March 5, 2024

Vector painting of a jaguar


This is a vector portrait of a crouching jaguar, created in VectorStyler and Affinity Designer. At this time - March 2024 - it still is a work in progress. VectorStyler I used to create the majority of the spots, using the Spikes shapes effect, which shapes the outline of an object into a spiky line, that can be controlled. In Affinity Designer I did the composition and tweaking. Vector objects can be copied and pasted between the two programs, which is a time saver, since Vector Styler has a ton of tools that are not incorporated in the programs of the competition.

Everything mentioned above was drawn with the mouse. The final touches - the hair strands - will have to be drawn and I plan to do it with my old Huion 620 Pro drawing tablet (in vectors too), because I intend to keep this image a 100% vector drawing. The oldest stage is at the bottom, the newest on top. Click on an image to see a larger version of it in Google's Lightbox. In there you can also scroll through the stages on a PC. I used a ton of tricks to create the desired effect. In a multi layer drawing as this one, that contains a large amount of objects, it is best to use the Spit Screen View in Affinity Designer to select and / or reshape objects to save a huge amount of time. This paragraph also is in the bottom section of this blog entry. Most objects are given gradient fills, transparency, layer effects and Gaussian blurs to avoid the proverbial had edges typical for vector drawing programs. This makes images drawn in such a way appear to be very unrealistic.

Please check in every now and then to see the progress of this drawing.

Vector outline

The vector outline view shows the contours of objects and strokes - what actually is drawn - without fills and effects applied. Below this paragraph is the vector outline view from the stage before adding the fur structure that would dominantly hide parts of other objects, since it literally shows a plethora of objects. At this stage the outline view without the many strokes of hair still gives a rough idea how the drawing was set up. It also presents an idea of how many objects (called Layers in Affinity Designer) were drawn to achieve the desired result, bearing in mind that many objects are stacked on top of each other (most with a different effect or blend), which does not show in the outline view. Drawing the jaguar in vector instead of pixels, allows to resize the image to any scale without loss of quality.

Multiple object / layer selection in Split Screen View

When a drawing contains hundreds or thousands of objects / layers, selecting a particular one is difficult. The only effective solution to this problem is to work with a Split Screen View in Affinity Designer, which makes selecting less cumbersome, especially when the drawing contains many nested (objects within objects to various levels) layers. The image below shows what this looks like.

Jaguar in a virtual 3D frame

I often place my vector 2D images in a virtual 3D frame to see what it would look like, using the Plasticity 3D program to draw the frame, to see if the placement of the composition is off, before having it giclée printed, which is a special fine art way of printing with a high resolution (up to 6800 dpi and a 100 year of quality preservation). If cropping and / or alignment isn't done meticulously, any artwork can be ruined or subconsciously look strange. The image below shows the as of now not yet final stage of March 12 2024.

The vector painting
in a virtual 3D frame