July 24, 2020

Elvis Presley Vector portrait

This is an other vector portrait of Elvis Presley, the king of rock and roll, but rumoured to be less noble in other departments, like many celebrities that were different persons off camera than when performing on stage, award festivals or attending some of their extravagant parties. The portrait is all vector, zero pixels, created in Affinity Designer. It is a much more simple than the previous project - the vector portrait of David Bohm - containing almost exclusively vector shapes and no vector brush strokes (except for the hair). I could probably have completed the image in one day, had I continued working on it, but I like to take my time to finish such works. At stage 3 I estimate I spent 5 hours on the portrait.

I utterly dislike the usual vector portraits that have hard edged adjacent shapes of different colour instead of natural gradients in parts of the face. Many years ago I tried creating realistic portraits in CorelDRAW and was forced to use the ultra tedious mesh colouring, which I absolutely hated, to get a result and was very happy running into Affinity Designer by accident. The same mesh colouring is required in Adobe Illustrator to draw realistic vector portraits. Only in the free open source Inkscape program was I able to get a reasonable result - not using the mesh thingie - without working months in a row on one portrait, but its interface was rather difficult to understand.

But in Affinity Designer the mesh misery is not needed and working with shapes that are Gaussian blurred, to which many fx is applied, allows much much faster editing (also afterwards) of both the shapes and colours than in the mesh ordeal of other programs. Affinity Designer allows artists to go crazy as they want in detailing, but could use some increased stability when ultra large and complex documents are being created, which I'm sure will be the case in the near future, given the sincere approach of the developers I noticed in the Affinity forums. You may want to take a peek at the Vector Page in my website to get a good idea of drawing vector portraits with Affinity Designer.

While drawing the David Bohm portrait the program crashed often in the later stages, probably because of the portrait's (very large: 4 x 4.7 metres) size and complexity (well over a thousand layers). Bear in mind that Affinity Designer is still in Beta stage at this point. Over time the developers have added many functions and corrected a ton of bugs, so I am confident they will be able to create a stable program, even for off standard project as I usually make.

The oldest stage at the bottom and newest one on top. I recommend clicking one of the images below to view them in Google's lightbox, that allows you to quickly flick through the various stages by turning the mouse wheel (when viewing them on a PC at least) to spot the differences between the stages. And please bear in mind that the image size is lowered by over 70% and that Google downsamples the image in addition.

Update Jan 6 2022
The Gaussian blurring and object clipping techniques, used to create this vector portrait are explained in more detail in a brief tutorial, called 'How to avoid hard edges in vector portraits', that you find here:

Stage 6 

Stage 5 

Stage 3 

Stage 2 

Stage 1 

July 11, 2020

Vector portrait David Bohm

The late great David Bohm chose his own path through life and as a result got plenty resistance from the established that care more for their careers and opinions of their complicit peers than making a sincere effort to advance the progress of science. His father did not approve of him chosing a career in science and turned him a cold shoulder. Years after he was betrayed (twice) by his substitue father Oppenheimer and chased by the zealot McCarthy which coerced him to move to Sao Paolo, Brazil where he conceived the beginnings of his Hidden Variables theory, which could lead to both the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics being whacked at some point in time by using a different type of reasoning. It does away with science simply ignoring facts that allow it to uphold the mainsteam theories.

After having accepted a job offer in Israel where he worked several years, he moved to the UK, where he began collaborating with Basil Hiley. They contributed to solve the double slit mystery, which they visualized in an animation, based on the mathematics underlaying their theory. It proved the particle / wave duality theory was invented bunk that only served to maintain quantum mechanic's theoretical twaddle concerning the matter. His involvement with Krishnamurti allowed him to bridge science and spirituality (consciousness). David Bohm passed away in 1992. This portrait is my visual tribute to a great mind that was not afraid to make great efforts at the cost of great sacrifice.

I am drawing this portrait in Affinity Designer in which it is possible to draw realistic organic shapes, which is not easily done in programs of the competition that is hugely more expensive than Designer (Inkscape excepted, but that program has a difficult to figure out UI). I used a mix of drawing methods in this work that I sorted out in previous attempts to draw realistic vector portraits:
  • 'painting' with custom made vector brushes (mainly textures and creases)
  • drawing strokes and shapes to create realistic parts of the face (as a base to apply texture on in a later stage), including clipping objects inside objects on mulitple levels to create gradients that fx options, the colour gradient tool and custom transparency are unable to achieve
  • The hair was drawn with the Huion H610 Pro graphic tablet

The size of the portrait is rather big - 4.7 x 4 meter (....) which perhaps is the reason Affinity Designer crashed a number of times. I maximized the measure of RAM reserved for the program and reduced the number of undos from 1000 to 120 In the prgram's Preferences - Performance in an attempt to prevent crashing, but that didn't seem to make a difference. The number of layers / objects is high into the hundreds. So now, I save very often on two physically different hard drives to reduce the chance of data loss.

At this point (July 16 2020) the portrait obviously still is a work in progress. So stay tuned to see it being developed for as far the crashing allows me to do. The oldest stage is at the bottom, the newest on top. Click one of the images to go to see them in Google's Lightbox in which you can flick through the stages by turning your mousewheel (at least on a PC that is an option).

Update July 17 2020
The new Beta version seems to be more stable. No crashes while adding the hair, which contains numerous curves / objects. Also adjusting the artboard - centering the face better - worked which was not possible to do with the previous version that distorted the image. Kudos to the Affinity Designer developers.

Update Jan 24 2022

Update May 12 2021

Update July 18 2020

July 15 2020 - Experiment with noise

Update July 14 2020

Update 2 July 13 2020

Update 1 July 13 2020

Update 3 July 12 2020

Update 2 July 12 2020

Update 1 July 12 2020

Update July 11 2020

Update 4 July 9 2020

Update 3 July 9 2020

Update 2 July 9 2020

Start of the drawing July 9 2020

July 8, 2020

Vectorwhiz portfolio booklet

I have created a new portfolio in pdf the you find here, that you can download to view offline. The file size is 28 MB, so slow connections may need some time to download the document. I have resampled the images to 144 DPI (original resolution is 300 DPI) so that download time is limited while the appearance of the images remains acceptable.

Front cover page

This 88 page booklet was created in Affinity Publisher and contains:

  • vector portraits
  • vector paintings
  • vector illustrations
  • vector logos
  • vector T-shirt designs
  • pixel portraits
  • pixel paintings
  • 3D illustrations
  • 3D vector technical drawings
  • creative text - poetry

In the footer of each page in the document you find links to the TOC (table of contents) for easy navigation and a link to my website. The vector images were created in Affinity Designer, the pixel images in Affinity Photo and the 3D images in a 3D program named Rhinoceros v5. The poetry texts I usually create in Libre Office.

Affinity Publisher had trouble with the file for reasons so far unknown, but fortunately I was able to churn out a pdf file before it did. Publisher officially still is in Beta stage at this point, so it makes sense that things are not stable yet. I have good hope though that the developers of Serif (the owner of the Affinity programs) will be able to correct the bugs in a time not too far from now (July 2020).

My website - should you want to pay a visit  [wink wink, nudge nudge] - was made in Mobirise, the latest version of which seems to be much more stable than previous ones. Out of frustration about older Mobirise versions I wrote some unkind words about it (with good cause at the time) a few years back, but the latest version has not given any trouble so far.