo’s codices and creating the machine inventions contained in this exhibition.

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” -Leonardo da Vinci

I thought I had an idea of who da Vinci was, famous painter (Mona Lisa), the sculptor (the horse), and mechanical inventor (flywheels, ball bearings systems, coil spring). I had no idea how intelligent and driven to perfection da Vinci was.

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Below are a few photos from the display, unfortunately my battery died in my camera before I barely started.

Leonardo used a special kind of shorthand that he invented himself, but usually used “mirror image writing”, starting at the right side of the page and moving to the left. Some historians speculate he did it to keep his writings private, others think that because he was left-handed he just found it easier and faster to write this way. Either way, you’d have to be a genius to keep up with what you’re writing.



I did not know that da Vinci was not educated in what was typical of the time. Da Vinci did not learn Latin or study with the clergy. He couldn’t read or learn from books, maybe that was why he invented his own shorthand. Leonardo learned through observation & experience. This was a trait he applied in everything he did.

Some of Leonardo’s most inventive activities focused on weapons of war. Some of his early designs are practical and easily constructed; emergency swing bridges and ladders.

Below is a photo showing a device for protecting the horse. The horse would go in between the 2 ends with metal blades that spun. However the poles prevented the horse from being allowed to turn and could only move forward in a straight line. Leonardo decided that the horse would probably become frighten and bolt under war conditions. I found this interesting.


Leonardo also designed the first tank and helicopter. Below is a scaled down model of the tank and helicopter.

DSCN1409 DSCN1408



I would like to thank French scientific engineer Pascal Cotte, inventor of the first multispectral camera for his display of the Mona Lisa. He was granted the privileged rights to take incredibly high definition pictures and was able to produce and examine detailed images ranging from ultraviolet to infrared. Although I didn’t get to see the real Mona Lisa, Cotte’s display is as close as you can imagine. The detail was extraordinary and the colors amazing.

My small account did not do the display or Leonardo da Vince justice but wanted to share it. If the display comes to a city near you I recommend going to see it.

“The poet ranks far below the painter in the representation of visible things, and far below the musician in that of invisible things.” -Leonardo da Vinci